Male or Female?
Female shepherds are sweet, loving, and gentle, and males are tough, courageous, and bold — right? Not really. Both sexes can be equally loving and devoted, and both can be tough and courageous. Females may tend to be a little more protective of their people, whereas males may show more territorial behavior (guarding the house, yard, etc.). Females may be less patient than male shepherds when it comes to tolerating what they consider annoying behavior from children.
Many people think that all K-9s are male shepherds. However, this is no longer the case. It is true that the K-9 world was previously dominated by male shepherds, but today, spayed female German shepherds are as popular as males in law enforcement — and they are just as loyal and courageous as their male counterparts.
As far as conformation, females are not as large as males, and they generally do not weigh as much. Female shepherds tend to appear slightly more refined — or feminine — in conformation than male dogs, too. Neutering tends to make a male that is aggressive toward other dogs (dog/dog aggressive) a little less so, and it eliminates his wanderlust for finding available females. Altering a female eliminates cyclic mood swings (such as anxiety and surliness) that can accompany her seasons.
So which sex is best for you? It really comes down to the individual puppy or dog. Unless you have your heart set on a male or a female, keep an open mind. If a puppy or adult meets all of your criteria for a companion, the sex of the dog shouldn't matter. The only exception might be if you already own a dog: opposite sex pairings (with altered dogs, of course) tend to get along better than couples of the same sex. If you own a female, you might want to look for a male as your second dog.