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We have a male 5 pound toy poodle who is very mellow with the nicest temperament of any dog we've ever owned. He's just over a year old now, and the vet has asked when we would like to neuter him. I haven't set an appointment for the surgery because my family is conflicted as to whether or not we should have it done (my teenage boys say "NOOOOO" of course, lol). We don't want his personality to change at all and actually wouldn't want him to be any more calm or mellow than he already is. The data I'm reading online on the health benefits of neutering are conflicting. Did your dog's personality change after being neutered? Any other changes to your dog after neutering that you regret? Positives? Any strong feelings either way on to neuter or not to neuter?
 

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I’ve never had a dog personality change after neutering. My toy was neutered at 16 months old.

It’s best to neuter after the dog has finished growing, to let him gain muscle but mostly so the growth plates can close, which will prevent your dog from being taller, thinner than he should be. A male neutered around 18 months old will look the same as an intact male, except for the missing part, but a male neutered early will look like a tall, thicker female with little muscle.
 

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I’ve never had a dog personality change after neutering. My toy was neutered at 16 months old.

It’s best to neuter after the dog has finished growing, to let him gain muscle but mostly so the growth plates can close, which will prevent your dog from being taller, thinner than he should be. A male neutered around 18 months old will look the same as an intact male, except for the missing part, but a male neutered early will look like a tall, thicker female with little muscle.
Thanks Dechi! Do toys stop growing at 18 months old? For some reason, I thought they were done growing at a year old. I would love for my little guy to get a bit bigger!
 

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Not knowing what your data sources are, the studies I've looked at (as UTD as I can find) really lean to neuter/spay after maturity, if you plan to.

This link is part of a larger study being conducted by UCDavis Vet School. The study started with GR's I think but they're pulling together breed specific data. This is limited to data on certain conditions only.


The Practice of Spaying and Neutering Poodles: Possible Joint Disorders, Cancers and Addison’s Disease Differences Between the Standard, Miniature and Toy Poodles

A Study Conducted at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Study Leader: Benjamin Hart, DVM, PhD Partially Funded with a Grant from Versatility in Poodles For personal use, not for publication. This is a preliminary report.


General Study parameters Using data from the computerized veterinary hospital records of the University of California-Davis, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, for the last 14.5 years, this study retrospectively examined the occurrence of joint disorders and cancers in males and females of the three main varieties of Poodles for those left intact and those neutered in the periods of < 6 mo., 6-11 mo., 1 year (12 to 23 mo.) and 2 to 8 years-11mo. The occurrences of Addison’s Disease, urinary incontinence and pyometra in females were also tracked through the same ages. Mammary cancer, was tracked until the dogs were about to turn 12 years of age. For all neutered dogs, records were reviewed to ensure that neutering occurred prior to the first clinical signs or diagnosis of any disease of interest.

For cases where the hospital records on referral cases did not include age at neutering, telephone calls to the referring veterinarians were made to obtain the specific neutering dates. Because there were neutered dogs where age at neutering was not available, from either the record or from the referring veterinarian, and these cases could not be included, there were proportionately more intact cases in the final dataset than would be expected in general.

Patients diagnosed with hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear/rupture, or elbow dysplasia presented with clinical signs such as difficulty moving, standing up, lameness, and/or joint pain; diagnoses were confirmed based on radiographic evidence, orthopedic physical examination and/or surgical confirmation. Diagnoses of hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma and mast cell tumors were based on clinical signs such as enlarged lymph nodes, lumps on the skin or presence of masses, and confirmed based on imaging, appropriate blood cell analyses, chemical panels, histopathology and/or cytology.

Statistical procedures involved survival analysis (Cox proportional hazard models) to compare incidence rates of each disease between groups of animals defined in terms of their age at neutering. Patients were diagnosed at different ages and with varying years at risk from the effects of gonadal hormone removal. For statistical tests the two-tailed level of significance was set at p< 0.05. The numbers of cases reported for each disease varied somewhat because a case could be excluded for one disease analysis but included for another disease analysis.

Main findings Standard Poodles. The complete dataset totaled about 350 cases evenly split between males and females. Within each gender, 70-80 percent were neutered or spayed.

Hip dysplasia does occasionally occur in gonadally intact males and females (up to 2-3 percent). There is a modest, non-significant increase in this joint disorder in males neutered at < 6 mo. No other joint disorder increased with early spaying or neutering however, which is a contrast to our published work on Labs, Goldens and German Shepherds (doi’s: Long-Term Health Effects of Neutering Dogs: Comparison of Labrador Retrievers with Golden Retrievers and onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/vms3.34/full)

A cancer of concern is lymphoma, which was not diagnosed in either male or female intact dogs but was diagnosed in about a quarter of males neutered during the first year: a significant finding (p < 0.01). There was a modest trend for females spayed before one year to have the cancer (non-significant).

Addison’s Disease did not occur in any intact males or females, but females are at risk for this disease when spayed before 6 mo., where over 10 percent were diagnosed with this disease: a significant occurrence (p< 0.02). Males neutered before 1 year seem to have about half the risk of females for this disease (nonsignificant).

Bottom line: for males, consider delaying neutering until they reach the age of two to avoid the increased risk of lymphoma, hip dysplasia and Addison’s Disease. For females, delaying spaying females until they are at least a year old seems to avoid increasing the risk of Addison’s Disease, and waiting until 2 years avoids the possible increased risk of lymphoma. Delaying spaying does not appear to increase the risk of mammary cancer, and even leaving a female intact raises the risk to only 4 percent.

Miniature Poodle. The complete dataset for Miniature Poodles totaled about 240 cases with a few more females than males, and 70-80 percent of each gender being neutered or spayed.

There is virtually no occurrence of joint disorders, or the cancers followed, in the dogs left intact and no indication of an increasing likelihood of these diseases with neutering or spaying at any age. Mirroring the occurrence of Addison’s Disease in early spayed Standard females, spayed Miniature females during the first year may be at a slight risk for this disease (non-significant). While leaving a female intact does not appear to increase the risk of mammary cancer, spaying in the later years may slightly increase the risk of this disease (non-significant).

Bottom line: with the exception of a possible increase in Addison’s Disease, as mentioned above, there appear to be no important disease considerations related to spaying or neutering at any age.

Toy Poodle. The complete dataset for Toy Poodles totaled about 275 cases with a few more females than males, and 60-70 percent of each gender being neutered or spayed.

Mirroring the tendency for Lab, Golden and German Shepherd dogs neutered or spayed in the first year to acquire a cranial cruciate ligament tear or rupture, there is an indication that male Toy Poodles neutered at 6-11 mo. have an increased chance of this joint disorder (non-significant). There is no indication of the cancers followed, or Addison’s Disease, increasing in likelihood with neutering.

Bottom line: consider spaying females at any age and neutering males beyond one year.


I neutered my mini boys at a bit over a year old and noticed no real behavior differences. They were already starting to settle a bit before the neuter.

It makes it easier to travel with them or even board them, if we should need to.
 

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There was supposed to be additional information presented last November but the presentation was postponed due to illness of a participant. I haven't looked lately to see if anything further has come up.

I'll edit/update shortly.
 

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I'm in a similar situation with my miniature. He has a perfect temperament as is. I plan to opt for vasectomy if he still has no testosterone associated behavioral issues at 2 years of age. I am responsible and will ensure he never has a chance to breed, and that is the important thing. I don't see a compelling health reason to neuter when a vasectomy is functional as well. Of course that's only a safeguard as I never want him to have the chance anyway. I have experienced neuter related temperament changes in an adult male dog my family had, so I am wary.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm in a similar situation with my miniature. He has a perfect temperament as is. I plan to opt for vasectomy if he still has no testosterone associated behavioral issues at 2 years of age. I am responsible and will ensure he never has a chance to breed, and that is the important thing. I don't see a compelling health reason to neuter when a vasectomy is functional as well. Of course that's only a safeguard as I never want him to have the chance anyway. I have experienced neuter related temperament changes in an adult male dog my family had, so I am wary.
Do I dare ask what the temperament changes were after neuter? I'm so conflicted! Part of me thinks I should just close my eyes and take him in to have it done....
 

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Also, I did want to mention that whenever my dog plays with another dog, especially one close to his size, the first thing he wants to do is hump the poor thing....whether it's another boy or a girl. This is one of the main reasons I was thinking about having the neuter done, especially since at some point we may want to get a second dog.
 

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I found this old notice but nothing indicating it was rescheduled.


I did find a great link to the AKC Canine Health Foundation with a slew of recent webinars on a lot of medical topics, just fyi.

 

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Do I dare ask what the temperament changes were after neuter? I'm so conflicted! Part of me thinks I should just close my eyes and take him in to have it done....
Before the neuter, he played really well with our female dog. Afterwards he was not very inclined to play with her. He was still a nice little dog and not typically aggressive to her, but his energy level did go down and he seemed to have the demeanor of an older dog. We didn't really know how old he was as he was found stray, but he was certainly an adult. He did occasionally try to hump our other dog before being neutered, and this did stop after neuter, but he was very small compared to her so it was barely even an annoyance to her. So nothing major, but it was a noticeable difference. I suspect that if it had been done when he was 8mo-1yr we would have just figured it was part of his natural process of maturing.

My current dog did go through a month or two where he really wanted to hump other dogs during play. He was about 9 months old when it started. I ended play whenever he wouldn't stop, and I think he also got told off a few times by other dogs and that may have taught him a lesson. I haven't seen him try to hump in months. I would consider excessive humping to be a reason to neuter, but you may find that training and time will help him to stop on his own. There are certainly some dogs out there that are bad humpers though. I just think of it as a case by case basis sort of thing.
 

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Do toys stop growing at 18 months old? For some reason, I thought they were done growing at a year old. I would love for my little guy to get a bit bigger!
Small dogs are finished growing earlier but I can’t really say when the growth plate close. Logically it should be sooner. But I still like the idea of neutering a toy around 15-18 months of age, to give them the benefit of testosterone a little longer.

Also, I did want to mention that whenever my dog plays with another dog, especially one close to his size, the first thing he wants to do is hump the poor thing....whether it's another boy or a girl.
This will most probable diminish completely or almost completely. My dog stopped doing it 90% of the time.
 

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I just had my boy neutered at 15 months, he is a mini. He had remained the same size for a while, like since 9 months. I wanted to wait til after he turned one to make sure he was fully matured. He still acts the same. He’s a goof ball with loads of energy still. He actually bounced back the next day. He still is taking it easy with his cone on and only short periods of time outside to do his business. I was required to neuter in my contract, that’s pretty standard in a limited registration. Also if you want to travel or ever need to board them it’s often required.


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I just had my boy neutered at 15 months, he is a mini. He had remained the same size for a while, like since 9 months. I wanted to wait til after he turned one to make sure he was fully matured. He still acts the same. He’s a goof ball with loads of energy still. He actually bounced back the next day. He still is taking it easy with his cone on and only short periods of time outside to do his business. I was required to neuter in my contract, that’s pretty standard in a limited registration. Also if you want to travel or ever need to board them it’s often required.


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That's great news! Glad to hear that he's back to his old self so quickly!
 

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I have three male dogs (not poodles) and they were all neutered at various ages (4 months, 1 year and 5 years old) none of their behaviours changed. Although the humping and marking from the 4 month old stoped. All of my future dogs will be neutered at 18 months to 2 years old.
 

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I’ve never had a dog personality change after neutering. My toy was neutered at 16 months old.

It’s best to neuter after the dog has finished growing, to let him gain muscle but mostly so the growth plates can close, which will prevent your dog from being taller, thinner than he should be. A male neutered around 18 months old will look the same as an intact male, except for the missing part, but a male neutered early will look like a tall, thicker female with little muscle.
My vet very strongly said not to neuter before growth plates close. Was 14 months for our Spoo

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I recommend a neuter within the appropriate time line. (Thank you,Roses!!!) Most family dogs are desexed in the U.S. When your male dog is not, he can become a target, because he’s different, a perceived threat by altered males. I had one male, that remained intact and we had a lot of drama, including emergency vet visits, due to attacks by neutered males. This was just walking in the neighborhood, always on a leash, minding his own pee mail business.
 
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