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Keeping an Intact Male Dog

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  • Keeping an Intact Male Dog

    A semi spin off from the Show Dog thread. I was wondering who here has a male that is 1 year + and intact?

    I have no plans in breeding my puppy but I would like to show him and see how well he does in the ring. As a college student I know that it will not be feasible to send him off and have him professionally finished over the course of a few months. If he does well and enjoys the ring, I would love to finish him but I know that it would likely take years.

    I've never wanted to keep a male intact but if I want to show him I will need to put up with it for a while. I also heard (but have not personally read) about research that suggests that waiting until 2 years to neuter ensures maximum bone density.


    So I guess this is a request for personal experience, thoughts on age of neutering, and insight on the challenges of owning an intact dog (if any).

    Thanks,
    GLR

  • #2
    I do not suscribe to the blanket spay/neuter so all my boys are left intact unless there is a medical reason to change that.

    My girls are always spayed unless they are going to be bred.

    The diff for girls and boys is that with every heat cycle a girl experiences you take an increased chance on developing a pyometra. Don't want to even *think* of going there.

    My intact boys were never different from any neutered rescues I got/had neutered. I have only had trouble with marking when it was anxiety was the issue, or not being trained/handled well. Anxious girls will mark as well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Like anything else, I think it depends. We showed my first brittany and kept him intact his entire life, until nearly 14 when he died. Never thought twice about it because he was soooo mellow all the time. I knew someone else, however, that couldn't wait to finish their ch. so they could neuter their dog just to settle him down because he was unbearable and would challenge other dogs.

      My middle dog was neutered at 14 months and it made a huge difference in his personality (for the better). He was always high-strung (not the same as energetic) and it seemed he always had excess testosterone floating around....not in a sexual way but as a distraction. Neutering him gave him a little more "focus" for things like obedience, etc.

      My little guy is 2 now and hasn't seemed to notice he's a boy yet. So long as he stays like this we would be in no hurry to neuter him. He does want to mark (at dog shows, for example) but other than that he is pretty easy to handle.

      Managing an intact male isn't that hard; I think it's easier than managing the intact bitch. But of course it does require some work and some planning -- you can't just show up at a dog park and assume they'll all get along. We see one of my boy's littermates often and we don't usually let them play together off lead -- both intact and showing. But we were able to put them together at a show last year when we had a chance to let them run off lead for a while first. They don't want to "challenge" each other, but in a strange place or on one of their "home turf", it could easily happen.

      Comment


      • #4
        After seeing MANY males die early due to prostate cancer, I would recommend neutering when you are done showing him.

        Comment


        • #5
          We have one intact male GSP. We do use him for breeding, but that didn't happen until he was four. We had always kept girls before and when my husband wanted to keep him as a personal gun dog the deal was that if Brutus was a jerk at all (aka abused the privilege of being intact) then I got to neuter him. He's one of the easiest we've ever owned. Loves nothing more than playing with and helping raise puppies. He's eagerly waiting for the current crop of corgis to grow more. He'll gently interact with puppies smaller than his head. He doesn't mark in the house and only a little outside in his fenced yard. So, for him it has been a non-issue.

          Comment


          • #6
            An unneutered dog is rarely similar to a stallion!! In 50+ years of dog ownership I have only neutered one male dog - a Jack Russell terrior appropriately named "Dauntless Beau" a very horny little bugger. I spay my females, but have never had issues with any males. I have had Boxers, GSD's PP trained and never had a single problem with behavior and all my dogs are kept under custody and control at all times. We keep a watch dog as part of our family situation and years ago a dog trainer told me that in his opinion "a guard dog without testicles was like a gun without bullets"!! (Never had any associated health issues either.)
            www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
            Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

            Comment


            • #7
              I have an intact male. He lives with my spayed female. She was spayed due to too many false pregnancies and I want to compete her in performance sports. I have no problems with my intact male and "oh my gosh" he doesn't run around and willy-nilly breed females. He is a breed champion, impeccable bloodlines, all his health checks.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                After seeing MANY males die early due to prostate cancer, I would recommend neutering when you are done showing him.
                a curious question for you....(and I'm not doubting that you do see early prostate frequently). What is the median age you see early prostate cancer?

                a second question: do the clients that you normally see with this condition have regular checkups with the dogs (at least once per year) or do they only come in when there is an issue?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                  After seeing MANY males die early due to prostate cancer, I would recommend neutering when you are done showing him.
                  I think the issues with prostate cancer is nutritonal, else all the men in the world would have it, and the increased numbers in humans suggests the same thing.

                  I have a nine year old intact Jack now, had an intact Beagle who was 12 when we decided to neuter him because he became more sexually aggressive (lived till 14, cause of death was a tumor at the vaccination site that caused front leg paralysis, yes I gave vacs every year but not anymore). Vet statement was funny though, "well, that is odd, usually libido decreases...." Zeke never thought too old meant too late. The only issues I have with my male Jack are if there are females in season in the vicinity but that has been very, very infrequent. My experience is that you will know when hormones are the problem as opposed to just plain behavioral/breed specific issues. We never neutered our pack beagles in years past, I mean 40 years ago, and never, ever did we have testicular or prostate cancer.
                  "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                    After seeing MANY males die early due to prostate cancer, I would recommend neutering when you are done showing him.
                    I was always told this growing up but recently I read an article saying that neutered dogs have a 2-4x higher chance of developing prostate cancer. Unfortunately the magazine did not cite the source and web searches have been unsuccessful thus far. It was a fact that stood out because I've always heard that neutering decreased the likelihood of prostate cancer rather than increasing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My Shiba is 9 and is intact. I keep waffling about showing him again, but due to my own health issues, it keeps getting put off. He, however, has no health issues, no bad habits, and is sweet with people (including little kids) so he gets to keep his nads.

                      He had one humping episode when he was about 3 months old. He had this little fleece dog bed and he had it up on our king sized bed playing with it. I walked in and he was going to town on it. He was totally oblivious to me, and as I watched, he humped himself backwards and clean off the bed. I laughed. I laughed and pointed at him. He ran out of the room and wouldn't look at me for hours. I swear, to this day he has never humped anything again. I always think of it as the day he "lost face" just like the little Japanese dude he thinks he is.

                      I've also been lucky in that he's never shown any inclination to dig under or climb over our privacy fence. He is my first unspeutered dog, and I was worried at first, but he is about as perfect as a Shiba can be.

                      ETA: He gets a prostate exam once a year at the vet. That goes over about as well as you'd expect...
                      You are what you dare.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hm...well that article you read was probably not right. Maybe out of 1000 random city dogs (because I would assume 900 would be neutered), but no...prostate cancer, prostatitis is NOT from the food they eat and not from being neutered.

                        Neutered dogs can absolutley have it, but the chances are so much lower. Prostate cancer and prostatitis are very difficult to treat, and in most cases paliative care is the only thing we can do. In the past year, we have biopsied about 25 dogs for prostatitis or prostatecancer. All but 2 were intact. Age was typically older, and in large breed dogs (although the one neutered dog was a bichon - however his was likely a met from the liver). Labs and GSD's are the frequent visiters here for this disease.

                        I dont know many foods that affect testosterone, but neutering sure does. The chance of a dog getting prostate disease if neutered before maturity is extremely low. The chance for a mateure neuter before age 3 is also low. The longer you wait, the larger the prostate becomes. Any inflammation to a large prostate will cause an older intact dog problems.

                        Benign prostatic hyperplasia is very common in older intact dogs. First clinical sign is troubles defecating. Generally, we see it in geriatric dogs. Our first treatment is neuter (to prevent more testosterone to cause prostatic growth) and then followup with piroxicam.

                        Large prostates (caused by testosterone, not food) can pick up bacteria through translocation from the urine. Its not common, but can happen.

                        Calamber....seriously? Prostate cancer is the #2 killer of cancers in men...why do you dismiss this fact? It doesnt kill young, but you would be shocked to see how many old men in nursing homes need to catheterize themselves to go to the bathroom...

                        Anyway, not saying neuter your dog now...but intact older dogs do increase the danger. Not all of them will get it obviously, but I have been through this with a dog of my own and have seen many families in tears because of it. Just last year, the police services lost a very talented team member, 8 year old GDS to prostate cancer. Previous year prostate exam was normal.

                        Theres lots of random internet articles regarding neutering and keeping intact - I think the best thing you can do is talk to your vet, and ultimately its your decision. Its a risk,but not a major one. Due to personal experience, I am not willing to take that risk again.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                          Hm...well that article you read was probably not right. Maybe out of 1000 random city dogs (because I would assume 900 would be neutered), but no...prostate cancer, prostatitis is NOT from the food they eat and not from being neutered.

                          Neutered dogs can absolutley have it, but the chances are so much lower. Prostate cancer and prostatitis are very difficult to treat, and in most cases paliative care is the only thing we can do. In the past year, we have biopsied about 25 dogs for prostatitis or prostatecancer. All but 2 were intact. Age was typically older, and in large breed dogs (although the one neutered dog was a bichon - however his was likely a met from the liver). Labs and GSD's are the frequent visiters here for this disease.

                          I dont know many foods that affect testosterone, but neutering sure does. The chance of a dog getting prostate disease if neutered before maturity is extremely low. The chance for a mateure neuter before age 3 is also low. The longer you wait, the larger the prostate becomes. Any inflammation to a large prostate will cause an older intact dog problems.

                          Benign prostatic hyperplasia is very common in older intact dogs. First clinical sign is troubles defecating. Generally, we see it in geriatric dogs. Our first treatment is neuter (to prevent more testosterone to cause prostatic growth) and then followup with piroxicam.

                          Large prostates (caused by testosterone, not food) can pick up bacteria through translocation from the urine. Its not common, but can happen.

                          Calamber....seriously? Prostate cancer is the #2 killer of cancers in men...why do you dismiss this fact? It doesnt kill young, but you would be shocked to see how many old men in nursing homes need to catheterize themselves to go to the bathroom...

                          Anyway, not saying neuter your dog now...but intact older dogs do increase the danger. Not all of them will get it obviously, but I have been through this with a dog of my own and have seen many families in tears because of it.
                          Testosterone has nothing to do with cancer my friend. Perhaps you might want to do an investigation of the diets that all of those 25 or 23 dogs had for their lifetime. The average dog owner probably does need to neuter and spay, but why all of the obesity in dogs now, why all of those numerous fatty tumors, all of those fat labradors who can barely move because of obesity and arthritis? Let's address the entire issue because it is certainly not the case that have testicles or ovaries has to mean that you will die of that type of cancer, if so, why? Because we have the organs or perhaps more like, you are what you eat. Even if you have seen "many" dogs die of prostate cancer, it can still be nutritional, why is that so hard to understand? Same goes for humans. Specifics rather than generalities. I still hold by the nutritional problems since as I referenced, my father and I competed and hunted at least 60 male beagles 40 years ago and not one of them died of prostate cancer.
                          "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My only experience with intact males was that I fostered an intact adult male Rhodesian Ridgeback. He had no issues; was not aggressive, did not mark, lived in peace with my castrated males. In fact the experience made me begin to reconsider castration as a matter of course.

                            Paula
                            He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Calamber View Post
                              I think the issues with prostate cancer is nutritonal, else all the men in the world would have it, and the increased numbers in humans suggests the same thing.

                              I have a nine year old intact Jack now, had an intact Beagle who was 12 when we decided to neuter him because he became more sexually aggressive (lived till 14, cause of death was a tumor at the vaccination site that caused front leg paralysis, yes I gave vacs every year but not anymore). Vet statement was funny though, "well, that is odd, usually libido decreases...." Zeke never thought too old meant too late. The only issues I have with my male Jack are if there are females in season in the vicinity but that has been very, very infrequent. My experience is that you will know when hormones are the problem as opposed to just plain behavioral/breed specific issues. We never neutered our pack beagles in years past, I mean 40 years ago, and never, ever did we have testicular or prostate cancer.
                              Most men do in fact end up with prostate cancer. 30% of men have it by age 50 and 80% by age 80, and it's the chief cause of cancer death in men over 75. Genetics and age appear to be the chief risk factors.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                This is an interesting discussion to read about the pros/cons of spaying/neutering: http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/longt...uterindogs.pdf

                                It does a good job of examining the different studies that have been done and maintains that a blanket recommendation can't be made, as each individual and breed may have different risks that need to be managed.

                                Overall, it does say there isn't usually a great argument (health wise) for neutering a male but that there may be more of one for spaying females.

                                They do discuss prostate cancer and cite some studies that have shown an increased risk of prostate cancer after neutering. They mention this as well, "Given an incidence of prostate cancer in dogs of less than 0.6% from necropsy studies, it is difficult to see that the risk of prostate cancer should factor heavily into most neutering decisions."

                                Testicular cancer: "The high cure rate of testicular tumors combined with their frequency suggests that fewer than 1% of intact male dogs will die of testicular cancer... In summary, though it may be the most common reason why many advocate neutering young male dogs, the risk from life threatening testicular cancer is sufficiently low that neutering most male dogs to prevent it is difficult to justify."

                                Anyway, good article to take a peek at as it does actually cite it's sources = )

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Calamber, what are your references re: nutrition and prostate cancer? For dogs or humans.

                                  Not to say that good nutrition is not always a good idea, but I highly doubt most prostate cancer in any species could be completely prevented with diet alone.

                                  Here is a good article on the topic: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/453191-overview
                                  Caitlin
                                  *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
                                  http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    One of the prostate cancer studies cited in the paper bort84 linked to was an epidemiological study, a poor type for showing causation. The second showed that prostate cancer in dogs may be for the most part androgen independent (unlike in humans). There were only 70 dogs with cancer in that study.
                                    Last edited by grayarabpony; Feb. 11, 2012, 08:36 AM. Reason: spelling

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Is it epidemiological studies in general that are poor for showing causation in your opinion, or something particular about this study?

                                      Paula
                                      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        I found the article I was referring to in my earlier post.

                                        The AKC's Family Dog magazine published an article in their January/February 2012 titled "When to Neuter" written by DVM Claudia Gray. Unfortunately the magazine is in a different city from me at the moment but maybe someone on here has it sitting around and would be willing to summarize it.

                                        Comment

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