I fell in love with the Bouvier des Flandres breed 20 years ago when I met a Police Canine Handler who worked one on the street. Tommy was a big powerful yet happy dog. His bite was full and hard and his prey drive excellent. I loved playing the bad guy with Tommy and I felt like a rag doll at times. I loved the dog so much I decided someday I would own a Bouvier. That time came and I did my research. I wanted a confident dog that enjoyed playing tug and fetch.  As I searched I learned many Bouvier’s were lethargic and I certainly did not want a slow lazy dog. Dog breeds can lose their work ethic due to over breeding or breeding for confirmation and not so much for work. This breed is the old farm dog from Europe, but farmers no longer need herding dogs to protect their animals. So the breed can lose the instinct to heard and work over the years. Good working dogs make lousy pets.

I found my male from a Breeder in Vancouver Canada and Titus was born. He’s a great dog and after a few years I found my female, Bracha from a breeder in Virginia Beach, VA. Both dogs have a great work ethic and I love working them. Since it’s so difficult to find quality working Bouviers I wanted to breed them. My female ended up having a thyroid issue, so breeding was out of the question. This is not unusual for this breed but responsible breeders do not breed dogs with medical issues. There is no law or rules for breeders and it happens all the time. That is why our dogs develope hip dysplasia, allergies, and skin disorders. Many medical issues can be avoided by purchasing your dog from ethical breeders.

I am a strong advocate for neutering and spaying dogs and both of my dogs have had the procedure. It’s part of being a responsible pet owner and can help with behavior issues as well. I have recommended the procedure many times and I just cringe when I hear, “I want my dog to have puppies, it will be educational for the kids.” No, if you want to educate your children watch the National Geographic Channel. There is no benefit for your bitch having puppies or you’re male to stud out.

I usually make the recommendation of neutering because there are reactive issues going on with the dog. If your dog wants to attack other dogs why would you want to pass that gene on to more pups?   1.2 million dogs are euthanized annually in the United States. We don’t need more unadoptable dogs. If owners of dogs in Detroit would have spayed and neutered their dogs when they abandoned them in the streets during the recession they would not have been able to reproduce. Now there are feral dogs running the streets of Detroit.

So, let’s agree that we all want to neuter and spay our dogs but when is a good time to do it? Some vets want to do it right away when the pup is young about 6-9 months. I am not a Veterinarian but many professional dog trainers and some vets recommend waiting until the pup has grown some. In larger breeds it is believed bones fuse better and the dog grows stronger if left intact until they are 18 months. There are health benefits for spaying your bitch and not so much behavioral changes. With male dogs and aggression, neutering can dramatically have an effect on human and male dog aggression.

I have owned intact dogs and castrated dogs. I could see a huge behavioral change when a bitch was in heat. The castrated dogs could care less about the female and my intact males about lose their minds. My intact males cried, paced, and were aggressive with other male dogs. When I was a police canine officer it was the handler’s discretion on whether or not they neutered their dog. Neutering has no effect on the dog’s work ethic or drive. We did neuter when there was male and male aggression, excessive urine sniffing and marking issue. From my experience neutering helped with behavioral issues in our male dogs.

If you search the internet you will find several opinions and who do you believe? Does neutering early increase your dog to getting cancer and joint issues or is there no cause and effect?  I suggest you talk to your vet, do some research, and make your own educated decision. What the professionals all can agree upon is that it’s best to neuter and spay at some point in your dog’s life.

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