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How to determine the sex of a puppy?

Having decided to get a dog, each owner thinks for a long time about what breed of dog is best for him. It is also important for him to determine the gender of the puppy. Conditions for keeping females and males may differ. For example, during pregnancy and lactation, the female requires special feeding.

Why do you need to know gender?

Knowing the sex of a dog from early childhood may be necessary for several reasons. They are described below.

  • Perhaps the owner of the newborn is a breeder. Then he needs to learn how to accurately determine the sex of the pet, so as not to mislead future buyers who have come for a particular puppy.
  • There is also a downside, when it is better for the buyer of a puppy to verify the gender of the pet on his own, if there is a suspicion of dishonesty or inexperience of the breeder.
  • Without knowing the sex of the dog, the owner will not be able to come up with a nickname for her and leave the pet without a name for this period.
  • The breeder must know the sex of the animal in advance in order to determine its future fate. Perhaps the seller will keep the dog for further breeding.
  • Knowing the sex of the dog in advance is also important in a situation where the pet is started by a second animal. For example, two males of different ages rarely get along in the same apartment.

At what age can you determine?


It is better not to torment a newborn puppy in search of genitals – this is unlikely to bring success, and harm can be done to the weak body of the animal.

It is better to wait 3-4 weeks, and only after this period you can start examining the animal.

You can even more accurately determine the sex of the animal at the age of 8 weeks. By this period, the genitals of males become distinguishable.

Methods for determining

Particular attention should be paid to the rules for examining a puppy under the age of one month. Movements must be careful not to hurt the puppy and not to frighten him. In this case, you should use the recommendations of professionals.

  1. Before the examination, wash your hands thoroughly and dry them well. It is necessary to carry out manipulations only in a warm room.
  2. Before you take a puppy, you should make sure that his mother does not mind. There are individuals capable of showing aggression even to the owner, if they feel that something is threatening the puppy. If a whelping dog does not express aggression, but shows concern, then you should not touch her cub for now – it is better to try to inspect another time.
  3. Carefully and without haste, you need to take the puppy in your arms. If he began to whine or tremble, then it is better to return the baby to his place and try again next time.
  4. Then you need to put the puppy on its back in a warm, dry towel so that the stomach is clearly visible. At the same time, you need to support his head.
  5. You should carefully examine the belly of the puppy. The umbilical cord should not be confused with the male genital organ, since both parts look the same, but the navel is located under the chest, and the genitals are located below: in the abdomen between the hind limbs.
  6. You do not need to hold the newborn in your arms for more than 5-10 minutes, otherwise the smell of the puppy will weaken and become poorly distinguishable for the mother dog, and this is fraught with the female’s refusal to feed.

It is worth recalling that up to 4 weeks it is rather problematic to accurately determine the sex of the baby, and errors often occur.


For this reason, it is recommended to wait until the pet is 1 month old.

You can distinguish between girls and boys at the age of one month on the following grounds:

  • in guys under the navel you can observe a “button” with a small hole – this outgrowth is the foreskin of the male genitalia;
  • in girls, the genitals are located much lower: at the base of the abdomen.

When the puppy reaches two months of age, you can determine its sex by examining the anus.

  • In boys, the anus is located under the tail, there is nothing nearby.
  • In girls, under the anus, you can see the labia. The loop at this age is still small and flat, but a barely visible vertical slit can already be observed. In addition, the female genitals are always covered with hairs.

The easiest way to determine the sex of puppies whose age has exceeded three months, although in this case difficulties may arise, since, depending on the size of the dog, the size of the male genital organ can vary greatly, and then the male can be confused with the female. At the age of two months, the scrotum can be observed in guys, and up to this point there may be a smooth space between the hind legs, since the testicles have not yet descended into the scrotum.


In three-month-old girls, the white line of the abdomen is completely smooth. If you feel the line from the sternum to the base of the abdomen, you can feel a seal in the navel area.

If the same manipulations are carried out with a three-month-old male, then you can feel a bulge in place of the male genitalia. In long-haired boys, a tuft of hair is often observed on the genitals.

Behavioral differences between females and males are rarely taken into account, although here the difference can be caught. For example, male service breeds are often more determined and fearless, and girls try to stay close to their mother. Aboriginal breed puppies show the opposite type of behavior. For example, females often express courage, masculinity, they can go on the offensive themselves, while boys, when they see danger, try to stay away. Dachshunds also have a more familiar form of behavior: dachshund boys are more energetic, courageous, brave, and girls prefer to avoid conflicts if possible.

Another physiological method for determining gender is the study of the size of the newborn.

Usually the largest puppy is born first in the litter, and he is more often a male. Comparing his appearance and behavior with his littermates, you can roughly guess which of the puppies is a boy. Females usually develop faster, they are active, dexterous, show quick wits early, learn to use the acquired skills faster.

Boys are usually heavier than sisters. They have a large complexion, a powerful skeleton, a rough muzzle.


Girls are born light and graceful, they have a pretty expression on their faces.


However, these signs are not indicative and can only serve as an unreliable preliminary method for determining sex, since much depends on the breed, the health of the mother dog and the condition of the puppy itself.

There are also several additional signs that will help distinguish the male from the female.

  • You need to watch how quickly the puppy begins to mark the territory. Males mark their possessions already at the age of 2-6 months, and this behavior is not typical for young females. You can distinguish the desire to mark the territory from the usual urination by the behavior of the dog: he quickly empties the bladder in many places, often doing this intentionally after carefully studying and sniffing a particular area. Dogs-girls during a walk can stop in places that are curious for them and sniff the object for a long time, but they will not urinate on it.
  • Once every six months, each female comes into heat. For the first time, the process can occur at the age of 6-10 months. The release of blood continues for about three weeks. During this period, the dog’s genitals swell, the animal seems more alarmed. Discharge from the vulva can be not only bloody, but also transparent. Many owners, when they see blood from the genitals of a dog, mistakenly believe that this is certainly a girl. However, this symptom is typical for males with urinary tract problems, so it is important not to confuse and show such a dog to a veterinarian in a timely manner.


  • The surest way to determine the sex is to contact a veterinarian or an experienced breeder. If the owner doubts the gender of the new pet, then you can consult with a specialist. This can be done even online. For example, you can take a picture of the baby’s belly and his genitals that have begun to develop, and then send the picture via the Internet. Experienced dog breeders will easily determine the sex even from a photograph.


Common mistakes


Inexperienced owners often determine gender incorrectly. This may be due to some factors.

  • Until the age of six months, some males sit down before emptying the bladder, which misleads the owners and gives a reason to determine their gender as female. There is also a reverse situation, when a young, clean female puts aside her hind paw before urinating to keep her coat clean, although many people think that this manner is peculiar only to males.
  • All dogs, regardless of gender, have 8 or 10 nipples. At an early age, they are not clearly visible. Many puppies have only 4 nipples, but according to some owners, this is how many nipples a male has. From here confusion occurs again – a young female with visible four nipples “becomes” a guy, and a grown-up boy, in whom 8 nipples become visible, “turns” into a female.

How to determine the sex of a puppy, see below.

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