Intact male UWP Grand Ch. Rain Mountain Potlatch Kodiak
was one of the most dog- and human-friendly
Chinooks ever to walk the earth.
Everything you need to know about
Spaying and/or Neutering Your Chinook
I’m not a Veterinarian but there are some things you need to understand before you rush out and subject your Chinook to major surgery. Whether or not you spay or neuter will depend in great part on the Sales Agreement you have with your breeder. But you need to understand what it will do and, even more so, what it will NOT accomplish. You also need to understand what the correct age for the surgery is and why.
I get too many people who want to rush out and spay or neuter their adolescent Chinooks because they think it will solve a wide spectrum of behavior issues. Sadly, 99% of the time these are problems that need to be solved with training, not surgery. Think about it – you would hesitate to crop your dog’s ears or cut off its tail but you think little about chopping its organs out!
The reality of the situation is that there are several problems CAUSED BY NEUTERING AND SPAYING! And this isn’t just me blowing smoke. I was a believer in this too until I started reading some of the studies out there. So here are a few for you to read and learn from.
These two articles both discuss the same studies.
The below cites UK and Australian sources and goes into
diseases caused by spay/neuter as well as aggression issues.
This article cites several breed-specific studies and talks a
lot about the shyness that spaying/neutering can induce.
The best age to spay or neuter is when the dog has physically matured. You want the growth plates to close and the sex hormones to have done their magic on the skeleton and musculature. Here are a few websites that speak to this subject.
Written by a friend, Susi Szeremy, who has forgotten more
about dogs than I will ever know. (You'll want to check out the
National Purebred Dog Day website as well. Susi leads the efforts to
have Purpose-Bred dogs like Chinooks recognized for their place in our
heritage.) You’ll want to read the first couple comments where she adds
even more information:
A study funded by the AKC Canine Health Foundation, including
a link to a podcast by the primary researcher:
The worst thing from living with an intact male is that during its adolescence, other male dogs will want to just take it out now and be done with it. That is because it will go through what I jokinglyOther than their very first season, my girls tend to keep themselves very clean and I don’t make them wear diapers around the house. I’ll throw a sheet over the dog beds and wash the bedding in their crates after their season is done but they are quite fastidious. The first time they are in season, they are figuring things out. They’re not too sure what’s going on and what they’re supposed to do about it. They typically catch on as things progress and by the end I’m not seeing any drops on the floor. Of course, I don’t have white carpets either. My floors are quite moppable. call testosterone poisoning phase. A male dog’s testosterone level spikes waaay high during adolescence before settling back down to its adult level. During the spike, other adult males can smell it a mile away and that pisses them off. There is a young buck coming up and they want to get rid of it. So, for six months to a year, you need to protect your male from other males. Your boy may have impeccable manners, but other males don’t care. Testosterone poisoning will pass. And in the long run, intact males get in fewer fights than neutered males except when intact females are around.
Please be aware that if your male Chinook has one or both testicles undescended, it will need to be neutered. That’s what we call cryptorchidism, or monorchidism when only one has descended. The retained testicles are not fertile due to the high heat within the body cavity. These dogs should not be bred. I still don’t advocate that they be neutered at a young age though.
Living with an intact female is a piece of cake. It’s no different than living with a spayed female except they don’t have as many weight problems. And twice a year they go into season. To be safe, you have to keep them away from intact males during this time. If you own a male, he may be the polite kid that only is interested while she’s in standing heat, a period of about a week or less when she can actually get pregnant. Or if your male is a Lothario like my Thunder was, he may go ape-sh*t crazy for the whole time. (My friend Carie, after listening to Thunder moan and groan for hours and days on end, asked me once, “Can’t you give him a tranquilizer to calm him down?” “I hate to tell you but you’re seeing him ON tranquilizers, dear. He’s just a pig around girls in season,” I had to tell her.)
Other than their very first season, my girls tend to keep themselves very clean and I don’t make them wear diapers around the house. I’ll throw a sheet over the dog beds and wash the bedding in their crates after their season is done but they are quite fastidious. The first time they are in season, they are figuring things out. They’re not too sure what’s going on and what they’re supposed to do about it. They typically catch on as things progress and by the end I’m not seeing any drops on the floor. Of course, I don’t have white carpets either. My floors are quite moppable.My Expectations of Puppy Buyers
Look at it this way: By the time you get a Chinook pup from me, you’ve filled out a six-page questionnaire, paid me a chunk of money ( though I charge far less than Chinook breeders on the East Coast), and signed a five-page Sales Agreement that is a legally binding contract. We’re probably going to be friends for life going forward. After all that, if I can’t trust you to keep your pup safe until it’s either old enough to be health tested for breeding or to be spayed or neutered, I shouldn’t be breeding at all.
If you want a puppy that you can spay or neuter when it’s six months old, please go to another breeder.
Copyright © Ginger Corley, Rain Mountain Chinooks, 1988 to present. No material may be reproduced without permission, though permission is usually granted. Logo by Susan Fletcher, Frontier Chinooks, used here with permission and much appreciation of her great talent.