Which pets are adopted more? Males or females?

Ayla Soriano on 10/02/2021

Males or females? In order to understand whether the gender of an animal is important for its adoption, we looked into real historical data from several shelters and studied the adoptions for the last 10 years.

The analysis shows that for cats, the gender does not affect the adoption. This is consistent for all the years and for the different shelters. On the other hand, for dogs, the behavior is different, 44% of the adopted dogs are females and 56% are males.

This bias for dogs, is not so much related to the preference of the adopters but rather to the number of males entering the shelters. Males have the tendency to escape when there is a female in heat and some of them never make it back to their home ending up in the care of a shelter. 

Males or females

In order to see whether the bias is due to the preference of the adopters, we looked into the relationship between the time a pet passes in the shelter and its gender.  This is the time between the day they enter the shelter until the day they are adopted.

Male dogs spend on average 6.6 months until they get adopted whereas female dogs spend 5.5 months, that is, 20% more. From this analysis it is clear that adopters prefer to adopt a female dog rather than a male one. The reason for having more adoptions of males rather than females is only related to the fact that there are more males available.

As for cats, the time males and females spend in the shelter until they get adopted is practically the same, 5.6 months.

Males or females

Source of the data

11pets: Adopt is the most complete platform available today for the management of animal welfare organizations and is used by more than 100 shelters from all over the world. The data presented in this report come from the actual operation of the shelters that are using the platform and participated in this study. This is why the give a so accurate picture of the reality. The data regard the adoptions made in the last 10 years from different European shelters, mainly in Spain and more specifically in Catalonia.


You can use information from this report only for personal purposes and by including the corresponding citation to the 11pets.com site. For the use of the data for implicit or explicit commercial purposes, it is necessary to previously obtain the written consent of 11 PETS LTD.