There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer when it comes to deciding when to desex your dog. The following studies are simply a guideline that may help you make a more informed decision. However, your decision may be influenced by additional factors such as:

– Increased risk of health problems (e.g. cancers) associated with intact dogs
– Increased risk of pregnancy with intact females
– Increased risk of aggression or dominance behaviours in male dogs
– Discounted microchipping registration council fees if desexed >6 months of age

Have a chat with your vet to help you make a personalised case-by-case decision for your dog.

Best age to desex based on BREED
A study published in July 2020 by the University of Davis, California, examined a sample of 35 different dog breeds and assessed the risk of certain joint disorders and cancers with the age of desexing. I have incorporated our recommendations (after critical appraisal of the study) and summarised their data below for some of the more common breeds we see at My Vet Animal Hospital.

*Adjustments have been made from the aforementioned study guidelines after critical appraisal to account for data that did not reach statistical significance, small sample sizes, certain biases (e.g. desexed dogs living increased life spans making them more likely to develop certain cancers with age) and to incorporate results from other studies with larger study populations for particular breeds.

Breed Males Females
Australian Cattle Dog 6 months 6 months
Beagle 6 months* 6 months
Bernese Mountain Dog 2 years 1 year*
Border Collie 1 year 1 year
Boston Terrier 12 months 6 months
Bulldog 6 months 6 months
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 6 months 6 months
Chihuahua 6 months 6 months
Cocker Spaniel 6 months 6 months*
Corgi 6 months 6 months
Dachshund 1 year* 1 year*
German Shepherd 1 year* 1 year*
Golden Retriever 1 year 1 year*
Jack Russell Terrier 6 months 6 months
Labrador Retriever 6 months 1 year
Maltese 6 months 6 months
Miniature Schnauzer 6 months 6 months
Pomeranian 6 months 6 months
Poodle (Toy) 6 months 6 months
Poodle (Miniature) 1 year 6 months
Poodle (Standard) 6 months* 6 months
Pug 6 months 6 months
Rottweiler 1 year 1 year*
Shetland Sheepdog 6 months 6 months*
Shih Tzu 6 months 6 months*
West Highland White Terrier 6 months 6 months
Yorkshire Terrier 6 months 6 months

Additional Beagle Information

Study suggests to desex MALE Beagles at 12 months due to possible increase in joint disorders, however did NOT reach statistical significance, and small sample size. Changed recommendation to 6 months.

Additional Bernese Mountain Dog Information

Study suggests to desex FEMALE Bernese Mountain Dogs at any age (6 months). Changed recommendation to 1 year as per general advice for giant breed dogs and delayed musculoskeletal maturation.

Additional Cocker Spaniel Information

Study suggests to desex FEMALE Cocker Spaniels at 2 years of age due to increased MCT cancer risk in those desexed between 1-2 years of age, but was NOT significant in those desexed <1 year. Changed recommendation to 6 months.[/et_pb_toggle][et_pb_toggle title="Additional Dachshund Information" icon_color="#3aaed1" module_id="dachshund" _builder_version="4.8.2" _module_preset="default" title_text_color="#3AAED1" title_level="h1" title_font_size="21px"]

Study suggests BOTH sexes of Dachshunds can be desexed at ANY age. Changed recommendation to 1 year as per Dachshund IVDD risk and neuter age study, “Neuter status as a risk factor for canine intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH) in dachshunds: a retrospective cohort study”

https://cgejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40575-018-0067-7

Additional German Shepherd Information

Study suggests BOTH sexes of German Shepherds to be desexed at 2 years due to increased occurrence of joint disease & certain cancers, however there is not much difference between those desexed at 1-2 years of age vs intact. Additionally, study specifically on German Shepherds, seem to suggest 1 year is sufficient “Neutering of German Shepherd Dogs: associated joint disorders, cancers and urinary incontinence”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/vms3.34

Additional Golden Retriever Information

Study suggests to leave FEMALE Golden Retrievers intact due to increased risk of MCT or being vigilant for cancers and desexing at 1 year of age.

Additional Poodle (Standard) Information

Study suggests to desex MALE Standard Poodles at 2 years due to increased risk of LSA in those desexed at 1-2 years of age, but did not reach significance when desexed <1 year.[/et_pb_toggle][et_pb_toggle title="Additional Rottweiler Information" icon_color="#3aaed1" module_id="rottweiler" _builder_version="4.8.2" _module_preset="default" title_text_color="#3AAED1" title_level="h1" title_font_size="21px"]Study suggests to desex FEMALE Rottweilers at 6 months of age. Changed recommendation to 1 year as per general advice for large breed dogs and delayed musculoskeletal maturation.[/et_pb_toggle][et_pb_toggle title="Additional Shetland Sheepdog Information" icon_color="#3aaed1" module_id="sheltie" _builder_version="4.8.2" _module_preset="default" title_text_color="#3AAED1" title_level="h1" title_font_size="21px"]Study suggests to desex FEMALE Shetland Sheepdog at 2 years of age due to increased occurrence of urinary incontinence (33%) in those desexed >1 year of age, while those desexed between 6-11 months had a 6% occurrence.

Additional Shih Tzu Information

Study suggests to desex FEMALE Shih Tzus at 2 years of age due to increased risk of certain cancers (significant 18% at >1 year of age), increased at 7% but NOT significant when desexed between 6-11 months.

Reference:
Hart, B.L., Hart, L.A., Thigpen, A.P. and Willits, N.H., 2020. Assisting decision-making on age of neutering for 35 breeds of dogs: associated joint disorders, cancers, and urinary incontinence. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7, p.388.

Best age to desex based on WEIGHT
I have a MIXED BREED dog – when should I get them desexed?
A study published in July 2020 from the University of Davis, California, examined a sample of mixed breed dogs from five weight categories and assessed the risk of joint disorders and some cancers with the age of desexing. I have combined our recommendations and summarised their data below:

Weight Males Females
Small (<10kg) 6 months 6 months
Medium (10-19kg) 6 months 6 months
Standard (20-29kg) 1 year 1 year
Large (30-39kg) 1 year 1 year
Giant (>40kg) 2 years 1 year

Reference:
Hart, B.L., Hart, L.A., Thigpen, A.P. and Willits, N.H., 2020. Assisting decision-making on age of neutering for mixed breed dogs of five weight categories: associated joint disorders and cancers. Frontiers in veterinary science, 7, p.472.

If you have any questions or concerns on desexing, please call My Vet Animal Hospital on (02) 8484 2020 for a chat to help you decide on the best time to desex your dog and to organise a free pre-desexing check before their procedure.

Ready for an appointment?

Our team is here to answer your questions and get an appointment scheduled for you.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This