Neuter puppy / young dog

Hi,
My basenji puppy, Cosmo, is a 7 1/2 months old male. I will have him neutered, but I'm really unsure when. I don't want to do it too early, nor wait too long... I don't know whether it helps in establishing maturity as such, but he is not quite cocking his leg yet, but I can see for every day that goes by, that he is about to start. Every so often he lifts it, but then sort of leans towards "puppy weeing".
I have booked an appointment to see the vet next Tuesday about neutering, and Cosmo has one puppy tooth left which I doubt will come out (we had to have the very same tooth surgically removed on my last basenji too - is that common maybe?), so I am thinking it would be an idea to have tooth extraction and neutering done under the same anesthetics.
Overall though I am looking for advice from other owners of the breed with regards to neutering, since the bitches have a different heat pattern than other breeds so I'm thinking that the males may be somewhat different from other breeds too in regards to maturing/neutering? My last b was a bitch, so I'm not too familiar with males, and also my bs were both bred in Norway (whereas now I live in England), where we don't tend to neuter unless there is a medical reason, my breeder won't necessarily be able to give me neuter-specific advice.

Thank you!
From Kjersti and Cosmo

In my opinion, leg lifting/cocking is not really a sign of maturity. I have had males (not neutered) that very rarely would lift their let to pee. I like to have them neutered between 7 to 9 months. I know that there are many others that say longer, but that is my opinion and what I have always done. Also, makes sense to do both (tooth and neuter) at the same time.

@tanza Thank you, Pat. Is there anything in particular you look for, with regards to behaviour or other, when you decide the time is right? Can I expect to notice much change in behaviour? Cosmo is an incredibly calm puppy, but he is a big-time sniffer and I never seem to get very far with him on walks!

@babygirl - Nothing really in particular, really it comes down to when does it fit into the schedule... and about changes in behavior, he is getting to that "teen" age time and in the US it is getting close to Basenji breeding season. Males seem to know when that time of year is and youngster's behaviors can start to change. My first male would howl for the entire month of October even when there was no female in the house.

I think the recommendations now are to spay at 2 years, which IIRC is when then plates finally develop. But why would you neuter? I understand a female can be messy, and of course some kennels won't take unspayed females, but males are not a problem. Seems like unnecessary surgery. Have had several intact males and never ran into any problems at all.

I would never willingly neuter a Basenji (every single one of my boys over the years has died intact and at a good age !) but if you absolutely must, then not before three years old when it has reached hormonal and strucural maturity.

Boys have their rutting season (see article on my website - it needs updating but the articles are all still pertinent) so avoid the time when the hormonal urge is strongest.

And consider WHY you are doing it? If it is for your own convenience . . . my feelings on that concept are very well known. I have spayed two bitches in total - one for her own quality of life, she was about 11 years old as I recall, and the other because my husband was in hospital with a broken neck and I couldn't cope with two long walks a day and a visit the distant hospital. That was for my convenience but again the bitch was quite an old lady and I really hated to do it..

@donc said in Neuter puppy / young dog:

I understand a female can be messy,

Don't you believe it ! Basenji gals keep themselves incredibly clean and I've often found it hard to be sure they are actually in season - if they start to swell, yes, but from the signs of any dripping or mess - nope !

OK, I put a towel on the girl's favourite armchair in case she drips when asleep but apart from when the color goes from dark red to almost straw-colour (ovulation likely) there is often no visible sign.

I've never had any mess and I am very house-proud !

I had one girl who would 'mark' like a boy when she was in season - kind of 'come and get me !' and as I said earlier, the boys are well aware that at THAT time of the year, the successful continuation of the breed depends on THEM.

I am also in the "no neuter camp."

Yes, some breeds need to be spayed for medical issues (Samoyed bitches have high diabetes rates, not spaying more than triples it), and then there are mammary cancer and other issues. All still debatable if best.

For males, studies indicate there are a lot of issue with neutering prior to 2 or 3 ... bone cancer in larger breeds proven (growth plate), increase in fearful behaviors and even aggression. So if you don't have to neuter, I'd wait.

Sadly, vets think all owers are idiots incapable of keeping intact animals from breeding. I have real issues with them just pushing neuter instead of being honest about research.

@debradownsouth said in Neuter puppy / young dog:

Sadly, vets think all owers are idiots incapable of keeping intact animals from breeding. I have real issues with them just pushing neuter instead of being honest about research.

A loud AMEN to that !

A puppy I sold to a Greek family in London went to live in USA. The young lad who was her nominal owner faced nagging, threats, all kind of bossiness and unpleasantness from vets but he stood his ground. 'Her breeder doesn't approve of neutering'

That Basenji saw him through school, high school and university and lived to be 17 years old with nary a day's illness.

In the US, I disagree that people know how to keep intact animals from breeding... Sorry to say, most owners do not understand the concept. Even from long time owners of Basenjis, the rest of the family doesn't "buy" in to the concept of keeping them apart... and what happens... opps.... or then there is the case of one of my past co-workers that had an intact male/female GS. He locked the male in the garage and the bitch in the house... the males "ate" down the door in the garage, climbed through the kitchen window and bred the bitch. IMO, better safe then sorry as this was a brother/sister breeding that was an opps... and they had no idea about whelping a litter

@tanza

That's unfortunate. I have not had a single Rottweiler owner have any oops breedings. I know of a couple of Basenji breeders who HAVE had oops litters. Frankly, I wouldn't place with someone who I felt was too stupid to keep animals apart and while accidents do happen, I'd rather keep dogs intact for medical reasons, or owners have information and options. With bitches, most choose to neuter before first heat, but males... so far only research showing it is detrimental. My contract for males was no neutering prior to at least 18 mos, preferably 2 years. The ONLY person who didn't honour it... her dog got bone cancer at 4, dead in 2 months.

Shelters, rescues, so low on young adoptable puppies some are actually buying dogs overseas to meet the need. I think people have become much more aware than you give credit for.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/investigations/dog-auction-rescue-groups-donations/?utm_term=.0c172c6d7fdf

Hi all,
After days of information overflow, the decision wasn't actually that hard at the end of the day, and as soon as I said it (to the vet), I knew it was right - my beau will remain intact, at least till he is 2 years old and hopefully even longer. Unless his temper changes in any way, but I have no reason to think it might.

Female bs are definitely not messy! I was so pleasantly surprised when my deceased girl came into heat of how little she bled, but also how clean she kept herself and her surroundings. But then she had a 1st phantom pregnancy (something I knew her mum suffered from frequently), and as well as that she had a fairly huge hernia, so eventually I had her spayed and at the same time she had her hernia repaired. She was 20 months old when she was spayed, so pretty mature I'd say.

Thank you for all your responses, it certainly got my brain churning!

I am delighted the boy will remain intact at least for the foreseeable future ! And actually, there is no reason to think neutering will alter a boy's character / temperament ! You have had Basenjis before so you know they need firm discipline, house rules, to accept you as their 'alpha' and never to feel backed into a corner !!

Oh - and lots and lots of love -
Good luck !

@zande Thank you, Sally. Oh yes, they can be really cheeky and smooth in the way they try to stretch the boundaries 😉
I am happy that it looks like I have found someone who will be happy to look after him even if he remains intact (many daycare businesses do not...and the one he was at up until says they will not take him again till he has been done - their loss!) - we will meet up with her in a week's time to see if all is doable 🙂

Take care,
Kjersti & Cosmo

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