Exclusively Setters

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I would welcome advice on desexing a 7 month old male Irish Setter who I don't plan to breed. I have had another Irish Setter who died last year nearly 14 years and he was never desexed. Apart from the odd perianal benign tumours he had a beautiful temperament with none of the aggressiveness that some people say comes with non spayed dogs.I have read so many conflicting opinions I would welcome the advice of this group.
Liz Maher.

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Thank you for all your replies--interesting to read that the pros and cons are equally divided as is all the material available on the web.
Hi there Elizabeth,,Is there any reason as to why you want your male castrated?,, and at 7mt's I feel that is far to young ,,If you dont have any near contact with bitches why bother?,, In many case's a male is quit happy without the distracton of bitche's,,At one time I had 5 male's and 2 bitche's,,,,all were never kennled,,when the bitche's came into season,,,I kept the one that was in season,,away from the other one's and washed down,,With you having just the one there seeme's to me no point in it ,,,as you said your oldie had a beautiful temperment,,,If you have to have him castrated by law,,,that would be a diffrent matter,,if not dont fill the vet's pocket,,,,,You can keep in contact if you would like to,,,,take care,,,PAT x
Hi Liz

I had a wonderful Irish for 13.5 years, who was not neutered. The breeders advised me against it, as it affects their coats (makes them thick and woolly). He had no related health problems and was throughout gentle as a lamb to all dogs and bitches. Given that you had a good experience with your last dog, why don't you just see how it goes? After all, he's yours - no-one elses! I think it has become a bit of a fad to do it when it's really unnecessary, especially in the US (as someone else has mentioned).

Good luck.

I am not sure if FAD is the right word for our attitudes about desexing in the US. I know what the health concern is after loosing the first setter at a younger age to prostate cancer. He wasn't around females on a daily basis so I have no clue if he would of been a problem. My current dog had to be done. Our only place daily to exercise our dog is at our dog parks in the forest preserves. And I wouldn't want the other dogs messing with him. I see a few intact males now and then and they seem to draw all sorts of problems from other breeds, intact or most often not. They give off a pheramone or something. But the minute one comes in the whole dynamtic changes in the park. And scuffles are seen. I laugh because the owners of the intact dogs are bewildered as to why everyone picks on their dog. He is the only Irish Setter that has ever come to our park, and I do feel he wouldn't never be the dog to start issues. He is always off by himself exporing the world oblivious to any problems in there. I wouldn't want Dub to not be able to run in the fields and be a real dog because he has his stuff! He doesn't need it. He isn't a show dog nor a stud muffin. He is just my buddy and this works for us. I do feel here in the US it is preached and just really what most of us just do with our pets.
As I understand it is not all dogowners less fortunate than me. We live far out in the country where other dogs are rarely visited. We are blessed in that way.I always resolve my dogs when I walk with them in the woods, because I rarely meet other dogs there. I can understand that you want for your own dog safety castrate him, and I fully respect that.

Regards Kristina
I can well understand the feeling of having had a dog die in prostate-cancer and now not wanting this to happen to others.

But I have so far bred 22 litters of Irish setters and out of those we can assume that 50% would be male and therefore able to have prostate-cancer.
Yet not one of them has!
All except one have been entire males.
Same for the bitches, one castrated, all others left.

I do think this is a matter of where you live and what is the custom in your country.
Entire males are quite capable of having a social life with other males, minus the fights.
I wasn't going to voice my opinion here as I have quite strong views about this discussion. I only keep bitches but my Mum has a dog who is now nearly 12 years old and he had to be castrated at 9 years old as he had a lump on one of his testicles. He had the most glorious coat, thick, dark and shiny but even with experience of trimming and stripping for the show ring I have been unable to keep his coat any where near tidy and he now has a pale woolly coat and pale feathering which extends around the whole of his legs. If this coat is removed he has no undercoat unlike a bitch I had who was spayed at 7 years old. Her coat could be stripped and the dark shiny coat was underneath, I managed to maintain her coat and continued to show her until she was put to sleep at 12 and a half years old. I personally can see no reason why any dog or bitch needs to be neutered even if they are not going to be bred from or shown apart from if they need it for health reasons. There are the possibilities of coat changes, incontinence, weight gain and the chances of getting some other health problems are increased. My Mum's dog has never had the best of temperaments and neither has his sister so they have never been bred from but castrating him has not changed that. It does not matter to us as they are also not shown and we have enough land to exercise them on without them having to meet other dogs except ones they are familiar with. I also do not sell my puppies to owners who want to neuter them just for the sake of it. I have managed to find enough excellent homes for the 4 litters I have bred over the years with owners who have chosen to keep them entire.
I totally agree with so many things said here. I know my dogs temperment and he would and is fine with intact male dogs. But wow do other breeds have some issues. My friends gordon, intact, gets messed with all the time. And he is a sweetheart. Us suburbanites just have to use our parks to run our dogs. And with that comes a different mindset. I recall that first setter we had, Chico, he used to go crazy whenever our neighbors Lab was in heat. Right over the fence. We had to get pills from the vet because he freaked out every time. One day the neighbor walked by with her dog on a leach and my dog jumped out the screened window and hopped on her. They had 9 puppies. Don't even ask me about how we had to explain them locked together to the kids all gathered about!! It was a very embarrassing but funny day. The pups all got homes and looked like IS but all black. Really good looking dogs actually. Anyway that dog also humped my son all the time. Now, we did fix our Brittany at 6 months and he still humped anything that moved for his whole life. Luckily we did Dublin at 5 months and he has never humped anything but his blanket. He has a love affair with it. I would love to be able to leave my dog intact and have lovely fields and land for him to romp on. That isn't our life though. And in order to share my life with this wonderful breed, I do the best I can and still give him 2 hours a day of freedom to run and play. Safely.
Angela, I so agree with your every word. I don't understand why owners would subject their dogs to the significant risks associated with anaesthetic for a procedure that is essentially unneccessary in the vast majority of cases.

There is an article here that some might be interested in reading, it talks of all the health issues that are increased after neutering.

Thank you again to everyone for all the interesting advice and personal experiences.The question of spaying appears to be only very slightly weighted to the negative.




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