When I was growing up my parents always made us pick a female, and they were also willing to pay more for a female. It was not until I purchased a male that I realized the “myth” about males was wrong. This may vary with the breed. For example, in dominant breeds like the Rottweiler, females are often sweeter and more biddable than males. But when it comes to miniature schnauzers, my experience is there is no superior sex.
As far as physical differences we all know the male/female anatomy is different. Usually, males will be a little larger than females, but in general they are usually just a little stouter and only slightly taller. However, this also is not always true. For the most part, you will find it difficult to tell the difference in size between the two without looking closely.
At around 7 months of age, the hormones kick in for a male. If you neuter your male puppy before he reaches 8-9 months old, he will not develop the bad traits that give the male dog such a bad rap. For instance, he will not feel the need to hike his leg, hump or mark his territory. In fact, most males when neutered as puppies will squat just like their opposites and never lift a leg. He also will not feel the need to chase females in heat while he is out for his daily walk. However, if a male pup is around other older males, he will often learn to lift his leg instead of squatting, and he will do this after he is neutered. This does not mean that he is un-potty trainable. It just means that he will hike, instead of squat. Believe it or not, a female puppy will hump just as much as a male puppy. Females mark their territories just like males. They will back up to an object and mark. This is also a hormonal thing, and some pups go through it more than others. Whether you have a male or a female, this behavior will stop once they are neutered or spayed. My breeding stock females are all intact, and they all hump and mark.
After raising Miniature Schnauzers and having both males and females, I personally prefer males. I have found that males are much more affectionate and loving. They are more outgoing and surer of themselves, always showing a sense of confidence. They show little moodiness and are less prone to emotional swings. A male dog is always eager to please its owner. He takes very quickly to children and is more accepting of other pets. You can rely on the male dog to be your best friend and loyal companion in any situation, and they will always be young at heart.
Female dogs can be emotional and sulk if they don’t get their way. Males just let it go and move on. A female will be playful as a puppy, but as she gets older (once spayed) she will tend to sit back and watch what is going on around her and become more sedentary. Males on the other hand are more playful and tend to remain playful even in their elder years.
However, I do make a distinction between un-spayed and spayed females. Un-spayed females are generally moodier than unneutered males. Although unneutered males tend to be more constant in temperament, they can be annoying in their constant pursuit of such male-dog activities as sex, leg-lifting, and territory protection. Some would say constancy isn't a positive trait in these cases and argue that some unneutered males aren't just constant, but constantly annoying.
Females have mood swings where one minute she is just as sweet as can be right in the middle of the action, and the next minute a little grumpy and want to be left alone. There is a reason for this “Queen” attitude: In the dog pack makeup, females usually rule the roost, determine the pecking order, and compete to maintain and/or alter that order. The females are, as a result, more independent, stubborn, and territorial than their male counterparts. They are much more intent upon exercising their dominance by participating in alpha behaviors such as humping. Most fights will usually break out between two females. However, once spayed it does change the demeanor and activity level of a female.
Once neutered it rarely changes anything about the male demeanor. Males are usually more demanding of attention and are very attached to people. They also tend to be more steadfast, reliable, and less moody. They are more outgoing, more accepting of other pets, and as I said, take more quickly to children. Most boys are easily motivated by food and praise. Sound familiar? This makes them very easy to train. However, males can be more easily distracted during training, as males like to play. And no matter what age, he is more likely to act silly and more puppy-like, always wanting to play games. Boys are fun-loving until the day they die. Girls once spayed tend to be more reserved or dignified as they age. Witness the human equivalent of the twinkling eyed Grandpa still playing catch at 70 with his grandchildren, while Grandma quietly observes from the porch!
A couple of other things to consider are the cost of neutering. The cost of neutering is usually lower than spaying because the surgery for males is usually considered to be an easier procedure with a quicker recovery time. Spaying a female is a little more extensive because they are removing the uterus, which is why the cost is higher. Spaying a female is the equivalent to a hysterectomy for a human female.
Either way you go, male or female, if it’s a Schnauzer you can’t go wrong. Just keep in mind every dog, male or female has its own personality and is unique in every way. The differences that you see should not be based on gender. When looking at the litter you may see one puppy in a litter that is more outgoing, the first one to check out a new situation, and the first one to figure things out. In the same litter you may see one pup that may be a bit more reserved, who tends to be more cautious when checking out a new situation. The breeder should be very helpful in helping you to understand the temperament of your future pup. I know the likes and dislikes of all my dogs. Every one of my dogs has a different personality. Some may be very similar, but each one is unique. When we have a litter, I spend hours with the mother and her puppies. By the time they are ready to be adopted, I have a pretty good idea of the differences in their temperaments.
Most knowledgeable dog people agree that a canine's behavior depends on his upbringing and training. Affection, aggression, and other traits — both positive and negative – are fostered by a dog's environment and his human caretakers. In my opinion, nothing will ever be more important to a dog's overall success in life than the care, guidance, and nurturing that we, as their guardians, provide.
Keep an open mind when selecting your puppy. Don’t close the door on a puppy because of a preconceived notion of gender, because you may be missing out on the best companion that you could have ever hoped to find whether it’s a male or a female miniature schnauzer.