Jump to content
BC Boards

roots of castration of dogs?


geonni banner
 Share

Recommended Posts

I can't seem to find any historical references to when the practice of castrating dogs began.

 

I know that people have been castrating cattle, sheep and even chickens for centuries, but where and when did people start doing it to dogs?

 

I saw a painting, done in the 1500's, which depicts a cat being castrated. (It was in the Wikipedia article about neutering.) I'm assuming spaying came much later.

 

This is mostly simple curiosity on my part, but I have begun to wonder about the ethical aspects of "automatic" castration and spaying of dogs and cats.

 

Coming from a rescue background I understand the reasons, and I agree that many (most?) pet owners aren't careful enough to prevent unwanted litters, still...

 

I have owned both intact and neutered dogs and cats. Both my female dog and my male cat are neutered. The cat was done as a kitten by the shelter I adopted him from, and I had my bitch spayed at eight or ten months (can't remember exactly.) I personally feel that it's better to do the operation after the animal reaches sexual maturity. But then there's the careless, sentimental, or out-for-a-buck owners...

 

But I have niggling regrets. Not because I want to breed either of them, but there's something... Anybody else?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From a personal standpoint, I have no wish to deal with a female cat in heat, and I find the smell of tom cat piss revolting, so even if I weren't concerned about unwanted reproduction in my cats, I still would prefer to have them neutered. Maybe the argument would be that we shouldn't alter animals strictly for our convenience, but since we altered (in the non-neutering sense) them when we domesticated them, I see it simply as a matter of degree (of alteration), if that makes sense.

 

J.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read in Wikipedia:

"While there are differing views in Islam with regard to neutering animals, some Islamic associations have stated that when done to maintain the health and welfare of both the animals and the community, neutering is allowed on the basis of 'maslaha' (general good) or "choos[ing] the lesser of two evils".

 

Traditional interpretations of Orthodox Judaism forbids the castration of both humans and non-human animals by Jews, except in lifesaving situations. In 2007, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Shlomo Amar issued a ruling stating that it is permissible to have companion animals spayed or neutered on the basis of the Jewish mandate to prevent cruelty to animals."

 

I think it's interesting that there has been a movement in many countries, especially Britain and also in Europe to ban tail docking and ear-cropping, but at the same time there is a real push from humane groups to "neuter everything."

 

Of course tail-docking is mostly done for cosmetic reasons now, but in the time I worked in veterinary clinics I saw so many of the "whip-tailed" breeds come in with the most awful hematomas on their tails. They didn't seem to feel the pain of whacking even badly damaged tails against things by wagging really hard.

Great Danes were the worst in this respect, with Dobermans and Rotties with natural tails next. I wonder why it became fashionable to leave the tails of one, but dock the others.

 

Cropping ears on fighting breeds made sense - easy to grab, lots of capillaries to make blood-loss an issue.

 

But it seems to me that there is much more resistance to castrating male dogs than spaying females, and not just by men. Of course, the boys don't present you with pups, but a single male can father many more pups in his lifetime than a female can bear.

 

I have read that castration is being considered as a possibly useful tactic for controlling numbers of certain feral or wild animals, like mustangs. Some groups advocate gelding all stallions "in the field" except the really pretty ones, which would presumably produce flashy foals that the BLM could find ready adopters for. I don't think it's worked out well in practice though. It's expensive and places a lot of stress on the remaining intact males. I've heard it suggested for controlling wolf populations when their numbers start spilling over into areas where they are a threat to livestock.

 

I know that in many urban areas especially, there is a lot of catch, neuter, notch ears and release for feral cat populations, but I've never heard of it being done with feral dog populations.

 

I'm thinking that, as relates to Border Collies, it takes awhile to get a good idea if a stockdog is good as a breeding prospect, so I would imagine that there are more intact dogs and bitches in that milieu. Do stockdog handlers find their intact animals to be a significantly greater burden to manage than their neutered dogs?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do stockdog handlers find their intact animals to be a significantly greater burden to manage than their neutered dogs?

I have a friend with working bc´s.Two females, one male, all intact.

He is not a breeder, doesn´t want to be. I predicted he´d have a litter within the year, his reply "no, no, I´ll be careful"...

The seven pups are almost two weeks old and very adorable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

Ms. Banner asks: "Do stockdog handlers find their intact animals to be a significantly greater burden to manage than their neutered dogs?"

 

Since bitches bring each other in, having one intact bitch and dog is the same agro as 3 of each. As soon as I see the first blood spots until 3/4 weeks later I have two packs: twice as many walks, double the management. Our farm is remote (nearest neighbors 2 miles) and our neutered guard dogs keep roaming dogs from greeting my bitches at the door. Still, when they go out in the dark for a first or last pee, I must go out with them with a flashlight. I's think intactness would be easier for those with a kennel.

 

Is it a burden? Yes. And though in 25 years I've not had an unwanted pregancy and have traveled to Minnesota with an intact dog and bitch in standing heat in the back of the car, I must be watchful, especially when my experienced dogs tell me she's ripe (about 4 days).

 

A significantly greater burden? No. I care for animals and have done so for 30 years. My life revolves around animals and I have no desire to do anything else.

 

We neuter our guard dogs early and I'd recommend it: You don't want them wandering. I try not to keep dogs or bitches I'd not want a pup off but we're sentimental and there's always an old dog/bitch or two or a useless but beloved pet. Over time, most get neutered but I'm not religious about it.

 

Donald McCaig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

But it seems to me that there is much more resistance to castrating male dogs than spaying females, and not just by men. Of course, the boys don't present you with pups, but a single male can father many more pups in his lifetime than a female can bear.

 

 

When I lived in France, I volounteered at the local animal shelter. Female dogs were spayed but males were left intact. I found this really interesting because where I live, gender does not play a role in the shelter system but also because I imagine that a spay is far more intrusive than a neuter.

 

Around here I rarely see intact dogs and those that are intact are often bully breeds, pulling on their leather studded collars, usually belonging to really beefy guys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I lived in France, I volounteered at the local animal shelter. Female dogs were spayed but males were left intact. I found this really interesting because where I live, gender does not play a role in the shelter system but also because I imagine that a spay is far more intrusive than a neuter.

 

Around here I rarely see intact dogs and those that are intact are often bully breeds, pulling on their leather studded collars, usually belonging to really beefy guys.

 

I think there is a big cultural bias one way or another in some places. I'm told that in many parts of Europe stallions are not routinely gelded, and are used for riding and driving quite often. Here there is still quite a lingering notion that stallions are unsafe, and unless they are needed for breeding they are usually castrated quite young.

Of course, stallions can be a handful, but early training in ground manners makes a big difference, and one does need to pay attention.

I often think that stallions suffer from the same kind of bad press that Border Collies do - ie. "They're hard to handle and have to have miles of roadwork every day to make them possible to live with."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I often think that stallions suffer from the same kind of bad press that Border Collies do - ie. "They're hard to handle and have to have miles of roadwork every day to make them possible to live with."

 

I think the thing with stallions is that a tremendous percentage of ordinary American horse owners do not know how to handle a stud. It's far easier to keep a gelding around and not worry about his reactions to a mare in season, than it is to understand a stallion and stay on top of his good manners.

 

Plus, the trend may have begun with early ranchers and farmers who frowned on keeping a horse intact, unless for breeding, simply because it's inconvenient. They need their horses for cowboys/hands to ride to work, and they run in common pasture when not used. In that mindset, stallions and mares are for breeding. Geldings are for work.

 

So, it may be a cultural thing, but also, the cultural common knowledge often just goes missing for John Q American Citizen. I'm all for the average pet owner spaying and neutering their dogs, and all for the average horse owner gelding their colts, because many people today are so removed from rural sensibilities that their ignorance is vast.

 

I'm still shaking my head over a post on Craig's List a couple months ago, where a pet owner referred to her young bitch "having her first period." :blink::P

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I'm still shaking my head over a post on Craig's List a couple months ago, where a pet owner referred to her young bitch "having her first period." :blink::P

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

I'm sure you're right about the stallion thing.

 

As for the bitch "having her first period," (sheesh!) There are still a large number of people out there who think a bitch "needs" to have "just one litter."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure you're right about the stallion thing.

 

As for the bitch "having her first period," (sheesh!) There are still a large number of people out there who think a bitch "needs" to have "just one litter."

 

Auugh, I know. I had blissfully not dealt with this in a long time. But recently at work someone was telling me about a dog they had had and that they bred her once because "it's healthier for them or something if they have one litter". I was just floored. In other respects she seems like a reasonably intelligent woman. I wanted to ask, so, you just don't care about any of the pups you created to enhance the "health" of your bitch? Or do all of them need to be bred at least once too? And this is someone doing it purposefully. Think of how many typical owners would have whoops litters if they had intact animals for even one year.

 

My childhood horse (actually my uncle's) was a stallion. I rode him everywhere, unsupervised, when I was 11-15. He had a sense of humor ;) but was actually really well mannered.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My childhood horse (actually my uncle's) was a stallion. I rode him everywhere, unsupervised, when I was 11-15. He had a sense of humor ;) but was actually really well mannered.

 

I know I'll catch a lot of crap for this, but I have already, and it hasn't altered my opinion yet...

 

I am partial to female dogs and male cats. I like male dogs pretty well, but you couldn't give me a female cat with watercress 'round it. IMNSHO, male cats stay playful most of their lives, and frequently and happily descend to utter silliness - neutered or not - and females just turn grumpy and demanding. Stereotyping, I know, but I remain firm in this, despite the protestations of female cat owners the world over.

 

My experience with being around stallions has been limited to 2 Arabs and a Gypsy Cob. But to me they have the same characteristics I prize in a male cat. Nosy, a bit mischievous, playful, and just more "awake" than a gelding. All three were used for breeding and all three were perfect gentlemen on the ground or under saddle. But of course, they were brought up by kind, sensible people who knew how to channel that energy into useful paths. As Julie pointed out, there are too few people who have a clue how to manage a stallion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gloria pointed out the thing about too few people knowing how to handle a stallion, but I agree. And frankly, all you have to do is look at auctions and see what's going to kill buyers to know that the world would be better off with far fewer stallions (and by extension far fewer foals) who will simply end their lives after a probably not very pleasant trailer ride to Canada or Mexico.

 

As for working dogs, I can walk my pack with bitches in heat because I am right there and the males aren't likely to try any hanky panky if I'm watching. But when you have multiple bitches and they bring each other in, usually at one-week intervals (that is, the first bitch comes in, the second comes in a week later, and the third a week after that), well it can begin to seem like an eternity. Add to that an adolescent male who is all about hormones, and well, it can be a big pain in the ass. But it's certainly manageable. Like Donald said, you have to do separate outings in the yard, and I have to keep an eye on things in the house, or segregate the two genders in different parts of the house.

 

So, yes, I do keep them intact until I decide whether they might be breedworthy, but if they aren't going to be bred, then they are neutered. It just makes life easier. And I suppose if I wanted to minimize impact on my dogs, I could simply spay the females and leave the males intact, but since I let my males mature fully before neutering anyway, I can't really see a down side to castration if they're not going to be bred. As for females, the risk of pyometra is reason enough for me to spay. It can kill a bitch practically by the time you realize there's something wrong. Again, if the bitch isn't going to be bred, I'd rather reduce the chance of something like that than reason that they should live free of the knife.

 

Geonni,

I have always preferred male cats, female dogs, and geldings, because of general personality traits that seem to be associated with gender.

 

J.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Poland, there is a lot of aggressive promotion of castrating all non-breeding dogs in the pedigree dog circles. Owners are put under pressure to do so. Personally, I don't understand how it's supposed to work: I have three intact bitches and I am expected to keep them from accidental matings, and an owner who has one bitch is under constant pressure to spay to avoid accidental puppies. Since I became a breeder I have not noticed having been captured by aliens and given special intellectual powers to keep my bitches from breeding better than an owner who has one single bitch to worry about or a male.

 

I once translated fragments of this article and gave the link to the full version:

http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf

It caused an awful lot of negative comments basically saying that from then on I will be responsible for a sudden influx of homeless dogs in dog shelters.

I have been under the impression that in the US the main reason for castration is pet market control. Dogs and cats that are not intended for breeding are often sold castrated, and breeding pets are sold for much more. In Poland, the main argument is that castration prevents unwanted litters. I don't quite buy the idea considering e.g. Sweden where castration is performed only in justified cases e.g. related to health, there is virtually no problem with accidental litters and homeless dogs.

 

I was also surprised to observe that border collies basically think that working stock is better than sex :lol: , and working stock with an adult male and female in heat is only slightly different from when she is not in heat. I have heard many complaints about the difficulty in showing males if there is a female in heat somewhere near. But I was at a week long clinic with my bitch Kelly at her peak (with the knowledge and permission of the organizers of course) and it was no problem really, and also I had herding practice with Bonnie in heat and her brother taking turns and all I had to do is say "no, that'll do" and she did.

 

Personally, I am neither for nor against castration in itself, as it depends in my opinion on several factors that might be at play in a given situation. on our farm we used to castrate rams, but we read in the Bible (Lev. 22:24)that we are not supposed to castrate animals so we stopped. Although I would still do it if there is a medical indication (e.g. pyometra).

 

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am so afraid of pyometra that my dogs get spayed. But then I'm not interested in breeding at all.

 

I think there is one country where neutering is just about unheard of - Sweden? I know I've read about it and how they often use those dogs to compare to neutered and spayed dogs in health studies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am curious as to why neutering/spaying started in the US. I have 2 dogs now, Rose is a spayed female from the local shelter and Loki is a 11 month old intact male (obviously not from the shelter). I've recently been told by a well-meaning person that I need to get Loki neutered before he starts raping all the neighbor dogs (lol!). The lack of education and understanding regarding neuter/spaying and animal reproduction where I live astounds me. I have left Loki intact as I read multiple studies regarding the effects of spay/neuter in puppies- in males neutering before growth plates close drastically increases the risk of hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament problems, aggression, and several types of cancer. The only benefit for the male dog is that they cannot get testicular cancer but since testicular cancer is rare and doesn't usually spread, an affected dog is simply neutered. Although I firmly believe that the general public should spay/neuter I feel that those who plan to do sports, herding, etc. AND are responsible should be allowed to make their own decisions regarding their animal's health and reproductive status. Of course, responsibility is in the eye of the beholder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that in many urban areas especially, there is a lot of catch, neuter, notch ears and release for feral cat populations, but I've never heard of it being done with feral dog populations.

 

When I helped trap and pay for the shots and neutering of our local family of feral cats, I asked about feral dogs.

 

I was told that feral cats survive quite well for years, but feral dogs don't live long enough for the effort to be worth it. And the trapping is much more effort.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...