When to neuter

We have an almost 5 month old male Doodle.  I haven't seen any recent threads about when is the best time to neuter him.  My vet says 6 months but our breeder was more in favor of waiting until 10-12 months or even later if we wanted.  

The last two days I've noticed him humping his toy pillow and stuffed animal in the evening (his zoomie time).  I haven't seen him doing it to anything else nor does he play very aggressively (just playful).  I'm not sure if any of that matters or should come into the decision.

Anyway please let me know if you have any thoughts.  There seems to be a lot of research on both sides so I'd love to hear people's opinions around here.  


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  • We have had some discussions about this, one large discussion in particular in the Health Group. I'll find you a link.
    I strongly urge you to follow your breeder's recommendations on this and wait to neuter him until he is a year old. You really need those hormones at least until the growth plates in the bones have closed, and that doesn't usually happen until they are close to a year old. I just had Jasper neutered at 14 mos, and his breeder really would have preferred that I wait until he was 18 months. Poodles are so leggy anyway, you don't want to end up with a dog who looks like he's on stilts, lol. And that can happen when you neuter too soon; it can cause orthopedic issues and there is even some thought that it can lead to certain kinds of cancer. So if you can wait, I would.

    • Is that why breeder dogs seem less leggy?
      As I browse breeder sites it seemed that most are shorter legged than any of my doodles have been. It was bugging me!

  • Here's a discussion we had about this that you will find very interesting:

    Post Early Spay Neuter Research Findings Here
    Potential puppy owners are often confused about the health impact of Early Spay Neuter (ESN) -- a practice widely used by ALD breeders.  It is a cont…
  • My county requires licensing by 3 months old and is mandatory spay/neuter unless you have a breeders license. Our vet advised us of all the studies and research regarding removing "hormone producing organs." She strongly encouraged us to wait until he was at least a year old. She also wrote us a waiver letter for county licensing. They accepted it. No humping activity here yet which surprises me at 6 months so I am a happy doodle mom. ;-) I can live with that but I cant deal with funky Male smell.... so far so good. We're waiting but wondering why we dont just do vasectomies in this country and leave vital organs in place.

    • They do do vasectomies, if you choose to go that route. But there are a couple of problems with that. One is that the dog still looks intact, which does alienate some people, and would also cause you to have to carry proof of sterilization with you in certain situations. But the bigger problem to me is that the dog still has the drive to mate, and will still react to females in heat the same way an intact dog would. And have all of the same "problem" behaviors of intact males. 

      I'm shocked that your county forces sterilization at 3 months. That is so contrary to current veterinary studies on the effects of early spay/neuter. 

    • Oh, and regarding the humping behaviors, all of the puppies in Jasper's litter, males and females alike, were doing the humpty-dumpty dance before they were 9 weeks old.

  • We've always neutered our puppies at about 6 months which is old-school thinking. I definitely do not agree with the early spay/neutering that some breeders are doing, but if I ever get another puppy, I will have to research the current vet opinions and studies before making a firm decision.

    • Me too.... over 4 decades with dogs. We usually waited until 6 months too. Though we were always told it could be done sooner. The new research and studies are very interesting and make a lot of sense with "hormone producing organ removal" since goldens were involved we agreed with our vets opinion and will wait until he is at least a year old. I didn't care about the additional licensing fee and I was grateful they accepted her waiver request. Happy to have found her in our new town... she follows our AAHA vaccination protocols too... those gems are hard to find.

  • Thanks for all the thoughts.  I want to hear what my vet has to say but from everything I'm reading I think it makes sense to wait until around the 1 year mark. 

    He has been humping that pillow again today quite a bit.  Should I discourage this by telling him "NO" or should I allow him to do it.  He goes to daycare 1-2 days a week for socialization and he is pretty small for the group he is in (with the medium dogs) so I'm not too concerned with him humping other dogs but not sure if I should discourage the humping behavior on anything so it doesn't become a problem later on.


    • I am absolutely not a font of knowledge or an authority on it, but I’d discourage it. It may be normal but it’s often unwelcome and could get the dog - yours - hurt. Charlie has a real problem with trying to hump newly met dogs or excited active children - yes,  I know it’s a dominance thing- but he’s had two unpleasant ocurances that resulted in injuries. I feel that had his ‘greetings’  been discouraged when he was young, perhaps he’d have a better idea of acceptable hellos. We are working on this but with more drastic training than I like. 

      I’d take the pillow he humps away for a while, tell him No, Leave It, Off- whatever your command is, and distract him with another toy or activity. 

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