Should I neuter my Basenji?


  • I am curious who has neutered their dog and who hasn't.... Our breeder said we should neuter him and I read the main reason is that they don't contract testicular cancer.

    I just feel bad about doing this though... like I'll alter him in some way that's not natural... Plus I heard you can't enter your dog into shows if he is neutered?

    I was thinking of taking up a hobby one day like lure coursing or something.... does neutering mess their physicality up?

    Yes I am admittingly a novice dog owner so appreciate all constructive feedback!


  • In almost 40 years of breeding and owning a pack of Basenjis, I have never neutered a male. To improve quality of life in extreme old age, I have to admit that I have, reluctantly, spayed two bitches. And another one when my husband broke his neck and I couldn't cope with hospital visiting and seasonal separation/walking. I was already down to just two entire Basenjis at the time and neutered the 9 year old girl. Again, with extreme reluctance.

    If castration really prevented any form of cancer - would you be around today ? Would any of us ?

    No - There are far more reasons why you should NOT castrate than the few nebulous, unproven reasons people argue you should.

    Go to the archives of this forum and find the excellent piece written on the subject by Liz McCargo. If you can't find it, email me privately and I will send it to you.


  • The overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that, absent unusual circumstances, neutering is not a good idea. Neutering reduces the risk of a few cancers but increases the risk of many others. Along with other issues, on balance it's a net negative from a health perspective.

    Neutering can interfere with physical development if done less than a few years old. Otherwise not a big impact AFAIK.

    You can find a brochure that lays out the pros and cons of neutering here: https://shoppuppyculture.com/products/puppy-culture-spay-neuter-booklet You can actually read the booklet online if you want to use the navigation tools.


  • So.... a few decades ago during my bachelor years I came home to discover someone had tried to let themselves in through the kitchen window while I was at work. I went to work and purchased automatic security lighting for the front and back yards, and a rudimentary alarm system. Then I put Electronic Alarm System stickers and Operation Identification stickers on every stinkin' window of the entire house. I put big ol' Neighborhood watch sign in the front window which was right next to the front door, a No Solicitors/No Peddlers sign over the top of the door bell and a Beware of Dog sign on both fences facing the street even though I didn't own a dog. The house said, "GO AWAY!" I remember thinking "Did I miss anything?" Home Depot was just across the street from an animal shelter. Hey! Why not a guard dog too!!

    Went in with my pal just to kill a few minutes... until I saw him. OMG! A blue merle Aussie/Border Collie mix. 10 months old. Had been there for 14 days. He and I fell in love! Called the landlord, begged, coughed up more security deposit and went back to get him before someone else did.

    During check out the guy asks "You want to neuter him, right?" I responded "Nope." He asks why. I told him I hated the idea. I felt like I'd be punishing him for a crime he hadn't committed. He went on to tell me about all the stray puppies in the world, how that was an awful problem, and how I'd be contributing to the problem. I disagreed and told him that my yard was really secure. That he wasn't going to get out and if he did, so what? It's not like he has pockets. He's not bringing any puppies home to my house, so why should I care. I don't see a problem. He was not happy. So, he decided to use a different tactic. "Ya know... it's FREE if you do it now, but if you come back later... it's gonna cost ya." I was deflated. And... I gave in.

    In retrospect he was too young. I should have waited, but... I didn't know. Loved that dog. He made it to 14 and half.

    I'm going to put it off for as long as I can for Logan IF I do it at all. If I can avoid it I will. I will say this... those of us who do have intact doggies really need to make certain we're not contributing to unplanned litters.


  • My dog Valentino, a finished champion, at age 12 is still intact. He has never sired a litter of puppies (one planned litter but circumstances canceled it). If you or the vet is concerned that you are not a responsible pet owner there are alternatives to neutering. I've read where people (many Basenji people included) give their dogs the equivalent of a vasectomy or tubal ligation rather than a full neuter surgery. No fear of puppies and all the hormones are there to insure that the dogs grow properly as they mature.


  • I'm surprised your breeder has suggested neutering, unless there is something in the line they're not admitting to.
    All I can suggest is read, read, read - and make your own mind up.
    Having done the same, my choice would be to leave intact, assuming I ever have another entire dog. Don't forget, once it's done you cannot change your mind.
    Rescues generally see the effects of irresponsible/accidental breeding and act accordingly.
    It's not done to people (more's the pity IMNSHO), so why put your pet through it, just for convenience?
    And make d*mn sure your dog does not get out!


  • @zande Thank you for the response. I guess if you were a breeder you wouldn't have the need to do it, since you want offspring right? I think the other general concerns they say are that the pet might be too aggressive or want to wander to find a mate... Is any of that true you think? Yes please send that article from Liz, I'd like to definitely read it.

    @donc Thank you for providing that link I am going to read through it. Our breeder said to do it at 6 months. I honestly was surprised to read so many here are opposed to it, I thought it was more of a common thing to do. Preventing testicular cancer, and agression, wandering for a mate are the reasons that come to mind.

    @jengosmonkey Yeah I guess preventing strays is always good, but I think making sure your dog is watched is on the owner. Great story share though.

    @senjisilly I never heard of the tubal ligation, interesting... is it safe?

    @vivsos said in Should I neuter my Basenji?:

    I'm surprised your breeder has suggested neutering, unless there is something in the line they're not admitting to.
    All I can suggest is read, read, read - and make your own mind up.
    Having done the same, my choice would be to leave intact, assuming I ever have another entire dog. Don't forget, once it's done you cannot change your mind.
    Rescues generally see the effects of irresponsible/accidental breeding and act accordingly.
    It's not done to people (more's the pity IMNSHO), so why put your pet through it, just for convenience?
    And make d*mn sure your dog does not get out!

    My feeling is she doesn't want someone else potentially having offspring of her breeding... But not sure... any other intentions she might be hiding? Maybe he is carrying the fanconi gene (I think she said some of her puppies are carriers but would never develop it... but could pass it on). However I think she requires this of all her dogs.


  • @cognition remind me of your email address via messaging and I will send it.

    Castration at an early age is harmful, does nothing to stop aggression if it is there in the dog, and if one can't be responsible enough to stop a boy from wandering, I would question if a dog should be in that household / ownership


  • @cognition - Carriers if bred to a Carrier can produce Fanconi Afflicted pups. It is recommended that Carriers only be bred to Clear. Same with PRA (causes blindness and like Fanconi is late onset). Many breeders in the US put in their contracts that pups be spayed/neutered at a certain age unless used for breeding. If you have a bitch in season, you might find all kinds of dogs in your neighbor "trying" to visit and they are very good at getting in... When my girls are in season we would have a 12yr old Lab from 3 blocks away that would stalk the house and only when the girls were in season. A person that I worked with had a male and female GSD. When the bitch was in season they locked her in the garage, the male "ate" the door down to get to her.... 8 puppies later.... And in the US it is a fact that there are puppy mills and people that have puppies only to make money. In the end, it is a personal choice... I do breed and for pet puppies I do recommend spay/neuter but not till over 1yr. Again, it is a breeder choice to include this in their contracts. If a person is interested in breeding then I stay on as a co-owner. I know that this is not the common thing in other countries... as I said, it is breeders choice. This one reason that the US has so many shelter dogs...


  • Note also in the US, that many non-responsible breeders that breed for money or sell to pet stores (puppymills/BackYard Breeders), do not care if people interested in Basenji really know the breed or why they think a Basenji would be a fit to their family....... so they breed and sell regardless, they will not take back the pups they produce and sell... so many are place on line to be sold... no health testing, no socialization, raised outside in kennels... then people trying to get their money back try to sell on line... because they believe what is on line...


  • @jengosmonkey said in Should I neuter my Basenji?:

    I'm going to put it off for as long as I can for Logan IF I do it at all. If I can avoid it I will. I will say this... those of us who do have intact doggies really need to make certain we're not contributing to unplanned litters.

    So nice to hear about your great experience with your shelter dog. Sounds wonderful.

    Where I am the only dogs that run free are the lost ones (contractor leaves gate open, child leaves garage door open, etc), and they are quickly reunited with their owners. And since it takes two to tango, one loose dog is hardly going to result in puppies.

    Not as if it would be a bad thing if it did. Again, where I am shelters have no dogs. They are just plain empty. And even going to Mexico or the Bahamas -- which they do -- won't change that.

    Cats are an entirely different issue. Bad situation with feral cats.

    In thinking about it, I've never heard of an unwanted litter other than from breeders. Can happen with breeders because they have multiple dogs.


  • @cognition

    I was incorrect about preventing pregnancy in females. Probably read too many posts about male dogs having vasectomies. Females, rather than have a complete or ovariohysterectomy, they have a procedure that leaves the ovaries intact and just remove the uterus. Interesting articles on the subject. Studies have shown that in both humans and dogs, females that retain their ovaries live longer than those that have had them removed.


  • @cognition

    .... Our breeder said we should neuter him and I read the main reason is that they don't contract testicular cancer.

    Most breeders, especially the responsible ones, have conditions or requirements in their contracts re: spaying/neutering. Please refer to the link below for more scientific details on cancer and dog spaying/neutering.

    ... Plus I heard you can't enter your dog into shows if he is neutered?

    That is correct for showing, also known as Conformity competition.

    I was thinking of taking up a hobby one day like lure coursing or something.... does neutering mess their physicality up?

    Once again, I'd suggest you check out the link below. It has scientific research to dispel many neutering myths. Liz McCargo's article uses it as a reference, BTW.

    Here is a brief but very thorough booklet discussing the pros and cons of neutering/spaying, more science based than anecdotal.
    https://my.puppyculture.co.uk/resources/flipbook/spay-neuter-booklet/
    Good luck with your decision.


  • @helle-devi - You can't show in AKC conformation with a spayed/neutered dog (in the US) some countries have separate conformation classes for "altered" dogs. In the US UKC shows (different than AKC) has altered classes also.
    Spay/neuter will not mess their physicality for coursing... or any other activity.


  • @tanza Right, I understand from a breeder's perspective why they don't want their pups they give away to procreate without them... but I don't plan on breeding my pup I just want him to grow as healthy as possible. If neutering could impact this it really bothers me.

    @helle-devi Yes our breeder had the same thing in the contract... but I am wondering if that's for her benefit and not the dogs? Seems like most people are saying not to neuter on here which I was very surprised to read.

    I am surprised no one who has neutered their dog responded 😞 I thought I'd get a lot of people encouraging it... I'll really read the links provided. Thanks all!


  • @cognition - My contract for pet puppies state that spay/neuter is required. What is different is the timing... and 90% of pet people do not want to have an intact dog/bitch.... I neutered my first male at 4yrs because we had bitches intact in the house and we decided that I would not be using him...


  • @cognition you didn't send me your email address via messaging privately so I have not been able to forward you Liz McCargo' s piece. It spells out reasons not to neuter, for health and development. I think you would find it most helpful.

    People who have recently neutered puppies will not yet know of adverse effects. Which is probably why nobody has responded. Or they may be regretting their actions.

    Again, @tanza has the right of it. Timing is everything. Certainly you should never even consider neutering before hormonal and structural development - and not before 3 or 4 years old. By that time you should have realised that having an entire basenji just means vigilance for a few weeks once a year.

    Over here we possibly have a different mindset. I always insisted my puppies NOT be neutered, and never sold to any one with that in mind. Late in life to improve quality is one thing. Cutting a dog for the owner's convenience is another.


  • @cognition said in Should I neuter my Basenji?:

    I am surprised no one who has neutered their dog responded

    I made it clear to my pups breeder that I wanted my pup to be spayed. As an "older adult" I recognized that I lacked the knowledge to be a breeder myself, didn't have a desire to learn about breeding, and (generally) wanted a puppy as a companion. As it turns out, the girl they picked for me was a Fanconi Carrier, which means that she could have passed Fanconi on to her own pups, and only made the decision to spay her more responsible. She was 18 months old when she was spayed. I have never regretted my choice. ♥ my baby girll!


  • @elbrant - She could have only passed Fanconi to her pups if the Sire was a Carrier or Affected. Carrier to Clear the pups would either be Carrier or Clear and would not get Fanconi.


  • @elbrant said in Should I neuter my Basenji?:

    was a Fanconi Carrier, which means that she could have passed Fanconi on to her own pups,

    Absolute nonsense ! Unless the dog she was bred to was also a carrier. And then you would have had a 50/50 chance of producing an Affected. However, Affected does NOT mean afflicted.

    Very far from all the dogs DNA tested 'affected' actually become afflicted.

    And with due care there was no need to for her to be bred anyway. You wanted a companion, you got a companion, that you maybe inadvertently shortened the time you have together, we shall never know.

    I honestly cannot get my head around the frequent mutilation of healthy dogs just for the convenience of their owners. In Europe the tendency is to keep the dogs entire and be careful.

Suggested Topics

  • 3
  • 16
  • 27
  • 13
  • 4
  • 13