The problem I see with this study is, does it ask if these behaviors were present before spay/neuter? I did the CBARQ on my dogs, but they were intact, so I don’t know if there were questions about changes noted after a spay/neuter.
While I definitely do not agree that spay or neuter should be done with the intent of fixing problems that are most likely a training issue, I do think there are cases in which altering a dog actually does help. But each dog, each case, is so different, and there is no way to predict the outcome, unfortunately. I went back and forth on if I should have my male neutered for well over a year. He was nervy and inappropriately aggressive to begin with, and we began to consider having him neutered because we (along with our vet) suspected that there was some sort of seizure activity present, causing aggression toward my husband and me. What ultimately tipped the scale in favor of neutering was he started to develop a prostate issue. All I can say is I have noticed a marked DECREASE in aggression and reactivity with him. He doesn’t care about other dogs out in public anymore, and he’s much calmer when passing neutral strangers. The aggression toward us is gone. He does seem slightly more nervy than he was before (slick floors bother him more than they used to) but really, he was already so environmentally fearful I don’t think the slight uptick would have warranted leaving him intact. He was neutered at 3.5 years old.
My girl was spayed at 26 months, and the only change I have really observed with her is the lack of a cycle. Her personality is the same, her drives are the same, she shows no reactivity toward other dogs. She treats strangers the same way she did before she was spayed, she treats visitors to my home the same, as well. She was incredibly stable to begin with, and she remains so now that she is spayed.
My personal opinion is that there will not be much of a difference in temperament between intact and altered animals if the genetics were strong to begin with. I think it’s more of a roll of the dice if there is weak genetic nerve.
My boy was neutered when he was almost 3 for ongoing enlarged prostrate issues. I can only speak for my personal experience but there were no changes in his behavior or personality. The only thing I did notice is he didn’t mark ‘as much’ along our property line.
We’re very active with him but he’s not a working dog. Not sure if he was if we would have noticed a drive decrease.
I had a well bred neutered shepherd who loved everyone, probably the friendliest shepherd you had ever seen. And another neutered BYB shepherd who would have gladly attacked anyone who dared approach him. And now I have a so so intact shepherd from a breeder who is completely solid, friendly with those he should be and aloof to strangers, perfect. I kind of doubt their levels of aggression are because of neutering/not neutering but rather because of their breeding and genetics. However I wouldn't be surprised if neutering might effect the overall maturity a dog might gain, but I don't think that is personality altering.
Well, it also depends on when a dog is neutered as well. I would imagine neutering too early would definitely have some kind of effect on personality and maybe result in behavioral problems. But I guess if someone waited until the dog was more mature and testosterone already was beginning to drop from its peak (say 18 months or so), I think the side effects or any personality changes would be quite minimal.
I've had a four puppies that I've raised from eight weeks on:
Female Golden who died at nine of bone cancer - spayed at six months. (backyard breeder)
Male Shep/Rottie mix who died of a seizure at ten - neutered at six months. (rescued from shelter)
Male Chow/Lab mix still living at 13 years old - neutered at six months. (rescued from shelter)
GSD currently 1 year old - in tact. (reputable breeder)
I had my female Golden 20 years ago and we had her spayed so we didn't have to deal with her heat cycle. At that time, it was recommended that we spay her before her first heat.
My male rescues were required to be neutered by six months per shelter rules.
My current GSD is in tact and I plan to leave him in tact due to recent studies (barring any medical issues).
Now, with all that being said, my only dog who displayed aggressive tendencies is my in tact GSD. LOL Granted, that is more to do with being him being attacked and becoming leash reactive as a result. Would neutering help? I don't know. Probably not since it's more of a behavioral issue.
My other dogs were very stable and never had any issues - pure luck since they had questionable genetics. In those cases, I don't think spaying/neutering made any difference since they weren't aggressive to begin with. These three dogs could go to dog parks as they like dogs and people. They were also good with cats. My current GSD? Not so much. No dog parks. No small animals. He doesn't like strangers in his face. He's not afraid of people. But he prefers when people ignore him. Different dog, different temperament. I'm adapting.
I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think neutering will suddenly turn a non-aggressive or stable dog aggressive by itself. That has not been my personal experience or with my experience in rescue.