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.
|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
Additional Cocker Spaniel Information
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”
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”
Additional Golden Retriever Information
Additional Poodle (Standard) Information
Additional Shih Tzu Information
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:
|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|
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.