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We have a (nearly) 6 month red setter puppy who we have booked in at the vets next month to be castrated.  I am having conflicting feelings on this and any thoughts or advice would be appreciated in helping us to come to a decision.  One school of thought that I have found on the internet is that 6-months is too young and you have a perpetual puppy....and the other school of thought is that 6-months is ideal.  Riley is showing very little inclination to hump other dogs at this stage, his behaviour is relatively consistent - although he is very easily distracted and we are struggling a little with him not responding to his recalls when out on walks.  I am tempted to wait a little longer - any thoughts...? xxx

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Hi Vanessa,
Why do you want to castrate him? Have you talked to your breeder about this? 6 months is very young as an Irish Setter is not fully grown until about 18 months, also his coat is very likely to change once castrated. I have kept Irish Setters since 1982 and only one of my dogs was castrated as he had recurring prostate inflammations. I used to keep 6 dogs together at one time and none of them were castrated. Perhaps you can explain why you want to have it done? Or is it vet's pressure? :-)

Hi Vanessa.

I presume that your vet has advised you to have him castrated, because it will help stop Testicular Cancer, and other life threatening things...well mostly the pro's outdo the con's re castrating and spaying...in fact it can cause more problems than it cures...all you need be is vigilant re his 'bits' to make sure that there is no change in them....and as Catherine says his coat will no doubt change....and not for the better...(one of my puppies came back for a visit a few months ago, and I said...''OMG you have had him castrated'', they asked how I knew...I said his coat...it had blown, it was so visible,) but what is done is done and obviously can't be undone.

As for him being slow to 'recall' he is only 6 month...mine tend to get worse before they get better...12 months and they may just decide to come back...although I must say now....'mostly' his recall is good, mostly, depends what he wants to do....(and speaking as someone who is part Irish).....they are Irish after all....what you don't do today could be great fun tomorrow....lol

So please think good and hard re castration....but in the end you must do what 'you' feel is rite....

Oh Vanessa please, do not castrate him.. you will never regret and he'll be beautiful all life ! :)

I'm with the rest. I've had Irish setter dogs for 20 years and never had any castrated. We've not had any major problems, even when there were 2 together in the house with an in-season bitch.

However I have seen a lot of problems with neutered male puppies of all breeds, especially when the operation is done when they're very young. as this one is. Apart from going tangly and fluffy, he is likely to become very attractive to older male dogs and they will pester him. With this happening at the same time as he will be trying out power and status gestures he will be very confused.

Don't expect him to become obedient so young, unless you have a miracle worker in puppy classes. Irish setter youngsters like fun more than good behaviour, and castration won't have any effect on that.

Don't do it, don't do it.....we have had Setters for over 30 years and never castrated, much to the annoyance of the vets who seem to want to snip snip snip. I'm going to ask my vet if he's been done next time he brings the subject up, if he hasn't....WHY NOT ? Bring on the house bricks...ooohhhh painful

Dear Vanessa,

Please take into account what majority of Irish setter owners advice you and NEVER castrate your dog. Setter is very gentle, easily learning and very good companion dogs breed, there is no need for such operation.  Vets usually are not breed specialists, talk to your breeder and here in the forum you have now advises and opinions of the world known setter breeders and experts.

Second issue is absolutely true that proud of Irish setter red beautiful collar coat will be yellow and hear will looks absolutely horrible,   castrated dogs become more often problems with the weight control and other health issues, but after operation is done you can not change it anymore.  All hormones which are produced in living organism are necessary for long and happy life and promotion of castration are in interests of the vets, dog food produces indirectly (deed for special light food providing weight control etc). So please hear majority of this forum and never castrate your dog. 

With the best greetings


P.s  I have Irish setters more than 12 years and on the moment I have 3 at home  

Riley sounds very much like Kerry and Murphy, litter brothers. They show very little inclination in humping each other or anything else and have been like that for 6 years now. One recalls beautifully as he loves food. The other is a non treat loving rascal and loves to run. I love their wonderful smooth, flowing red coats and would only consider castration if it was life threatining. Murphy had the chemical injection for 1 year for a enlarged prostrate which resulted in his prostrate going back to normal. During that time a orange fluff  overtook his coat. Lots of work to keep him looking like a setter and not a wooly mamoth. He is back to his beautiful healthy self again now as it has worn off. If it is a registration issue as he is on limited register then perhaps talk to the breeder. If you are having doubts cancel the appointment and keep researching until you are happy with your decision. Hugs to your baby Riley.

Hi Vanessa, I'm of the same opinion as the others. Please please please, don't have your puppy castrated. I have never known any need to do this to an Irish Setter. I've kept groups of entire males all together and never a cross word between them. So I beg you not to do it, it's not neccessary.


If you do, it will delay the closure of the growth plates of the long bones. The puppy will never look like a mature adult male, he'll always look like a gangly teenager, he may well turn out rather taller, but finer in bone than a normal mature adult. His coat, as others have already said will deteriorate into a mass of uncotrollable orange wool.

He will need his hormones to grow up properly. Please dont do it.


Regards Dawn R.

As the others have said, please don't castrate him, it serves no purpose with setters. And they lose their lovely coats. We did it for one IS, through ignorance and under the advice of a vet with no experience of setters, and always regretted it.

Also, don't even expect even a 'good' recall until he's about a year old, or past the adolescent phase, whichever comes first.

An unanimous opinion at last!

I don't understand why people want to castrate their dogs. Vets esp. surgeons like to snip everything. Riley will need his hormones to grow up properly. Humping on other dogs is normal sign of trying to find his position in the pack. Castrated dog is very often expelled of the pack. He is neither a dog nor a bitch, nor a puppy,  something absolutely outside clasification. When my Bajka had puppies she started to attack our neighbours' dog (he has been castrated a bit earlier).

It looks like Riley is a normal energetic puppy, a bit of training and you will have beautiful and happy dog:-)

DON'T do it Vanessa, you will regret it I am sure. I have been the proud parent of IS's for almost fifty years and know what I am talking about. I only have the one boy now, a three yr old and he is brilliant in every way. I still get a buzz when strangers stop and comment on his beautiful glossy coat and how well behaved he is.

I have two 'whole' males and have never had any problem with them.We had to have a dog castrated when he was six, some years ago ,because of prostate problems and his coat went from sleek and shiny to looking like a fuzzy sheep.

The only problem I have ever had with uncastrated dogs is when they meet a bitch in season.Then there is no hope! Everything they know goes out of the window replaced by the need to mate.This happened to me ,again, about 3 weeks ago when i was out walking them.The dogs were busy quatering the ground and from the way they acted I knew there had  been a suitable bitch in the field.The dogs suddenly dived into the bushes and after a few seconds a woman emerged with an alsation type dog on a lead followed by a very enthusiastic Fred and Arthur! I said ''she's in season'' and the woman said she was but thought if she hid in the bushes then my dogs wouldn't know! Ha!

I eventually caught them!

I couldn't let either of them off lead again for another week as they were heading off to wherever the scent took them.




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