6 months is the earliest I suggest my puppy buyers neuter-- I prefer a year. Just another opinion-- Sandy
6 months is the earliest I suggest my puppy buyers neuter-- I prefer a year. Just another opinion-- Sandy
My vet recommended King get neutered @ no later then 6months. He was just over 5 1/2 months the same time he got his first rabies shot... I had to get him fixed cuz i signed a contract wit the breeder stating that i needed to send her a copy of the bill stating that he was neutered, i didn't mind but it wasn't til like 3 weeks later that i kinda wish i didn't cuz i met a woman wit a 2yr old tri who she wanted to breed and she thought King looked perfect 4 her mate... I was flattered that she wanted to have King stud wit her female...but i couldn't revise wat was done.... plus after being neutered King came home happy 2 staples and NO collar...then 10 days later staples out he was perfectly happy...
So you would have considered breeding your boy just because someone expressed an interest in him, despite your contract with your breeder? Not to mention health testing, age, etc.,?
Breeding very definitely isn't simply a matter of putting two dogs together because someone thinks they look good, or that it would be fun to have puppies, but of taking time to make sure a given dog's genes are of such value that they should be passed on. In purebred dogs, where gene pools are by very definition already quite limited, this is crucial to prevent passing on genes for the serious health conditions that can affect most purebreds, as the narrow gene pool means the chances are greatly increased of producing health problems in the puppies. In other words, you need to know several pedigree generations on each side of the prospective mating, and the whether any of those dogs carry dominant or recessive genes for such health issues.
In cavaliers there are two very serious conditions -- MVD and syringomyelia -- and no breeder wants to condemn puppies to having either of these in a form that arrives early and is severe or put a family through the misery of trying to treat these conditions and lose their cavalier at a young age after much suffering. Cavaliers also have problems with hips, knees and eyes. They also can suffer from two other terrible afflictions, episodic falling syndrome and curly coat syndrome (which Alison's little Honeybee had -- see her post in the In Memoriam section).
That of course is only a beginning; there are conformation issues as well (eg understanding what qualities of appearance a mating is going to produce and if it keeps good genes within the line). Backyard bred dogs (which are what dogs are, if bred by anyone not doing all the tasks above) move more and more away from what a cavalier should look like -- too big, too small, head not right, body wrong shape... and that is not even considering the health problems that can come from poor conformation. Small 'teacup' cavaliers for example are often bred from litter runts and have all the potential health issues that can bring -- then people breed two of these dogs together!
Anyone who cares about this breed will not breed indiscriminately to produce puppies, but will only do so with very serious intent and a strong understanding of genetics, breed standard and the responsibilities and health issues involved in breeding, and will work with an experienced, responsible breeder/mentor.
See Bruce's post here as it gives very good advice to anyone who thinks their dog might be worth breeding :
For most of us, as much as we love our dogs, breeding is never the right choice and our dogs, as handsome as they are to us, are not breeding quality. That is why the breeder placed them in pet homes to begin with, and that is why breeders place breeding restrictions/neutering clauses in the homing contract as well.
Like Sandy, we like to see all our puppies S/N no earlier than 6 months; and we will normally encourage 1 year if the people seem very responsible and understand the problems and responsibility. We have even told people we will keep their girls while they are in season if they find they are uncomfortable with keeping an eye on them.
A breeder we know does some early S/N, before the puppy goes to it's new home at 3 months; let's just say we agree to disagree. But the only reason she does this is that she has had a few of her puppies on a S/N contract bred and registered in one of the bogus registries.
Sandy and Bruce,Originally Posted by Bruce H
is this preference for delaying neutering for health reasons, and if so, what are they?
Most people want my puppies because I do health testing and they like the looks of my cavaliers. If someone were to do an infantile neutering on one of my cavaliers- I won't guarantee that they would turn out looking like mine at all. I have seen dogs that were neutered early (4 months) and they didn't resemble their breed that well - let alone their well known sire.
Hormones aren't just for reproduction. Hence, woman who get hysterectomies are usually advised to go on hormone therapy. The advantage of letting a dog reach maturity before neutering are just now being looked into. The benefits of early neutering would have to outweigh any possible risks before I would advise it. There is always a small risk of operations requiring gas. An infantile dog could have health issues that wouldn't be easily identified (kidney issues, liver shunt - are two examples) that could be problematic.
What is the best time to alter a dog? The answer as individual as each dog and each environment.
I believe in proper dog management (whether you own a pet or a show dog) (you have to if you keep intact dogs of each sex). It isn't that difficult because dogs breed from instinct at specific times-- they don't breed for pleasure. FWIW-- Sandy
Judy, waiting IMHO is generally not a matter of health issues. Studies have not shown any specific gains from not neutering at 6 months to 8 months that I know of -- but in the case of females there are very specific health gains from neutering before the first heat, which will be at around 6 months, and for males, there are behavioural reasons and health reasons for neutering as well. Some breeders feel there are benefits for bone growth and for the dog to reach its adult stage before neutering but as both Sandy and Bruce indicate, it takes a particular kind of pet owner to take on the responsibilities and in some cases, unwanted behaviour this involves.
Set against arguments for waiting, are some specific risks for the average pet owner -- many do not notice their female has come into heat and end up with a pregnant dog, and pregnancy is always a significant health risk to any animal, setting aside the matter of homing unwanted puppies (Bruce for example has noted the potential risks to a mother, which can be life-threatening). Many pet owners do not realise how strong the call of an in-heat female is to their male dog -- and a cavalier that takes off after a female (they can scent a female from a very long distance away) has a good chance of being hit by a car, stolen, or being lost forever. My own experience of going into the pounds, working with rescue groups (and this is confirmed by the pound staff) is that about 70% of all strays are male dogs, and about 80-90% of those are males that have not been neutered -- often males are picked up by the warden because they are pursuing some poor bitch in heat, and numerous dogs of all sizes will try to mate with her, some quite violently. The real life of animals can in this sense be brutal and ugly and most people would not want their male or female dog in such situations. The bitches are often extremely traumatised (especially if she is in her first heat as they often are -- they are only still puppies!!) and the males can go into fighting frenzies amongst themselves, trying to get at her. Most wardens do not enjoy having to capture dogs in these situations as they can be extremely fearful or aggressive.
Some people of course are both capable and willing to manage their dog until a year old (or all the animal's life), but for many, this is not an easy or desireable task (as indicated by the number of dogs brought to the pound at around 1 year old for behaviour problems directly due to poor management of an intact (unneutered) dog.
I have to politely take issue with comparing women after hysterectomies as being a point in favour of delayed spaying or not spaying -- the situations are very different. Women have a monthly cycle and a regular flow of hormones; dogs go into a heat maybe once or twice a year and even less than that in some breeds (Lisa tells me Tibetan terriers only go into heat once every three to four years sometimes, which is why they are not farmed by puppy farmers). For the rest of the time a bitch is hormonally dormant. Women take HRT more for personal comfort, not for health reasons, because women all naturally reach such a point of non-production of hormones with menopause anyway (at which point they have *lowered* health risks for many cancers -- ovarian, breast, endometrial for example -- and hormone-related conditions). And recent studies have shown there are some risks associated with taking hormone replacement whether it be after a hysterectomy or after menopause. That said I know you are also making the point of waiting til a dog reaches maturity as that is when the hormones have done their initial jobs.
As dogs and other animals do not have cycles or sexual responses structured in the way humans do, I think it is hazardous to draw analogies of what the dog will be deprived of or miss out on. For that matter it is a false comparison anyway -- it is very well documented that human eunuchs had full 'performance' capabilities and some of the operatic castrati were infamous womanisers as well! Likewise neutered male dogs do not lose total interest in females. But they are not dominated by a single-minded drive to mate and most of the unwanted hormonally driven behaviours will subside.
I really doubt that humans were intended to last half as many years as we do. So without human intervention- we probably would only live an average of 40 something--- huh -- that is about the age of menopause.Originally Posted by karlin
If Dogs lived to be 20 some years-- they might stop cycling -- who knows.
I wasn't against spaying. I just don't have a real good feeling about infantile neutering. The benefits for males are few. These are cavaliers-- eager to please -- testes or not. The only male I've had escape was our neutered boy.
Everyone reacts to life by their experiences-- I have a whole pack of cavaliers and my reaction is-- If someone can't control one male until he is 6 months old-- they don't want one of my pups. Sandy
I agree; I was responding to Judy's broader question of waiting a year based on seeing what friend's have gone through in menopause, rather than the early nueter issue. I wouldn't want to neuter a pet cavalier placed responsibly before 6 months, either, and if I were a breeder, I'd have that as a stipulation, I think. However from working with rescues, both cat and dog, and having seen a few studies emerging on very early neuter, I think early neuter is the right choice for some shelters and rescues.