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I am 90% sure I have decided to keep Berlin intact. But that 10% of me.....is undecided because of the health issues.

I know that NOT neutering can increase testicular cancer. Is this a HUGE risk?

I know that NEUTERING can increase the risk of hemangiosarcoma, and in the case of earlier neutering, can increase the risk of osteosarcoma.

I also know that NEUTERING can increase the risk of the dog developing thyroid problems.

What other risks are increased by NOT neutering? To be honest, after the medical heartbreak I went through with Akira, I want to do anything possible to lower the chances of aggressive, heartbreaking disorders and diseases. ( and after all these threads about HS, I could not go through that)

This neutering issue, I would like to be completely informed of both sides. I know my vet is always going to push it on me (i hope not but..) I know I can be responsible for the main reason why people choose to neuter, so their dogs don't reproduce. I am responsible enough of an owner to make sure that never happens.

And him running off, or getting a bitch pregnant isn't something that will be an issue, EVER. I do not have a fenced in yard, he is *NEVER* let outside without a leash. Especially because of the pack of coyotes that live so close, I know they send females out to lure intact males into an ambush. Plus, there are no intact females anywhere close for him to even go crazy over. No issue there.

Also, what IS life like honestly, with an intact male? He is a little over the top right now, but he is going through puberty, his hormones are surging. He is manageable, and nothing like I though it would be like. The only behaviors that are a little gross for me, is the licking of pee (my spayed females) and smelling of her area after she goes potty. He does react to other males differently. Some he doesn't like....some don't like him. Some males he loves. He is protective of his yard, has to announce he's arrived outside once he gets out there. But nothing TOO insane. No humping. No extreme lipstick protruding. Doesn't even mark yet. Oh I did forget, the sniffing of EVERY tree on walks is a little annoying. So my question, does this get better as he matures, and his hormones settle down? Would neutering even resolve these issues? I have never had a male before, let alone an intact one, so I really am clueless.
 

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My own experience:
Karlo just turned 4 and has lived with two spayed GSD's since he came to live with us at almost 8 weeks. I haven't seen one iota of a problem with him being intact. He is respectful, doesn't mark excessively and only now and then tries to get frisky with them. They correct him and he gets the point. He never has the lipstick airing, I find it a bit odd that he doesn't!

At training, he is around in-season females all the time it seems...because where I train there are way more females than males(and none are spayed). Seldom is there a problem, but now and then he starts sniffing the ground and won't focus on our training. The other males sniff the same spots, so it isn't an avoidance issue, just female hormone inhaling.

Yesterday he broke the long down when one of the females on the field was chasing her ball reward. Supposedly she is going into heat, and he wouldn't call off, but wanted to sniff her. He was corrected firmly and we then went on with our training. No excuse!
I don't think having an intact male should ever be a training issue, and neutering for that reason isn't going to change the behaviors, unless it is an extremely dominant male that needs his testosterone level reduced bigtime. Train out the behaviors, don't blame it on the hormones if possible. Licking pee or marking over their's is not going to change due to a snip. My female Kacie marked over where Onyx then Karlo went today...so three pee's in one spot(my yard is sad)
I won't get into the health part of it, because there are so many reasons for or against.
 

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My last GSD, Ossie was a wonderful companion. He could smell the females in the neighborhood when they were hot, but he was always leashed when outside unless the neighborhood was clear of females and we were playing ball or Frisbee.

He wasn't hyper, or aggressive, or anything but a perfect gentleman at all times.

I miss him.

 

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I'm thinking that once you get more advanced in vet school, you will have most of the answers medically your looking for. While your at it, can you find out why vets always recommend neutering/spaying for any age? I can't see a vet that knows its clients well enough to know that they won't reproduce, but yet vets still recommends it highly?
 

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My male BoBo was a show dog and was not neutered. He died of hemangiosarcoma. I don't think there is sufficient evidence to link neutering to hemangiosarcoma. It may be that owners who neuter/spay are more likely to also provide veterinary care and have it diagnosed - as opposed to the countless unaltered animals that run loose in backyards and never see a vet. The owners probably don't care what they died of.

Never had a problem with him although he did not appreciate large males at his house. I think there may be more "competition" between unaltered males. In rescue dogs I saw significant improvement with marking and dominance behaviors after spay/neuter. He has never been around a female in heat.

His lipstick was out quite a bit, but that does not really bother me.
 

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Ossie was gorgeous!!
 

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Thank you. I thought so too. He was very lovable. He was the first fawn GSD I had ever seen.
 

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I don't know that testicular cancer is a "HUGE" risk. If it were I wouldn't be keeping males intact (which I have done, and intend to do, unless a reason presents itself *to* neuter the dog).

The annoying things I find about living with an intact dog are if you have more than one they often have marking wars. Right now I only have one and when he pees, he just pees (sometimes with a leg up, sometimes like a girl), but when I had two they would often pee in the same spot 4, 6, 8 times in a row, back and forth. Since I have a pretty small yard I was often hosing it down because that grossed me out.

Nikon is pretty interested in female urine. He will sniff it, lick it, sometimes drool and chatter his teeth but really I just give him a light correction or say "eh eh" and we go on our way, it's not like he's dragging me off the sidewalk to get to urine.

So far bitches in heat have not been a problem to deal with during training or trial/show, even when I've shown him with a bitch in standing heat in a very small show ring. However he hasn't bred yet. His first ever breeding is later this week so after that, I would not be surprised if bitches in season, or bitches in general become more of a distraction but that's just something we can deal with when it happens, not an excuse for not complying during training or trial.

Nikon has never humped other dogs (or people's legs or his toys) and his "lipstick" does not come out (save for the two times he was actually collected by a vet).

Roaming has never been an issue for us either. Again who knows if that will change after he's actually bred but I don't believe it will become a problem. The dogs near us are either male or spayed and Nikon is absolutely a "one person" dog. I often work around my house with my gate open and he never leaves the yard, never really leaves my side. I do have a fully fenced yard and would not have a problem letting him out in the yard even if I knew there was an intact bitch on the other side of the fence.
 

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Mac was not neutered until he was about 6 years old (enlarged prostate). He died from a large tumor near his bladder which my vet said wasn't hemangiosarcoma but the spread of either the thyroid or bulbus glandis cancers he had been operated for 10 months earlier.

Echo, Bo, Ringer and Kelly all died from hemangiosarcoma ... all four were neutered ... Echo, Ringer and Kel were neutered when they were puppies ... don't know anything about Bo because he was an older adult when I adopted him.
 

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i've never neutered my dogs and they have never
had a problem medically or socially.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the replies - guess this boy is staying intact unless anything arises in which it is better to neuter him.

I don't know that testicular cancer is a "HUGE" risk. If it were I wouldn't be keeping males intact (which I have done, and intend to do, unless a reason presents itself *to* neuter the dog).
Good to know. I mean....all males of all species have testicles...and if testicular cancer was such a huge risk, im sure humans would be neutering themselves :crazy:

The annoying things I find about living with an intact dog are if you have more than one they often have marking wars. Right now I only have one and when he pees, he just pees (sometimes with a leg up, sometimes like a girl), but when I had two they would often pee in the same spot 4, 6, 8 times in a row, back and forth. Since I have a pretty small yard I was often hosing it down because that grossed me out.

Nikon is pretty interested in female urine. He will sniff it, lick it, sometimes drool and chatter his teeth but really I just give him a light correction or say "eh eh" and we go on our way, it's not like he's dragging me off the sidewalk to get to urine.

So far bitches in heat have not been a problem to deal with during training or trial/show, even when I've shown him with a bitch in standing heat in a very small show ring. However he hasn't bred yet. His first ever breeding is later this week so after that, I would not be surprised if bitches in season, or bitches in general become more of a distraction but that's just something we can deal with when it happens, not an excuse for not complying during training or trial.

Nikon has never humped other dogs (or people's legs or his toys) and his "lipstick" does not come out (save for the two times he was actually collected by a vet).

Roaming has never been an issue for us either. Again who knows if that will change after he's actually bred but I don't believe it will become a problem. The dogs near us are either male or spayed and Nikon is absolutely a "one person" dog. I often work around my house with my gate open and he never leaves the yard, never really leaves my side. I do have a fully fenced yard and would not have a problem letting him out in the yard even if I knew there was an intact bitch on the other side of the fence.
Marking wars - haha! Thank goodness I only have another female. He hasnt peed over her pee - yet. Glad Berlin isnt the only sick-o interested in licking urine....He isn't crazy like pulling me mad style off the sidewalk - he just stops to sniff an area/tree and I guess if its a really good patch of pee, he is like a deadweight. Glad these problems dont seem to be huge problems. Berlin will never be bred, so if he doesnt show much interest in females in heat/roaming, then I dont expect he ever will. Thanks Liesje :)

Mac was not neutered until he was about 6 years old (enlarged prostate). He died from a large tumor near his bladder which my vet said wasn't hemangiosarcoma but the spread of either the thyroid or bulbus glandis cancers he had been operated for 10 months earlier.

Echo, Bo, Ringer and Kelly all died from hemangiosarcoma ... all four were neutered ... Echo, Ringer and Kel were neutered when they were puppies ... don't know anything about Bo because he was an older adult when I adopted him.
Sorry to hear - wow 4 lost to HS, and all neutered. Crazy...I hope I never have to experience that terrible cancer. :(

My male BoBo was a show dog and was not neutered. He died of hemangiosarcoma. I don't think there is sufficient evidence to link neutering to hemangiosarcoma. It may be that owners who neuter/spay are more likely to also provide veterinary care and have it diagnosed - as opposed to the countless unaltered animals that run loose in backyards and never see a vet. The owners probably don't care what they died of.

Never had a problem with him although he did not appreciate large males at his house. I think there may be more "competition" between unaltered males. In rescue dogs I saw significant improvement with marking and dominance behaviors after spay/neuter. He has never been around a female in heat.

His lipstick was out quite a bit, but that does not really bother me.
I see where your coming from, but I think that maybe neutering your dog just increases the risk of HS. Im sure intact dogs still are at risk for it, but not as much.

I'm thinking that once you get more advanced in vet school, you will have most of the answers medically your looking for. While your at it, can you find out why vets always recommend neutering/spaying for any age? I can't see a vet that knows its clients well enough to know that they won't reproduce, but yet vets still recommends it highly?
Haha! Yes, i'll find out the answer to that, and let you know. ;) I always wondered that MYSELF...as i'm sure they are taught about the PROS and CONS of spay/neuter...but yet most are all for it. I think most vets just generally assume that people arent as responsible as they say and they want to prevent accidental litters. Eh..

My last GSD, Ossie was a wonderful companion. He could smell the females in the neighborhood when they were hot, but he was always leashed when outside unless the neighborhood was clear of females and we were playing ball or Frisbee.

He wasn't hyper, or aggressive, or anything but a perfect gentleman at all times.

I miss him.

Ossie is absolutely beautiful Michael. I hope Berlin turns out to be a perfect gentleman at all times. :D (he is most of the time heh heh)

My own experience:
Karlo just turned 4 and has lived with two spayed GSD's since he came to live with us at almost 8 weeks. I haven't seen one iota of a problem with him being intact. He is respectful, doesn't mark excessively and only now and then tries to get frisky with them. They correct him and he gets the point. He never has the lipstick airing, I find it a bit odd that he doesn't!

At training, he is around in-season females all the time it seems...because where I train there are way more females than males(and none are spayed). Seldom is there a problem, but now and then he starts sniffing the ground and won't focus on our training. The other males sniff the same spots, so it isn't an avoidance issue, just female hormone inhaling.

Yesterday he broke the long down when one of the females on the field was chasing her ball reward. Supposedly she is going into heat, and he wouldn't call off, but wanted to sniff her. He was corrected firmly and we then went on with our training. No excuse!
I don't think having an intact male should ever be a training issue, and neutering for that reason isn't going to change the behaviors, unless it is an extremely dominant male that needs his testosterone level reduced bigtime. Train out the behaviors, don't blame it on the hormones if possible. Licking pee or marking over their's is not going to change due to a snip. My female Kacie marked over where Onyx then Karlo went today...so three pee's in one spot(my yard is sad)
I won't get into the health part of it, because there are so many reasons for or against.
LOL, yeah I find that Berlin is more "girl-like" in nature, even though he is intact. He really isnt at all like what I thought an intact male would be like! See, I agree, I think most male behaviors are training related. People dont correct these behaviors when they start, and the dog always thinks its okay. He gets a correction on the leash and a light verbal correction when he licks the pee, obsesses over pee on walks etc. First few times Berlin humped the female - he was corrected. Never had any issues with him humping ANYTHING else. Not toys, not me, nothing. My yard is sad too - the grass is very dead. :(
 

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I think (HS) there are many different risk factors. Both Linus and Rainbow were 15 and 14 when they died and not from HS. Both were neutered. Cyra was spayed at 1.5, Toby was neutered at 2, Grim was neutered but the year before he died..all three died of HS . I could also say that Linus and Rainbow were not microchipped and the other three were. I could say Rainbow and Linus had no ear tatoo but the other three were...it goes on.

My own very small population of dogs is too small to lay down a correlation on as there are so many other factors.

I *do* agree - *something* is happening and is it environmental, genetic, I don't know. Right now we have correlations for many of these things and that is what these studies show but they don't show causation for everything.

There are things we DO know is causative - like testosterone and growth plate closure. That testicular cancer is uncommon regardless and slow growing and easy to detect and deal with once it occurs but obviously a neutered dog cannot get it. That the earlier the dog is spayed the lower the risk of mammary tumors. But those are all directly related to the surgery.

FWIW, I did elect to keep my young male intact and have had males both ways. He does NOT lift his leg on walks because I do not allow it nor does he hump-we are now at the point where he can actually sniff and take in info on the neighborhood dogs without marking.

He is a "lot of dog" as my teammates and the police who help us have said. That is not bad but it has certainly been a challenge. I can't help but think some of that is testosterone driven because of the timing but a lot is just who he is. Fortunately - good overall temperament and nerves. But intact Grim was a totally different dog who never challenged me. I just don't think you can make blanket generalizations about what testicles do to the temperament of the dog. We know sex hormones modify behavior but I don't believe they control it.
 

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I have two intact males and have had others in the past. I find that a lot of other dogs do not like them. They will have marking wars if I let them. They do not hump anything. Their dipsticks hang out more than I'd like, primarily when I am trying to get group photos of them sitting together and they are excited lol. There is an unspayed female bulldog that lives upstairs and they get a little stressed when she goes into heat but still get along fine. Before my one girl was spayed though, when she went into heat they were almost unbearable. Wouldn't eat, cried, paces, whined. But they don't do that so much for other females.
They do not roam in the least bit, will not leave my sight no matter where we are. They won't fight with other intact males.
I can tell when there's been a female going into heat at class though. When we are doing scent detection they will randomly stop and lick the floor, do the tooth chomping think and get all googly eyed. But honestly, I find it good practise.
This all being said, they will be neutered this year. Neither of them are suitable for breeding and I like how an animals metabolism slows when they are fixed. Other males should like them better, I just figure why not? They don't need their balls, they are full grown and mature (3 and 6 yrs old) and it might settle the crazy one down a tad. Emphasis on the 'might', I don't have high hopes but you never know.
 
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