Karen B. London
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Some Dogs Love Guys
What is it about them?


Some dogs seem to adore men. They may be very fond of women and perfectly responsive to them, but an extra level of joy comes to them when interacting with men. We’ve probably all met dogs like this—they just love guys, especially guys who pay attention to them at all. No matter how many great women are in their lives and how wonderful their relationships might be with these females, there’s just something about the extra happy way they act around men.
What makes these dogs “guy dogs” is not clear to me. I notice some traits they tend to have in common, though I’m sure everyone who reads this will know of exceptions to each one.
These dogs are often playful dogs. They tend to like balls, frisbees, wrestling and/or chasing games more than life itself.
Guy dogs are most commonly sporting dogs (spaniels, retrievers, setters, pointers) or herding dogs (collies, shepherds), although I’ve seen it in dogs as diverse as Boston Terriers and Mastiffs.
Dogs who go nuts for guys tend to be physically fit relative to other members of their breed or breeds.
I notice the tendency of dogs to be enamored of men most often in adult dogs still in their prime, meaning that they are typically in the age range of 2 to 6 years.
In my experience, guy dogs are more often male dogs than female ones, though not always.
I’ve just starting noticing this among the guy dogs that I know, so I need to make more observations to be confident about it, but I think guy dogs may often have really doggy faces, meaning that their head and muzzles tend to be wider and fuller than average. (Of course, this varies a lot by breed, but I’m taking that into account.)
Have you known dogs that you would describe as “guy dogs” and if so, did they fit any of the patterns I’ve noticed? What else have you noticed about dogs who are just crazy about men?



Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Jen | January 27 2011 |

Both of my boy dogs are such guy dogs, they adore me and I am their everything, but aside from me they tend to like men more than women. They fit all of the observations in the article, both very physically fit, both boys, love to wrestle (with each other and my guy friends) they are big dogs a golden retriever and Rhodie mix. They both love men, but usually men in their 20's-30's, I think it is because these are the guys that play with them more. I think boy dogs like to play rough and they feel that they can be rougher with guys than they can with women.

My golden belonged to a guy before me. When I met him a couple years ago he loved women more than men, but now that he has me as his mom he doesn't pay much attention to other women.

Submitted by Anonymous | January 27 2011 |

I have a "guy dog"!Info on my dog; she's a 3 year old female, active, fit, extremely playful, loves ball/Frisbees/toys, likes having her fur ruffled.I think guys more often will toss her ball for her, ruffle her fur, less turned off by getting slobber/dog fur on them so will get down and play with her. She seems to particularly like bearded men..

Submitted by Kari Jo M. | January 27 2011 |

I've got one of those dogs! My GShep, "Arlo", (a 2 year old rescue, male, found abandoned and tied up an an LA train station) loves everybody (even kids) but is especially fond of men. He is always so happy and sweet, but watching him truly light up and get giddy when a man shows him even the tiniest bit of attention is really interesting!

Submitted by Laurie Luck, KPA CTP | January 27 2011 |

You've hit many of the characteristics of Nemo, our "guy dog." My husband and I talk often about Nemo's obvious preference for men. I'm glad to hear Nemo's part of a larger group of dogs -- I was feeling a bit slighted. ;)

If a male friend or family member visits our house, Nemo is in their lap the instant they sit. (Nemo's 90 pounds of Dane/Hound heritage - no small pup!) But I have to beg him to sit next to me on the couch. His preference is very clear -- men, please!

Submitted by Mary Gilbert | January 27 2011 |

My Sophie is a "guy dog" she is an english setter 4 years of age, neutered and the sun rises and sets on my husband ( and the mailmail is pretty cool to her too). I am useful and she'll cuddle with me when Mike is away but the thrill to see Mike can not be matched. If he is around she will look to him before doing what ever I want her to do...like to go upstair to bed or crated for the day or even to eat food. She will defer to Mike everytime...if he is not around she'll do what ever I want and is very affectionate to me but if he's around I'm invisiable ( as is anyone else on earth).

Submitted by Misty's Mom | January 27 2011 |

I have a "guy dog". She's an eight-year-old Australian Shepherd who has been a guy dog no matter how much I slave around for her. I feed her, walk her, play with her, take her to the dog park, etc....but when my husband is around she's all his dog.

She is playful, though her herding instinct always trumps ball chasing. She's much rather chase something with wheels and/or feet as compared to a ball. She also enjoys a good round of tug and/or wrestles about, and if no-one wants to play with her she'll happily roll over on her back and play with one of her toys all by herself.

She's fit, very active, but does not have a broad head/face.

Misty is much more bossy with my husband, too. If she wants that ball thrown, she'll bark at him much more frequently than she does to me. She's also more likely to "herd" him in the house--I suspect because he doesn't hesitate to play footsy with her.

Submitted by Frances | January 28 2011 |

My toy poodle Poppy was rather nervous around new people when she was a pup - except for my very tall, broadly built neighbour. She ran to him at first sight, and he is still her favourite man. He is a lovely guy, but has a big, deep voice, and I would have expected a shy puppy to find him overwhelming. Then I realised he was similar in build and voice to her breeder's husband, whom she obviously loved dearly. So perhaps for many dogs it is connected with early socialisation - and dogs that have good experiences with a lot of men and boys as pups carry that forward into adult life.

I believe there was also some very interesting research into how human posture appears to dogs - women look as if they are moving away even when they are approaching, which helps to explain why many dogs find women less threatening.

Submitted by Stacy Braslau-S... | January 28 2011 |

My dog Flip is definitely a guy dog. He is an 11-year-old herding mix - probably BC and Aussie, and I, his "mom", am a professional positive reinforcement dog trainer - meaning we've spent a lot of time together doing really fun stuff. And he adores my husband, who interacts with him much less. During class orientation, he seeks out the men to hang out with. Is it lower voices? A firmer touch? More activity? I can't tell. But it's definitely there!

Submitted by lollipupgirl | August 2 2013 |

My yellow lab who we have had since a newborn is totally in love with men. She is so in love with my nephew that when he comes around she will ditch us in a minute to be with him. HMMMM guess it's a guy thing she loves!

Submitted by lollipupgirl | August 2 2013 |

I also notice dogs that love men are the more active dogs and they like the men and boys on their energy levels into the outdoorsy things.

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