It's quite a common question that gets asked, and it is important that you ask it.
It is a myth that every dog should have at least one litter. In fact, if every bitch did have one litter, when you do the math, you'll quickly realize that this means that there would be a huge number of dogs in the world, far more than we have already. As it is now, our pounds and humane societies are over-flowing with unwanted pets. All these unwanted pets mean that it is the unfortunate job of a few people to spend each and every day putting those dogs to sleep permanently.
The reality is that unless there is a specific reason to breed your dog, it should be spayed at an early age to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to lessen the chance of some forms of cancer.
My recommendation is that the bitch gets spayed between 2 and 6 months old. In fact, when we place puppies, we will spay them before they go and include this as part of the purchase price. We strongly encourage other breeders to do the same. Yes, there is always a small risk associated with any sort of surgery, but there is far greater risk associated with allowing a bitch to breed. There is significant evidence showing that younger pups manage through the surgery option much better than older bitches. We recommend that you seek a couple of quotes from different vets as prices can differ enormously.
If your bitch is not spayed, you will often see the following:
-a major change of behavior in her when she is "in season". This can be moodiness through to aggressiveness, particularly if she is trying to find a male dog.
-she will bleed usually for about 3 weeks, although this could be longer
-she will often be aggressive to other dogs and may hump any other female that she finds. This behavior can go on for some time. (I speak from experience here!)
-her body will undergo hormonal changes
-sometimes the bitch will refuse to eat, or change their eating behavior in other ways
-male dogs can sometimes be quite aggressive to a female in season
-other female dogs can sometimes be very aggressive towards a female in season
Additionally, in order to prevent her from getting pregnant, you will have to lock her up for the three or more weeks she is in season. Please note - bitches and dogs will mate through fences if they get the chance.
Depending on the breed, bitches may come into season every 4 months (sometimes every 3 months), or longer. During this period great vigilance is required to ensure that the bitch does not get pregnant. This can be quite a harrowing and worrisome ordeal for all involved. All of this can be prevented if the bitch is spayed.
Article submitted by: © Jane Johnson