What Is The Best Age To Neuter A Poodle

Updated September 1, 2021

Whether you call it neuterspaycastrate or desex, the right time to get it done in dogs is a subject of much debate. This is because it varies from breed to breed. Recently, a study was published on the best age for neutering in all three Poodle breeds.

While the paper isn’t perfect (more on that later), it does provide the first evidence for Poodles on choosing a time of desexing with the fewest health problems. The study compared dogs neutered at different ages for their rates of:

All of these have been suspected to be linked with the age of neutering. Here’s what they found (only bold values are significant, after the six tables you will find my summary):

Toy Poodles

HDCCLEDAt Least One
Male < 6 months0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)
Male 6 – 11 months0/14 (0)1/14 (7.14)0/14 (0)1/14 (7.14)
Male 1 year0/10 (0)0/10 (0)0/10 (0)0/10 (0)
Male 2 – 8 years0/10 (0)0/11 (0)0/11 (0)0/10 (0)
Male Intact1/49 (2.04)1/49 (2.04)0/49 (0)2/49 (4.08)
Female < 6 months0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)
Female 6 – 11 months0/29 (0)0/29 (0)0/29 (0)0/29 (0)
Female 1 year0/12 (0)0/11 (0)0/12 (0)0/11 (0)
Female 2 – 8 years0/18 (0)0/18 (0)0/18 (0)0/18 (0)
Female Intact0/58 (0)0/58 (0)0/58 (0)0/58 (0)
Joint disorders. For ages 1 through 11 years and for each neuter period: no significant findings.
LSAMCTHSAOSAAt Least One
Male < 6 months0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)
Male 6 – 11 months0/14 (0)1/14 (7.14)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)1/14 (7.14)
Male 1 year0/9 (0)0/10 (0)0/10 (0)0/10 (0)0/9 (0)
Male 2 – 8 years0/11 (0)0/11 (0)0/11 (0)0/11 (0)0/11 (0)
Male Intact1/50 (2)0/49 (0)0/49 (0)0/49 (0)1/50 (2)
Female < 6 months0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)
Female 6 – 11 months0/28 (0)0/29 (0)0/29 (0)0/29 (0)0/28 (0)
Female 1 year0/12 (0)0/12 (0)0/12 (0)0/12 (0)0/12 (0)
Female 2 – 8 years0/18 (0)0/18 (0)0/18 (0)0/18 (0)0/18 (0)
Female Intact0/58 (0)0/58 (0)0/58 (0)0/58 (0)0/58 (0)
Cancers. For ages 1 through 11 years and for each neuter period: no significant findings.

Miniature Poodles

HDCCLEDAt Least One
Male < 6 months0/11 (0)0/11 (0)0/11 (0)0/11 (0) †
Male 6 – 11 months0/23 (0)2/24 (8.33)0/24 (0)2/23 (8.7) †
Male 1 year0/6 (0)0/6 (0)0/6 (0)0/6 (0)
Male 2 – 8 years0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)
Male Intact0/41 (0)0/41 (0)0/41 (0)0/41 (0)
Female < 6 months0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)
Female 6 – 11 months0/23 (0)0/23 (0)0/23 (0)0/23 (0)
Female 1 year0/12 (0)0/12 (0)0/12 (0)0/12 (0)
Female 2 – 8 years0/17 (0)0/17 (0)0/17 (0)0/17 (0)
Female Intact0/30 (0)0/30 (0)0/30 (0)0/30 (0)
Joint disorders. For ages 1 through 11 years and for each neuter period. Bold values indicate significance over the intact group. The dagger () indicates significance over the intact group when the early groups (< 6 mo. and 6-11 mo.) are combined.
LSAMCTHSAOSAAt Least One
Male < 6 months0/11 (0)0/11 (0)0/11 (0)0/11 (0)0/11 (0)
Male 6 – 11 months0/24 (0)0/24 (0)0/24 (0)0/24 (0)0/24 (0)
Male 1 year0/6 (0)0/6 (0)0/6 (0)0/6 (0)0/6 (0)
Male 2 – 8 years0/13 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/13 (0)
Male Intact1/42 (2.38)1/41 (2.44)0/41 (0)0/41 (0)2/42 (4.76)
Female < 6 months0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)
Female 6 – 11 months0/22 (0)0/23 (0)0/22 (0)0/23 (0)0/21 (0)
Female 1 year0/12 (0)0/12 (0)0/12 (0)0/12 (0)0/12 (0)
Female 2 – 8 years1/16 (6.25)0/17 (0)0/17 (0)0/16 (0)1/15 (6.67)
Female Intact0/29 (0)0/30 (0)0/30 (0)0/30 (0)0/29 (0)
Cancers. For ages 1 through 11 years and for each neuter period.

Standard Poodles

HDCCLEDAt Least One
Male < 6 months2/24 (8.33)0/25 (0)0/24 (0)2/24 (8.33)
Male 6 – 11 months0/38 (0)1/38 (2.63)0/38 (0)1/38 (2.63)
Male 1 year0/16 (0)0/16 (0)0/16 (0)0/16 (0)
Male 2 – 8 years0/8 (0)0/8 (0)0/8 (0)0/8 (0)
Male Intact1/47 (2.13)0/47 (0)0/47 (0)1/47 (2.13)
Female < 6 months0/17 (0)0/18 (0)0/18 (0)0/17 (0)
Female 6 – 11 months0/30 (0)0/30 (0)0/31 (0)0/29 (0)
Female 1 year0/10 (0)0/10 (0)0/10 (0)0/10 (0)
Female 2 – 8 years0/28 (0)0/28 (0)0/28 (0)0/28 (0)
Female Intact1/53 (1.89)0/52 (0)0/53 (0)1/52 (1.92)
Joint disorders. For ages 1 through 11 years and for each neuter period.
LSAMCTHSAOSAAt Least One
Male < 6 months2/25 (8)0/25 (0)0/25 (0)0/25 (0)2/25 (8)
Male 6 – 11 months0/37 (0)0/38 (0)1/36 (2.78)0/37 (0)1/36 (2.78)
Male 1 year4/16 (25)0/16 (0)0/15 (0)0/16 (0)4/15 (26.67)
Male 2 – 8 years0/8 (0)0/7 (0)0/8 (0)0/8 (0)0/7 (0)
Male Intact1/47 (2.13)1/47 (2.13)0/47 (0)0/47 (0)2/47 (4.26)
Female < 6 months0/17 (0)0/18 (0)0/18 (0)0/18 (0)0/17 (0)
Female 6 – 11 months1/31 (3.23)0/31 (0)0/31 (0)0/31 (0)1/31 (3.23)
Female 1 year1/9 (11.11)0/10 (0)0/10 (0)0/10 (0)1/9 (11.11)
Female 2 – 8 years0/26 (0)0/27 (0)1/28 (3.57)0/28 (0)1/25 (4)
Female Intact1/53 (1.89)0/53 (0)0/53 (0)0/53 (0)1/53 (1.89)
Cancers. For ages 1 through 11 years and for each neuter period. Bold values indicate significance over the intact group.

UI was reported in only one Miniature Poodle spayed under 6 months and one Standard Poodle spayed after 2 years.

If these tables makes no sense, it’s mostly because there are almost no abnormal findings. Have a look at this one for Golden retrievers as a comparison. 

Summary: The Best Poodle Spay & Neuter Times

As the findings are different, I will consider each breed separately.

Toy Poodle

There is minimal evidence that Toy Poodle health problems are influenced by the age of neutering. Owners of either sex are therefore free to choose the age of desexing that suits them best.

Recommendation: 6 months for both sexes.

Miniature Poodle

Male Miniatures had an increase in CCL problems when castrated under 12 months of age. There is minimal evidence that female Toy Poodle health problems are influenced by the age of neutering.

Recommendation: 6 months for females, 1 year for males. However, this late decision may be influenced by:

Standard Poodle

No joint problems were associated with the age of desexing. Male Standard Poodles desexed between 1 and 2 years of age had an increased rate of lymphoma.

Recommendation: 6 -11 months for males and one year for females.

This allows for the general trend of later times with higher body weights. It is older with females as they will come into season at 7-9 months, and we want this to settle down completely before surgery.

Problems With This Study

In the original paper, the authors appear to make some recommendations based on very limited evidence. I have published the original study data so you can see the actual numbers involved and decide for yourself.

The authors also do not mention the well-known increase in lifespan associated with desexing male and female dogs, which tends to counteract most concerns about specific cancers. The following comment in the paper is a clue that it might also have been true for this population:

Across all breeds the mean age of last entry in the record for neutered males was 5.5 years (range 3.71–6.54), for neutered females 5.7 years (range 4.21–6.97), for intact males 4.9 (range 4.15–7.11), and intact females 4.7 (range 3.41–6.32)

The study tries to also look at the rates of mammary cancer & pyometra in females, but cannot give an accurate assessment for two reasons:

  1. the mean ages listed above are far too young to pick up most cases
  2. pyometra and mammary cancer are rarely referred to university hospitals

Regardless of any concerns, the authors are to be applauded to bringing into focus one of the most common questions from dog owners. For the Poodle at least, they’ve made the decision a lot easier.

Related: Best Desexing Age For 35 Breeds | Desexing Choices For Dogs | Costs Of Desexing

Have something to add? Comments are welcome below and will appear within 24 hours.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia.

Andrew

2 Replies to “What Is The Best Age To Neuter A Poodle”

  1. I have a female standard poodle puppy. She’s 5 months old now and my vet says spaying earlier is easier on the dog—cleaner, recovers faster. But I’m curious about personality changes related to early versus later spay? Any thoughts on that?

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