==> Dog Spaying/Neutering - a controversial topic!

See here a discussion of the Pros and Cons based on facts, not opinions

GSD Spaying and Neutering

Here we will bring all the details whether and when, and how and where to alter your dog, but let's first start with some interesting statistics.

So far, 94% of members who entered their dog data (see 'update subscription preferences' below every email) - thank you again! - have a GSD (or even two), while 6% don't yet have a GSD.

Of all those who have a GSD, 10% secured their German Shepherd when the dog was already altered. This means that 90% of GSD owners were confronted with the often difficult decision whether to have spayed their female German Shepherd or to have neutered their male German Shepherd (broadly called altering a dog).

This decision is difficult in case your dog is still young. But the older the dog, the more unlikely becomes its alteration anyway, see below.

35% of members who entered the dog birth date have a GSD that's older than 2 years. Of these GSDs, 23% are not altered, 16% were received altered, and for the vast majority of adult GSDs our members had at some point decided to alter their dog.

For many others of you this decision is still pending, because you got a GSD puppy that is not yet altered.

This MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL will do both: Help you decide, and reassure you of the decision you have already taken.

Subsequently, we first discuss the Pros and Cons of altering your German Shepherd. Since some Pros and Cons may depend on when you have your dog altered, we will discuss the right timing as well. Finally, we also address how/where to have spaying/neutering done, the cost involved, and available help.

Pros and Cons of altering your dog

  • Health benefits and risks
  • Behavior benefits and risks
  • Financial benefits and risks
  • Preventing maltreatment and euthanasia

1. Health benefits and risks

Spaying your female German Shepherd before her first heat almost entirely eliminates her risk to develop mammary cancer and ovarian cancer, which are fatal for every second dog!

First GSD heat can be as early as age 4 months, hence spaying must be done towards the end of month 3. However, no earlier than month 3, because female puppies may be more likely to experience urinary incontinence if spayed before three months of age.

This leaves a very short window of opportunity for optimal conditions for spaying your female German Shepherd: The 4 weeks between 3 months and 4 months of age!

Neutering your male German Shepherd before 6 months of age reliably prevents testicular cancer, which again is fatal for every second dog! And where it's not fatal, the costs of treatment are prohibitive for most dog owners. This we will discuss in more detail later under 'Financial benefits and risks'.

There exist no indications for male puppies to experience urinary incontinence if neutered before three months of age (as it does for female puppies).

Both spaying and neutering also significantly reduce the risk of bladder infections, and spaying significantly reduces the risk of uterine infections too.

In addition, female German Shepherds typically get into heat 3 times a year, so roughly every four months, for 5 to 21 days. Whether or not they can find a mate during these periods, each heat puts significant stress onto the female dog. Less stress than pregnancy, but still, significant stress!

In a different MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL we specifically address the impact of stress on the quality of life and lifespan of your GSD, and the extent may surprise you! Here, we can only say that if you merely appreciate the companionship of your GSD, or if you even love your GSD, you will certainly want to limit stress for your dog as much as you can!

Finally, a third of all German Shepherds above age 5 years are obese! In some places, like for example most parts of the USA, this rate is much higher. The highest risk to develop Obesity is between year 5 and year 8. Spaying and neutering significantly reduce the likelihood that your dog will develop Obesity later in life.

What does spaying/neutering actually involve?

The surgical procedure of neutering your male GSD involves that the vet makes an incision in front of the scrotum, removes both testicles, and then stitches the incision. With a male GSD puppy (pediatric neutering), this procedure is very easy and quick, thus you normally get your neutered male German Shepherd pup home with you the same day.

The surgical procedure of spaying your female GSD involves that the vet makes an incision in the abdominal wall, removes the uterus and ovaries (important!), and then stitches the incision. This procedure is more complicated, and even a spayed female German Shepherd puppy may need to stay at the vet/clinic overnight (hence the higher price, see further below).

After the surgery you should observe a few points to ensure your dog recovers well. These are nicest presented in this Post Altering Care video:

Health - in summary:

Resorting to facts only:

  • early spaying (exactly between age 3 to 4 months, see above why) is not controversial.
  • early neutering (before 4 months of age) is slightly controversial, because the dog may grow a bit taller and a bit slimmer, with a bit less muscle development.

This does not amount to developing the shape, strength, or behavior characteristics of a female dog; the male dog does remain a male dog (shape-, strength- and behavior-wise), he will just not be as much muscular as he would be without early neutering, because the hormones that lead to muscle development during the growth period are more limited.

Indeed, this one point refering to the male dog is the only factual concern about early altering during growth, called pediatric altering. However, you may have come across a lot of myths, so let's address those as well.

Altering myths:

  • Early spaying/neutering would lead to certain cancers
  • Altering a puppy 'cannot be good'
  • Altering would be 'against nature/unethical'
  • Dogs would get lazy
  • Depriving a female dog of the joy of pregnancy would be 'unfair'
  • Neutering would disqualify a GSD showdog

Development of cancers?

[wpsharely id="4431"]

This is the most widespread myth on the internet - because frankly, the internet has given anyone the opportunity to post anything, and most people prefer the ease of copying over the effort of research! Thus when just one person posts nonsense, it is being proliferated across the internet by the thousands within a mere days. The problem here is that most anyones who post on the internet are poorly educated bloggers (this includes almost every breeder!).

To make it short, most of these claims (development of cancers) are copies of a single what's called uncontrolled 'study' where the vets concluded that the cancer that certain dogs developed later in life was due to their earlier altering. Fact however is that both the proportion of dogs that developed cancer, and the types of cancer that they developed, are entirely typical for unaltered dogs too!

In other words, the pediatric altering had no influence on either the proportion of dogs that developed cancer later in life, nor on the types of cancer that they developed.

BUT: The number of cases of mammary cancer, ovarian cancer, and testicular cancer was substantially smaller for the group that had undergone pediatric altering. In other words: Pediatric altering reduces the overall risk of dogs to develop a form of cancer.

Since the year 2000 several comprehensive, controlled studies have independently confirmed that pediatric spaying/neutering of dogs (including German Shepherds) showed no undesirable health implications but did show the significant health benefits mentioned above.

Not good for a puppy?

Further to the above, consider this: For the past 30 years(!) vets and clinics have been safely performing pediatric de-sex surgeries for dog shelters. Any shelter pup that weighs at least 2 pounds has to be spayed/neutered. This has never brought any problem to light, but enormous benefits (eg much less dogs in high-kill kennels)!

Do you really think that shelters would continue with pediatric altering if it were accepted fact that this increases the risk to develop cancers? Of course not! They do it because it is accepted fact that pediatric altering limits the number of dogs that suffer and then die in shelters and high-kill kennels (or are maltreated at people's homes and silently killed in the backyard).

Far more dogs die due to abuse and euthanasia than due to cancers! Millions of dog owners in the world have adopted shelter dogs in the past decades and continue to do so, and there are no reports that they "frequently have to adopt a new shelter dog because the prior early-altered shelter dog already died of cancer". The mere thought is ridiculous.

Many dogs (like many people) die of cancer, yes. And obviously (and thankfully!) some of these dogs had been altered early. But of course this does not mean they developed cancer due to early altering. Uneducated people often draw a correlation between two figures where there is only coincidence. Much more likely, the dogs developed cancer because for years they had been fed processed dog food 'fortified' with all sorts of chemical additives!

Against nature/unethical?

This argument actually only arises because we humans have domesticated the dogs. In the wild, dogs would (and do) get controlled in number by nature: Where in a given geography too many litters lead to dog overpopulation, soon new predators and diseases reduce the dog population to healthier levels.

Since we humans have interfered with nature when we domesticated the dogs, we must now also control their numbers ourselves.

This aside, no one will deny that it is unethical to allow more litters of domesticated dogs than there are people willing to make those dogs a loved part of their home!

Conversely, it is entirely ethical to ensure that every new litter finds a sufficient number of willing and loving dog owners, so that no puppy and no adult dog ends up in high kill kennels or dog rescue centers, and that no puppy and no adult dog is secretly killed 'in the backyard' or abused!

Therefore, it is indeed in the dogs' own best interest to prevent all unwanted/unplanned pregnancies! To spay/neuter all dogs that are not 100% wanted to produce a new litter where each of the litter mates is wanted by at least one dog owner.

Those wanted dogs would then be the dogs that are healthy, have no known hereditary diseases, and have the behavioral characteristics that dog owners are looking for and appreciate. A Win-Win for everyone concerned.

Dogs get lazy?

Other than genetics, the activity levels of dogs depend solely on:

  • what and how much you feed them
  • what and how much exercise they get
  • and how they are being treated by their owners or handlers

Spaying/neutering has however an influence on the temperament of dogs! This we will discuss further below.

Joy of pregnancy?

Believing that your dog will be 'happy' having a litter is a complete misconception. Do not associate human ideas and feelings with those of your GSD. From the period of searching for mates during heat, to mating, to pregnancy, to birthing, to breastfeeding, to cleaning the litter (a full-time job on its own!) - each step of this means health risks and enormous stress for a dog.

Mating and pregnancy is not 'joy' for a dog! This is easy to observe: Both the female and the male dog instinctively do only the minimum, what's necessary, at each step. They try to get away from it as quickly and as much as they can!

For example, even after birthing the female dog will care for her litter as much as her genetics require her to do instinctively, but she will go away from the litter as often as possible: Where she feels the (professional) breeder is no threat to their survival she will 'happily' leave her litter with the breeder.

Disqualifying a Show Dog?

If you wish your German Shepherd to become a show dog to perform in contests, this is no reason not to get him neutered as a puppy - if you value your dog more than the judge (whom you don't even know!). No judge can disqualify your GSD if you got him testicular implants like those from Neuticles for example. If you choose the model with epididymis, the judge cannot even notice a difference to an unaltered dog!

Sadly, dog owners who are under the spell of 'rules' of some sort of assumed 'authority' (which they wouldn't even want to be friends with!) value a trophy or rank for their dog (or a 'yellow or red card' from the 'authority') higher than they value their own dog. Those (thankfully few) dog owners will not want to do the above. They have more respect for exactly those breeders and 'judges' who gave us the frod (frogdog) that you will see in an upcoming Periodical, than they have respect for their own dog's health and well-being. :-(

All I am saying: It is your choice. You are your dog's destiny.

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!

2. Behavior benefits and risks


  • Prevents pregnancies and related complications
  • Substantially reduces dog-dog aggression
  • Makes the dog calmer, more relaxed - unneutered male dogs and unspayed female dogs that are not able to mate experience frustration, which can even lead to aggression towards their pack leader: you!
  • Substantially reduces behaviors like marking (territory and pregnancy), 'object' guarding, and mounting (on your leg or your friends')
  • Substantially reduces digging, jumping up, barking, whining, and attention-seeking
  • No desire to roam away from home
  • Cuts your dog's risk to get injured or killed in traffic or in fights with other dogs by up to 90%!
  • Spayed/neutered dogs focus their attention on their family pack, ie on you; they don't get distracted by their sex drive because it is eliminated
  • Accordingly, good guard and protection dogs are always altered!

So, if you get or got a German Shepherd for protection purposes (guarding your family and/or belongings), there's no way around getting your GSD altered anyway!

There are no known behavior risks or drawbacks that relate to pediatric altering. Dogs neither change their sex due to pediatric spaying/neutering, nor is there a change in 'male' or 'female' behavior characteristics other than the desirable changes mentioned above.

This is because, with pediatric spaying/neutering before age 4 months there is no experience and hence no memory of sex-drive related behavior in the first place. Since there is no such memory, there is no instinctive fallback to any such behavior.

Conversely, if you alter later (an adolescent or adult dog), the dog can show temporary behavioral changes other than the desirable ones mentioned above, particularly in the first 3 to 12 months after the surgical intervention an increase in aggression - both towards animals and towards humans/you!

With the right dog training and puppy training this can be controlled immediately, however since most dog owners don't know enough about the right dog training approach, it is not uncommon to hear complaints about aggression in GSDs that were spayed/neutered late (after the first heat/mounting attempts, ie for many dogs after about age 4 months).

A few statistics again

1 in 6 of our members who have a GSD decided to alter their dog when it was older than 2 years. Only 1 in 17 of our members decided to alter their dog when it was younger than 2 months (or 8 weeks). Although such early neutering is okay for male GSDs, it is not advisable for female GSDs (see above).

Every fourth member decided to alter their dog after age 4 months but before age 6 months, so during month 4 and 5. Those members may need to pay particular attention to the right dog training to ensure that the dog's experience and memory of the first heat/mounting drive does not build up latent aggression!

3. Financial benefits and risks

The cost of getting your dog altered is much lower than the cost of any single one of the following:

  • Pregnancy, incl. feeding and maintenance cost, deworming and vaccination cost
  • Treatment of a dog that develops cancer types that are avoidable through spaying/neutering
  • Treatment of a bladder infection (they are typically chronic!)
  • Treatment of injuries sustained in traffic accidents or dog fights resulting from roaming away from home

Each of these are significant financial risks for you as dog owner if you don't alter your dog. Saving the cost for any or all of these by neutering/spaying your dog can be a huge financial benefit for you.

Another financial benefit that most dog owners overlook is that most pet insurance companies will give you a significant discount on annual fees if you decide in favor of pediatric spaying/neutering (because then they save huge payouts for complications that arise with unaltered dogs, hence part of these savings they pass on to you).

What is the cost of altering?

In the USA, which is the most expensive region for spaying/neutering your dog, some vets and certainly clinics want to charge US$250 - US$1000 or more(!) for spaying your female GSD, and US$150 (or up to US$300 at an upmarket vet) for neutering your male GSD.

However, there are ways to reduce these amounts to a fraction.

Available help

  • First enquire at your local authority (council or local government) and at your local dog rescue center or humane society (in your country of living), and say that you wish to get your dog spayed/neutered.
  • They can refer you to a good vet or clinic that will charge a fraction of the above amounts. For example, even in some of the most expensive states in the USA you might pay no more than US$50. In some countries or local communities you may even be able to get it for free, for example if you live in the UK in a council or county that bears high cost for stray dogs and euthanasia.
  • Some of these authorities and institutions will be willing to subsidise the cost of surgery, because this is in their own interest: to limit stray dogs, dog overpopulation, and dog problems in the community that result from the behavior of unaltered dogs (see above).
  • If you live in the USA, the ASPCA with its Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Provider Database is a good point of contact too. Similarly SpayUSA. Alternatively, you can consider to buy a Spay/Neuter Certificate from Friends of Animals that allows you to get your dog spayed/neutered at participating vets for as little as US$90/US$64. In this case however, I would first check with your chosen vet if they accept that certificate (and if the vet meets your specific requirements, if you have any).

Make the calls and check the websites as mentioned above, and you should be able to get your dog altered for a very affordable price (especially if you consider the cost of not doing it)!

4. Preventing maltreatment and euthanasia

Altering all GSD puppies and adult GSDs that are not specifically wanted (and health- and behavior-wise desirable!) for breeding purposes, is the single best approach to prevent maltreatment and euthanasia!

Although the German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds, globally tens of thousands of GSDs annually end up in high kill kennels and rescue centers, because there are simply too many German Shepherds (and certainly too many GSDs with inbred hereditary diseases and temperament issues)!

Because there are so many unaltered German Shepherds, there are so many unwanted German Shepherds

The problem really is:

Every year, more GSDs are born than wanted!

This is because dog population growth is far quicker than human population growth, and hence far quicker than the increase in the number of people who want a dog - and who want a German Shepherd.

So, even if every newborn human in the world wanted a GSD, and could handle it (they can not!), still there would be many more newborn GSDs than anyone wants, than anyone can handle.

This is because, on average, every single GSD pregnancy means eight more GSDs. German Shepherd litter size can be anywhere between 4 to 13(!), and although the average litter size of registered breeding GSDs was 6.6 in a study performed by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the overall average (including the much higher number of unregistered 'backyard' GSDs) is considerably higher:

Some irresponsible backyard breeders (byb) and puppy mills focus their sole attention on means to increase the litter size and to force their female GSDs to churn out two litters a year - with the aim to make more money from their dogs.

Since the majority of German Shepherds in the world are of course not AKC-registered (and not even bred by established professional breeders but by backyard breeders and puppy mills), the overall average litter size of eight GSDs certainly is a conservative estimate:

Having studied many litter photos where backyard breeders advertized their new offering, I never saw any litter with less than 6 puppies, but I did see litters with up to 13 puppies! Conversely, the pregnancies in the AKC study produced a range from 4 to 9 pups only.

The following image shows at a glance how fast German Shepherd overpopulation is galloping, even if we use the following very conservative assumptions:

  • average litter size of only 8 (so less than the observed number that includes unregistered GSDs)
  • the female GSD produces only one litter a year (so again less than the actual number)
  • and cross-breeding (GSD with another breed) is not considered - although in reality this results in even more dogs

Now dare take a look at the galloping GSD population based on these very conservative assumptions:

German Shepherd overpopulation
German Shepherd overpopulation
How fast GSD population grows

The figures are of course more exact than the image:

GSD overpopulation in figures

Now, there are only two reasons why we haven't seen each two German Shepherds becoming 1,250 German Shepherds within just four years! The first reason is a gruelling thought but also gruelling fact, and the second reason is what this MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL is about:

1) Many GSDs end up with people who don't want them and/or who cannot handle them - and thus end up in 'backyard' killings and high kill kennels! (This is the gruelling fact)

2) At least some dog owners get their GSD altered. Thank you. (This is our topic here, hurray!)

Whether you like it or not, this is the truth of German Shepherd overpopulation. And generally, of all 'popular pet' overpopulation. The GSD is very popular, hence GSD overpopulation is a real problem.

Anyone who truly loves the German Shepherd dog (or just dogs in general) will want to put an end to this:

that more dogs are born than wanted!

Putting an end to this means, spaying the female and neutering the male dog!

This is what a Top dog expert says:
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!

For health and behavior reasons (see above), choose pediatric altering: If you haven't yet, get your male pup neutered anytime between age 6 weeks and before 4 months, and get your female pup spayed exactly during the 4 weeks before age 4 months.

Here's a final image to help you remember this:

Optimal time for spaying a dog or neutering a dog


Checklist * (see note at the bottom)

  • Pros of altering your dog
    • Health benefits
    • Behavior benefits
    • Financial benefits
    • Preventing maltreatment and euthanasia
  • For all four groups of reasons, it is very wise to get your female dog spayed and get your male dog neutered!
  • Resorting to facts only and leaving myths aside: Optimal time for spaying your female German Shepherd: Only the 4 weeks between 3 months and 4 months of age! Optimal time for neutering your male German Shepherd: anytime between age 6 weeks and end of month 3!
  • This is called pediatric altering
  • The cost can be anywhere between US$50 to over US$1,000 - but in some local communities with massive dog overpopulation it may even be free!
  • To cut the cost to a fraction, first enquire at your local authority (council or local government) and at your local dog rescue center or humane society (in your country of living); also see the other available help listed above
  • Note: Because there are so many unaltered German Shepherds, there are so many unwanted German Shepherds! Dog population growth and dog overpopulation is a massive problem: Every year more GSDs are born than wanted
  • On average, every single GSD pregnancy means eight more GSDs (average litter size). Even under very conservative assumptions, each two German Shepherds today become 1,250 German Shepherds within just four years!! - Most of them have to end up in high kill kennels (euthanasia)
  • Anyone who truly loves the German Shepherd dog (or just dogs in general), will want to put an end to this: that more GSDs are born than wanted
  • Spay/Neuter every GSD - unless for health and behavior reasons, the dog is specifically wanted to improve the breed


==> Next edition: GSD and Children - Best Practice <==

Miguel at 28w Can you give back a bit today?



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  65 Site Comments, ZERO SPAM Add one


    i must commend how accurate and very informative this article is. i would suggest all gsd owners read it


      This article is in desperate need of an update.
      Many increased cancer rates have been linked to early neutering, as well as greatly increased rates of hip displaysia and other joint problems. Several studies have proven this, while none PROVE any of the supposed health benefits that comes from removing these vital organs.
      It is in fact against nature to remove the organs of an animal. If it was a natural necessity, they'd be born without them. Yes, there is benefits in that it's convenient... and of course it prevents testicular cancer. While we're at it, why not remove the dog's brain so he can't develop brain cancer? There's a reason many countires do not perform this procedure and consider it mutilation.
      Without the sex hormones to close the growth plates when the dog is genetically programmed to do so, the bones will continue to lengthen and mature into a longer, thinner and ultimately weaker structure.
      More studies are surfacing linking many behavioural problems with early neutering as well.
      While I understand that the pet population is a problem, articles and advertisements like these are targetting the wrong people. It's the irresponsible pet owners that breed them for profit or neglect or can't afford to seek veterinary care for their pet thus leading to litter after litter. Pushing neutering isn't going to change the minds of these people.

      In the mean time, outdated articles like these encourage the responsible pet owners to rush to have completed an unfortunate surgery that will ultimately harm their pets health. Speak to a holistic veterinarian or check out articles that are backed by more research like Mercolapets.


        Outdated? It's newer than anything you mention, C.
        Had only you read this with an open mind instead of bias, you would have understood that you merely copy what others say who copied from others they don't even know and haven't read. :idea:

        I've read it all, the controlled studies I mean. Not the gossip. Gossip? "While we’re at it, why not remove the dog’s brain so he can’t develop brain cancer?"
        I counter: Why not implant brain into certain humans, so that they have a bit?

        Had you only read the shelter argument above, just that one alone(!), you would have started to THINK before copying what you flew thru elsewhere.

        And exactly that is the reason for pet overpopulation = euthanasia: That too many like you, C., simply copy what they picked up somewhere on a whim, and so they further disseminate the wrongs, and others follow that simplicity and don't alter their dogs either. :-|

        I can only hope that some day rather soon you'll go through this without bias. And then disseminate your newly found insight as much as you currently disseminate the old.


    I have my kennel listed on this site and I would like information on how to edit and list my upcoming litter please


    Hi Colleen,

    That should go under
    GSD Breeders > Breeder Self-Portraits

    Didn't you see that on the site?


    my gsd female was spayed at six months by the vet clinic here. I haven't had any problems w/her at all except for she thinks she is top dog/alpha most of the time....smiles...no urinary incontenance or anything like that. She has "not" gained any weight as she stays active almost all day "running the fence line" like most gsd's do. In fact i cannot get her to gain weight no matter what i feed her/canned/dry food(science diet-large breed).


    Hi Tim,

    I see you mention only getting a dog/puppy for a shelter or a "Professional Dog Breeders" what exactly constitutes a "Professional Dog Breeder"?



      I could have written "reputable breeder", which is what I mean with "professional breeder". I admit that many people take the term "professional" as in "making money with" (which would include all byb). But I used the term "professional" as in "certified" (like in "professional services" = lawyers, accountants,...).

      So who's a "reputable" or "professional/certified" German Shepherd breeder? I would still go by this: How to find the best German Shepherd breeders.
      Following that process, everyone looking for a quality dog should find it!

      Yeah right, so what's a "quality dog" then?
      I'd say a quality dog is a dog with no hereditary diseases and with excellent temperament.

      So what's "excellent temperament" supposed to mean, I hear you asking?
      I'd say, this depends on your personal preferences. Some people want a really energetic working dog, others a calm family dog, others have small kids and want maybe the most gentle GSD they can find, others require a protection dog,....

      Speaking to the breeder, observing the dam AND sire(!) for a while, looking at the papers, talking to the local GSD club or at least kennel club, potentially even interviewing reference clients from the breeder, this and much more (see the article) can give all the info you need to determine if the dog's temperament is what you are looking for.


    Tim, our gorgeous baby, Ella 6 months. I'm no brain of Britain, so much info in above I'm confused. We want her to continue to have happy fun life for as long as possible. Would you have her spayed nowish ? Thanks for advise, Hazel


      Hazel, for a dog to have a "happy fun life" the dog does NOT need to breed! For females pregnancy is pure stress (health-wise too)! Exactly if you want a "happy fun life" for her, by all means get her spayed straight away. Okay?

      I thought I made this very clear in the Periodical, no?


    This is great info. I run a rescue and get German Shepherds in all the time. Yes even show quality dogs. I also get people giving me a hard time about pediatric spay and neuter and you have great info that I intend to share with people. I also have people that want a second dog that do not have their first dog altered so again I will use this info. Thanks for educating people!


    I recently adopted a GSD from the Humane Society, by medical records 1 yr old. Unfortunately, her medical records were inaccurate about her being spade. Beyond the marking, blood, and posturing; she's been so aggressive towards my 10 yr old golden female and me, that I have been forced to lock her in another room at times. My question is, after spaying (already scheduled) how long before she tones down and the hormones settle?


      Maida, if she's around 1 yr she's had 2 or 3 heats already, so after spaying it will indeed take a while before her aggression fades. How long, depends on many factors. Maybe between 4 weeks and half a year. BUT: What you did was actually right, IF you isolated her the way I described. Did you?

      The four weeks are achievable if you consistently apply the guidance I published. If not, she WILL have flashbacks, because she's had the experience and so the memories of several heats already!
      I am "surprised" that the humane society didn't get her records right. They must have noticed that she isn't spayed.


    I'm really sorry but I am woefully ignorant about all this and have no idea how to access the periodicals now. Does this mean I need to set up a Facebook account and then find you out there?


      Sorry Bill. No, I don't have facebook either, ha! And for the site we had outsourced a page creation a year ago, but that dodgy person took the money without doing any work. So: No facebook here at all. Just the tweet account, with the occasional tweet for the site. No gplus either. I guess I am too old for all that, yeah!

      BUT: The spammers are such a nightmare! Tell me how to get rid of them, and I am happy to make the social share voluntary again immediately. But not with working 3hrs a day on spam!!! I have a life too. All this here is free, remember. That attracts the spammers! But that doesn't mean I let them steal my life time. Surely you understand.

      While waiting for (your) ideas, I'll also ask the sw programmer if they know a workaround for members (a la "must be logged in"??)
      You know why our members don't spam? Because spammers hate to fill out a long subscription form. Clever hm? (they don't see it's voluntary - yet).


    I still don't know how to access the periodicals. When I click on the link from the e-mail and it brings me to this page it says the content is locked, and nothing I click on opens it up - how do I unlock it?


      Bill, they open up after a simple & quick share via one of the three offered social networks.

      However, due to many reported problems with facebook shares, I have (for now) also allowed time lapse to open them up - until the webmaster has made sure that all social media channels work for everyone.


    Tim, your article was directly on point and very well put together. We got our Nike spayed by our vet when she was 6 months and our Chance neutered at 6 months without any issues. Both dogs eat well without gaining a significant amount of weight, are very happy (confirmed by their tails wagging at times painfully for our legs...lol), and are socially very happy constantly playing. We love our dogs and never considered not getting them altered, and when we found out about the health benefits of altering we couldn't get them to the vet quick enough. Our vet was very reasonable and here in the states an altered dog gets a discount on a yearly tag fee. We make sure our dogs are healthy with up to date shots and annual checkups, eat well with quality food, have tags and microchips to ensure that if by some accident they get lost they can be returned home quickly; so why wouldn't you want to keep them healthy and happy by having them altered.


      Thanks Ken. I am glad it wasn't too late for your dogs! Watch out for potential bladder infections of your dogs (is common side effect of late spaying/neutering).

      Re/ "up-to-date shots": Recent clinical studies showed that vaccination boosters do more harm than good! (yes, I know, "but everyone recommends it"... - but you want to do it right)
      If you don't mind the (marginal) extra cost, have a titer test done before your scheduled next vaccination. The result is likely to surprise both, you and your vet...!
      Without doubt, it will take decades before the majority of internet sources are updated re/ sensible vaccinations.
      I have updated all vaccination advice in my books (I hope, so many now, ha!), but I am unsure how many customers make use of the "free update" feature.

      Again, thanks for your detailed feedback!


    Great article on Spaying & Neutering. After reading it, I was glad that we had both of our Female GSD's spayed at an early age. Both of the "girls" are healthy and doing very well. Thanks for all of your hard work in putting together a wonderful periodical and for sharing your expertise with us all!
    Larry S.


    Wondered what you thought about the new article from the ASPCA noting that " spaying early can stunt bone growth, (and the worst claim of these studies say) it can also cause higher risk of three major cancers".? I'm reading more of this as they are doing more studies. I wanted to know if we ignore possible new data? Thanks.....


      Quite the contrary, those *claims* are old-time, Matt. Didn't I make that clear enough above? I thought I did. Both points. Plus, animal shelters have been altering puppies for decades, without problems. But I mentioned that as well.

      Yes, with pediatric altering, the male dog will grow a bit slimmer (I mentioned that as well), but this can (and should) easily be compensated for through a proper diet and exercise regime.

      MUCH more critical than the worry about "less muscular" (primarily spread by ill-led dog breeders and show participants) is the clinical fact that both female and male dogs that have been altered later account for the bulk of canine diseases that emerge from as early as 5 years of age (cancers, arthritis, etc) and almost all dog behavior problems!

      What worries me with many breeders (and even some dog owners and a couple of scientists) is that they are unable - or unwilling(?) - to differentiate between (the often personal) individual anecdotal "evidence" of diseases in early altered dogs and the shattering amount of controlled studies (and shelter-altered dogs!) that indicate that early altering prevents far more diseases and behavior problems than it creates.

      It is very simple when someone knows of a handful of dogs that say died early of cancer to jump to the erroneous conclusion: "this happened because the dogs have been altered early". Uneducated breeders etc derive "principles" from plain coincidence ("oh, this dog died early of cancer" and "oh, this dog was altered early", "thus the dog must have died because he was altered early, so we recommend not to alter early"...).

      It is that kind of "logic" in many breeders' minds that has created the severe hereditary and gastrointestinal problems of our breed. People who cannot differentiate between coincidence and scientific rigor should be barred from playing God, barred from breeding.


    Actually, the university study and the ASPCA article is founded on new tests results from early spayed/ neutered dogs from the past two years/2013.
    I have seen dogs be smaller, so it seems possible it does stunt bone growth. I just don't like the idea that it's def "right" to do early if there were to be new evidence. I always want to know the most updated info. It's very important to population, I get that. I did my girl at five months this year, so I'm not being condisending. I would change if the evidence did, is all....


      Matt, I understand your concern, that's why I reminded that I wrote exactly about that as well, PL SEE above, I mention it there, and for whom it is relevant. It really does help to read completely what I write.
      (Btw, the Periodical is newer than the study you refer to, it includes it, as well as 15 other).


    Hi Tim, Another very informative periodical... and for that I thank you!
    We are going to schedule Max to get neutered, one reason is I don't want to breed him, and I hope and pray it calms him down!! However, we have been told to wait til at least 2 yrs old, but I'm not waiting. This dog is aging me quite fast!!
    I just wish we would have done our homework, before buying a GSD. Now, I'm not a quitter, I know one day Max will not dig in carpet and be a good dog!! I just have to have patience. Hey, if I can raise 3 kids, I can handle one BIG dog, right??


      >This dog is aging me quite fast!!
      And I thought dogs make everyone feel younger? More play, more naughtiness, more toys, more exercise, more ...fun! :-)
      Your stress is training-related, and I fear you don't do all you know you should be doing with him ;-)


    This was a great article on alteration. My GSD'S is now 15 months, However I'm planning on studding him out at least 1 or 2 times. What effects will he have if I have him alterd after age 3. Thanks for your response. PS He has an great temperament which would be a great characteristic someone would love in their GSD


    I just had Vincent neutered last Friday. I really wish I'd had it done earlier (he's 12 months) but surprisingly he seems to be more receptive to me now. I mostly feel bad for him because his scrotum had gotten very swollen bc he was being to active too soon after surgery. I had him checked by the vet and its getting better now but next time ill make sure it's done earlier! I can't wait until all this testosterone gets out of his system.. Until then ill keep following your advice. Thanks Tim!


    Hi Tim and all :-)
    I got Penny at about 3 months of age from a reputable breeder and on the vet's recommendation had her spayed at 6 months. She turned out to be one of the unlucky 6-20% of females who ended up with spay incontinence. Initially this meant a trip to the vet for some hormone replacement therapy and plastic tarps under washable absorbent fabric on her sleeping places while we waited for the hormones to strengthen the urethral sphincters. 2 months later, 'accidents' are extremely rare and very minimal. It looks like it'll be another couple of months until her plumbing is working properly again, and she'll have to take a very low maintenance dose (maybe a quarter of a tablet a month) for the rest of her life - but that sure beats doing two loads of washing a day! The extra oestrogen in her system has calmed her down a lot and we have very few 'discussions' as to who is top dog now ;-)
    She turned a year old recently so is still very much a puppy (still has the puppy wriggle!) so this is just one of many hurdles along the road to a calm and respectful companionship :-)


    Wow! I'm amazed and saddened at the same time. Thank you for this read. I look forward to all of them. My girls are altered and happy! Tim, I have learned a lot from you and look forward to your next read. My girls (Abby and Ava) say "Thank you" for giving me the knowledge and power to make their lives better everyday. I, thank you too!
    Have a great day!


    I have a german shepherd dog i have purchaze it when it was of one month old now he is 20 month old i have checked it its tecticles have not grown not a bit in these months he shows interest in bitches but not be able to cross them is any reason how his testicles grew or he is able to mate a female or grow his family
    Is the testicles of german grew when he is 2 years old plz inform me i want to get breed of my beautiful german shepherd dog what is the reason that his testicles not grew


      You need to visit a vet, sorry but I am not yet clairvoyant.
      Unless you are SUPER competent with unneutered GSDs I'd strongly advise against trying to become a backyard breeder! Neuter him.


    I just had my 6 months GS Sapphira spay yesterday. I got her back today as the clinic requires every canine to spend the night. I have take her for walks after small feedings so she doesn't get full or bloated. She hasn't poop I don't know if that's normal given the fact she just had surgery but she has been very much herself. I believe the fact that I have ceramic floor and is cold she have some relief making the swelling bearable. Besides that I'll just keep posting as I see the recovery.


    I have 2 males and 2 female. Is it a problem if the two males have jntervourse with the female.


    Hi Tim,
    I really like to have one puppy from jose...how about he mates just once we keep just one puppy and then alter him afterwards?is it a good idea?


      Only if he meets all the criteria above? You need to check that for yourself, I can't assess that from here, sorry.


    In general, it would be expected that spaying or neutering most likely affects sexually dimorphic behaviors -- those that are more characteristic for one gender or the other. This is exactly what a 1997 study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital found.


      Quality of research is characterized by reviewing many studies, not just one, and looking at the source, and how it is funded, BiobioVer.
      Be aware that we can find one study on anything, including that the earth is a disc. But who said that, and based on what observation? And who funded that observation, and what is their motivation to publish that?

      I would suggest to review all this and much more, before quoting anything.

      Here: I know of far more studies that found the exact opposite of what you say they found. Plus: I haven't heard of anyone of the globally tens of millions of shelter dog adopters each year(!) who complained aka "The shelter shouldn't have altered my Fido, he now behaves so girl-like".
      The thought alone makes me laugh. I trust you now laugh about that too. :mrgreen:


    Hi Tim
    Thank you for your great article. It is still hard a decision for me to take. Evita is now 3.5 years old. I got her from a reputable breeder for shows and breeding. my situation changed and after showing her till age of 1 year old I was too busy with other things. at the age of 2.5 years I went to do x-ray before breeding her and it showed mild hip displepsia. So definitely I am not breeding her. But as I my self am very scared of surgeries, I have not nutered her up till now. from what you are saying is that she is going through a huge stress every time she is on heat but at the same time she is an adult dog. I have two kids in the house, so if fixing her might get an agressive behavior then it is definitely not a good decision to do it now. would you say that in spite she is at the age area that you call LATE- Problem i should go ahead and do it?
    I would really appreciate your further input on this matter.
    thank you in advance for your prompt reply.


      As explained above I would certainly do it, yes. It will improve the whole atmosphere, relationship, and peace in the family too.
      You need not be worried, she will not be neutered Natalie, but spayed while she's asleep.
      It is late now, but it will save her from at least another 3 years of hormonal distress (which by the way also weakens the immune system)!


        Hi Tim
        thank you so much
        I will really consider it
        as vets say I have to wait 2 months after the last heat
        so I have now one month to take this decision
        have a great day


    Interesting stuff. I especially appreciate how you encourage readers to research, research, research and not just take one study as gospel. I opted to neuter Ado at 7 months as I had no intention of showing or breeding. He's healthy and happy, and I believe he has helped me to become healthier and happier just from being in my life.


      Thanks Jennifer, how old is he now, and what are you feeding pl?


        Ado is now 13 months old. For the first year I was feeding him Science Diet Puppy Large Breed dry food. I recently switched him over to Whole Earth Farms grain free dry turkey and chicken. I also feed him fruits and veggies that we have for our meals.


        I feel that if you apply these three Periodicals, your puppy will stay healthy:
        1) Dog Meals, Meal Times, and Feeding Routine
        2) Dog Vaccinations and Puppy Vacccinations
        3) GSD Spaying and Neutering (this one here)

        As per my studies, grain-free makes no sense, grain is best (contrary to the current copy-and-paste fashion). We only feed homemade, nothing commercial, for the reasons explained earlier. Is there anything in addition how I could convince you to feed homemade too? ;-)


        Actually, I'd love to do homemade. I've simply not done enough research to determine how to go about doing so. I'm definitely taking baby steps at this point.


    I was told because German Shepherds are a bigger breed dog I should wait until after her first heat and at least a year old. Spaying and nuetering large breeds messes up growth platelets which they increasing hip and leg problems which are already common.


      I thought I wrote above that what you (and others) were told is nonsense? I even proved it above: Read the point about shelter dogs again ;-)
      Reading here is free. Else, who wants, can get the Dog Expert Interviews. It's worth every penny.


    Excellent information! Thank you. I got Gracie spayed at 4 months. She did get more energetic afterwards. She also shows aggression to my 11 year old mutt on occasion and I fight for alpha daily. I wish I'd read this first but I'm still happy with my decision. Reading more of your periodicals will help me deal with everything else.


    Thank you for all your research. I have a long hair female shepherd. She is 9 months. I spoke to a few reputable breeders and was told waiting until 12 to 14 months was best due to waiting until her growth plates were completely done closing? They said this reduced the risk of hip displasia? Anyway. She's a big boned girl and that is the plan I'm going with. I love her like a child and hope I'm doing what's best for her.


      "I love her like a child and hope I'm doing what's best for her." - Fine, then DON'T breed her. Simple.
      Pl read above the criteria for breeding. Then reflect how many you meet. You'd need to meet ALL.


    Tim, you keep stating that all the myths are nonsense but you don't use any references or studies to back up your own statements. There are a considerable number of SCIENTIFIC studies done showing that there are indeed negative consequences of spaying early, both physiological and behavioural. Unfortunately I can't include these studies as a link because of your Spam filter.

    Of course there are negative consequences for waiting to spay/neuter - but YOUR extreme bias on this topic is alarming and I hope that people who do read your rhetoric don't leave their research at that and actually source some more academic means of evaluation. You don't once give an idea on how you developed your expertise in this area - are you qualified in any way to give advice on this topic? The question of when to desex does not have a "one-size-fits-all" answer, and I believe you are just scare mongering because of the overpopulation argument.


      Thank you for your first comment Cameron, and right away so positive.
      As for the minor point of references, right at the beginning after subscribing to the free MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL we explain why things are done the way they are. Here again, in short: these days the majority aren't thorough readers, nor thorough writers (in fact I have a hard time to decipher the cryptic "texts" of many). The Infographic articles address different audiences, so there we have plenty of references (whether those articles get thoroughly read is another matter though).

      But even in this Periodical here that you've read above, I do refer very clearly to the evidence that makes the most sense once you just think about it thoroughly: the point about the hundreds of millions of shelter dogs being routinely altered from as early as age 4 weeks(!), and that neither I nor you nor anyone seems to know of any systematic correlation with disorders, diseases, or defects - heck, most physicians can't even separate between these! Mark correlation, not coincidence - which are unlimited.

      Ask yourself: Have you ever heard "shelter dogs are health-wise a risk because they get altered early"? No, of course not. Because there is no correlation, shelter dogs are fine. No increased cancer rates, no nothing. In fact, I - like others - prefer shelter dogs not least because they are generally much healthier (well looked after).

      So, the mere thought that "early altering causes health issues" is so ... shall we say ridiculous? that the only explanation why some "scientists" again and again come up with pseudo "studies" (which show coincidences, not correlations) is: they haven't given focus to what matters most. I do. I can't waste time. As said, most don't even read what's there.

      For this very reason, your "hope that others source some more academic means of evaluation" irritates me: If you know that most neither read nor write thoroughly, can you really believe "others can identify genuine scientific rigour"?

      Well, I know from experience: even most academics can't. :-(
      Yet I offer you as well: Show me just ONE study you think proves correlation, and if I have time I show you why it proves coincidence.

      Not to forget my hint from many comments earlier: FOOD is the most critical factor for health. And we have plenty of proof that dogs in "studies" as well as in real life that get "kibble" or other processed "food" show a strong correlation between what they have to EAT and countless health issues!

      I am "scared" of the dog (and cat) overpopulation = euthanizing practice, yes, I give you that. I find it horrendous when people don't give this number one priority. I will always be for early altering (and I do that myself), and more importantly: I will always be for feeding dogs REAL FOOD - because THIS is what matters most (three times each day).

      With every Periodical and every article we share things to think about. As you see many do start thinking after they've read. Some are even grateful for the stimulus. While a few others neither read nor think but instead immediately evangelize their opinion. No one here has any intent to change such strong opinion.


    I am disappointed that you would recommend putting neuticals in a neutered conformation dog while knowing this is unethical and certainly against the rules.
    However, what competent judge would miss the underdeveloped condition of the neutered male when he has an infantile penis/sheath? What size neuticals does one put in an eight week old gsd, and does one keep putting in larger ones as the dog grows?

    Early neutering is causing a catastrophic increase in anterior cruciate ligament ruptures in the knees in the gsd breed. How sad. The owner ends up with thousands of dollars in veterinary bills so his crippled dog can walk.

    Neutering male dogs is well known to significantly increase the risk of prostate cancer which is fatal in dogs. However, only a small per cent of testicular tumors are cancerous. Abdominal testicles should be surgically removed due to their increased risk of developing tumors and the difficulty in observing them. Testicular tumors do not develop in puppies. Neither is ovarian cancer seen in young bitches.

    Waiting until the gsd is one year old to alter will protect the dog's physical soundness and, at the same time, minimize the risk of mammary cancer later in life in the females.

    The best way to keep one's dog from being hit by car is to keep it in a safe place. I killed a neutered male basset with my car when he walked in front of my car on a dark country road. A secure fence or building would have spared his life and prevented $2,500 damage to my car.

    Spaying and neutering prevent the birth of puppies. However, responsible pet ownership can also do this.


      Thank you for your appreciation.

      As for "...you would recommend putting neuticals...", which sentence leads you to such misunderstanding?

      Throughout, please state facts, not fiction. First comes reading, then studying, and finally discussing. Not the other way round.
      Also, please don't mix personal or others' experience with statistically relevant facts.
      Once you've read all the above you will see that you've simply misunderstood me and others.


    You are the one who mentioned using Neuticals so a neutered male could not be detected by a judge. As you know, that usage is inappropriate and against AKC rules.

    I am a licensed veterinarian, an individual with extensive experience in training and behavior modification, and a German Shepherd dog breeder. I have also shown extensively in obedience.

    I would strongly suggest that you carefully study the recent report from Davis, California, on the issue of the risk of early spaying/neutering in leading to anterior cruciate ligament ruptures later in life. Surgical repair of these costs thousands of dollars.

    Although I strongly agree that early spaying will largely prevent breast cancer, delaying a spay to one year of age will not greatly increase the risk.

    Although testicular tumors are common, most are not cancerous. Therefore, the dog can simply be castrated when a testicular tumor is found. Testicular tumors are extremely rare in young dogs.

    The incidence of prostate cancer is significantly increased by neutering, and dog prostate cancer is virtually always fatal.

    I do not recommend that people breed their dogs. However, I do want pet owners to protect their pets from physical soundness problems as well as cancer.


      Rachel, I am only seeing your reply now as I approved your first comment.
      Let me briefly tell you that I give nothing on whether or not you are a "licenced vet": 99 of 100 vets I get to know are so mediocre they should never have been licenced in the first place. I am ashamed they are. If you wish to know what separates a quality vet from an ordinary allopathic vet, the Dog Expert Interview Series with Reviews makes this very clear (and so much else).

      Next: "You are the one who mentioned using Neuticals" - yes of course I mention neuticals, that's my duty in my role. From early years of school and uni I know that "mentioning" and "recommending" are very different things. I would strongly suggest to more carefully choose your words as a "licensed vet" thus that you leave factually wrong statements to where they belong, pub talk.

      Finally, obviously I have studied what you mention, and so much more. That's my duty in my role. And I have explained in detail WHAT makes a study reliable, and what makes it pub talk. Likewise, I have explained in detail WHY there is no known evidence of increased susceptibility to diseases or disorders from pediatric altering. And no one, incl. yourself, was able to rebut this. They all, incl. yourself, merely "quote" (= blindly copy!) wannabe "studies" that show coincidence, not correlation.

      I appreciate that during vet school scientific rigour is not taught, thus it may be too hard for most vets to separate the former from the latter. But dammit! just THINK NOW please: Why is there NO STUDY that shows higher incidence of the widely COPIED disorders (they are DISORDERS, not diseases, this difference you need to learn first!) among shelter dogs compared to non-shelter dogs?!

      Because there is none. Simple. And that's remarkable: Worldwide, 100.000.000s of shelter dogs get altered once they have a minimum weight of just a few pounds (this differs by nation), often at an age well before SIX WEEKS!

      Are all shelter dogs dying of cancer etc before you can even adopt them?? No, quite the opposite: One of the reasons we prefer shelter dogs is that they are generally much healthier. Most got well looked after. For example, they got altered EARLY. Our own dogs too. Always. Kindly go and do some research in shelters before you continue to widely publicize your COPIED theories, will ya?

      Oh, and again: If you truly want to do any good to dogs and dog owners(??), STOP IMMEDIATELY SELLING COMMERCIAL PET FOOD IN YOUR OFFICE.

      As shown in detail, all the crap sold(!) at veterinarians(!) is from rendering plants, and what that means health-wise you see here: What type of food is best for dogs.

      As long as you sell or prescribe or recommend any such commercial crap to dog owners who TRUST(!) you, don't even think of any other factors that might affect dog health! Because every other factor comes SO MUCH LATER.

      Thanks again.


        I see that the above gave you sth to quietly think about. That's good.
        One vet at a time.


    My German Shepard mix was neutered on Monday.. Today he was diagnosed with a large hematoma just up from the base of the scrotum.. He was given fluids because he has not eaten or drank much since Monday.. He was given two shots and sent home with meds. We are to return to vet in the morning so he can check him again.. My question... What's the chances of that clot breaking up and traveling? And what should I be doing for him until tomorrow morning?


    Many pets in shelters are not extremely young when they are altered simply because they are not surrendered to the shelters as tiny puppies.

    Furthermore, health problems in mixed breed dogs are usually not tracked nearly as much as those in purebred dogs.

    I do not sell dog food. In veterinary practice, very few clients will take the time and effort to make balanced home-prepared meals for dogs. I have personally seen horrific, permanent crippling in a Great Dane puppy from calcium oversupplementation as well as folding fractures in a shepherd mixed breed puppy from an exclusive all meat diet. I greatly fear feeding raw diets due to bacterial and protozoan contamination. Thus, the most practical diet for most clients is a commercial diet. Do I believe one could make a home-cooked diet that is a good one? Of course, just as dog food manufacturers can produce good diets.

    I personally know about about products from rendering plants. I toured one. I also know that many dog food ingredients are coming from slaughtering plants providing meat for human consumption. My friends and I do not cook for our pets. Our pets eat dog and cat food.

    Incidentally, my friend's early spayed mixed breed dog which came from a shelter died of bone cancer at seven years of age. Do I blame that on a shelter? Of course not.

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