Do you plan on neutering/spaying your Doberman? What age are you planning on doing this? If you already did this, what age were they when you did this?
Yes, I plan on neutering Red when he is around 12 months old.
Do you think spaying/neutering at an early age impacts their growth due to missing hormonal changes? Slower to fully mature physically?
Yes, I do think early spay/neuter impacts growth. I did a lot of research about this, primarily on VIN, when I was deciding when to have Red neutered.
Basically, early spay/neuter causes delayed closing of the physeal plates (growth plates), causing the long bones to grow longer, thereby producing a taller (and thinner) animal. Sex hormones promote the closure of the growth plates, so the bones of dogs or bitches neutered or spayed before puberty continue to grow. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered well before puberty can frequently be identified by their longer limbs, lighter bone structure, narrow chests and narrow skulls. By allowing the physeal plates to close at the natural rate before spaying/neutering, you will achieve a more filled-out dog, rather then a taller, weedy dog. This is especially noticeable in large to giant breed dogs. Physeal plate closure occurs anywhere from 10-18 months, depending on the breed. Dobes are usually around 12 months.
Do you think having this done, prevents certain risks of cancer.
Yes, spaying before first estrus cycle reduces the risk of mammary cancer by around 99%. And studies demonstrate that dogs that were neutered before a year of age had a significantly increased chance of developing osteosarcoma (bone cancer).
What gender benefits more, male or female?
Probably female, imo. Mammary cancer is very common in late spayed animals - more common, I think, than osteosarcoma in early neutered animals.
What are the Pros & Cons do you see for spaying/neutering?
Any animal that is not of showing/breeding quality should be spayed/neutered, imo. There is no reason not to.
Pros of early spay include greatly decreased risk of mammary cancer, and spaying (at any age) reduces the potential for unwanted/unplanned litters. Cons of early spaying include a taller, weedier animal, and cons of late spay include greatly increased risk of mammary cancer later in life.
Pros of early neuter include possibly decreased incidence for marking behavior, and cons of early neutering include a taller, weedier animal, as well as increased risk of osteosarcoma. Pros of late neuter include a more masculine, filled-out, and heavier animal, and cons include more risk of developing marking behaviors and the hormonal instinct to roam (putting dogs at risk for getting lost or hit by car, etc).