I know that the easiest way to identify the gender of a dog is to look between the hind legs, but that doesn't always clarify the gender of a dog, and sometimes (like on the below picture) it's not immediately obvious to the untrained eye. I can't tell whether that black spot between the hind legs is just dirt or is indeed part of the dog's genitals.

Dog with a gender that's difficult to identify

And this dog is sitting in a position where you can actually see between the hind legs, but that's not always the case. Sometimes the dog is walking towards you or away from you and you can't look between the legs at all.

What are the most reliable ways to identify a dog's gender?

  • 3
    I think the answer is really "look between the legs." As far as I know, dogs aren't very sexually dimorphic. The primary difference I know of is males tend to be bigger than females of the same breed. But that doesn't help very much under most circumstances.
    – Kai
    Nov 8, 2019 at 15:00

3 Answers 3


In order to tell the gender, you need access to the dog, and see its private parts. Girls have them right under the tail, boys have them on the belly, in a protruding "pouch". You cannot miss it, in the way you can do with very young cats.

It is impossible to unambiguously and unmistakeably tell the gender while not seeing the private parts.


You need to check the private parts of the animal below the tail. In the case that you see some genitals below the tail and on the belly, it's male; in the other case it is female.

  • Female dog genitals are below the tail, male are visible on the belly; the presence of both doesn't make a dog male, nor does the presence of neither make it female.
    – Allison C
    Nov 14, 2019 at 14:24

Well you must ask it for its gender. But sex, that is different manner (sorry for the pun, but the fact that dogs can have public genders is absurd to me ). Male dogs often have broader and more "blocky" head, with more muscular body. While female dogs have leaner head (so far that it sometimes seem like their head is pointy ) and leaner musculature. I can often gauge by the size of the forehead, and depending on the size of the race this can vary, from "you can place your beer on top of the head" to "you can balance an shot glass". By my estimate the dog on the picture is young female, not still at her prime so around 2-3 years old dog with summer coat.

She has very narrow forehead, with pointy snout. Her arms don't have enough muscle mass for her to be an adult, and her paws are still the same size as her arms (in larger dogs paws often tend to be a tad bit wider, and meatier to support the weight ). Her booty is also smaller that it would be if she was an adult. So, since most dogs get to their maturity in 2-3 years, i assume that is her age. I hope this helps.

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