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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If I am 100% sure she can't breed can I live her nonspayed? I am from Poland and I live with my wife somewhere near a forest and we are kind of alone here. We have no neighbors and no dog nearby so it is impossible for her to breed with a male dog, there is just one way she can breed and that is if a wild grey wolf come come from woods and into our yard and breed with her(she is Akita), however is is very improbable because she sleeps inside with us because bears might come also and during the day no wild animal is coming out of the woods. In this case where it is impossible to breed with a male dog, can I leave my female dog unspayed from a health perspective. If It was a male dog I would leave him 100% non-neutered, however I don't know for females what to do.
 

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As long as you are very careful and only let her outside under your watch during her full cycle to make sure a male dog (maybe abandoned out there) or a wolf (who might come out of the woods during the day for an inheat female) don't get to her, then yes you can.

Here is a recent study done on 35 breeds regarding health and neutering. It does not include the akita, but from it you can get an idea of how they relate to one another. In only one breed is leaving the female intact best for their health. In all others, spaying after a specific age and leaving the dog intact have the same outcome regarding health.

With that, it might be worth keeping spaying as a possibility. You don't indicate how old she is now, but I would say wait until she is at least 2 years old and then re-evaluate if you have seen signs of any males (dogs or wolves) around at any time. If not, leave her intact. If so, you can then decide if your precautions to prevent breeding are sufficient to leave her intact.
 

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The biggest medical things you have to watch for in an unspayed female are pyometra - an infection of the uterus - and mammary cancer. Both can be fatal, and pyometra can kill very quickly if it's not treated, so it's a good idea to research these illnesses and make sure you understand the risks and know what symptoms to look out for. Mammary cancer usually affects older dogs, but spaying before the age of 2 (or before the third heat cycle) significantly reduces the risk of it developing.

Also keep in mind that often female dogs will become far more interested in wandering off while they're in heat. If you don't have a secure yard of kennel for her to stay in, she may go farther from the woods than she normally would and get into dangerous situations or find a way to get to a male dog. It's a very good idea to be extra cautious while she's in heat, and to make sure she has a secure place to stay if she's going to be outside unsupervised during this time.

I'm not going to say whether you should or shouldn't spay your dog - that's your choice to make - I just wanted to point out some of the bigger risks so that you can make an informed decision about what's right for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
She is young, 1 year and 4 months and the yard is secure. I don't really want to neuter/spay my dog for one reason, it might be stupid for some of you, however I see things like this: Wolves and dogs stayed intact for tens of thousands of years and did well, they breed when they felt to and nature followed its course. I understand that we now live times where you can't really let millions of puppies alone on streets because, and I don't want to breed dogs and throw the puppies in a word where they can't survive, however if the breeding is not a problem I tend to let nature follow its course regarding neuter/spaying. Because dogs and wolves lived intact for many years, why should I deny this and neuter/spay, if having no testicles/ovaries is better, dogs would have been born without. You might say that nature does everything for the good of the species, not the good of an individual, however if these organs were really a source of illness, nature would find another way of multiplication, however I don't think the reproductive organs are more likely to develop an illness than let's say liver or kidneys.
 

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That is your decision - I mentioned the risks so you can weigh the pros and cons. You can absolutely leave her intact - most people where I live do - but it's still a good idea to research pyometra and mammary cancer so that you know the symptoms and can get her medical care quickly should they occur. Again, Pyometra in particular can go bad very quickly and will kill a dog if left untreated, and some studies show it happens almost 25% of intact bitches by the age of 10 (Breed Risk of Pyometra in Insured Dogs in Sweden), so it's not a rare problem by any means. Mammary cancer is often slower to develop, but it's much easier to treat if it's caught early and is isolated to a small areas, just like with cancer in humans. You don't need to spay her, but making sure you can recognize these illnesses is so important when you own intact females!
 

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Take a look at the study I linked. It is very interesting in that each breed has different outcomes regarding neutering and that even between the males and females there are differences. As I said above, in only one breed studied was leaving intact "healthier" than spaying after a specific age. For all the other breeds, there were significant increases in risk of health issues by spaying in a specific time frame, significant decreases in risk by spaying in a specific time frame, or no change in risk if spayed or left intact.

If you are willing and able to prevent accidental breeding, then it just comes down to your assessment of the risk versus benefit for your dog.

From your post, you seem to have a good attitude towards the reproduction side of neutering, and are willing to take responsibility in regards to having an intact female. To me, that is a major factor in whether to leave a dog intact or not.
 

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I kept my last female GSD intact until she was 3 (never bred her) then had her spayed as I was not going to breed her and did not want her to get pyometra which is common in older female dogs (I do not know if it is an issue in wolves which are a different genus from dogs).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
wolves which are a different genus from dogs
Actually not! Both are from "Canis" genus, and even they are the same species("Canis lupus") and genus is a wider term than species(More species are included in one Genus in this case the species lupus is included in the genus canis and both wolves and dogs are lupus species that implies they are in the genus canis both, also the species aureus is included in Genus "Canis" and that are dholes), the difference between wolves and dogs are in the subspecies level, dogs are "Canis lupus familiaris"(familiaris is the subspecies and means they are domesticated) and wolves are simply "Canis lupus", they do have subspecies also that makes them different from other wolves("Canis lupus arctos" - arctic wolf, "Canis lupus lupus" - common wolf). In general, if 2 animals can breed and their cub is fertile. For example, a lion and a tigress might be able to breed and give birth to a liger, however the liger is sterile. An wolf and a dog are able to breed and their cub is able to breed also, so they are the same species, and as I said genus is wider than species. There is just one difference between wolves and dogs and that is in the subspecies level and even if it sounds surprising, genetically speaking it is negligible difference, the genetic difference between a grey wolf and an artic wolf is the same as the difference between a poodle and a great dane or between an wolf and a Maltese Bichon and an artic wolf is very similar visually to an grey wolf and a great dane is 7 times larger than a poodle, also an wolf is scary and a bichon is cute and they are basically the same animal.
 

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Because dogs and wolves lived intact for many years, why should I deny this and neuter/spay, if having no testicles/ovaries is better, dogs would have been born without. .....l, however if these organs were really a source of illness, nature would find another way of multiplication, however I don't think the reproductive organs are more likely to develop an illness than let's say liver or kidneys.
Nature moves at a very slow pace ....outside of "divine intervention" it would take many generations to develop an alternative. And I agree that they can also develop diseases of the liver or kidneys, but when that happen the dog dies.

Now that has absolutely no effect on your decision to neuter / spray. It does remove one of the potential causes of death, or illnesses or even behavioral issues but Its not gonna guarantee that it will leave out it's expected lifespan either. I have taken in dogs that still had functional reproductive organs. I didn't neuter / spay any of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It does remove one of the potential causes of death, or illnesses
I think the trade off is unfair from a philosophical point of view. Life is is impossible to define in a few words, we can define life, however, by what it does. From first living cell to elephants to ants to bacteria to dogs to humans, any form of life does 3 things:
1) eats: even bacteria is extracting energy from environment and from sun
2) defends: every living thing defends from dangers
3) multiplies: almost every creature feels an urge to leave offsprings on earth, even bacteria divides

And the multiplication part is the most important for many living things. They eat to survive to multiply, they defend to survive to multiply and many "moms" in the animal kingdom sacrifice them for the cub to live to transmit further the parent's gene.

If these 3 activities define life, if you take the multiplication part from a dog, it becomes 1 third dead since you take 1 third of what makes him alive and this doesn't compensate with the minor health benefits that spaying could POTENTIALY have. That's how I see things relative to neutering and spaying.(By taking the multiplication part from a dog I mean spaying/neutering, not by not letting them breed)
 

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OP, you have an interesting argument on keeping dogs intact. But if you've already decided that, what's your question really?

Both my previous dog, who lived 12 healthy years with no health problems, to my current dog that has just turned 5, and has never been nor will be ever bred (previous dog had a few litters), both are/were intact throughout their lives.

So yeah, I sort of agree with you that as nature intended is best. My understanding is the incidence of urinary incontinence from spaying exceeds the incidence of pyometra or memory cancer in GSD at least.

But again, you seem to already have thought this all through and made up your mind. So what is the question? Can you choose not to spay your female, of course you can. Can you choose to let her breed, of course you can. Should you? That's for you to decide...
 

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I think the trade off is unfair from a philosophical point of view.
I'm not disagreeing with you. I didn't "fix" any of the dogs that arrived here "intact.

What I am saying the arguments for neuter / spay are primarily:

a) It eliminates one of the many causes of disease / death. This is one factor in your decision that has to be weighed again all the reason you sated.
b) We already have enough puppies in the world. Given your description, and approach, this obviously it would not apply to you.

It also is obvious that before coming here, you did some research and, as I would, you came here to ask if there are any potential issues that you have not perhaps evaluated.

Here's a list of health issues and

It's a good read from an awareness point of view ....like making a list of questions before your vet visit. Kudos to you for trying to find out as much as you can and I encourage you to continue doing so you can ask the right questions at your vet visit. Ultimately, that's a decision between you and your vet, with you having the final say.
 

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I did want to mention one thing and do so with a bit of reservation. As you have been doing research, no doubt you have seen the words "dominant "and "can be aggressive" mentioned. This doesn't mean that every owner need to be overly concerned, it basically means "as compared to other breeds" they may tend to exhibit such behavior more often than others. This results in spaying / neutering option being raised in dogs which exhibit such tendecies .... or even if there's perception that they do.

Our neighbor's had an Akita (Husband, wife and 2 teen daughters that I knew from later teens till ate 20's). We share about 150 feet of fence. Every time I walked out to the mailbox the dog had a "guarding reaction" whether I was by myself or our male Dobie was tagging along. He'd bark for a bit, and either Dad would yell out the window telling him to shut up or sometimes he'd realize I was not doing anything to affect him and leave it alone.

Then Dad left and the dog adopted an entirely new personality. Now it jumped upon the fence barking much more aggressively; he paid absolutely no attention to Mom (retired) or the 2 daughters. I walked over to the fence a few times while they were trying to get the dog to calm down. I felt if I stuck my arm over that fence the 1st time, I'd be bitten. Called him by name and told him to sit down. He did, I petted and praised him and then he and my Dobie ran up and down the fence for a while. This ritual was repeated whenever we were both out at the same time, I always stopped to say Hi. The daughter mentioned one day that they were very frustrated, the dog wouldn't listen except when Dad was over and the vet had recommended having the dog neutered.

While not to be confused with canine pack hierarchy, to my eyes, (meaning I have seen it displayed and behavior successfully modified numerous times) there was a clear "domestic hierarchy" within the home. Dad was 1st, dog was 2nd and the gals were below him. Shortly after, Mom sold the house, daughter's got their own places, dog was neutered. I did later hear 2nd hand that normal,well less frustrating, owner / pet behavior ensued. So what was the cause ...neutering ? location change ? daughter stepped up ?

I wanted to mention it as if you do a web search on the topic, neutering and spaying is often a recommended solution to e Akitas' real or perceived behaviors, From a quantity standpoint, based upon owners groups and such the anecdotal information leans towards "yes, it in the majority of cases, it is effective". On the other side,the largest (16,000 dogs from 3 studies) scientific study I found when researching this issue came to the opposite conclusion:


".... the distressing results of these studies are that spayed and neutered dogs actually show considerably more aggression. Depending upon the specific form of aggression (owner directed, stranger directed, etc.) the size of these effects is quite large, varying from a low of around a 20 percent increase to more than double the level of aggression in the neutered dogs as measured by the C-BARQ scoring scale.

A further surprise was that these effects were similar for both males and females ..... for females early spaying (before the dog is one year of age) causes a considerably larger increase in aggression relative to later spaying.

A different worrisome finding is that there was a roughly 31 percent increase in fearfulness for both sexes. This is accompanied by a 33 percent increase in touch sensitivity. The spayed and neutered dogs also showed a roughly 8 percent increase in excitability. About the only positive effect on behavior that seems to result from spaying and neutering is the roughly 68 percent decrease in urine marking."


So there it is ... one one side you have many, many owners saying it was a good thing .. and the science saying another. I'm not making things easier am I ? :) But again the goal here is not for anyone to tell you what to do, or that your choice is wrong, but to help you obtain the information you need to make a final decision.

If I had to guess, the action that changed the behavior of the neighbor's dog was that domestic dynamic changed; when that akita and daughter got their own place. The akita had no one else to provide it's needs, she fed it, took it for walks, played with it and quickly learned for the dog to get whet he wanted, he had to behave like she wanted.
 

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That observed behavior had less to do with the akita breed than it did the family situation. My dad had akitas and I've been around many. Very rarely have I seen that behavior in one. Any dog spending extensive time alone in a yard will have a tendency to "guard".

In regards to neutering, studies show that it does not decrease aggression in a dog.
 
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On the other side,the largest (16,000 dogs from 3 studies) scientific study I found when researching this issue came to the opposite conclusion:
Thanks for posting that. I'd never seen or even heard about those studies before, and I have a young male now, so it's a decision I'll need to make for him. I never saw increased aggression in my spayed females, although I've heard of it. The males I've had previously were rescues who came to me neutered.

My guess is if you have a good natured dog that doesn't show aggression, and you spay or neuter only to make sure there are never reproductive accidents, it's not a factor. Spaying or neutering a temperamentally well balanced dog isn't going to turn it nasty, although I've heard of neutered males who get nasty with intact males.

P.S. I'm with Toedtoes. The Akitas I had were fantastic dogs, no behavior problems with people or other dogs. That was long ago; the breed was pretty rare in the U.S. still, and my guess is like many breeds, there's been too much breeding by both people who don't know what they're doing and people who breed for looks only and don't consider temperament.
 

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I don't want to derail this thread, but this study was discussed on another thread Here and Dr Coren's claim that the study shows early neutering causes increased aggression was NOT the result of the study and the authors warn specifically against making that causation.
 

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Do we have a linguistic issue here ? The way I read that report ....

Highest Aggression ============================ >Least Aggression
------------------Early Spaying > Later Spaying > As they were born

I wasn't sure if you were trying to indicate the above or that they were suggesting as born should be in the middle

The purpose in referencing the study was to show that it's not as if this is "settled science" So when faced with "But you should neuter you dog because it will decrease aggression ", it's hard to say that this is a general indicator.
 

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That observed behavior had less to do with the akita breed than it did the family situation. My dad had akitas and I've been around many. Very rarely have I seen that behavior in one. Any dog spending extensive time alone in a yard will have a tendency to "guard".
I agree that the primary causation of the dogs behavior was the family dynamic, but both myself and the family agreed (more on that later) that the secondary cause was the breed characteristics. But 1st I have to address the inaccurate inference that the dog was "spending extensive time on it's own in a yard". People normally follow a schedule of activity and my mail gets delivered at the same time pretty much every day. That time just happened to be around the same time that Dad came home from the shop for lunch and our schedules just happened to go coincide. I also thought it was a fantastic dog ... not sure how not listening to the gals negates that (again, more on that later). With Dad on the way out, he selected a dog that he was confident would be a good protector for his wife and daughters; he certainly got that. He got along great with my male Dobie, which we both considered unusual.

AKC rates Akita at 2 / 5 for openness to strangers and 5 / 5 for protection / watchfullness... 1 / 5 for Not being good with other dogs ...also noted as "strong willed". Pretty much everywhere ya look it's stated that a) "Since it is a large, powerful dog, the Akita is not considered a breed for a first time dog owner and b) They are known to be intolerant of other dogs of the same sex, as stated in the AKC breed standard. While a widely accepted characterization, for the OP, that would appear to present no issues at all.

At one of our fence meetings we chatted at length one day, Dad had mentioned a legendary akita (name began with a H) in Japan that when his master got on a train one day, and never came back, the dog kept going back to the train station every day for like a decade until he died. They are particularly noted for their "loyalty" to their master. One Owner / Author writes (1st hit using "akita dog master relationship"):

"For example, with an American Akita, you need to understand that this dog breed is highly intelligent and loyal but very independent ... To males and master, it will rough house play to match whatever you throw at the dog while still be gentle and protective of women and children. With Akitas, more than any other dog breed, they understand their role within a pack* and quickly understand who is the pack* leader among human/animal relationships. It knows that there are defining lines and will respond well to obedience training as long as there is a clear pack* leader. If this is not clear to the dog, it will make itself the dominant member of its clan. Akita’s thrive on firm leadership and lots of exercise and stimulation. Without these key elements, this dog breed will become bored and very disrespectful. Akitas are very mindful of who they are."

* Please let's just agree for the purposes relating to this topic at least that he's obviously referring to the inter-species family unit and not wild canine pack structure / behaviors.

And that's why I believe that the observed behavior is relevant and important. As the dog grew to maturity with Dad as the clear clan leader. The author hit the proverbial nail on the head in describing what I had observed. As the the owner / author extolled above, "If this is not clear to the dog, [who is the clan leader] it will make itself the dominant member of its clan". The dog listened to its master (Dad), while ignoring the gals when Dad wasn't there, it listened to me

My point in posting the experience is I just wanted to suggest, if owner hadn't already noted this on his own, that it will be beneficial for both husband and wife to be involved in the training and that it be consistent. If Hubby observes the dog not listening to wifie, it would be prudent to reinforce her authority to "make things clear"
 

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@Jack Naylor rather than derail this thread, please start a thread about akitas and I'll be happy to discuss it. It really has no bearing on the OP's topic.
 
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