Determining the gender (sex) of puppies in a litter is a key skill but it is not always that easy. If you are thinking of selling the pups it is essential to determine their sex before you advertise them. Even if you are going to keep them all, you must find out if they are boys or girls so that you can look after them properly.
Of course, you do have the option of calling in a vet or an experienced dog breeder to do the job for you. However, it will be far less stressful for the pups and cheaper for you to do the job yourself. The process is not without risks. If you upset the Mom, you run the risk of her rejecting her pups so it is essential that you prepare well and have a good idea about what you are looking for before you start.
Here’s a guide on how to tell if a puppy is a boy or a girl for complete beginners which will help you to confidently and quickly tell the gender of your litter.
Best Time To Find Out The Sex Of Puppies
The birth of puppies is an exciting and sometimes stressful event. It is possible to determine their sex as soon as they are born. Once you have dried them you can have a quick look at the genitals.
If you are not confident in your abilities, it may be wise to wait a day or two for things to calm down and for your Mom dog to bond with her pups. The genitals will have developed a bit more and telling the sexes apart will be easier. Some experts recommend that you wait until the pups are three or four weeks old.
If the pups are a smaller breed, such as a toy dog breed, the genitals will be very small. It may be wise to wait until your pups are a few weeks old before you assess their gender to ensure accuracy.
How To Tell If The Pup Is A Boy
On a male pup, the penis is found just below the belly. It is covered with the prepuce or foreskin that is also found in other mammals. If you find the umbilical cord and look about one cm below it, you will find a small raised lump and this is the penis. It may be no bigger than a small dot in the smaller breeds.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that the umbilical cord is the penis. It is, in fact, the cord that connected the pup to the mother before it was born.
Male dogs also develop a bone, called the os penis and the penis itself will have hair on it. There is no point in looking at how the pup pees because they will be too young to cock their legs.
How To Tell If The Pup Is A Girl
A girl pup will not have a penis so there will be no raised dot just below the umbilical cord. To confirm that the pup is a girl, you need to locate a vulva which is the name for the female genital organs.
The vulva is situated lower than the penis in the males and is closer to the tail. Around this area, a female pup will have two holes. One will be the anus and one will be the vulva which is between the legs.
You can spot the vulva because it will be slightly pointed at the top but wide at the base. It is a leaf-like shape and has a slit that is vertical within it. This looks very different from the dot-like opening on a boy pup’s penis.
Finally, the presence of nipples does not mean that you have a female pup! Both genders of puppies have nipples just as in most other mammals.
Top Tips For Finding The Sex Of Young Pups
Before you head off to find out the sex of your new litter of puppies, here are some top tips.
- Pups can easily pick up infections so it is vital that you wash your hands thoroughly in warm soapy water and rinse them well.
- Prepare a warm quiet area and rest the pup on a clean towel on their backs. If you prefer, you can use your hands to cup them. Be very careful not to drop them.
- Don’t attempt to remove the pup from their Mom if she is not comfortable with you doing so.
- Don’t keep a pup away from their Mom for more than five minutes. If you haven’t worked it out by then, you are not going to! And you will cause distress to the Mom and interfere with the bonding process.
- Be very gentle with all the puppies. They are not very robust at such a young age.
- Do not touch the umbilicus. You could hurt your pup and could even introduce infection.
- If the pup or its Mom show signs of distress, return it immediately and wait a few days before you try again.
- Combining a weighing session with a quick check of your pup’s gender is a good idea and causes less distress.
- Observing urinating habits of the pup is not helpful. Both genders squat to urinate when they are very young. The male habit of cocking their leg develops much later.
- If you are really not sure of the gender after several attempts, it is probably time to call in a professional.