Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

Hey All :-)

Long time member of Exclusively Setters but I have been more a lurker for the past few years.

I was interested in hearing thoughts and opinions on the subject of neutering my 7 year old Irish.  I'd love to add the communities thoughts to my own while I contemplate this.

He's a good boy, well trained and not especially 'doggy'.  Our dalliance into showing has been over for a few years now and I have no intentions to breed him.  The reasons I am considering the neuter is that regardless of his good behavior, many other dogs do not like him because he is intact.  I can't take him to dog parks because other dogs act aggressively toward him and our friend's dogs do not like him.  He does not react back in an aggressive way- actually he is extremely forgiving- but this means that I have limited ways to socialize him.  When he was a younger lad we lived in a place with a lot of cool dogs and he was able to stay very well socialized.  We moved 3 years ago and since then his social skills have declined.  He greets a dog with a far more enthusiastic butt sniff than I have ever seen and doesn't let up... he is nose deep in doggy buttholes as long as another dog will tolerate him.  Because of the past 3 years of limited ways to socialize him he has become socially retarded:  when he meets up with polite dogs he is so overly excited that they aren't being mean to him that he is intrusive into their space and it could take him a full day or two with the other dog before he returns to an acceptable level of friendliness.  In that time he has managed to aggravate even the most kind and accepting dog and driven the humans around him insane.  In the end, I just feel bad for him.  

I feel all of this would be something we could train through with the right set of dogs to socialize with, but that has proved a difficulty for me to find.  There are setter people in the area who have great dogs but they just aren't close enough to meet with on a regular enough basis to where it makes a difference.

So the questions I am asking myself:

If he is neutered, will other dogs still treat him as hostilely as they do now?  He literally does nothing to do provoke the aggression except to be there.  If the neuter curbs their aggression toward him, I will be able to bring him to more socializing activities.

If he is neutered, will his interest in doggy anus return to a more normal level?  Is it  at least partially driven by hormones?

If he is neutered, just how bad will the coat be?  I know this is vain, but he really is such a lovely boy and I'd hate to see that go.  I've seen female Irish spayed as adults and the results have not been pretty.

Even if he isn't as pretty, would he be happier?  

Should we just get another dog of our own?  There is a good possibility we move in the next 6 months to bigger property.  A puppy would definitely be something we got at that time.

Are there any risks to neutering a 7 year old dog?

Is there something I am not thinking of?

I'm just tossing all of this around in my head.  I would appreciate any insight or new angles your collective wisdom might provide :-)


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Hi Kelly

Can't comment about the late neutering really, as my setter was entire for his whole life and other dogs loved him; however, it does make sense to me that at this stage in his life, his behaviour may be just habit.  However, I've just remembered that my JR had to be neutered for medical reasons in later life and it didn't modify his behaviour at all - he was, and remained, a very dominant dog!

The implant option seems to make sense, though have you read the forum comments about them?

The furmiinator tool is amazing and a worthwhile buy.  My daughter groomed our friend's two smooth-coated JRs and ended up with a carrier bag full of hair!

Good luck with it all.


Hi, just to add that I used the Superlorin implant twice as my boy was too sexy for his fur! It worked wonders and then I left it for a year to see if age calmed the old hormones down but alas i had a howling, sex crazed boy who was so distressed, he lost loads of weight and almost couldnt function. So he was castrated as I didnt want to keep messing with his hormones.

His weight is fine as we run it all off and I watch his food. His coat is fluffier on the back and legs and a bit orange but not terrible and I dont show him, so he is as handsome to me. I do use coconut oil into his coat and groom more regulary. His obedience is really good but the only difference I really notice now is he is slightly more 'nervy' and I work on this not developing into full blown anxiety.

Good luck

Love your comment Louise "too sexy for he's fur" :0))

I have just had my bitch neutered, i was very worried because of the "dangers"

I had no problems with my girls, no mess and they didn't look for males, they avoided them at all costs

I just couldn't take it anymore with male dogs digging under the fence to get to my bitches inside the house.

Operation went really well and i think its up to the vet to be very careful. I'm lucky to have a good vet.

After 4 days of careful lead walks, she was back running and the coat hasn't suffered, if anything she is a bit more playful, never a bad thing.

Also, no incontinence issues.

In August, i will do my other girl and was suggested keyhole surgery, anyone experienced this?

Apparently, recovery is even quicker

@ Mario - of course you won`t see any coat changes now- just wait a few months, and with incontinence 2-3 years...

I've never experienced any incontinence issues with any of our dogs....EVER? Is it an IS thing or a vet thing?  I've never heard of a family member or friend have issues with any of their dogs either. Personally, if I'm not going to allow them to breed, as is their instinct, then I prefer to spay or neuter. I'm giving Dougal a chance though, we'll see when he's around two, how he's doing, and go from there. : )

Thank you Jocelyn, I totally agree. : )  I hadn't any idea about the coat change until reading it on one of the previous discussions about 10months ago, way before getting our puppy. All of the info on coat care is very educational and welcome! :)

I was told by several dog owners that the incontinence is because of botched vet jobs.
We are now 2 months after the spay, and her coats is still very shiny, maybe ever glossier
And no incontinence issues
Here, here Kimberly.......very well said!!

hmm! You have been making your brain work overtime <g> I hope by now you have resolved the question. For what its worth I wouldnt castrate a 7 year old - unless there were health issues in himor his lines.

the behaviours you are aiming to resolve will take six to eight months to even begin to resolve by dropping the testosterone levels so it hardly seems woth it. Especially as the coat can give you a lot of extra care issues.


As to the puppy coming - give that lots of thought. This is a setter in his prime (they are a slow maturing breed) and you are introducing another one who will be a approaching adulthood around the time ths one is nine. Two males?


think carefully

Hi Kelly I just thought I would share my experience. Upon veterinary advice  I had my boy castrated at age 8 because he kept experiencing prostrate hypertrophy (i think this is enlarged prostrate) but the clinical signs was blood in his urine and blood drips from his tail when his bladder was full. I was amazed that within weeks of his castration he seems happier on walks, younger even, as though a burden had been taken off his shoulders. He no longer bothered scent marking or sniffing other dogs just now more happy to interact and play. He had never been an aggressive dog but I definitely noticed a change. Of course I cant be certain if he had felt poorly before with the prostrate problem  and for how long but he hadnt seemed poorly to me and I do notice any slight changes  quickly. His coat hasnt changed as badly as dogs I have had in the past which were castrated young. He just has some fluffy bits on his legs. I could send you pics if you like. Also  I took on two more males pups not long after having Seb castrated he took a few weeks to be happy with the lively newcomers but now (they are age 2 and both entire) they are all really very close. Hopefully it will stay that way. Julie

I neutered my 6 year old Irish Setter last year because of prostate hyperplasia. I had to because of his medical condition, but I wouldn't have done it if I didn't have to. I now have a fat lazy dog that looks like a Scottish Highland calf. His fur coat used to be nice and glossy, but those days are long past...




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