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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2020, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Spaying/Neutering

At what age do you recommend spaying? I have heard several different recommendations and would love to tap on everyone’s knowledge of a Doberman.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 05:36 AM
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you want their growth plates to fully close. Recommendation is to wait till 18 months. IMO I wait till males are at least 2 yrs and females till they have had their 2nd heat.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Some people claim if you wait that long the dog will express aggression or behavioral issues. Any truth to that statement?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 07:02 AM
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Actually, there has been a lot of studies in recent years that indicates that there are numerous health advantages to leaving the dogs intact. So, if you are a responsible dog owner, there is really no reason to ever spay/neuter them unless they develop problems. Of course, if you are incapable of letting your dogs breed when you do not intend it, then the most convenient thing for you is to get them fixed.

No, there should not be any aggression issues. That is strictly a behavioral problem and not connected to hormones.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by cmichalenok View Post
Some people claim if you wait that long the dog will express aggression or behavioral issues. Any truth to that statement?
I ran an intact male Doberman who had NO fear for years in agility. Not once did he go for another dog although there were several (different breeds) that went for him.

One thing that I noticed over those years is that the aggressive behavior, lunging at other dogs and just plain obnoxious behavior was usually down at the small dog rings. Up at the 26/24/20 ring is was calm and peaceful. Says a lot about training.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 09:42 AM
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The studies on spay/neuter aren't as clear cut as some would like to say. The earlier studies did not include enough breeds, did not account for whether dogs were spayed/neutered at 6 months or after maturity, etc. People wanted to generalize those results to all dogs.

However, it does seem to be emerging that waiting to spay/neuter in larger breeds is advantageous in many ways, most specifically in a lot of cancers and definitely in the risk of CCL injuries. The risk of some cancers in females do go up. As always, it's not a black/white issue, as much as many people want it to be.

Personally, I do find that the advantages of waiting to spay outweigh the risks, however, I do think that, in females, spaying is the right choice if you aren't breeding. Pyometra is a real risk, as are mammary tumors. Pyo is, by far, the biggest risk in intact females, and for me, there's no reason to risk that.

For us, the optimal age to spay was about 4 years. It was well past the age of any risk of personality changes. (There are some studies that suggest that spaying *could* cause a change in fear/aggression, but it's far far more likely in a young bitch.). 3-4 years old was old enough to have a set personality, old enough to have protected her joints, and gained any benefits to delayed spaying.

These are my feelings based on extensive consultation with my vet (who is well versed in reproduction, and is a good breeder herself), my sports/rehabilitation vet, my breeders, etc.

The science on spaying/neutering

Your mileage may vary.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmichalenok View Post
Some people claim if you wait that long the dog will express aggression or behavioral issues. Any truth to that statement?
You couldn't prove it by me. I've had mostly Doberman's since 1959. All males and all intact--and I neuter none of them until some medical issue came up that dictated neutering. So a few of my dogs have been neutered (and I can say the same for spaying Dobe bitches--I know many that weren't spayed (ever) but older intact bitches had problems with pyometra and were spayed because of that.

So my bottom line for bitches would be that I would spay any bitch not intended for breeding after her second heat.

Males? I don't neuter mine unless I have to for reasons related to health.

As far as aggression or behavioral issues go--Dobes are often same sex aggressive--males in particular. But the bottom line on that is that it doesn't make any difference if they are neutered or not. That can happen with any dog. Behavioral issues--when I've pinned people down on what kind of behavior issues they are talking about it almost always means they have a dog who is lifting his leg in the house and marking there. I can prove that's a training issue. All of my dogs were at least intended to be show prospects--and as soon as any puppy started to lift his leg he went back on leash in the house, tethered to me so there was no chance to sneak off and pee on the corner of the bed. And I could walk through a dog show where males had peed on every garbage can and doorway as well as select crates and say to the dog I was bringing in--"We are inside". But that makes it a training issue and since neutering usually doesn't stop leg lifting and marking I regard it as an old wives tale.

And my intact males remain intact until something real (prostatitis for example) is the best thing to do for him.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 04:48 PM
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Recent studies on neutering and behaviour would indicate the opposite for males... neutered males showed as many as 25 additional behavioural problems than unneutered males.

But when it comes to behaviour I suspect a lot of people are looking for excuses to blame their dg's poor behaviour on everything besides their own handling, training and education.

Others have covered the health aspects of it. Personally I think dogs and bitches can benefit both mentally and physically from being allowed to mature (again both mentally and physically) before losing their gonads, so to speak.

There are more and more opportunities to look into alternative sterilisation procedure such as vasectomies and ovary sparing spays, that can also be a good compromise for certain aspects.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmichalenok View Post
Some people claim if you wait that long the dog will express aggression or behavioral issues. Any truth to that statement?
The dog I had with behavioral issues was a mutt (or coated Xolo, take your pick) who was spayed at around 9 months. However.... she was already showing some signs of temperament issues when I found her at 4 months. By the time she died (just short of 8 years old) she had reached the point to where she was unsafe in pretty much any situation that involved strange dogs and/or people.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 09:24 PM
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So...

No personal experience with female dobes (ever). Plenty with males.

As far as neutering males... Half our boys have been castrated at around2 1/2 and the other half left intact. Currently, our senior is neutered and McCoy, the 5 1/2 yo is not.

That being said. I have never noticed a definitive temperament difference between our males that I would have even partially attributed to neutering versa leaving intact.

IMO, my dogs personalities were well formed and pretty much set in stone by 2 1/2. The sole major exception was an onset of an extreme example of SSA between two of my boy's. And even then, except for the fact that the would have killed each other on sight, their basic temperaments remained unchanged. Sweet and obedient. They were 5 and 7 years old and best of friends up until that turning point. I am still convinced, neutered or not, the outcome would have been the same.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 08:15 AM
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We spayed at 5 years. We only spayed because her false pregnancies were becoming an actual hazard to my cat - she was overly guardy and he's an idiot. We were going to retain her ovaries before this became an issue.

OUTSIDE of heats, her behavior wasn't problematic. After spaying, she's more obsessed with food than I ever anticipated. She's also a little more easily frightened.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-27-2020, 10:17 AM
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I waited to neuter my male until he was 3 so he was fully developed...and I only did it because he was cryptorchid, so it was a health issue for him and needed it top be done.

He still has an occasional marking issue which has lessened with training over time, but he was a rescue at almost a year and had some bad habits that needed to be broken. If he marks, he only does it when I leave, making it a separation issue. It's weird, it seems to be almost a vindictive response because if I distract him with a chew snack before I leave, he almost always is fine. Still trying to figure it out to squash it completely.

He gets along with other females and we had 1 male dog visit for a few days and he was fine with it also. He absolutely hates a male Rott that lives at the end of our cul-de-sac and the feeling is mutual on the other end. Two alpha minded males is an absolute no go no matter if you neuter or not. When I walk him he is fine unless another dog gets aggressive with him, he will take none of that behavior and gets defensive quickly.
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