A Sexy Question


My fiance and I are planning to adopt a Border Collie rescue. We currently have a 7 year old Border Collie male (neutered) who is fairly laid back. He is somewhat possessive of us when other dogs are present, he will show his teeth and snap at the air. If you correct him, he stops immediately. He has lived with other dogs, and has always been the dominant dog of the group, although he never does more than show his teeth and snap at the air. We also have a cat that he basically ignores, but if she stares at him, he will leave the room.

My question is this: do you think we should be looking for a specific gender or age rescue for our situation? We have gotten a few opinions on this, but they are all different. We want to make the most informed decision that we can, and would really appreciate your insight!


My suggestion would be to completely forget about the sex of the dog, unless you have a darned good reason for putting it into the equation. Of far more importance is the individual dog's personality. How dominant is the dog? Does it display dog aggression? Was it socialized properly? These and other similar qualities will play a much bigger role in determining how well your dog and a rescue will get along. Conventional wisdom says to get such and such sex dog if you have a female, and such and such with a male. But we're not talking about puppies here and were not shooting for what the dog MIGHT be like when it grows up. We already know what a rescue is going to be like.

Two dominant dogs will have to go through battles before peace. A dominant dog and a submissive dog often make very smooth transitions. Well socialized dogs adapt to new additions readily or a change in environment easily. Fearful ones don't.

I've had tons of dogs through here, male and female, neutered and intact. When someone says there's a new dog coming in it doesn't make much of a difference to me (or the resident dogs) whether it is a male or female. I've had simple transitions with males, hard ones with females, and vice versa. I have my own dogs (and their vast experience) to thank for making almost all transitions very easy. The only thing that bothers me a bit is an unneutered male (simply due to their tendency to mark indoors) but none of us are too concerned with the dog's sex when it comes to fitting in around here.

So I say, forget about the dog's sex and focus on the individual dogs.

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Page last updated June 15, 1997. All material Copyright 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc. and Dr. Nicholas B. Carter
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