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Age to neuter

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Age to neuter
  • Darwin is nearing the 6 month mark, so I'm starting to think about when he should be neutered. I've never had a male dog before, so this will be new for me!  Age to neuter seems to be a contraversial subject...some say the sooner the better, others say to wait.

     Some articles i've read stress that dogs shouldn't be neutered at 6 months anymore due to not being physically or emotionally developed. They even believe that dogs neutered early exhibit "puppy behavior" for the rest of their lives!  And then there are the articles that say they should be neutered at or before 6 months to avoid marking/aggression/dominance behaviors.

    So what do you all think? I certaintly don't want him to start marking or being aggressive (especially since he is already a high-strung, assertive male pup to begin with, and has already started humping my other dogs). But I also don't want him to have any problems from being neutered early. Should I wait until 8 months? or 10?

  • I have had several male dogs and they all were neutered at a different ages. My most recent- Lex- was neutered at just under a year old. I had read that larger dogs should be neutered later in life so I decided to wait. That being said I was extremly careful with him and made sure to correct any unwanted behaviors from a young age, he turned out great! The only thing he still does is mount from time to time (Only at the dog park, or around srtrange dogs) and I wonder if maybe I neutered him before he started doing that if he still would. Now Rocky (a pup we found on Halloween last year) was neutered a few weeks after we got him because he was mounting every thing in sight, the vet aged him at about 6-8 months. Since he was neutered the mounting has completly stopped. So I guess it really depends on what you want to do!

  • Misha was neutered at 8 months, and never started humping until age 4 years. For giant breeds, it's recommended you wait 2-3 years, and except for containment issues, I would have waited later -- Misha never had "marking/aggression/dominance behaviors" (except as he has matured mentally, but this is a breed thing, not a neutering thing). If it were me, and the situation were safe, and the dog well controlled, I would probably wait until later. For average sized dogs, I would probably wait until about a year, giants 2, 2 1/2.
  •  It depends.  If you want him to be able to attend day care, for example, most won't take a non-neutered male.  Some males, once they begin marking, don't stop, so those are arguments for early neuter.  How important is the dog's muscular development in the general scheme of things?  Neutering does not necessarily alter the dog's aggression, but the older he gets the more OTHER dogs may pick fights with him because of his status.  It's really up to you, and your vet, to determine the right age for this particular dog.  Decisions are never easy;-))

  • Thanks for the replies!


     I think it depends on how large a dog he is going to be too - yes large breed males if possible should be left until about 2 (ideally for physical development) however a lot of the strongest cries for that are from people with pure breeds so as to not have the male too female looking.

    I have heard that it is detrimental to muscle development but I offer beastie as an example of a very well muscled dog who was neutered at about 10 wks old.

    Anyway I think if you can wait a little longer do so but if it is a problem have it done now - he'll be OK
  • With larger breeds it is always better to wait longer, but it depends on what you can handle. If you have a large breed and it's, say, 8-9 months, and you decide you don't want to wait any longer, there's nothing wrong with that. I think neutering is a personal decision. I do not intend to neuter Viking because I have weighed the pros and cons. Do your research and do what you believe is best for your dog.
  • Yeah, he is a smallish-medium sized mixed breed dog, so I guess i'm not too concerned with him not being "masculine" Stick out tongue   I just wanted to make sure it isn't outdated to neuter around this age.

    I found a pee spot inside the other day and knew it didn't come from Piper, so I was thinking uh oh, he is starting to mark. Time to get snipped! lol

  • Honestly? I have females that hump and mark. I really, truly do not believe that neutering is the absolute ending of those types of behaviors. My known early spay (Fluffy was spayed, sometime, and IDK when) was my worst humper.

    I prefer to wait, but I do think that 6 months is fine, especially for the smaller breed dogs.

  •  Luke was neutered at 6 months,  because my breeder contract said I had to do it by then. I asked my vet about  doing it earlier, and the reason she refused was primarily because of teeth. She said that if he hadn't lost all his baby teeth by then, they would pull what was left at the same time. He also had a small umbilical hernia, and she wanted to see if it would resolve on its own before neutering him. He still had baby teeth (maybe they would have come out on their own in a few more weeks, maybe not, but they were pulled) the hernia didn't resolve, so that was also repaired. He's on the small side for a cavalier, has never learned to lift his leg at all, never marked anything, and doesn't hump. By a very bizarre twist, he does masturbate (it's the most bizarre thing ever, he basically steps on his penis. It's very strange.

    Pigeon was spayed after her first heat, because we happened to get her during her first heat from her dumb previous owners. She's a mix so I have no clue if her size might have been different, but she's  fierce humper of the cat, and toys that are about the size of the cat. 

    Callie was spayed at 6 months, and she doesn't hump, or anything like that. She is the smallest at adult size from her litter, and that I know of, several of them weren't spayed or neutered. However, she was already noticeably smaller at 2 weeks old. 

  • jennie_c_d

    Honestly? I have females that hump and mark. I really, truly do not believe that neutering is the absolute ending of those types of behaviors. My known early spay (Fluffy was spayed, sometime, and IDK when) was my worst humper.

    I prefer to wait, but I do think that 6 months is fine, especially for the smaller breed dogs.

    My friend's neutered 8-year-old mutt still humped things and marked. It's not the be-all-end-all of behavior.
  • I only have big dogs so for me neutering before age two (if at all) is a big no-no but I thought that smaller breeds mature faster.  I would never count on neutering to change a dog's behavior.  Coke was neutered very young (rescue dog) and is the worst humper we have.  Nikon is an intact adult and I've never seen him hump or even try to hump anything ever.  Besides dogs that come from a rescue or shelter who has the right to neuter dogs before adoption, my males won't be neutered unless there's a reason to do it.  Behavioral problems are just that, behavioral problems that should be dealt with an managed regardless of a dog's reproductive status.

  • The beardie I am getting was neutered around 6 months old because of medical reasons, he's now 3 years old.  He was a potential conformation dog but unfortunately he was a cryptorcid and had to be neutered because of the risk of problems developing due to his undecended testicle.  He has all the makings of a great dog but was pet quality because of that one reason.  All the dogs in his family are amazing beardies, true to the breed with awesome titles, so it was unfortunate this happened.  Of course this works out in my favor and in just a few more days he will be here!

    Rummy was neutered at 8 weeks old.  I know that is extreemly young but in order for me to adopt him from the shelter it had to be done. He's 9 months old now and he still mounts some dogs once in a while.  If they mount him first he will try to mount back. I doubt that has anything to do with hormones.  He is still in that awkward puppy stage so it is hard to say where things will go from here but so far he is developing into a nice stable dog loaded with lots of energy.

    I do have to say though, at the fault of many owners, unnutered male dogs are the highest numbers that are brought in to the shelter by animal control. Due to their wondering nature and tendence to escape if a female in heat is neer by. They also tend to be the dogs that get into dog fights the most.  Of course I blame this mainly on the owners for not being responsible with an intact dog.

  •  Nog is almost two (he's two next month). He has an umbilical hernia that we want fixed, so since we'd want him neutered before he's an old guy anyway, we're doing them at the same time in the next month rather than put him under anesthesia twice. But, he has no behavior issues that make it a pressing issue. Our females are spayed and he doesn't roam.

     Any future males will be done around two as well, unless a medical reason to do it sooner pops up, as we'd like them to mature as much as possible first.  

    I will say that I'm amazed at how often I have to hear about my dog having testicles at work. Apparently it's somehow personally offensive that my dog (who does not come in to work with me..so it's not like anyone is looking at them) has testicles. 


    Behavior wise..marking is (to me) a behavior issue. Julian is a horrible, horrible marker. He's been neutered since 4 and a half months, so it's certainly  not a hormone issue. He's also the bossy one who can't get along with other dogs in many cases. Most of that is personality. They are not issues we have with Nog.

  • Yeah, I agree, why do people care so much?  I have no trouble with my intact males, both how they behave on their own or with each other.  Neither of them have ever gone roaming, even when I leave the gate open.  I've shown them in a small show ring with intact females.  Nikon was once in the position directly behind a bitch in standing heat (the handler was nice enough to inform me, but it really didn't effect our performance).  They do pick up on females in heat but it's not like they're out of their minds.  It's really no more of a distraction than say a hamburger on the sidewalk.  The types of events we do allow females in heat so it's something we're used to in training and competition. I have expectations and rules regarding behavior and they are no different for males or females, intact or altered.  My training director has a male with a retained testicle and his vet advised him to neuter before the dog was 4 years.