Spaying and Neutering

Spaying and neutering are still hotly debated topics. Simply put, there is one reason and one reason only to spay or neuter your Shiba – you don’t want puppies. Of course there’s all that blood every heat and the mounting and the posturing around other dogs that you could do without, but no puppies are and always will be the main reason.

Spaying and neutering are not guaranteed to improve your dog’s temperament, make it better around other dogs or stop it from wandering. These side effects may occur, but one should never approach spaying and neutering as a fix-it for problems that only training and control can address.

If you are worried about the health effects of spaying and neutering, do some research. There are pros and cons to the timing of the procedure and whether it is done at all. However, if you can’t guarantee that you will keep your dog from reproducing, you’re setting your dog up for more problems than you’re solving.

The real problem with spaying and neutering is that it is currently the only way that breeders, rescues, and shelters can guarantee that a dog cannot be bred after they relinquish it to a new owner. Unfortunately, in North American society, there is no accountability for irresponsibly breeding dogs and thus, this is the only way to prevent unwanted, unplanned, and unhealthy pups from being produced.

All good rescues and most good breeders require that their animals be spayed or neutered at a certain point when being placed in a pet home. Most of the time, this is non-negotiable, unless you have specific permission to keep the dog intact (for example, Tierce was bought as a pet, but his breeder allowed me to ignore the terms of the contract so I could show him – dogs can’t be shown if they’re neutered).

Other concerns about spaying and neutering have evolved from myths, legends, and treating dogs as if they are people (also known as anthropomorphization).

It’ll make my dog faaat!

Strangely enough, when the owner starts taking the dog for regular walks and feeds an appropriate amount of a high-quality diet, this tends to resolve itself.

My dog will feel less of a dog! He’ll be a wimp!

Do people know just how utterly creepy this statement is. You do realize he’s a DOG, right? You’re not joined at the testicles, are you?

Removing the testicles does not remove the territorial instinct, the legs, or the jaws of a dog. In the case of Shibas, who are you trying to kid? The breed was born thinking it owns the world and the removal of two lumps of flesh isn’t going to change its opinion any.

I want my dog to experience motherhood!

Dogs do not go to proms. They do not enjoy the bar scene. They do not require wedding trousseaus. They certainly do not need to produce an irresponsibly bred litter so that you can enjoy the power of generating more irresponsibly bred puppies.

I want my kids to see the miracle of birth!

What moron thought this up? Somehow, the character building in producing a litter of irresponsibly bred puppies is lost to me. Strangely enough, the parents that bleat this sentiment are not at all eager to take their children to a shelter to see what happens to a great many ‘miracles’.

My dog’s a PUREBRED!

When the myth of ‘purebred’ = ‘breeding quality’ expires, I will die happy. Purebred doesn’t equal a damn thing, unless it is backed up with a pedigree of dogs bred by dedicated, responsible breeders who are trying to preserve the breed’s traits and character. If you don’t have that kind of dog and/or aren’t prepared to breed responsibly, your dog’s puppies aren’t going to be worth the newspapers they’re crapping on.


When in doubt, neuter. You will never make a bad decision by choosing to neuter instead of breed.


  1. This is kind of an embarrassing question, but I’m don’t want to ask on google for fear of what might pop up. I have a lovely 4-year-old, black-and-tan, *female* shiba. Sometimes, usually after some great excitement (like someone will be whooping, rolling around, or laughing their heads off about something) my little Jada will mount someone’s leg and, erm, go to town. She’ll stop whenever we push her off and act like nothing happened. She’s been spayed, and she’s a girl. Is it a dominance thing, or what? It’s happened enough that I’m really curious, but like I said, there’s no way I’m looking it up on google.

    • It could be dominance or just plain excitement. If you’re worried about inappropriate things popping up on Google, just switch your SafeSearch to on. It’s located in your Preferences (on the right of the search box in the Google search page) and is under Safe Search Filtering. Once it’s on, it will block, um, “alternative” images from popping up. You can also get better results by typing in stuff like, “dog behaviour” + mounting, thus refining the search to dog behaviour.

  2. Actually, the issue is more complicated than that. While neutering late can reduce chances of knee injuries and hip problems, neutering EARLY can aggravate them. Also, spayed/neutered dogs are at a higher risk of vaccine reaction and mast cell tumor. This is a complex subject which is best discussed with your veterinarian. You can read more on the studies mentioned about here:

  3. great article on spaying dogs, i agree with everything you say here. I myself have a German Shepherd who is 2 years old now. i knew i didn’t need any puppies so she was spayed at about 4-5 months and she is as healthy as ever. Definitely agree with the “when in doubt,neuter” conclusion, otherwise the dog will be a year old and then the owner will want it spayed when its bleeding/humping :D.

  4. I like your paragraphs dealing with people that saying spaying or neutering their dog will make them a “wimp.” Like you said, some dogs, like shibas, will be territorial no matter what; a simple surgery isn’t going to change that. Plus, some dogs that haven’t been spayed or neutered can be overly aggressive and be a danger to themselves and others, so it’s actually better to have them be mellowed out after the surgery. Thanks for the article.

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