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Sylviablue

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all!

I am new to this board (just found it last night) but I have a question I hope I can get more of an "expert" opinion on.

We got Louis about 4 months ago. He is a sweet, funny, drooly apricot English Mastiff. I have never owned a dog in my life ( I am a cat person) but Chris had wanted another dog since his Labrador Sal passed away 2 years ago ( I met Chris about a month before Sal died). After I bought a house I figured we were better equipped to have a dog. We researched Mastiffs for about 6 months before getting one. Lou is so sweet and so awesome. Of course my 14 year old cat does not think so even though he tries real hard to be her buddy.

Lou is almost 6 months and the vet says it would be best to get him neutered now. We never got him with any intention of breeding him. Chris wanted a big dog since he is a big guy (6'5") and after reseaching the breed they sounded perfect. Louis has his ups and downs but as a whole he is pretty wonderful.

We had an appt to get him neutered this morning which I canceled after doing some research last night. It seems that in my quest to find out everything I could about the breed I never researched when it would be ideal to have him fixed. So many sites say he will never fill out properly if you get him fixed too young. I am concerned that it would cause health/growth issues.

At the same time I am concerned about him becoming aggressive towards other males as he matures "in tact". We take him to the park and the beach as much as possible to make sure he is properly socialized and he has never displayed any aggression ( he is a big baby to be honest). Chris said that Sal was fine with other males until a certain age then he became aggressive towards them. Sal was never neutered.

So, any thoughts on when to neuter a Mastiff? All opinions are very welcome as I want Louis to have the best life & best care we can give him.

Thanks!

Sylvia
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karably

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Reply with quote  #2 
As a person who shows dogs, I like to see a filled out muscular dog.  As a breeder and a person who wants the best for these guys and their families, I recommend neutering early.  Only a breed expert will notice any difference and it can make a big behavioral difference in your dog.  If you wait until after sexual maturity, testosterone will have already had its effect and you lose the opportunity to nip some of the more "manly" behaviors in the bud.

I imagine a lot of Mastiff fans will have a different opinion but your dog is going to be a pet only and I think he and your family will find him a much happier and settled pet if he is neutered now.

Karen


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Jademmastiffs

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
If you wait until after sexual maturity, testosterone will have already had its effect and you lose the opportunity to nip some of the more "manly" behaviors in the bud.
 


First I TOTALLY disagree with this statement! Its a Mastiff not a Lab!!!!

Second, Sylvia welcome to the board! You'll find this board to be most informative and most people are very helpful and very knowledgable.

OK so thank you for canceling his apointment you did the right thing! Six months is WAYYYY to young to neuter a Mastiff! A Mastiff needs time to reach its full growth potential and unlike MOST breeds a Mastiff can take as long as 18months for their growth plates to close. Early neutering can stunt growth and you certainly dont want to stunt growth before growth plates are closed or you'll end up with joint issues on top of many other potential problems that can come from early neutering.

As for behavior issues, well I have found that early neutering in the Mastiff has the reverse effect on behavioral issues and they dont become calm and easier to train, quite the opposite actually.

Early neutering has some pretty serious health risks to consider as well.
For instance the propability of prostate cancer increases by 30% with early neutering, as does the propabilty of Osteosarcoma (bone cancer).
Please take the time to read this article......
http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf

I make it very clear that none of my own puppies are to be neutered until they are 18months of age. Females its 14months of age.

Give your boy just a little more time to grow and develop, have him neutered between 16-18 months of age. You'll be happier with the results in so many ways.

Best of luck to you, and congratulations on your new Mastiff baby!

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Highlander

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Reply with quote  #4 
We require neutering/spaying between 18-24 months for puppies in pet homes. But, keep in mind at about 18 months old, males can go through a "Butt Head" stage and you have to have a handle on them. If you spay or neuter prior to that you will end up with a Mastiff that is tall like a Dane and have a poinky looking Mastiff head..I let one family spay their girl before her first heat and she looks like a Dane with a Mastiff head. But, she is extremely loved and that is what is important.

Ask you Vet about the cancer percentages. Really research it. Call the Vet Hospitals like UCDavis and UPenn. We do not neuter untill they are older, Connor was 6 years old and he is just fine, Doc was 7 years old. The girls we spay mormally after the second litter.

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Highlander

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Reply with quote  #5 

You also need to talk to your Breeder and read your contract.


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Sylviablue

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks for all the replies! I like to get as many opinions as possible. I have done quite a bit of research (Tina -I found/read that article last night. Thank you!) but even at that I don't want to risk Lou's health. In the 4 months he has been with us he has become a big part of the family and I want him to be as happy and healthy as possible.

Chris kept up with all the breeder stuff so I will have to go through it. I seem to be here mostly to give Louis kisses and tell him "Leave her be" when he tries to "play" with Mona (the cat) who does not want to be played with (thankfully he is finally starting to get that the hissing and swatting are not friendly gestures)!

I am an animal lover but dogs , especially large dogs, have always made me apprehensive so I am surprised at how very much I love this big puppy! What a wonderful addition to the family Lou has been. He likes to drag our socks out of the laundry basket all over the house and he loves to give me kisses the minute he is done eating or drinking ( I call it "being slimed") but I would not trade him for anything!
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Highlander

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Reply with quote  #7 

You have the lingo down..Getting slimmed is a big part of Mastiffs...Good luck with your baby and post pictures..


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"The superior man is modest in his speech but excels in his actions" Confucius
"Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation not intimidation. - William Arthur Wood

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qzsue9

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Reply with quote  #8 
We neutered/spayed ours both at 6 months.  This was before becoming educated on the mastiff.  I have always had dogs, but, mostly mutts and everyone suggests fixing them at 6 months so I just followed that rule.  I regret that in the male.  Gracie is 4 yrs and Wilton is 3 yrs.  Both are on the "small" size for mastiffs (about 150 lbs) and both are mistaken for danes in public. 

We have not experienced any negative side effects except for size and a pointy head in our boy (thankfully).  We are currently looking for another male and will not neuter him until at least 18 months.

This board has so much to ffer on so many subjects regarding mastiffs-I research here even before speaking to our vet.  That's how much stock I put in this board's members.

Good luck and be thankful you found this board.

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teresac

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Reply with quote  #9 
My Chaos is 13 weeks old, and we don't plan to neuter him until 18 months as long as all goes well. The vet has (of course) a very different opinion. He insisted that Chaos would reach his appropriate size and shape regardless of early neutering. (he also suggested that I feed him under 2 c of kibble a day because he was growing too fast - 23lb at 8 wks, 35lb at 12wks and 41lb at 14wks)

I put more stock in the information I get from our breeder and the resources here than this vet. I actually had to politely remind him that is is OUR dog and OUR decision. We'll be seeing a different vet for his last set of shots.
Thanks to all of you for the knowledge you impart!
Teri
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karably

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hehe.  I saw that coming.  As always, it comes down to your own experience and research.  But, really the greatest argument I am hearing concerns the cosmetic aspect of early neutering which, again, John Q. Public isn't going to notice.  I can't address the health potential as I haven't researched it.  I think I might even take exception to folks who say their dogs are stunted due to early neutering.  My understanding is that dogs, especially males, often end up taller due to the fact that the growth plates don't close over as early.  Yes, they are liable to be leaner and less muscled but I honestly believe they might also be more passive.

Think of early Romans who castrated boys so that they would have passive eunachs tending them.  They did it to avoid being challenged or overthrown by men testosterone had already masculinized.  The net effect is the same.  Taller, leaner, maybe slightly more effeminate but not so much that the casual observer would notice.  They still had "men" tending their court but they were men who were no threat.

Anyway, without researching the postulated increased cancer risk more thoroughly, I'll stick with advocating neutering, at least before one year.  He won't look like a boy headed to Westminster but who will know and I still think it would head off some potential challenges.

Karen (always the square peg in the round hole)    

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Sylviablue

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Reply with quote  #11 
Honestly my biggest concern is his health. The more I looked into it the more it seemed that having him neutered too soon could cause a whole host of problems. I figured putting it off so I had time to research it more could hurt nothing, while going through with the procedure today could possible hurt a lot down the road. I just want what is best for my sweet boy!

Chris was happy Lou is getting a temporary reprieve. Guess it's a guy thing!
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karably

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Reply with quote  #12 
I think most men feel that way.  Definitely, a "guy thing."  There is no right or wrong decision, just the one that fits best for you.  There's no reason a person who understands dogs should have any problem with leaving a boy intact.  All too often, though, people buy a giant breed puppy, adore it, let it get away with murder or ignore it and suddenly want to return it when it hits puberty or becomes bullheaded or both.

With all the research you are putting into your pup, it sounds like you're going to do just fine.  Keep us posted.

Karen 

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Sylviablue

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Reply with quote  #13 
The behavior issues are a concern for me as well as the health issues. I have always heard training them properly from the get-go is half the battle. Lou is spoiled but all in all he has been very responsive to "firm but gentle" training (He knows his toys, not shoes, are for chewing). My biggest mistake was letting him up on the couch when he was little. I knew I shouldn't have and now I have a big dog who sees no problem curling up next to me on the couch. Oh well, that's what slip covers are for.

Since he won't be having his surgery today he gets to go to the beach tomorrow. I will be sure to post some pics!
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Megan

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Welcome! I can't wait to see the beach pictures

I have two boys. I neutered Apollo at 6 months old and Hudson is intact (and is currently 13 months old) It clearly made a difference in Apollo's appearance, but I have not had any health problems with him. At least not yet.

I strongly recommend waiting until at least 18 months as the others said. Do check your contract as well. I prepared for the worst with Hudson being a giant teenage boy, but he has been fine. He is still his sweet, goofy self... he just loses his brain sometimes hehe

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DaniS

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Reply with quote  #15 
Hi I am new to this message board also and I am worried about this subject also with my Mastiffs as I have 1- 27 week old (female) and 2- 16 week old (1boy/1girl), if I wait until 18 to 24months for each how do I keep them separated to not have puppies. Each do have there own kennels and we watch them when outside but I worry about them hooking  up. I have caught him twice mounting his sister of the same age.

Cheers Dani
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