From The Blog, From The Expert

When is the best age to spay or castrate your dog?

Extract: Effective Options Regarding Spay or Neuter of Dogs
Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Published 7 July 2020  

Research Topic
Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs: Associated Joint Disorders, Cancers, and Urinary Incontinence

There has been much indecision with regard to when it is considered the best time to neuter your male or female dog.

“Neutering of male and female dogs in the first year after birth has become routine in the US and much of Europe, but recent research reveals that for some dog breeds, neutering may be associated with increased risks of debilitating joint disorders and some cancers.”

Frontiers in Veterinary Science

The new study’s goal, which represented 15 years of data for most breeds, expanded previous studies on the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd Dog. The study included the same data collection and analyses to cover an additional 29 breeds, plus three varieties of Poodles.

It found:

“There were major breed differences in vulnerability to neutering, both with regard to joint disorders and cancers.”

This article covers the pure breeds most commonly used in creating Poodle crosses, such as Cockapoos, Cavapoos, Labradoodles and Golden Doodles. The following are the suggested castrating guidelines:


Toy Poodle: personal choice
Miniature Poodle: beyond 11 months
Standard Poodle: beyond 23 months
Golden Retriever: beyond 11 months
Labrador Retriever: beyond 6 months
Cocker Spaniel: beyond 6 months
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: personal choice


Toy Poodle: personal choice
Miniature Poodle: personal choice
Standard Poodle: personal choice
Golden Retriever: leave intact
Labrador Retriever: beyond 11 months
Cocker Spaniel: beyond 23 months
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: personal choice

Follow this link for the full table.

Dog Body Size

Vulnerability to joint disorders associated with neutering was found to be generally related to body size. Small-dog breeds did not appear to have an increased risk in joint disorders with neutering compared to the breeds of larger sizes. 

Miniature Poodles & Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

“Lacking a noticeable occurrence of increased joint disorders or cancers in neutered females, those wishing to neuter should decide on the appropriate age.”

Miniature Poodles: The occurrences of cancers in intact males were 2 percent and zero for intact females. For both sexes neutering was not associated with any increase in this measure.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: In intact males and females, there was a 5 and zero percent occurrence of cancers, respectively. There was no indication of increased cancer occurrence related to neutering in either sex. 

Cocker Spaniels

The suggested guideline for males is neutering beyond 6 months of age. Given the increased cancer risk for females spayed at a year of age, the suggested guideline is delaying spaying until beyond 2 years of age.

Original article edited by Natali Krekeler, The University of Melbourne, Australia.

Original article reviewed by Andreas Pospischil, University of Zurich, Switzerland and Ottmar Distl, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany.

To read the full article please follow this link

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