Making the decision to spay or neuter your Doberman can be a difficult one.
When we got our first male puppy we discussed neutering him, but our vet convinced us that - if we were up to the challenges- we should breed instead of having him neutered. Our vet said while there are always pets who need to be adopted, there has been a recent trend in some breeds where spaying and neutering has dramatically decreased the population of the breed and the Doberman is one of them. He said this trend has made it very difficult for people seeking the animals to find purebreds of quality. My vet said he would not have encouraged me to breed unless my Doberman was a superior specimen, which he is. (I already knew this, of course :~] )
But breeding isn’t for everyone. I have to say after having several litters, it hasn’t been easy and losing a puppy is a terrible experience.
Recently, someone requested information about neutering their Doberman and I think there are several pros and cons to spaying and neutering especially when it comes to Doberman. As I mentioned above, if you are up to the challenge I am for breeding quality Dobermans. However, the following are some things to consider from Ione L. Smith, DVM who has a Web site called “East Tennessee Doberman Rescue”:
“Castration decreases aggression problems.
Aggression problems are most common in intact male dogs, including dominance aggression (Line 1986, Crowell-Davis 1991) as well as fear-related aggression (Galac 1997), aggression between males (Hopkins 1976), and other types of aggression (Neilson 1997). Castration is a valuable part of the treatment for aggression problems, and is helpful in preventing problems from occurring in the first place. Roughly 50%-75% of the dogs who are castrated because of aggression problems will show signicant improvements or complete disappearance of their aggression. Of course, training is also an important aid in preventing and/or treating these problems! (Askew 1992, Beaver 1983, Blackshaw 1991, Crowell-Davis 1991, Fry 1987, Knol 1989, Line 1986, Neilson 1997)
Castrated males are less likely to roam, to mark furniture, or to practice other objectionable sexual behaviors.
Major behavioral benefits of castration have been known for many years, including decreases in aggression, roaming, mounting behavior, and "mischievous" behavior (Combemale 1929, Hart 1976, Heidenberger 1990, Hopkins 1976, Maarschalkerweerd, Neilson 1997, etc).
Castration completely prevents testicular cancer in male dogs.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer of the male reproductive tract, and is one of the most common cancers of intact males overall (Bastianello 1983, Kusch 1985). Once the testicles are removed during the castration procedure, the dog is free from the risk of this disease.
Sterilization may help to prevent or treat other diseases, both infectious and non-infectious.
Some intact male dogs go through a "feminizing syndrome", which is related to sex hormone production. This disease cannot occur in dogs which were castrated at younger ages (Dorn 1985). Older intact males also tend to suffer from perineal hernias, which are also prevented by castration (Dorn 1985). Several other sex-hormone related diseases occur in both intact males and females, and these are also prevented by sterilization (Heider 1990).
Some breeds of dogs tend to suffer from skin problems which are prevented or treated by sterilization (Albanese 1997, Kunz). Altered dogs also have a lower risk of contracting some serious infectious diseases, such as echinococcosis (Bessonov 1986, Shal'menov, 1984), brucellosis (a disease which is transmitted in the dog by sexual contact), intestinal parasites (Coggins), and parvovirus (Houston 1992).
Sterilization tends to increase an animal's overall lifespan.
Altered animals are known to have a longer lifespan than intact animals overall. Sterilization appears to add approximately 2 years onto an animal's life (Bronson 1981, Kraft 1996)."
There are also possible negative issues to consider with having your pet spayed or neutered. Smith discusses several of them on her site, but one of the most commonly discussed issues is your Doberman will more than likely be bigger if you choose to spay or neuter your pet.
According to Smith, “Dogs may gain weight after being altered.
It is true that some animals may tend to gain weight after they are sterilized (Fettman 1997, Root 1995). The removal of the sex hormones may tend to slow an animal's metabolism somewhat (Flynn 1996), although some studies have found no differences in weight between intact and sterilized animals (Salmeri 1991a).
However, many dogs are altered just as they are reaching maturity. At this time in their lives, even dogs who are NOT altered will be gaining weight and slowing down a bit, so any change you see in your pet may not have anything to do with being sterilized. If you DO notice a weight gain after your dog is altered, simply decrease the amount of food you are feeding and increase the exercise your dog gets every day.
Altered dogs may be taller than intact dogs.
It is true that dogs who are sterilized before they have reached full maturity may be slightly taller than they would be if they had been left intact. Sex hormones influence the end of bone growth after puberty. Since the sex hormones never arrive in dogs which are altered before maturity, the bones tend to continue growing for longer than they would in the intact dog. However, this difference is very slight overall -- and the dogs being altered are NOT show dogs, so a little extra height is of little significance. Also, there does not appear to be any difference in size between puppies sterilized very early (6-10 weeks) and those altered later (7 months) (Crenshaw 1995, Lieberman 1987).”
Smith also talks about common spay and neuter “myths” on her site. For more information you can visit Smith’s Web site at http://etdr.doberinfo.com/health/spayinfo.html#MYTHS%20ABOUT%20STERILIZATION