Neutering & spaying
When it comes down to it, the best decision should be made based on a thorough veterinary consultation and accounting for gender, age, and even the specific conditions under which the long-term care housing and training of the Doberman will occur.
If you are interested in a companion Doberman – not a show or breeding Doberman – be aware that breeders will require neutering or spaying to be performed within a certain timeframe; it will usually be one of the clauses of your sales contracts with the breeder. Should you have concerns or reservations regarding the procedure, or wish to keep an unaltered Doberman even though you have no plans to breed it, make sure to share those with the breeder during your research process to ensure there is a clear understanding between both parties on how to proceed forward.
Neutering a male Doberman
- Advantages: eliminates risks of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate disorders, perianal fistulas and diabetes.*
- Disadvantages: increases risks (extremely low) of osteosarcoma, cardiac hemangiosarcoma, hypothyroidism, progressive geriatric cognitive impairment, obesity and prostate & urinary tract cancers.*
Spaying a female Doberman
- Advantages: eliminates risks of pyometra as well as uterine, cervical and ovarian tumors, and reduces risks of mammary tumors and perianal fistulas.*
- Disadvantages: increases risks (extremely low) of osteosarcoma, splenic & cardiac hemangiosarcoma, hypothyroidism, obesity and urinary tract infections & tumors.*
Should you decide not to alter your Doberman, be very aware of your female’s “off-leash whereabouts” especially when in heat of course, to avoid unwanted pregnancies. She will also have two heat cycles every year (every 5 to 6 months) during which there will be slight droppings of menstrual blood over a period of 10-13 days, except for the first cycle which can last up to 21 days.
Intact male Dobermans will experience a variable discharge of smegma – natural genital lubricant – although most are good at keeping themselves clean without human aid. They will also have the potential to be more territorial and dominant, which will mean more urine markings and can also sometimes translate into escalating aggression, especially with other males, if unchecked. They are also more likely to try mounting other dogs – including, yes, other males, for motives of dominance. Many municipal off-leash parks have rules against unaltered females being there while in heat, and against unaltered males being there at all.
* Source: Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs, Laura J. Sanborn, M.S., Animal Sciences, Rutger University, New Brunswick, NJ (May 2007)