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Discussion Starter #1
I recently acquired a male ACD puppy. This is my first male dog, so I'm not very familiar with what goes on (like I know females go through heat). I have read about marking, but if someone could explain that to me, it would be helpful.

I'm also wondering when I should neuter him? Should I wait for him to fully grow or is it safe to neuter him earlier?
 

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Well my dogs breeder said we must wait until he was 11 months of age. Sadly Fenwy had severe complications. He has recovered however (after much swelling). This is my second male dog and they did not neuter them the same way. Scout had everything chopped off, but Fenway had his "organs" removed and they left the rest hanging and sewed it up. There was so much swelling it made it look like everything was still there. Eventually the swelling and bleeding stopped and they shrunk. So honestly I am not sure what you should do.
 

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If you can keep him contained in your house/yard 100% then you can neuter or not whenever. If you can't, and have fencing he might jump, dig under, etc, or visit people with intact females, or tie him out in an undenced yard, then neuter around 6 months. Ideally for large breeds you'd wait until 2 yrs for growth to complete.
 

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If you neuter the dog young it effects their growth, and shape. Their genital area will not develop fully and they don't always get a good muscle tone. but it also makes them easier to handle. Intact male dogs tend to like to wander away from the house, some mark and can be harder to train in general, on top of worrying about them knocking up the neighbors dog ^_-

If you can wait till the dog is 2 yrs old and they fill out and grow properly in my opinion you have a much better looking and healthier dog. Although I cant prove the healthier part of waiting They do look much better if you wait.
 

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I would personally wait until 18-24 months so as said all the joints close properly. Although, most dogs don't seem to completely fill out until 3. Just make sure he can't get to any bitches in heat.

As far as owning an intact male maybe I'm just lucky, but Duke is so relaxed! He doesn't mark in the house, act all nuts, hump everything, etc. He did go through a phase though a little after a year of age when he would hump everything, but he was fine after a month or two. If he smells a girl he will whine to no end to go outside for a day or so though, that's quite annoying, or if he finds female urine he'll get super sniffy then mark, but other than that it's absolutely fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would prefer to let him grow fully, but at the same time I don't know if I want to handle the humping/marking/etc. Is he considered a large breed?
From your experiences, what would you guys recommend?
 

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I'd say an ACD is medium. I'd wait until 18 months at least. Like I said Duke is fine though.
 

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My vet advised us to neuter him at minimum 7 months of age, no younger. He came out perfectly with no complications - all they did was remove his testicles (there is one small incision), so you can buy 'fake' ones to put inside, otherwise it's just hollow sacs. It healed in a few weeks as well, so long as you put an e-collar on your dog so they don't lick at it!

There are some health benefits to neutering, but mainly it would help with the dog wanting to 'mark' their territory. Marking generally is when the dog will go around the neighbourhood peeing on the trees, and other structures. Dogs may also do this in the home. This is annoying for some dog owners as it means the dog is stopping every 10 feet or what not to mark everything in sight. Some dogs don't really mark that much, but it can happen. Also, when another female dog is in heat, an unneutered male dog will do ANYTHING to get to her, which means you have to find away to manage him when a female in heat is nearby. He may also tend to wander farther away from the house.

You may also find that a neutered dog will hump less often, but I have a female dog that is spayed and humps occasionally so I'm not sure
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Since he's a medium sized dog, do you think it would affect his growth if I neuter him before 18 months?
 

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If you want, neuter him around 6 months. That's better than not neutering if you are unable to guarantee that he will never be around an in heat female. Which means that he must never be off leash or left in the care of a relative, or left unattended in a yard that he or another dog can dig under or jump over. Intact dogs will go to great lentgths to get to an in heat female. Even a dog that is normally ok about staying with you in a yard, unleashed will be likely to run off if they smell an in heat female. Or a dog that normally won't jump or climb fencing, or dig under, will do it to get to an in heat female. In heat females have been known to jump into yards to get bred. Friends or relatives are not always responsible about taking care of someone else's dogs, and often we hear stories about, the relative letting a friend visit with an in heat dog.

So if there is any concern, neuter around 6 months. The health benefits end up being a wash. With no testicles dog won't get testicular cancer. If your dog is left intact and runs off looking for an in heat female their chance of getting hit by a car is greater than the risk of any disease associated with getting neutered before 2 yrs of age. Plus an unwanted litter of puppies runs the risk of killing the mom, and the puppies being euthed when they end up in a shelter. So overall, the benfits of neutering outweigh the downsides unless you will never have your dog off leash or left unattended by you.

Our shelter has many stories of people bringing in unwanted litters by people that planned to eventually spay/neuter because they read that it is better for the dog, but then end up with an "oops" litter. The puppies end up killed. And if you search this forum, there are plenty of threads by people who planned to spay or neuter that ended up with an oops litter. It borders on irresponsible to encourage people to wait to spay or neuter, when the risk of an oops litter is all to real for the majority of your average dog owners, who DO put dogs in yards unsupervised, or have relatives/friends watch their dog, or whose dog isn't trained to never run out an open door.
 

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He might end up more lanky or awkward looking because he doesn't have all his hormones. His joints might not close all the way properly either.
 
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