What's the difference between male and females?
In the summer of 2005 we asked people to talk about the differences between male and female Icies.
Here is what they had to say. (Responses have been only slightly edited.)

My male is more laid back and "whatever" than the girls. Lots of times when I let them out to run and chase
rabbits, my male will just get in the cart and go with me. He runs sometimes but prefers to ride. He is very
polite, never wakes me, whereas the girls just jump up when they feel like it.  He is the most vocal when I
show up and he smiles a lot. Very cute, - Sandi

Galdur (male) almost 15 months is quite the love, jumps in our laps, licks our faces wants to be right where we
are. He picks Phil over me when Phil is home, when I'm the only one home he is right underfoot, I'm always
having to move my feet to give him room. Katarina is very alpha and in charge of everyone (she thinks)
constantly trying to come between Phil and myself and the other dogs. She does have her quiet times, Valkyrie
(9 years old, peace maker) can calm her instantly just by licking her ears. Valkyrie is my absolute sweetest,
will almost never initiate an argument. Reykja (old alpha) was and still tries to be in charge but she's 9 yrs. and
slowing down sometimes it's just not possible to argue with Katarina so she gives in. All in all I think that
Galdur is definitely more layed back than any of the females although very demanding of our time and
attention. The other males that I have had from time to time have all been more layed back not at all hard to
train not to lift their leg inside in general very easy to have around. If someone wants a pet that lives to love
them I would recommend a male. I used to think I always wanted females but have learned otherwise with
these wonderful Icies. - Judi V.

Well, I still have just the one male. Kutur is very loveable, but likes his space. He doesn't share a pillow with
me, but will happily use it when I'm not around. (This explains the weird black hairs on it.) We do have to
keep him either on a leash or in VERY close proximity to us if he is out of the house or his yard. Otherwise, he
will go visit any lady friends in the immediate area. There is no problem whatsoever with overprotectiveness,
or aggresiveness. He has even tolerated babies pulling his hair as they learn to walk with him! He never bites,
but will let me know he is there by bumping my hand with his nose.  
I'd love a female to keep him company, however, we are already at max capacity with dogs. - Gwen

I think Benni is my calmest and cuddliest dog. He is really one big sweetheart! The girls are maybe a little more
into playful cuddling. I always been a "female" dog person, but Benni sure makes me question that! He is such
a big love! - Cheryl

My husband and I have always preferred male (neutered) dogs to females.  It's just because of circumstances
that we have two female Icies right now. IMO male dogs generally are more majestic aesthetically, like most
species in the animal kingdom.  Their napes are usually fuller, and their bodies more proportioned.  My males
(mostly other spitz breeds) that I've had in the past have never been more or less active, affectionate, and
obedient, than their female counterparts. In fact my male dogs have been very submissive even to any family
cats. My female Icies display very different levels of affection and playfulness according to their pecking order.
My alpha female no longer sleeps on the bed, but has moved to the floor below. She is less affectionate, more
playful, and yet more obedient. And when I say "less affectionate" I mean strictly in relation to the more
submissive one. The alpha female is still an Icy full of love. My alpha female Icy is reasonably aggressive to
other dogs in that she doesn't put up with any *&%$# from mean dogs, otherwise she is very amicable
towards other dogs.  On the other hand, my submissive Icy runs away from unfamiliar dogs and leaps into my
Also notably, my alpha female will often guard her toys, food, and my husband and I, from the more
submissive Icy. So in my limited scope of experience in knowledge, I believe that a dog's personality traits
have a lot to do in it's intrinsic nature and less on gender than most people believe to be true. - Wendy

I have both a male and a female. The male is much more intense about chasing off birds (spotting them on the
ground and in the air) and generally chasing anything that moves.   My female doesn't care much for that.
Another difference between the two is that the female will get on the bed and stay if we let her and the male
will get up on the bed only if we ask him, but he will not stay. If my wife and I are in different rooms, the male
will stay somewhat centered between us. The female on the other hand is almost always close to me. The male
is more of a barker than the female and generally more hyper. The female loves to jump up on you (a bad
habit I know) and loves to be held. The male does not go for this care for that, but is affectionate in other
ways. He loves being petted, but likes to be on the floor so he can roll on his back. But I think they are equally
affectionate and definitely won't bite people. The male will be aggressive towards some other dogs, but not all.
Part of that depends on where he is and the situation. The female is totally submissive to all other dogs. - Karl

These answers have been very interesting to read. I'm amazed by the differences in Lubbi and Esja's
temperaments, and have often wondered if it was mainly a gender thing. Maybe now I'll find out! Karl's
discription of his male and female was very close to mine. Lubbi is much more intense than Esja. He can be
very mellow when inside the house, but as soon as he's outside he's on the watch for anything suspicious-
looking, barking at everything that moves in the sky, including airplanes. He even barks at some things that
don't move, like the moon, which he used to try to chase off when he was a puppy, but has finally given up on!
I think the word that describes Lubbi best is passionate. He lives for his walks and, I feel, really needs them.
He loves being outside, regardless of the weather, and probably should have been a farm dog (Sometimes I
feel guilty about that and start looking at small farms for sale!). He can be a bit aggressive towards other male
dogs that we meet while on a leash, but if they are both loose it's usually fine. Esja is a very sweet and gentle
dog; would never bite anyone. She loves children and young men around the age of 20 (I swear, she's a flirt!)!
She's very interested in food and is a bit possessive about it towards Lubbi. He knows to leave her alone
when she's in that mood! She barks when we meet other dogs, but gets very submissive when we get closer to
them, esp. males. - Helga S.

I have two intact males, and 4 females....and in the past I have had other male dogs of other breeds as well....I
find my two Icie males are the most loving and affectionate of all....more so even than my female Icies....the
females (even though quite loving) seem a bit more independent somehow...the males crave attention....my lap
is not big enough for both at the same time, but that doesn't stop them from trying....&) Elisabet

One breeder puts it this way(although I don't know if it's accurate): Some people believe that female dogs
make better pets - female preference seems to be ingrained in these people.  Most of the calls I get for pet
puppies have people wanting a female.  They don't think "sweet little girls" display alpha behaviors like
"marking" and/or "humping".  They believe that females are more docile and attentive and do not participate in
fighting over dominance. Well, folks, this simply isn't the case. In the dog pack, females generally rule the
roost, determine the pecking order, and compete to maintain and/or alter that order. Females, are, as a result,
more independent, stubborn, and territorial than their male counterparts. Females are much more intent upon
exercising their dominance by participating in alpha behaviors as well. There is a reason people utilize the
technical term for a female dog in a negative way - and it refers directly to the behaviors exhibited by the
females of the dog world. Most fights will usually break out between two females.
Males, on the other hand, are usually more affectionate, exuberant, attentive, and more demanding of attention.
They are very attached to their people. They are more outgoing, more accepting of other pets, and take
quicker to children. Most boys are easily motivated by food and praise, and so eager to please that training is
easy. However, males can be more easily distracted during training, as males like to play so often. And no
matter what age, a male is more likely to act silly and more puppy-like, always wanting to play games. Boys
are more fun-loving until the day they die. Females tend to be more reserved or dignified as they age. Before
deciding on a male or female, give consideration to any other dogs that may be in or around your house, and
just what you determine you want from your dog. Personally, I always recommend a male for a home with
children, unless they are older. I do this as I find males to be very tolerant of small children, and very
accommodating to their needs. Male or female? It's a personal decision. However, please listen to your
breeder, as not all dogs are created equal. All have different temperaments which is why we test all our
puppies in order to place them in a home where they will fit right in.  - Wendy

We have Birta a 1 year old female  and Skuggi who is almost 9 weeks.  I am sure things could change since
they are still so young but they both have very strong personalities.  Birta is very protective of her things: her
kennel, toys and me.  When around other dogs she plays the Alpha role and seems almost aggressive, but I
know it is all an act. When we do any redirecting or repremanding (just saying no) she lays on her back, starts
to cry and plays the submissive role. She is quite an actress. Skuggi is still young but I can tell he likes to be in
charge. He will actually go in to Birta’s kennel to get one of her chewies then just hang out for a while until she
goes in to get him out. They have really grown to love each other and play like brother and sister for now ;-) -

I have to admit that I have never had a male dog. When it comes to submissiveness, you can’t beat Meyla.
Maybe because the Boys Next Door are both 140lb chocolate labs—also gentle but they might accidentally
step one her! Are we talking neutered or unneutered males? Does it make a difference? Meyla was calmer
and much more assertive while she had the puppies. Now she is sedate and not as playful. I don’t know how
that compares to a three year old male. I wonder if a companion would help? She is lonely, I think without the
cat. Maybe we should look at getting a male? How about the spraying issue with one that are intact?
(Marking, prehaps?) That’s been the biggest reason I have not had a male, maybe an uninformed fear. - Mary

Our female dog is a very alpha dog and hard wired for herding and she barks a lot. That is not to say that she
isn't also enormously friendly and affectionate to all people and children. She is friendly to other dogs as well
except when she is on a leash at which point she believes that all Jack Russell Terriers should be killed. We
also have her son who is now 6 months old and has been neutered. He is not an alpha dog but is very
independent. His mother has tried hard to teach him herding and barking and he goes along with her but he
only goes along for the fun and the excitement. As a small puppy he displayed some temperament issues
around submission but his mother took care of that and he has grown sweeter and sweeter and has come to
love all people especially children. He is friendly to other dogs of all sizes and loves to play with them. From
my limited experience, I have concluded that with these dogs it is more the alpha traits that make the difference
than the sex of the dog. - Sarah

My alpha dog who is the smallest weighing in at 20 # still rolls on her back for strange dogs that get close and
for people...on the other hand, she is the dominant dog in the household. She is the most driven to chase small
prey and birds. She is the hunter here. She dominates my other two iceys. Loki, my male(intact), will quietly
try to make a wide berth around her if she has a toy. He doesn't want to upset her and I can see the effort that
he makes to accomplish that. He isn't a hunter and runs behind for the fun of running. - Sandi

It has been a wonderful experience having both a male and a female in our house.  They are both intact and,
while the challenge of keeping them apart during Gloey’s “season” is not easy, it is very possible. We hope to
breed in the spring. As for the characterization of the male vs. the female, well, in our case; Lundi, our male is
much more concerned about where we are and must be right with us. Gloey our female is a very sweet little
girl…feminine through and through, but she is her daddy’s dog, so to speak. We have numerous pets
surrounding our home and they get along with all of them.  We have found that when they are on leash they are
much more aggressive than when they are off leash and having fun with the neighbors. Gloey is always going
after something…a bird, a mouse, a mole…you name it. Lundi will see something and start after it, but then
realize I am not going with him. He then just turns around and comes back to me. They are both very sweet
snugglers. Lundi gets very jealous of attention that I give Gloey. But anyone else in the house can give attention
to her without him paying any notice. He guards the food dish, literally laying his face on it. Thus we have to
feed them separately.  It is a fabulous experience though! - DeDe