what age is best for neutering a male Rottweiler?
by Dave Harris
(London Ontario Canada)
Hi........ I have a nine month old rottie who is a little on the short side. Although there is supposed to be little difference from the German and American Rotties so I'm told, this guy was born from both German parents and has a very wide head with large jaw and is quite stocky. His parents both look very similar to him in both body and head structure.
While I want him to be merely a loving pet which he is, I do want to maximize his growth potential. I'm told the breed can take as long as 18 months to 3 years to reach full physical maturity and that waiting to have him fixed until midway through his growth period (18months) will ensure max growth potential is met. After owning many other large breed dogs, he is my first Rottie and our family loves him regardless of his size.
However a larger dog is always more of a visual deterrent for intruders, we feel and has been our preference. What is your opinion on this time frame for neutering?
As with all breeds, there are variations in body type between different bloodlines. The eventual size and conformation of any dog is mostly dependent upon the genes inherited from his/her parents. Diet and health care play their own roles, and can maximize a pup's potential, but genes do most of the work.
You can see the difference in breed standards for the Rottweiler if you take a look at my Rottweiler Breed Standard page. Personally I prefer the stockier build, but it IS a personal preference and Rotties were never meant to be 'giant' dogs!
They are a slow-to-mature breed and the time-frame for maturity is as you mention, about 18 months to 3 years of age. The bigger males tend to be the slowest to mature. I'm not a veterinarian and you may want to talk to your own vet about the neutering issue. However, in my personal experience and opinion waiting to neuter a pup until he's fully grown isn't necessary. A pup who is neutered by 6 months of age is unlikely to be affected in any significant way in terms of growth/development. If you check out my Rottweiler Puppy Growth Chart page you'll find lots of info. on this subject.
Neutering by 6 months is recommended because it give the maximum protection against developing reproductive order diseases or conditions in later life. It also helps to reduce territory marking (or 'spraying'), and aggressive dog-on-dog behavior and the desire to wander which can afflict un-neutered males when there is a female in season anywhere within what seems to be a HUGE radius!
A Rottweiler is an excellent, and very discerning guard dog, he doesn't need to be bigger, or taller, to be intimidating. ANY dog, of almost any breed, will be willing to protect their owner and property if the need arises, Rotties are perfectly capable of doing this and the sight of one is enough to make any smart intruder leave quickly. Never encourage your pup to guard in any way, these instincts come naturally given time and at first many adolescent dogs aren't quite sure what to do with them. This can cause them to over-react and you don't want to encourage that. Even the mildest, sweetest Rottie will know exactly what to do and when.
I hope this helps answer your questions and wish you lots of luck with your pup.