The Pros and Cons of Neutering

23rd January 2013 - in Breeding

As someone who has had Pointers and German Shorthaired Pointers since I was a child, I have noticed the huge increase in dogs and bitches, of all breeds, including crossbreeds and mongrels, which are now neutered.

When out and about, I see so many neutered pets being walked, many of which are of long or thick-coated breeds, whose coats have grown prolifically since neutering. Some, particularly Spaniels and Border Collies, are now sent off to grooming parlours to have their coats clipped, rather in the manner of horses, which are stabled in the winter. One hardly ever sees an entire male dog,

Looking at advertisements for puppies for sale, so many breeders proudly state that their puppies will be sold with endorsements, for breeding. Responsible breeders do not want a puppy which is not an excellent example of their breeding programme, or has debatable results on its health tests, to form the basis of a someone else’s breeding programme. Many new owners are persuaded, when taking their newly and expensively purchased pedigree puppy to the veterinary practice for a “health check” and first vaccination to book it in for neutering. Backed by persuasion from the veterinary surgeon and publicity from animal rescuing and humane organisations, the pressure is on for new owners. “Be a responsible owner, neuter your new puppy.” Some new owners have seen the documentary film “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” and realize that breeding is a genetic minefield, fraught with difficulty and risks of exposure and litigation from breeding a puppy with a fault. They are therefore convinced and book their puppy in for early, or not quite so early, neutering. If it is a well-bred pedigree puppy, it probably has its Kennel Club registration papers endorsed to prevent registration of stock from it, which further convinces them to follow the vet’s advice. Vets rely on the large volume of neutering operations for a significant part of their income and many practices display posters advising clients to have their pets neutered.

Irreversible Action

There are several factors to consider before taking such irreversible action: in today’s world in the UK, how many in season bitches, ready and willing to mate, is a young male pet dog likely to meet when on his walk? Not many, if any at all, I suspect! Anyone who has a dog standing at stud will know how many bitches come for breeding who are either not ready (progesterone wise) and/or just totally unwilling to mate at all! As so many pet bitches are spayed, and most pet dogs/bitches live life more and more with people, than other dogs, are the males going to be constantly wound-up by the alluring scents of in-season bitches in the neighbourhood? I think this is unlikely.

But, apart from the social and breeding endorsement aspects, are the popular reasons given for neutering as being for the increased welfare of the dogs themselves, such as prevention of possible pyometra and mammary tumours in bitches and testicular cancer in males vindicated by the results of contemporary scientific research?

And, what about hunting and running around in sporting breeds – does neutering have an impact on this? As an owner of a very active sporting breed, I have been told by several other owners that their veterinary surgeon recommended neutering their GSP to stop it hunting. Did it do so ? No, it did not. Recently, while out walking, I met lady on horseback accompanied by a very handsome, pleasant natured, extremely fit and well-behaved and obedient Irish Wolfhound male of 12 months old with, to my surprise (in the era of mass neutering) a pair of testicles clearly visible between his back legs. She had booked him in for castration in three weeks’ time, as he was “so strong”. His breeder had put breeding endorsements on him, as she “wanted to keep track of puppies of her line”. Are these good reasons for major irreversible surgery to alter this fit, healthy, normal dog? Would neutering this powerful young dog “make him less strong”? I doubt it! Why was this dog so fit and strong? Because his owner took him out for every day with her horse.

The answer to many of the above questions, backed up by numerous studies, in a single word is either ”yes, “no”, or ”not necessarily so”

This is just a short article written by a “layman” (woman in this case), and people reading it can go on to read far more learned papers on the subject which are freely available on the Internet. Examples include: “Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay/Neuter in Dogs” by Laura J Sanborn, M.S., 14 May 2007, and ”Early Spay-Neuter Considerations for the Canine Athlete” by Chris Zink, DVM, PhD, as well as studies by Australian veterinarians and numerous others.

Pros and Cons of Neutering Male Dogs

I will briefly summarise the risks to male dogs of neutering, quite apart from the possibility that the dog may die under anaesthetic or from bleeding (if it turns out to have von Willebrands disease, for example), which I have read in research papers on the subject. You may wish to do your own research to check these factors. I quote from Laura Sanborn’s paper:

On the positive side, neutering male dogs

  • eliminates the small risk (probably <1%) of dying from testicular cancer
  • reduces the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders
  • reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
  • may possibly reduce the risk of diabetes (data inconclusive)

On the negative side, neutering male dogs

  • if done before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a common cancer in medium/large and larger breeds with a poor prognosis
  • increases the risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 1.6
  • triples the risk of hypothyroidism
  • increases the risk of progressive geriatric cognitive impairment
  • triples the risk of obesity, a common health problem in dogs with many associated health problems
  • quadruples the small risk (<0.6%) of prostate cancer
  • doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract cancers
  • increases the risk of orthopaedic disorders

Pros and Cons of Neutering Female Dogs

And what about bitches: it would appear that the situation for them is more complex, but, of course, the reproductive cycles of females is more complex that of the non-cyclic male. I quote again from Sanborn’s paper:

On the positive side, spaying female dogs

  • if done before 2.5 years of age, greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumours, the most common malignant tumours in female dogs
  • nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra, which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female dogs; pyometra kills about 1% of intact female dogs
  • reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
  • removes the very small risk (<0.5%) from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumours

On the negative side, spaying female dogs

  • if done before 1 year of age significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a common cancer in larger breeds with a poor prognosis
  • increases the risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 2.2 and cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of >5; this is a common cancer and major cause of death in some breeds
  • triples the risk of hypothyroidism
  • increases the risk of obesity by a factor of 1.6-2, a common health problem in dogs with many associated health problems
  • causes urinary “spay incontinence” in 4-20% of female dogs
  • increases the risk of persistent or recurring urinary tract infections by a factor of 3-4
  • increases the risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, and vaginitis, especially for female dogs spayed before puberty
  • doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract tumours
  • increases the risk of orthopaedic disorders
  • increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations

Other Risks

Further studies indicate further risks, particularly from neutering at 6 months or earlier. I quote from Chris Zink’s article:

“A study by Salmeri et al in 1991 (Salmeri et al JAVMA 1991;198:1193-1203) found that bitches spayed at 7 weeks were significantly taller than those spayed at 7months, who were again significantly taller than those not spayed (or presumably spayed after the growth plates had closed). The sex hormones close the growth plates, so the bones of dogs or bitches neutered before puberty continue to grow. This growth often results in a dog that does not have the same body proportions as one was genetically meant to achieve. For example, if the femur is normal length at 8 months when a dog gets neutered, but the tibia, which normally stops growing at 12 to 14 months of age, continues to grow, then an abnormal angle may develop at the stifle. In addition, with the extra growth, the lower leg below the stifle becomes heavier (because it is longer), causing increased stresses on the cranial cruciate ligament. This is confirmed by a recent study showing that spayed and neutered dogs have a higher incidence of Canine Cruciate Ligament rupture (Slauterbeck JR, Pankratz K, Xu KT, Bozeman SC, Hardy DM. Canineovariohysterectomy and orchiectomy increases the prevalence of ACL injury.Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2004 Dec;(429):301-5).

In addition, a study in 2004 in JAVMA (Spain et al. JAVMA 2004;224:380-387) showed that dogs spayed or neutered before 5 ½ months had a significantly higher incidence of hip dysplasia than dogs spayed or neutered after 5 1/2 months of age.” Breeders may be influenced by this into thinking that their stock has worse hip status than it might have, had these animals not been neutered. This is certainly “food for thought”.

Neutering of dogs and bitches is apparently discouraged as being unnatural or even illegal in some Scandinavian countries, e.g Norway, where The Norwegian Animal Welfare Act makes it clear that surgical procedures are not to be used

I have not even touched on behavioural issues arising from neutering, let alone the highly emotive subject of neutering puppies at 6 weeks of age which is prevalent among some breeders, say, of Labradoodles. Read to get more insight into these practices.


On the subject of endorsements, which could form the basis of another article, many breeders genuinely want only stock they have bred to be used to produce further generations provided that they are decent specimens of that breed, have good temperament and have gained the necessary health clearances recommended for that breed. They consider themselves to be really responsible by imposing such restrictions and many will explain to puppy purchasers what requirements need to be met in order for them to remove the endorsements.

Some will consider lifting the endorsements, provided the dogs in questions meet such requirements, but others may have other agendas. Some just want the happy owner to return to them to buy another, endorsed puppy. Others use endorsements to rake in a few more shekels. I have met two owners of bitches of the same breed and with the same affix, who discussed with their breeder the possibility of having the non-breeding endorsement lifted. Both told me that the response was the same: the breeder would lift the endorsement provided a sum was paid to her that was equal to that of a new puppy. One paid up and the other did not. I do not know whether health clearances were even considered in these cases. Someone I know has a lovely small, parti-coloured Labradoodle and would have loved to have bred from her (yes – I realize he would not have got “one just like her” due to the hybridisation/cross-breeding, etc!) but she had already been spayed when he got her at 8 weeks of age. His best opportunity is to buy another from the same breeder…… who specialises in this particular type of Labradoodle.

Breeders who sell endorsed litters of puppies may also be at risk of totally losing their bloodlines if they keep one bitch from whom to breed on, then find something goes wrong with her and she cannot be bred. They investigate and find that the litter mates are all neutered. This can and does happen.


The issues raised in this short article should be given careful consideration by both breeders and owners of pedigree – and other dogs, particularly, I feel, in the light of the current proposed and soon-to-be-Law legislation on dog welfare and breeding in Northern Ireland which may serve as a model for future legislation in England. This is skewed in favour of the big producers of puppies, less politely described as “puppy farmers” and whose aims to fill the gap in puppy numbers in the UK are clearly set out on the website: They proclaim their modus vivendi:

"Dog breeders are a skilled and dedicated bunch of people, they work in an industry that is little understood and are often slated despite the endless happiness and joy brought to hundreds of thousands of families every year. Unite with us so your voice can be heard, be proud to be a part of a professional and growing industry bringing jobs and prosperity to your area, Our industry is profitable, be immensely proud that it is one of the few still able to provide an income and you get to work with animals who love your care and attention. Did you know, there are 7.9 million pets in the UK? If they all live to be 14 we need over half a million puppies born every year just to keep the existing population. The CBI is designed to help you, don’t be ignored any longer, increase our voice so we can influence and change incoming legislation to benefit our industry and its animals."

They claim to have over 500 members and research has indicated some have kennels licenced for up to 500 bitches. Under the new legislation, the licence fee will only be £1/per bitch/pa for someone with 500 breeding bitches, whereas the “hobby” breeder with, say, 3 bitches can expect to pay a licence fee of £150.00, i.e. £50 per bitch/pa.

Will large scale commercial breeders be breeding to KC or FCI breed standards and submit their stock for the relevant health checks for their breeds, if they are complaining about the expense of the requirement to have ex-breeding stock neutered before being re-homed? Some comment that it is cheaper to euthanase than neuter.

One wonders whether potential puppy purchasers will buy a puppy from such sources, unendorsed, in preference to one from a breeder who is successful in competition in their breed. Will they buy knowing little about the breed, or cross-bred as well ? It takes little imagination and thought to work out why they might. Public perception of “Kennel Club breeders” may still be tarnished by “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” and “designer crossbreds” which commercial breeders are embracing, are seen, rightly or wrongly, as dog with prospects of healthier lives than purebreds. No matter that the parents may be of breeds which both suffer from the same inherited defects, in Joe Public’s mind, crossbreeds are healthier.

This article has only delved into some of the issues surround neutering and dog breeding. As breeders and owners of pedigree dogs, you may now have new information to consider regarding neutering, your own dogs and puppies you sell. You may be the judge on the long term benefits or otherwise of neutering.

  • 25th January 2013 16:06 - Posted by : Mell Appleby

    A very interesting article, Angela, and certainly food for thought. It seems you have a 50-50 choice and chance of any of the pros and cons occurring. From our experience, only ever having had bitches, we have had an Irish Setter, whom we had speyed at around 10 months of age, prior to her even having had a first season, on our vets recommendation, who went on to have the most awful coat, with a very light colouring, and she had bone cancer at 10 years of age. Next was our beautiful English Pointer, whom, after our sad experience with the IS, we decided to keep intact, which proved successful until she developed Pyrometra at around 6 years of age, but after surgery, she survived in good health, until one fateful Sunday, when unbeknown to us, she must have ingested some poison put out in Came Woods, and having put her to bed at midnight covered by her blanket,and in good health, we found the following morning at 6, still covered in her bed, but passed away. She was 8 years of age, and because of the sudden passing, we did have a post mortem, which showed she'd suffered a massive heart attack, which the vet suspected was from poisoning.
    Next was our Westie, who lived in reasonably good health until nearing her 16th birthday. We had her speyed after she'd had a season. She had quite a soft coat, again we were told was because of the spey. She also had mild incontinence later in life, but only when she slept. She became almost blind and deaf in her later years, but what a fun loving companion she was. It was while she was still with us, that we got our dearest 1st GSP, Megan, from Simon and Lisa Notley. We had Megan speyed when she'd had her 1st season, with no adverse affects, but sadly she developed a tumour on the spleen, which was removed, but sadly we lost her 2 months following the surgery when she had a further bleed from this. She had to be PTS on her 12th birthday. Certainly having her speyed, had no affect on her as an HPR breed. Wow, she was amazing. Next came Sofie, our 2nd Gsp, and whom is now approaching her 6th birthday. She is also speyed, and a different kettle of fish to Megan. She has been a late developer in the pointing stakes, but we also attribute this to the fact that we seem to have less game around us now than we did in previous years. She is a lot less prey driven though, and a much bigger lover of humans than Megan was. I think Sofie is a good example of the difference that parentage makes in an HPR breed. Megan's background was working, and Sofie's not so. Not one of our bitches has ever become overweight having been speyed. I think they have all been active and well excercised, and conscientiously fed to keep them their ideal weights. If anything, a couple could have carried a little more weight, but as in humans, you have differently built dogs.

    Mell Appleby.

  • 12th February 2013 20:52 - Posted by : Autumnglory Vizslas

    Dear Angela,

    I was glad to read you article about neutering dogs! I have Hungarian Vizslas - 3 generations of male dogs, 2 of which have been used for stud. My first dog sired over 50 puppies and now my current stud has sired 75 puppies whereby many of the puppies sadly are neutered at a young age even at 6 months old!

    The first thing my vet wanted to do to my dogs when puppies taken for their 1st Vaccination was book them in for neutering! I have always had 2 full males whereby they are the Best of Friends - no dominance or problems even when a bitch comes for a mating! They are in superb condition and fitness, coats are just gleaming too. Very obedient and loving. Very well behaved when out with other dogs etc.

    It does sadden my to see these puppies being neutered when there is no apparent reason to do so and have saved many a dog from the snip etc by telling the owner to wait until their dog is 2 years old and to see if they have 'calmed' down by then!! They say what a difference age had made to them. Unless their dog is very dominant and aggressive to other dogs then I would say then maybe to have them neutered but only as a last resort after trying dog training classes etc. However, so many neutered dogs are the ones that are nasty and attack my dogs, even trying to perform on them which my full male dogs have never tried to do! The neuteres dog loses his coat condition and do become fatter!

    Too many owners are under the idea that neutering their dog will make them quieter and they won't need so much exercise etc and that is why they are doing this but as said earlier that in time a dog will calm down and of course, depends on how the dog is treated by the owner! Not enough exercise or not properly controlled. Especially, with HPRs they shouldn't take on this type of dog unless they can provide adequate exercise.

    We always do ask the breeder of the puppies to place an endorsement on them so that they can't get into 'bad' hands but are told that if they do want to bred and the dog or bitch is suitable and been health tested etc then the endorsement will be lifted. Just an excuse for them to have them neutered.

    Nothing worse than seeing a lovely dog lose its natural well being! I do find that they full males/bitches are actually better behaved and no social problems!

    We need to educate Jo Public that neutering isn't so great and not always an answer to their dog's behavourial problems!

  • 20th February 2013 20:18 - Posted by : stuart whistance

    many years ago I got myself a male yorkie. he was my first dog, and of course listening to the vet, I had him neutered. from then on he developed mats under his legs. being a hairdresser I clipped him short myself, but the leg and tail hair still was difficult to keep.
    I have a 3 year old yorkie bitch now she is intact and there is no problem with matting at all.

  • 21st February 2013 20:41 - Posted by : Rachelle Ehrman

    Hello to all.
    We have a small conformation/performance kennel, and as such, we don't have many spayed dogs. My lovely IRWS developed pyo and had to be spayed when she was 7.She was very ill for several weeks, and I was made to feel guilty that she hadn't been spayed prior to her illness. I specifically asked the vets, never having had a female, what I should expect after the surgery. I was told that after the recovery period there would be no long-term health issues. Two weeks after I brought her home from the vets she blew her coat and never grew another. It's been 18 months now and she still has bare patches of skin. Then two months ago, she and I woke up to a puddle of pee in her crate. I ran her to the vet, thinking that she had a UTI,but in the end I was told "spay incontinence-fairly common". I would not have ever made a different decision, especially given the gravity of her illness, but I wish I had known what I was to expect.

  • 23rd March 2013 10:23 - Posted by : LORICS

    I was so pleased to read this article and scientific coclusions.
    A few years ago I gave my daughter-in-law a beautiful brown miniature poodle bitch puppy - asuming she would not be spayed and might in 3 years time have puppies herself.
    On the advise of a vet the poor little girl was neutered a week before she was 6 monthe old. A month later she was showing signs of lameness. X-rays indicated a hip problem and we were sent to a specialist who's first question as we walked in was "she's been spayed hasn't she?"
    The diagnosis was devastating - we could try an operation but the puppy would have to be caged for up to 3 months and in plaster, not able to exercise and no guarantee that she would walk again (in fact very unlikely). Irregular bone growth and spurs forming on the hips, the result of early spaying. In 40 years of breeding poodles I have never had hip problems in my line. Gemma was in pain and would be faced with much more. How could we elect to put an active puppy through this?
    She was put to sleep at 8 months old - I am still tearfull when I think of her.
    Now my puppies go to their new owners only after telling them this and the other disadvantages of having such major surgery, plus the signing of a contract that spaying should not be done until after at least two seasons - by which time hopefully they will have realised that seasons are easily managed. Also my boys should not be "done" until fully grown (boys too are likely to get night-time dribbling and obesity if their diet is not carefully monitored and castration certainly does not prevent them "playing trains"!
    A young vet once lectured me for 10 minutes on the values of spaying when I took my puppies for their first jabs - no "unwanted" puppies (! sorry the girls do have to meet a male) and no Pyometra (only had 2 cases in old girls in 40+ years). My answer was "so if I have my big toes removed I will never get a bunion?"
    NO - please do not turn your young into middle-aged animals (no HRT for dogs)unless it is absolutely medically necessary.

  • 29th March 2013 20:21 - Posted by : PENDLEMIST

    I have owned, exhibited and bred Golden Retrievers for 38 years and once had argument on this very subject with a vet at Crufts when I remarked that vets these days will spay anything on four legs just to make money. The Golden Retriever (male or female) grows a coat like a sheep when spayed and needs regular trimming. I have owned both sexes and only had one bitch spayed when she had mammary tumours. Neither of the boys I own at the moment (father and son) are spayed and the younger boy has sired many puppies. They have both been PAT Dogs for the Children's Hospice, so the fact that they are stud dogs does not make any difference to their gentle temperament. I always insist that the owners of any pups sired put breed restrictions on the whole litter and only lift the restrictions when the dog has had hip and eye certificates done and they are clear of hip displacia and cataracts. Most of the public who buy the puppies don't want to breed, and hopefully the restrictions will deter puppy farmers wanting the hassle of doing all the health checks.

    I shall keep a copy of your very informative article and give it to everyone who uses my dogs at stud in order that they can inform new owners on a well balanced outlook for their puppy.

    Many Thanks
    Barbara Harris

  • 7th May 2013 10:04 - Posted by : Franglais

    I've always been reluctant to neuter my dog and definitely wouldn't have done it before 18 months of age (as per my breeder's advice). However, my pedigree Beagle is 20 months old now & has just started showing signs of aggression (food aggression, some dog aggression on walks, has snapped & bared his teeth at my husband when being possessive over a bone, then yesterday also snapped at me when I reprimanded him for scratching the doors in our house). This new aggression is very alarming to us as we are expecting our first child in 3 weeks, I'm worried that my previously sweet-natured Beagle might be aggressive towards the baby. The KC breeder is very much against neutering dogs, the vet is very PRO-neutering. I need someone impartial! The vet has told me neutering will cure the aggression (not overnight, will take about 6 months to see changes, they said). He doesn't show signs of sexual frustration/never humps things or people, but he marks constantly in the garden and lunges at other dogs on walks (he never used to do this). Is this just adolescence, a phase he will get through? Or is it time to think about getting him neutered?

  • 1st June 2013 18:29 - Posted by : Joanne


    I have a 10 year old German Shorthair Pointer, a bit overweight, but otherwise in perfect health. Our town council has just decided to make neutering mandatory for all dogs, not complying resulting into a hefty fine. I am very much reluctant to neuter him as he has never shown any signs of aggression towards people or other dogs, he's a very well behaved dog.

    I am not certain the town council decision will stand, still, even after reading all the pros and cons for neutering, I have to say I cannot find a good enough reason to do it.

  • 29th January 2014 17:38 - Posted by : Merete Stringfellow

    Thank you for a very interesting and informative article. I have owned dogs of various breeds for nearly five decades and have only ever had one neutered. This was mainly because every one of her seasons was followed by a phantom pregnancy. Also, she had very little interest in food and eating. I had decided not to breed from her and so, at about three and a half years old, she was spayed. I have to say that she started eating like a 'normal' dog almost immediately and, at 14 plus years old, still loves her food, though I cannot say for sure whether having her spayed made the difference or whether it was pure coincidence. Her half-sister had also been spayed before coming to live with us when she was nearly two but that was done when things went wrong during the birth of her first/only litter. She died last year, from cancer, at nearly 15 years old. I have a nine months old male puppy, who is and will remain entire. Whether he will ever father any puppies is immaterial; castrating or spaying a normal dog in order to 'calm it down' is, in my humble opinion, not necessary and often pointless. Instead, make sure as far as possible that the puppy of your choice has been allowed to be with its dam for at least the first eight weeks of its life and that the dam is not agressive or unduly nervous, then make sure your puppy is well socialized and is given, at the very least, basic obedience training. That is far more likely to result in a happy, good natured and polite dog than an unnecessary surgical procedure.

  • 21st February 2014 21:29 - Posted by : Tonni

    I have a question. The dog is a male and will be two years old May 19, 2014. He has not been neutered yet. he is a mixed breed. the mother is a shitsu don't know who the father is. The problem is only one testicle droped. I don't want to neuter him but the vet said the one that did not drop could cause a problem. Is that true, Please help.

  • 10th March 2014 22:13 - Posted by : Pamela

    Will my 10 month old mini poodle suddenly run away from me whilst out walking if he smells a female if I dontvget hin neutured

  • 31st March 2014 05:13 - Posted by : Michelle

    I have a four month old cocker spaniel, he has a lovely temperament and is very calm. I feel society wants me to have him neutered as it will help any future problems with temperament.

    Will my lovely well neutered calm puppy really turn into a demon if he stays intact?

    I am really confused, people say that there are more health benefits to having him neutered.

    Don't know what to do.

  • 19th April 2014 06:19 - Posted by : Sharon

    This comment is for Tonni. If a dog's testicles have not appeared by 3 to 6 months then there is a problem. The "stuck" testicle could develop into some serious health problems which may even include the development of cancer. In this case, as opposed to all those cited in the above arguments, removal of your dogs testicles would be the best action to take. I bope this is helpful!

  • 22nd April 2014 12:21 - Posted by : lyn metcalf

    I have a jack russell dog who is 18 months and a lovely nature a little nervous never growels or snarls he has a problem with our other dog he keeps cocking his leg over him or where he has been laying I believe this is jealousy over my daughter as they both want to e top dog in her eyes our other dog is done for aggressive issue's do I castrate the jack or will be stop this leg cocking trate

  • 24th April 2014 13:11 - Posted by : Sue

    I have had 3 consecutive dogs, none of which I wanted to breed from. The first one I had neutered when he was 9 years old because I was living on a farm with female collies and when they came into heat it used to drive him mad. He died at 11 from lung cancer. The second one I had neutered at 7 years of age, because he was following bitches who passed through my property on a public foot path and on numerous occasions I had to collect him from far off places he'd gone to. He died last year at the age of 17. The third one I have just had done because he has become excessively interested in bitches, entire and spayed, and it's a worry to me. He is one year old. Way do we have so much stress about neutering dogs when we don't think twice about neutering horses???

  • 6th May 2014 10:00 - Posted by : Mike

    Michelle; if your dog is fine then leave him as he is. If he starts to have serious behavioural issues as he gets older then try a behaviourist first.

    If that doesn't work THEN consider having him neutered. But to surgically alter a neutered problem-free dog is pure idiocy. You don't know what effect neutering might have on his behaviour (it could go either way), and once it's done there is no reversing it.

  • 14th May 2014 12:23 - Posted by : Jetstone Jewel

    Comment removed

  • 15th May 2014 16:42 - Posted by : Rose

    I have a cockerpoo of 6 months old and was told at my puppy's first health check (8 weeks) to book him in for neutering between 6 and 9 months. I thought this was standard procedure for a male that wasn't to be used for breeding and I was only given the information on the pro's of castration and the op is scheduled for next week. But I am going to cancel it while I reconsider after reading this column. He's still very much a baby, quiet and well-behaved, very friendly to everyone he meets, including other dogs. He lives with an elderly bitch to whom he is devoted. I can't see a reason for neutering in his specific case, as I realize each dog is unique. The only thing is, he has one undescended testicle which, reading the comments on this article, might cause him trouble. Is it possible for this one testicle to be brought down or removed? Can anyone help?

  • 23rd May 2014 21:45 - Posted by : Samuraineko

    Just brought home a 9 month old female silver dapple dachshund. The is so calm and happy and loving. Took her to the vet and he immediately wanted to schedule a spaying. He pointed out that she has all the signs of a false pregnancy and he doubts the age the American Kennels pet store gave her. ("I've never seen a dog that young with a false pregnancy.") The pet store insists she is the age they wrote and say her "pedigree papers" will be mailed to me from her breeder in 2 months which will verify her age. I'm wondering if this little sweetie 1) has already been around a male, 2) is old enough to spay, 3) should be spayed given the discourse here. 4) If spayed, will turn into a "bitch" and lose her beautiful soft seal-like pelt?

  • 28th May 2014 08:05 - Posted by : Susan

    We have a 1 year old sheltie with a beautiful temperment , he comes from a wonderful breed. Our vet says that if we have no intention of breeding him we should neuter him because he would be at risk of so many cancers if he is not done. We are led to believe he could turn aggressive towards us too... Which would be a shame because he is so gentle and sweet ....however i have read recently that shelties dont do as well as other dogs under anestic due to an MDR1 gene vets had no idea about this and had to seek advise from a small animals hospital, its is rare but still a risk ....what do i do , i want the best for him ....

  • 31st May 2014 16:31 - Posted by : WILDBACH

    I am very pleased to read so many interesting comments in relation to my little article. If these help save more dogs/bitches from early and unnecessary neutering, so well and good! The breeders who lament that nearly all their dogs' puppies have been neutered - well, the same remark applies to pups sired by my own current (and last) male. I do have frozen semen stored from him, but I am really saddened to see so many beautiful animals neutered and very early on the advice of vets

  • 13th June 2014 09:02 - Posted by : Kim

    I had a rough collie & on the advice of the vet had him neutered at six months old. He developed geriatric cognitive impairment when he was eleven years old which was very distressing to witness & resulted in him being put to sleep. I now have a gordon setter, he is now one year old & full of fun however he was recently attacked by a husky, was this because of his scent as an intact male? he is scent marking constantly when out. Presently I am unsure whether to have him neutered but will wait until he is at least eighteen months old.

  • 19th June 2014 13:28 - Posted by : Kay Griffin

    We have a 21 month old entire staffy and have been wondering about rescuing another but most of the rescues I've looked at so far have a strict neutering at 6 months of age policy. We inquired about a beautiful blue staffy girl this week who was neutered at around 11 months after her first season. But they won't rehome to us unless we neuter our dog Charlie. I've wondered if we could have another male living with Charlie but have been warned against same sex staffies living together. I feel that we won't be able to add another dog to our family :( Thanks for the article, great read :)

  • 19th June 2014 14:10 - Posted by : kerry andrew

    I have a gorgeous Basset hound who is 10 months old. He has started humping people. I started to thimk that i needed to get him neutered but after reading this i am going to find some other way to get around him humping.
    He is calm and adorable and would not change that so the vets can make more money.

  • 4th July 2014 16:54 - Posted by : Caroline Underwood

    I had a cavalier who was spayed at 7 after having 2 litters because she had a tiny mammary tumour. Until spaying she was happy and would run around all day. After spaying she became a food junkie, begging constantly, miserable & wouldn't do anything, depressed I would call it. We fought to keep her weight down & she died of lymphoma at 14. We didn't spay the 3 subsequent bitches we had. Non of them got pyometria, all of them were slim & active, with good appetites but not obssesed, none of them ever had heart problems. But one did die age 10 from an incredibly rare bowel "benign" tumour which was affected by her not being spayed. Very rare the vet said (& so did web research). When we got another bitch, we got the conversation again by which time it seemed that it was inevitable to happen again! It's hard & I feel guilty for keeping her intact, but the first bitch had a very poor quality of life after spaying. I don't know.

  • 15th August 2014 18:01 - Posted by : Lesey

    This is an issue I have been researching myself and was really pleased to come across your article. Your subsequent link to breeding restrictions etc is also relevant and well made.

    So few people are aware of the dangers of spaying/neutering early, yet it is aggressively promoted by the majority of Vets and endorsed by all the major welfare organisations,

    I am not a breeder, I'm dog owner currently looking for her next 'best friend' and I'm always keen on keeping myself informed about dog health issues. I'm literally 'stunned' by how very, very difficult it is to feel I am making the right decision and choice about buying my next dog. It's a bloody nightmare from a buyers point of view. Maybe I should just go and rescue a Mutt instead?

  • 9th October 2014 18:08 - Posted by : WILDBACH

    Someone from Canada contacted me by email (and the email has been accidentally deleted) with a link to her Labrador Club's article on this subject. I hope she may read this and contact me again.

  • 14th October 2014 11:32 - Posted by : Ginger

    Comment removed

  • 13th November 2014 11:01 - Posted by : Sarah

    Comment removed

  • 30th November 2014 13:37 - Posted by : Ann

    I have a year old Yorkie who has a wonderful temperament. She is very affectionate, well behaved. Loves her two walks each day when she is very energetic, chSing a ball, etc. she had her first season nearly four months ago. Our vet has recommended that we get her spayed asap, pointing out all the health benefits. However, reading the article and comments from others, I am now concerned that all the wonderful and positive things about her may change if we get her spayed. I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this?

  • 29th April 2015 17:28 - Posted by : Jade

    This article is extremely biased! It would be a more balanced article if healthy and rehomeable dog euthanasia rates, due to over population, were included, but they are just the mongrels right?!? Who cares about them! Certainly not you!

  • 25th May 2015 08:30 - Posted by : kate

    very interesting, but still makes the decision hard. We lost our smooth coated border collie last August and are just starting to be able think about a new family member. We had her neutered at about 6 months, as we had two entire male collies next door. Handsome dogs but we did not want pups. a few years later Tess developed urinary incontinence, at first easy to control on expensive medication, but as she got older she had more dribbling. My brothers Collie a rough girl was not neutered, when we got a call saying she had a pyometra and was given a low chance of recovery. luckily she did. this also happened to my cat after her first season. so which way to go, i do not know.

  • 31st May 2015 09:12 - Posted by : Me myself and I

    As a volunteer for a dog rescue group, anyone who advocates non de-sexing is an irresponsible fool and another part of the exhausting problem of animal neglect and over-population. Showing dogs is human vanity and pomp and has very little to do with truly loving a companion animal. Just get on with being caring, loving and responsible.

  • 21st June 2015 13:40 - Posted by : Lyn

    We have a lovely 2/3 yr old choc lab he tries to hump every dog he sees male or female apart from that he is healthy happy good looking no probs healthwise but so embarrassing when instead of playing or greeting other dogs he just wants to smell their undercarriage and mount. Oh am so mixed up about it all . None of our previous Labs were neutered.

    and am wondering if he has a too high testosterone level.

  • 26th June 2015 06:29 - Posted by : WILDBACH

    this article is a summary and discussion on scientific papers on dog neutering. Adopting rescue dogs and irresponsible breeding are different subjects. Just because a male dog is not castrated does not mean that it will be used for breeding! Some males absolutely will not mate bitches and by no means all in season bitches get mated. Some just will not allow this!

  • 20th October 2015 07:53 - Posted by : mrs j mercer

    I am still confused and unsure, I have always had my bitches spayed at 3 years old, all have lived till at least 12/16. My border collie is now 11 very fit and doing full height agility, she showed signs of cruciate ligament damage at the age of 7 after 18 months of care (no Opp) she was fit to run again , she also had a shoulder bursa at 8 years but again this was overcome.Signs of sound sensitivity increased after spaying.
    Would the same have happened if she had not been spayed ?
    now she is jumping and running like a stag
    so do I get my 4 year old spayed or not ??!!

  • 22nd January 2016 16:05 - Posted by : Kas

    Interesting article! For those who mention rescue centres and unwanted litters, as the author of the article states, this is a separate issue. I worked for years in rescue centres. Many, many dogs end up in shelters because their owners had not properly considered the needs and responsibility of owning a dog and found it to be too much work. Hence the need for the 'a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas' campaign. Or they get a new job/house/baby and no longer have the time. Very young puppies are in the minority in shelters, the majority are adolescent dogs whose owners say they cannot cope once beyond the cute puppy stage. I would be happier to tighten the laws on dog ownership and irresponsible breeding, such as puppy farms, rather than a blanket neutering policy on all dogs. For the people who are undecided as to what is best for their own dog, nobody can make that decision for you, you can only do as much research as you can and make your own mind up on a case by case basis. Articles like this that challenge the dogma (pardon the pun) that is trotted out serve to help us make our own mind up.

  • 15th April 2016 17:00 - Posted by : Peter D

    We have a 7.1/2 yr old 'entire' German wire-haired pointer, he has the most wonderful temperament. Vets, neighbours, dog walkers tell me this. One vet he had to go to in London on visit came out to see me when i picked him up, I thought there was something wrong, but she just wanted to tell me we MUST breed with him, they had all fallen in love with him overnight, that was he was so calm and tolerant.
    He is likely to be combative with some other en tire males but it usually turns out to be 18-20 month old youngster trying out their dominance. The owners usually say this had never happened before ! ( even if its a repeat performance from a few months before and they have forgotten ! )and it may not have but it has now because they have reached that age. Why do so many not even have any idea of these things , do they never read up on dogs or watch the programmes or study the breed before they buy their puppy, well they should. Neutering has not been necessary for our dog because he knows it is not acceptable behaviour to ME. He does try to mount some females, but thats because some owners bring them out, for exercise, when they are very 'interesting' to other dogs. We are about to have him neutered as he has an enlarged prostate and showed some blood in his urine. We had hoped to mate with him but found other GWP owners very precious about show winning dogs. My boy works on voice commands , whistle commands and hand commands, is extremely versatile and is a hunting genius. His temperament and skills are about to be lost to the GWP world because I have never entered him into a show !!! There is a point for many owners who dote on their dogs and do not get them trained up, who spoil them and do not understand that it is not a child substitute, they can all get up to mischief and have the traits of DOGS. Ours needs 4 hours a day of proper exercise, and he swims for hours and hours on his own even after that, for hours ! But if so many were not castrated or neutered our parks would be chaos, because of the sheer numbers, and not poor, but human response from the owners , many who are simply trying to do their best, sometimes the best for them is not the best for their animal. Thats why so many are fat or snappy or antisocial to other dogs.

  • 11th May 2016 23:22 - Posted by : Lola

    Personally I feel pity whenever I see a neutered dog, I really cannot understand how people can do this to animals. Would they castrate their child?? How do they take their dog to the vet to have its bits removed??
    Seriously I feel this society is absolutely sick.