It’s a beautiful day at the park, the sun is shining, and the birds are chirping. You’re sitting on a bench, enjoying a cup of coffee while your canine companion runs around, playing with other dogs.
Suddenly, you notice something strange happening – your dog has started humping another dog! Wait, well, that’s not so strange, is it? Unless…The other dog is the same gender as your Fido!
All of this shenanigans got you wondering if your Fido might be a member of the LGBTQ+ community!
So, can dogs be gay? Let’s find out!
Homosexuality In Dogs
When it comes to sexual behavior, canines have their own unique way of showing affection. Some weird behaviors such as butt sniffing, leg lifting, and even humping are part of everyday life of an average doggo.
But what happens when these behaviors are aimed at the same-sex dogs?
Well, it is possible for dogs to exhibit what we see as sexual behavior towards other dogs of the same sex. But, it is important to note that canines don’t really have a sexual orientation like humans do. In other words, dogs can’t be exclusively gay.
They do not consciously choose what gender their partner is going to be nor do they have sexual preference.
That said, a dog may even show sex-like behavior towards other species such as cats or objects (plush toys).
They’re simply fueled by their hormones and they’re just happy to sniff around and see what they like at that moment.
After all, love is in the air… or is that just the smell of doggy hormones? Here are some possible explanations behind this behavior!
Possible Explanations For Same-Sex Behavior In Dogs
Both male and female dogs produce different kinds of sexual hormones that aid in reproduction and secondary sex characteristics.
Male dogs, in particular, have a keen sense of when a female dog is in heat, and that can trigger some pretty intense mating behaviors (1).
However, sometimes those hormones can get a little out of control, and a male dog might start mounting another male dog instead. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s gay!
Long-lasting homosexual relationships between animals are pretty rare, and there are often other explanations for mounting behavior.
Mounting another dog of the same sex doesn’t always mean that the dog is really interested in mating. In fact, it’s more likely that he just wants to show off and assert his dominance.
Neutered male dogs produce less testosterone and may become a target for unneutered dogs looking to establish their dominance. So, if your male dog starts mounting another male dog, it might not be a sexual thing at all.
This kind of behavior can also be related to stress and anxiety. An anxious dog might start humping other dogs or objects as a way to relieve stress and find comfort.
Overall, we can’t really say that a dog is gay just because they exhibit same-sex behavior.
Evidence Of Same-Sex Attraction In Dogs
From a biological perspective, dogs are usually attracted to each other based on pheromones, which can lead to some obvious mating behaviors.
But what happens when a male dog is so darn attractive that even other male dogs can’t resist his charm?
Enter the case of the castrated male dog with a urinary chemical profile that made him smell like a female in heat. Despite lacking gonads and typical reproductive hormones, this dog had an inexplicable sex appeal that left even other male dogs in awe!
Scientists were stumped by this case, which presented a clear lack of connection between the dog’s behavior and typical reproductive hormones. In other words, there was no good explanation for why this dog was such a stud, despite lacking the usual biological equipment (2).
This is a truly mysterious case of dog attraction that defies all explanation. Who knows, maybe this pooch had a little extra something in his swagger that we mere humans will never understand.
Other than this study, there is no exact scientific evidence that dogs can be gay.
If a dog enjoys the feeling that humping another male dog brings, he’s probably going to do it, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s gay. It means he’s simply being a dog.
Examples Of Homosexuality In The Animal Kingdom
While dogs may be one of the most popular and beloved pets around the world, they are certainly not the only animals that exhibit same-sex attraction.
In fact, same-sex behavior has been observed in a wide variety of animal species, from primates to birds to fish and more. These behaviors can take many forms, from courtship and mating to grooming and social bonding.
While scientists are still exploring the complexities of same-sex attraction in animals, one thing is clear – this behavior is far more common and diverse than many people might realize.
The best example is the Bonobo species. These playful primates are known for their wild sexual behaviors, which often involve same-sex partners.
In fact, over 75% of sexual interactions between bonobos are non-reproductive, and both male and female bonobos have been observed engaging in sexual activities with same-sex partners (3)!
You’d be surprised to know that dolphins are also famous for their homosexuality.
Male dolphins have been observed engaging in same-sex sexual behaviors, including mounting and genital contact.
It turns out that king penguins aren’t as straight-laced as we thought!
A recent study on a colony of these regal birds on Kerguelen Island revealed that over 25 percent of pairs consisted of two males engaging in courtship behaviors (4).
That’s right, these penguins were standing close, stretching their bodies, rotating their heads, and exposing various body parts to woo their male partners.
The Debate Of Whether Or Not Animal Homosexuality Exists
The fact that there is no right answer to this question has definitely sparked a debate about animal homosexuality among animal lovers.
Does animal homosexuality actually exist, or are we just projecting our own human biases onto our furry friends?
On one hand, there are those who argue that same-sex behavior in animals is simply a case of mistaken identity – maybe that male dog just thinks that the other male dog is a lady, after all.
On the other hand, there are those who say that such behavior is clear evidence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom, and that we should stop trying to put animals into neat little boxes that fit our own human norms.
But wait, it gets even more complicated!
Some scientists argue that our entire concept of “homosexuality” is a human construct, and that attempting to apply it to animals is futile at best and misleading at worst.
Others suggest that we need to take a closer look at the complex social and biological factors that may be driving same-sex behavior in animals, in order to truly understand what’s going on.
Whether you fall on the side of the “mistaken identity” argument or the “love is love” argument, there’s one thing we can all agree on: same-sex behavior in animals is a fascinating phenomenon!
The Bottom Line? Love Is Love
So, can dogs be gay?
The answer is…well, it’s complicated. While there’s no doubt that dogs can engage in same-sex behavior, it’s hard to say whether this means that they are truly “gay” in the way that we understand it.
But at the end of the day, does it really matter? Whether your pup prefers snuggling up to other males or females, what’s important is that they are happy, healthy, and loved!
1. Woszczyło, M., Jezierski, T., Szumny, A., Niżański, W., & Dzięcioł, M. (2020, November 13). The role of urine in semiochemical communication between females and males of domestic dog (canis familiaris) during estrus.
2. Woszczyło, M., Szumny, A., Łyczko, J., Jezierski, T., Krzemińska, P., Szczerbal, I., Świtoński, M., Niżański, W., & Dzięcioł, M. (2021, November 4). The case of atypical sexual attractiveness in a male domestic dog-a case study.
3. Waal, F.B., & Lanting, F. (1997). Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape.
4. Pincemy, Gwénaëlle & Dobson, Frederick & Jouventin, Pierre. (2010). Homosexual Mating Displays in Penguins. Ethology. 116. 1210 – 1216. 10.1111/j.1439-0310.2010.01835.x.