The Best Age To Neuter A Dachshund

Updated November 21, 2023

If you own a Dachshund, you probably already know about IVDD.

Intervertebral Disc Disease affects around 20% of Dachies over their lives. All of them will experience severe pain. Many are permanently disabled and some even die as a result of irreversible and severe spinal damage.

Visit our page on IVDD if you want to read more. Here I want to talk about some new knowledge of a way to reduce the risk of it happening.

The Neutering Age & IVDD Study

For a long time it’s been suspected that the age of desexing might influence the risk of IVDD. A study of English Dachshunds1 has recently confirmed the theory.

IVDD dachshund desexing
Risk shown is relative to the entire dog of same sex. * Indicates result is statistically significant

Here are the results of the study. The key findings are:

  • Desexing all Dachshunds before 12 months of age adds a significant risk of IVDD
  • Female Dachshunds have an increased risk even when desexed after 12 months of age

So what do we do?

Desexing Age Recommendations

For male Dachshunds, it appears reasonable to simply delay desexing until after one year of age. That’s the same as we do for most large breed dogs.

For female Dachshunds, it’s possible that the increased risk of IVDD might offset any health advantage gained from desexing. Therefore, it’s reasonable to look at other alternatives.

This might be the only occasion when ovary sparing spay is the best choice in dogs. You will need to watch closely for mammary tumours as she ages. You will also have heats to manage every 6 to 12 months and the occasional false pregnancy.

If you want this done, very few vets will offer the service (we generally don’t as well).

If this seems too much, it’s reasonable and probably better to just delay desexing as long as you can bear. Personally, I think that doing it after two heats should be sufficiently careful. For many dog owners this will be a necessary compromise.

Other Prevention Options

There will always be faults in the first papers to appear on any topic. The most obvious one in this case is bodyweight.

It’s well known that desexing is associated with weight gain, and higher weights are likely to increase the risk of IVDD. But just because your dog is desexed doesn’t mean they have to get overweight; it’s still in your hands. Therefore, some of the extra risk could be easily preventable by good dietary management.

While unproven, risk is also likely to be reduced by not allowing access to furniture. Most cases of IVDD where the cause is known seem to occur after jumping down from a height.

The last prevention option is the hardest one, but also a hope for the future. Good breeders are trying to select for dogs less prone to IVDD. If your breeder shows awareness, that’s a good sign they’re trying to do something about it.

Have something to add? Comments (if open) will appear within 24 hours.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. Meet his team here.

  1. Dorn, M., & Seath, I. J. (2018). Neuter status as a risk factor for canine intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH) in dachshunds: a retrospective cohort study. Canine genetics and epidemiology, 5(1), 11.

15 Replies to “The Best Age To Neuter A Dachshund”

  1. Hi Andrew hope you well
    I have a mini dachshunds he is 6 months old only 1 testicle dropped is it possible for his other testicle to still drop he is is only 4 kg.
    I heard a few stories of dachshund that had the 2nde test dropped on 10 months even 14 months of age. Thanks

    1. Hi Thomas. Personally, I don’t think it’s possible for a testicle to drop after six months. If it does happen, it’s exceedingly rare and should not affect your decision-making. I’m sure you already know that it will need to be removed to prevent later cancer but that would be unlikely before one year of age.

  2. Hi. I have a 30 month old mini and we are taking him to get done. I am starting to worry if Iam doing the best for him. Is the risk of IVDD worth it in this age?

  3. I have a 6 month old mini dachshund and have him booked in for neutering next week, on my vets advice, but am really concerned that I am doing the wrong thing after reading your articles. Should I leave it until he is 12 months old. Any help greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Angela. I can only present the facts. It’s up to you to decide if you wish to take the risk based on other factors such as behaviour change and risk pregnancy etc

    2. just spoke to my vet been told wait till 2yrs.lost my last boy to ivdd its horrible and very painful for them.

  4. hi there. i just got a 5-7 month old rescue puppy. her mother is chihuahua and i do not have any information on her father. i believe she could be mixed with dachshund because her body is soo long. she looks soo much like google images of chiweenie and even has the same white spot on her chest. she is scared of going down the 2 steps in my kitchen, but i think its just cause she isn’t used to them yet as she has no problems going up (just wanted to mention in case). i want her to have healthy bones and as little health issues as possible of course. i know there is an increased risk of mammary tumors with waiting. i want to speak to a vet about but when i call around they all only recommend 6 months, not asking questions about breed, etc. if i wait for 2 heats, she will be at 26% increased risk for mammary tumors? any advice or reassurance would be appreciated. thank you very much for publicizing this research as it isn’t well known as it should be. thanks again and take care

    1. Hi Andrea. Although nobody really knows with the crossbreeds, my advice would be that if a puppy has the same physical shape as a dachshund (i.e. long body and very short legs) then it’s worth following the advice in this article.

  5. We are looking into buying a daschund puppy and the breeder insists on desexing at 11weeks old. What do you think of this?

    1. Hi Vivienne. I think the breeder needs to do some research. You could send them this article for example. I simply would not get a Dachshund puppy desexed at this age.

  6. Hi Andrew,
    I have a pedigree registered male mini dachshund who has just turned 6mths. I bought him for breeding purposes (responsibly), only to find at 4 mths that he has one undescended testis. I have hoped it would come down….not to be.
    My son had surgery to correct his similar problem when young and he has fathered 6 children, including 4 boys and none of my grandsons have undescended testis.
    I understood for humans it is a congenital problem but not genetic.
    Why do vets say for dogs it is genetic, they must be desexed…..they must not be bred?
    I guess this is my main question?

    1. Hi Julie. There is no question at all that it is a genetic fault. It’s easy to see that it only occurs in certain lines of dogs and not in others. It is a serious and common problem, not the minor one of humans. It would be too easy to listen to the opinions of those who tell you what you want to hear, and there are already too many of them. For example, my own dog had retained testicles and on investigation it was found that the breeder was lied to by another breeder who claimed that it wasn’t in her line of dogs. Needless to say it caused a permanent rift between the two!

  7. I have a mini female dachshund she is 19 weeks old. My breeder says she should not be spayed until 8 months. My vet wants to spayed her now. I am confused in what too do? I was thinking of spaying her when she turns 6 months. Help me make right choice. Thanks Deb from Ohio.

    1. Hi Deb. In differences of opinion, the safest approach is always to follow the evidence, and that’s what is presented in this article. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we have.

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