Newborn puppies in a basket
Photo by akegooseberry/Getty Images

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Bella or Beau? How can you determine if a young pup is male or female? 

Wait until the pups are at least 3 to 4 weeks old, and make sure their mom is comfortable with her babies being handled. Gently and securely cradle the puppy in your hands, belly up, and take a quick peek before you return him (or her!) to their mom.


  • The belly is bare beneath the belly button with no raised lump. (The belly button, where the umbilical cord was attached, is in the middle of the belly, between the ribs, for both female and male pups.)
  • The genitals are located between her hind legs, beneath the tail and anus.
  • The vulva (opening to the vagina) appears as a fleshy mound shaped like a leaf and contains a vertical slit.


  • The prepuce (skin around the penis) looks like a small lump just below the belly button.
  • The scrotum is located between the hind legs but typically won’t be visible until the pup is at least 8 weeks old.

Nipples won’t help you determine gender since both male and female puppies have them.


How to determine a puppy's sex
How to determine a puppy's sex
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