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Health & Genetics

Spaying and Neutering

While we generally require 'companion' puppies to be spayed/neutered at around 6 months, we have mixed emotions on spaying and neutering.  There's a lot of evidence to suggest that spay/neutering dogs is not in their best interest in terms of health, longevity and behavior, particularly if the the surgery takes place before the dog has finished growing (for Manchesters, that's 6-9months of age).  On the other hand, preventing un-wanted litters is a real concern in the US, not to mention the fact owner now face significant differencial licensing fees or even mandatory spay/neuter in some jurisdictions.

We have been criticized in the past for pointing out that sterilizing animals may have a down-side in that it may encourage 'irreponsible behavior'; however, our general belief is that we should not shield dog owners from the truth.  Somehow, our counterparts in Europe manage to keep their dogs intact without the problems we see in the US with dogs running loose and breeding willy-nilly. According to some, however,  that's a function of fences and culture.

We encourage potential owners to take a look at the various references, below:

Spay Neuter Considerations for the Canine Athlete

A Healthy Respect for Ovaries

Effect of gonadectomy on  subsequent development of age-related cognitive impairment in dogs.

Determining the optimal age of gonadectomy for dogs and cats

Prevalence and risk factors for behavioral changes associated with cognitive impairment in geriatric dogs.

Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in dogs.