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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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Hi. I kept three boys from one litter in 2002 because they were such lovely boys and we liked them for different reasons. Because we also have bitches and their father, we decided to keep only one entire for showing and had the other two neutered at about 10 months old. The operations went well and there have been no adverse side effects. They are now nearing 7 years old and have the most wonderful temperaments. In any event whether you neuter your boy or not, you should not expect an Irish Setter to display aggression - that is most uncharacteristic of the breed. Neutering will make him easier to handle if you have bitches who come in season or if you have another male who is the boss. Good luck!
In most european countrys, we do not castrate dogs on a regular basis, the way it is done in the US.
Yet we still have very friendly male dogs without problems.
This I feel applies especially to the Irish setter.
A gentle and friendly breed.

Quite the oposite, I can see only the negative side of castration. Coat being one of them.
Hi Elizabeth,
We had some serious discussions about this item before.
Maybe you can have a look at the discussion "Best time to Spay" started on the 30th August 2007.
You can find a lot of information there.
Hope this can help you.
Kind regards,
Ingrid Noyelle
Hi Elizabeth,
from experience I can tell you that desexing will turn the coats of females into 'cotton-wool'. Seamus's grandmother was desexed and I have to strip her coat every 3 weeks. I have never had a boy desexed...but Brodie, Seamus's Dad, is still the biggest goof in the world despite having quite a few pups on the ground. Doesn't have a mean bone in his body.
Carmel Stringfellow
Our first male setter was left intact. He died of prostrate cancer which had spread to his chest before we even knew he was sick. He was about 7 years old. I have my next male fixed at 6 months. These were both dogs we had over 20 years ago. I have never left another male dog intact again after the heartbreak of the first dog. Until coming here, I never knew that it can make the coat different. My current male, Dublin, has the most gorgeous coat, although not heavily fringed by any means. But the sheen and texture of silk. No grooming required at all. A bath only as needed if he rolls in something nasty, which is mainly this time of year. Other wise he never smells and is just glorious to look at. I had no clue that neutering will change a dog coat conditions. I have heard it can make them a bit smaller, but only about 10%. I trust that you guys know what your talking about because most of you breed setters. Unless I was going to breed my dog, I personally will always neuter. Dub was done at 5 months. I might consider waiting till about 7 months the next time, but wouldn't even consider leaving a dog intact. At our dog park, the only problems we ever see are always involving an intact male dog. Dublin actually seeks them out and they are always his favorite dogs to play with. He submits to them etc. But other more dominant dog pick fights with them.
I personally would leave well alone.Irish setters are not an agressive breed normally,and if he isnt agressive now he is highly unlikely to suddenly become aggressive.I also would be afraid that the lovely rich coat colour that the Irish are famous for would become gingery and have a fly away texture like a dead coat without the lustre and shine of a good healthy coat.
I would also advise against castration at all. Especially such a young baby.

Loss of hormones affects growth and maturity, and dogs that have been castrated early, can turn into overly tall, gangly adults that never look quite as good as they should, and never mature.

Agression isn't normally an issue with Irish Setters, and whether a puppy has a good or bad temptament it wouldn't be changed by neutering anyway. It's not an alternative for careful training and dicipline. Irish Setter youngsters are lively, energetic and fun loving and that is normal behaviour for them.

So if you must castrate your dog, it would be beneficial for him to be fully mature, about 3 years old before you do, but you may well still see the adverse coat changes and find it more difficult to keep his weight under control.

I'd say don't do it!!
Hmm. I wonder if all of the people who say that desexing causes fluffy coats are speaking from their own experience or repeating what they have been told? I have had Irish Setters since 1975 and have always had my old girls spayed when they are no longer shown. I can honestly say that I have not had a problem with fluffy coats and only once with incontinence. I probaby have had 10 bitches spayed in total over the years and have recently had two done; Daisy in November and Rowena this month. In relation to my boys, the two were neutered in 2003 and they do not have fluffy coats nor any other side effects. Another benefit of neutering your boy would be if he is exercised in an open area where he could come across other males. Your neutered boy would not be seen as a threat and thus less likely to attract unwanted attention. Cheers.
I agree with you Gayle. Until coming here I hadn't heard about these coat changes etc. Maybe it is different in other countries. But I have experienced first had prostate cancer in an intact male dog. And what a wonderful dog he was. I still get chills thinking of how he passed blood in his urine on Thanksgiving morning and we had to put him down day after Xmas. That fast. And I also don't worry about my dog being aggressive. Mine are always pussycats. It is the way other male dogs react to them unaltered that is the problem. Unless you keep them away from groups of dogs. My friend has an intact young gordon setter. He has been the victim way to many times of other dogs attacks and she can't take him to the parks anymore. He is a sweet dog too. But her husband has this thing about every neutering his dogs (must think they will take his away also). And she blames everyone else when it is as plain as day what the problem is. If they aren't going to use them, if you aren't going to show them, or breed them. Then get rid of them. At least for our lifestyles in suburbia with dog parks. But maybe that is why Dublin doesn't have tons of side feathering or that he is petite and very long legged. I don't mind, he is gorgeous to us and the perfect size for me too.
I have a 2.5 year old speyed bitch here. About 2 months after she was speyed, the fluff grew through - yellow, like cotton wool. It's definitely not a myth. I have to strip her out regularly. She's full UK/European lines, but I have seen "the fluffies" in many different lines of Setters from all over the world.

I also had a male Cocker Spaniel with the same thing. The spey-coat fluffies tend to affect the silky-coated breeds, because I have a neutered Labrador here with no coat change at all. In fact, his coat improved after desexing.
No, the fluffy, dead-looking and pale orange coat is NOT just a myth!
Neither can it happen in "other" countrys only...
I have seen it on both males and females, and its not a pretty sight and hard work to deal with. So castration is something I would only use as a last option.

I have also had a puppy-buyer of mine experiancing the problem of incontinence and the added problem of having to suplement hormones in tablet-form that you have previously taken away.
And yes, it very much depends on the coat-structure. Lots of breeds are not affected at all.
But all (but one) setters I have seen have been affected.
The one that was not was a bitch I had that was castrated at the age of 11 and then lived to be 15. She only had a little bit of orange fluff on her hind-legs.
On the other hand, she had very sparce feathering to start with...so perhaps that is the clue? Or the time of spaying?
I personally are against castration of dogs unless it is necessary for medical reasons. I had to emasculate my beloved Amadeus because of a big cyst on his prostate and he changed completely. His coat who always had been shiny and fresch went fluffy, dry and lifeless and he put on then a heavy overweight. He loved food and had always had an ability to put on extra pounds saithe. After castration, it became a major problem. I believe that one should consider buying a bitch if you are unable to handle the dogs sexual instincts. To see my Amadeus, who was a successful show dog to change, was very hard. He was both before and after castration such a lovely and friendly nature and as Dayle says it is not a alternative for diciplin and training.
Here is a photo of my beloved Amadeus six years old, about a year after castration, may he rest in peace.

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