|Barked: Thu Apr 19, '12 9:40am PST |
|It depends on what kind of sport you are doing. I'm not terribly familiar with the specifics of most, but something like Schutzhund? I would never neuter a Schutzhund dog. The hormones give them a drive and intensity that really shines, and a kind of dominant pride that is favorable in a Schutzhund dog. For something like that, it's not just the physical side that being intact offers, but the behavioral side of things as well.
For less "intense" sports - that's not the right word, but it's the closest I can come up with at the moment - you're probably safe getting him neutered if his frame is done growing. I would not know how to classify what you're interested in, though, you would probably know better than me. Schutzhund is one of the things I'd consider right at the top in terms of "intensity." As you get further down in that "intensity," a neutered male isn't going to have as many issues competing at the same level as intact males.
Keep in mind however that muscle growth is highly dependent on testosterone. Once you neuter him he's not going to gain very much muscle mass - and it's going to be an uphill battle to put it on. If he has *any* skeletal issues, muscle can offset the damage that can cause to his body. A lot of the physical therapy for dogs suffering from hip dysplasia involves building up the muscles around the hips to offset the brunt of the force borne by the hip & socket.
Samson is now almost two and a half, and his frame is STILL growing. We noticed it the other day when his backline was to the top of the dining room table - it wasn't that high at the beginning of the year. So at this point, if I were planning on getting him neutered (I'm not, unless a health issue comes up which necessitates it), it would alter his normal development.
That said there's sort of a sharp drop-off in just how much it would affect his growth (imagine an exponential graph, it rises VERY steeply very quickly, and then drops off - at age two you're at the point in the "graph" where there is very little change any more). Having him neutered right now would likely do very, very little. At 18 months, maybe slightly more. At a year? Significant differences. Six months? Very drastic, I bet. Two months? He'd be an absolute wreck.
If he's primarily a pet and companion, and the sports are the thing you do together - rather than the other way around (I'm issuing no judgement on that, I know several folks who have different dogs to fulfill different needs, and I don't have a problem with that) - that may weigh in on your decision too. You may wind up coming to the conclusion that there are enough risks with neutering him at a certain age, enough to make you uneasy, but find you prefer the behavioral changes that a neuter brings on in a male dog enough to take that chance.
Everything is a balance. With an issue like this there are so many numbers and statistics and different angles and lights to see things in that it is very hard to get a big picture to make an informed decision. Very easy to fall into your blinders, but do your best to take it all in :3.
Edited by author Thu Apr 19, '12 9:44am PST
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