If you take your puppy to the vet for the first time, they often immediately start talking about castration or sterilization. As a new puppy owner, you often haven’t thought about whether you want to neuter your dog. Woefkesranch regularly receives questions about this subject. There may be advantages to spaying or neutering your dog, but certainly also many disadvantages!

What is castration?

Castration removes the testicles in a male and the ovaries and uterus in a female. It is also possible to sterilize your dog, but sterilizations are almost no longer performed. While sterilization is less invasive, your dog will usually be castrated.

Is castration wise?

Castration has more consequences for a dog than initially appears, especially in young dogs. The hormones necessary for general, physical and mental development are missing. This usually results in a negative effect. After the procedure, the animal lacks the much-needed hormones. For example, natural behavioral changes, including the development of adult behavior in a male dog, do not always occur after the procedure. Also think of muscle building, the development of the skeleton.

Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in health problems in dogs that have been neutered early. Think of abnormalities of the skeleton, patellar luxation, et cetera.

There are some long-term studies on the effects of castration. It is doubtful whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. We may even have to conclude that, unless medically necessary, castration is an unwise and unnecessary medical procedure.

There are significant negative effects, especially when animals are neutered before they reach adulthood, it disrupts development. Both physically and mentally.
You can question the idea that neutered animals would be healthier, happier or live longer.

Female in heat and raging males

Also ask yourself whether you are really bothered by the heat of a female, or the temporary macho behavior and raging of a male.

Castration in dogs

The positive and negative sides according to Laura Sanborn

The American veterinarian Laura Sanborn published an article about the results of a study she conducted into the effects of spaying and neutering dogs.

The conclusions from Laura Sanborn’s research can be found below:

In males:

The positives of a castration:

The negative sides:

In females:

The positives of a castration:

The negative sides:

Results of the study “Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs”
by Laura J. Sanborn MS

If you want to read this article in its entirety, you can click on this link.

The influence of castration on the dog’s coat

Neutering dogs also has a major impact on their coat. In many cases, the coat changes and we speak of a castration coat.

We have found a very interesting article about this. We found this article on doggo. This article was written on behalf of Groomers Europe by Jessica Kremer-Frijling of the Grooming Academy :

Unfortunately, little scientific research has been done on how it affects the hair growth cycle and coat. One study* I found did show the approach from the other side: After administering the specific hormones, an improvement in the coat was observed in 79% of the neutered dogs studied, and in some cases the effect of castration on the coat was even reversed.

So while there is little scientific evidence to support this, owners, veterinarians, breeders and groomers do see changes in the coat or even coat problems as a result. However, how a coat will react to neutering depends on several factors such as the coat type, the amount of coat before neutering, the age of neutering and no doubt more.

1 castraatvacht engelse cocker spaniel

By and large, we often see more wool formation, making the coat appear duller and less rich in color. We also see the coat curling more. More wool hair leads to a softer coat, which is less water- and dirt-repellent, so it stays wet longer, gets dirty sooner and smells faster.

Softer hair also tends to tangle faster. In Spaniels and Setters, the coats often seem to “explode” with lots of dull, soft and longer hair. The hair (wool and top coat) grows longer and seems to have a much longer shedding cycle. With wirehairs, on the other hand, we often see less (or suddenly hardly any) undercoat and plucking sometimes seems to be more difficult.

Alopecia X

A particular exception to the rule is the effect of castration on stick hairs with the condition alopecia x. (Stick hairs are dogs with double coats such as Bernese Mountain dogs, Golden Retriever, Shepherds, Newfoundlanders, Pomeranians and so on.)

The name says it all, baldness caused by X. In this case, X is unknown. The condition causes progressive hair loss eventually resulting in baldness.

Given the results of a study, the cause appears to be hormonal imbalance. A study of 35 Pomeranians (males) of various ages, examined for 10 years after castration, found that 42.9% of the dogs’ coats had grown back completely within six months of castration and remained that way for 3-9 years thereafter. Thus, castration has a positive influence in this defect.

What can groomers do?

As a breeder and groomer, I am not pro castration, but I am level-headed enough to not just see it in black and white. There are enough examples, including the example of alopecia x that castration is warranted or even necessary.

More maintenance

For many owners, however, the maintenance of the coat after neutering is much more difficult than before, the coat becomes thicker, the dog does not get through the moult as well or even hairs throughout the year.

So in practice this means more and more intensive maintenance for the owner. Comb more often to keep the coat free of tangles, but also not unnecessarily often because the shedding will be completely unbalanced.

Stick hair

In the case of the stick hairs, we prefer the coat-friendly detangling as a solution/help: wash, soak well, repeat if necessary, then blow out all the loose hairs with a water blower and use a coarse comb to comb out the last loose hairs. A job the average owner doesn’t want, so that’s where the groomer can be of service 3-4 times a year.

Wire-haired coat

With wirehairs, apart from the effect of castration on these coats, I prefer to work with strip coats anyway. But in case of the effects of castration on dogs with these coats, a strip coat is the ultimate treatment. The principle of a strip coat is that multiple layers of cover hair are created, making the little amount of undercoat or lack thereof not noticeable to little.

The dog is also on the table for less time, the skin is less stressed (because in theory we only have to pluck out half of the coat), no bald spots develop, the dog looks beautiful all year round. Dog happy, owner happy, groomer happy. 

Keep tangle-free

In addition to the standard grooming treatments such as cutting, shaving and plucking, the groomer can offer additional help in keeping coats free of tangles by means of a brushing or washing arrangement, intermediate visits, as well as by giving advice and selling coat care products (shampoo, conditioner, tangles spray) and materials (brushes, combs, etc).

Strip coat:

Wired-haired dogs have coats that, through breeding manipulation, moult the entire outer coat twice a year at once. The undercoat does change gradually like many coats of other types of dogs. By not plucking out the coat all at once, leaving the dog literally in its underwear, it is trim-technically possible to divide the outer coat into several layers.

This brings it a little closer to a “normal” shedding and makes a trim less invasive. With neuters, the added benefit is that a less present undercoat is masked.

Do you want to read this article in full? Then click on this link.

Conclusion

We are not in favor of neutering dogs before they are grown and grown. Before neutering adult dogs, we ask you to weigh the pros and cons carefully.