I have a rescue dog right now. He is 5 months old. I think that he has a lot of hunting potential and I don’t want to screw that up. My question is, will having him neutered at 5 months of age compromise his birdiness or hunting ability?
Neutering won’t affect his hunting potential at all.
5-6 months of age is an ideal time to get your dog neutered.
Good luck with your dog.
Oh, just call the people who do the operation, they would like to know the age & breed & then for absolutely nothing inform you what you can expect. Spiffy.
Depending on the size of the dog (larger they are, slower they mature), neutering too early could make a difference.
I have owned rottweilers, never bred them, just as great family members/pets. I have been told by several breeders to wait 'till they’re 18 months old, so the testosterone can aid building muscle mass. Male dogs neutered too early may also remain “puppyish” in temperament and may not ever learn to do adult dog things, like lift leg while peeing, develop calm mature mellowness, become territorial & so on.
Handy is right…talk to a good vet, or even better someone who works & breeds your dog.
PS: I am a huge proponent of not allowing unwanted animals to be born through negligence or flawed perceptions. Every animal I have owned (many) has been neutered or spayed, including my current SO. But from what I have learned, it may not be advantageous to neuter too early - it depends what you want from your pet. But…always be responsible!
Mr. Zambezi, I don’t have much experience with hunting dogs, but I really don’t think that your dog will be affected other than by possibly interrupting an on-going training regimen for the few days required for recovery.
Standard veterinary recommendation seems to be neutering at 5-6 months, although it can be done much earlier. This age generally predates the end of puberty, which is important when considering the health and/or behavior of your dog. He really needs to be neutered BEFORE he becomes sexually mature.
Un-neutered male dogs are more likely to develop cancer, particularly of the testicles - something about the hormone levels in circulation. Pre-pubertal neutering prevents these hormones from reaching adult levels. All dogs, of course, are not going to develop cancer if they are not neutered, but we had two dogs with huge testicular tumors in the vet clinic where I work recently. They were not a pretty site, and one of them was euthanized immediately.
Younger animals have quicker, more pain-free recoveries. At 5 months, your dog should be acting as though nothing much has happened in a couple of days - an older dog may take over a week to appear really ‘comfortable’ again. Easier and less traumatic for both you and the dog.
Approaching maturity will soon begin affecting your dog’s behavior - he is likely to be more aggressive, especially with other dogs; more likely to perform that annoying dominance-related ‘mounting’ thing; more likely to urinate in inappropriate places; more likely to wander/escape; and more likely to be distracted from his training/hunting by sexual/territorial instincts. Also, the longer he exhibits such behavior, the more likely it is that he will continue such behavior after neutering, as it becomes a learned behavior (habit).
Oh, and if this is an issue in his breed, he should gain weight and size faster once he is neutered.
Of course, your vet will need to examine him and determine that both of his testicles have descended before scheduling the surgery. At this age, they should be detectable as two lumps just under the skin in the groin area - they are often easily visible if you lay the dog on his back. If they are not yet in the appropriate position, your vet may suggest waiting a little longer, rather than performing abdominal surgery at this age.
If everything checks out, I’d say he is a perfect age to have this done - at least, sometime within the next month. Get it over with so you can concentrate on training him for hunting without any distractions or interruptions!