What Is The Best Age To Neuter Springer Spaniels

Updated July 28, 2022

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 Springer Spaniels.

While the paper isn’t perfect (more on that later), it does provide the first evidence for Springer Spaniels 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, my summary to follow):

Male < 6 months0/14 (0)0/14 (0)1/13 (7.69)1/13 (7.69)
Male 6 – 11 months1/14 (7.14)1/14 (7.14)0/14 (0)1/14 (7.14)
Male 1 year1/10 (10)0/10 (0)0/11 (0)1/10 (10)
Male 2 – 8 years0/14 (0)0/15 (0)0/15 (0)0/14 (0)
Male Intact3/52 (5.77)0/51 (0)2/52 (3.85)4/52 (7.69)
Female < 6 months0/9 (0)0/9 (0)0/9 (0)0/9 (0)
Female 6 – 11 months0/31 (0)1/31 (3.23)0/31 (0)1/31 (3.23)
Female 1 year0/7 (0)0/7 (0)0/7 (0)0/7 (0)
Female 2 – 8 years0/16 (0)2/16 (12.5)0/16 (0)2/16 (12.5)
Female Intact1/37 (2.7)1/37 (2.7)0/37 (0)2/37 (5.41)
Joint disorders. For ages 1 through 11 years and for each neuter period: no significant findings.
Male < 6 months0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)
Male 6 – 11 months0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)0/14 (0)
Male 1 year1/11 (9.09)0/11 (0)0/11 (0)0/11 (0)1/11 (9.09)
Male 2 – 8 years0/14 (0)0/15 (0)0/15 (0)0/15 (0)0/14 (0)
Male Intact3/50 (6)0/52 (0)0/51 (0)0/52 (0)3/49 (6.12)
Female < 6 months0/9 (0)0/9 (0)0/9 (0)0/9 (0)0/9 (0)
Female 6 – 11 months1/29 (3.45)0/30 (0)0/29 (0)0/31 (0)1/29 (3.45)
Female 1 year0/7 (0)0/7 (0)0/7 (0)0/7 (0)0/7 (0)
Female 2 – 8 years0/16 (0)1/16 (6.25)0/16 (0)0/16 (0)1/16 (6.25)
Female Intact1/37 (2.7)1/37 (2.7)0/36 (0)0/37 (0)2/36 (5.56)
Cancers. For ages 1 through 11 years and for each neuter period: no significant findings.

Four of the 31 females spayed at 6-11 months had UI.

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

Summary: The Best Springer Spaniel Spay & Neuter Times

There is minimal evidence that Springer Spaniel joint problems or cancers are influenced by the age of neutering. Owners of males are free to choose the age of desexing that suits them best, for females it’s a bit more complicated.

Recommendation: 9 months for males, and 1 year for females. However, as UI is not a serious problem, it is acceptable to spay at 11 months after the first season. 

This is so far the only science we have for the best desexing age in Springers. Your vet, breeder or online group may have a different opinion based on their experience or personal beliefs. It’s perfectly reasonable to take their advice into consideration as well.

The decision to go earlier may be based on other factors such as:

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 Springer Spaniel at least, they’ve made the decision a lot easier.

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

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By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. Meet his team here.

One Reply to “What Is The Best Age To Neuter Springer Spaniels”

  1. Thanks for the above. We have a soon-to-be 5 month ESS. I think she’s scheduled for spaying in early June (or 7 months). The breeder recommended waiting a year (probably based upon this study) or more. We were pretty much locked in for the June date, but the dog trainer in an obedience class I’m currently taking said that spaying/neutering can vary from breed to breed. Our vet said she didn’t see any problem from 6 months on. Bottom line is I don’t want to hurt her physically or damage her growth. I’m going to show your breakdown to my wife, and look over the study, and then decide how to proceed.

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