Neuter is a Latin word that means “of neither sex”. It is the removal of an animal’s reproductive organs (either all or part) to prevent reproduction. In dogs this is done surgically by removing the testicles of a male dog or by removing the uterus and ovaries of a female dog. The correct terminology for the removal of the reproductive organs of a male is castration, however for dogs many people use the term neuter. The term spay is used for the removal of the reproductive organs in female dogs.
Traditionally, veterinarians have neutered dogs around the age of 6 to 8 months; this age was selected simply based on the need to reduce stray pet populations. However, recent research indicates that the best age to neuter a dog depends on the breed and sex, and that neutering a dog too early can cause an increased risk for joint disorders, cancers, and incontinence. New age guidelines for neutering have been created in order to avoid increasing the risk of these adverse health conditions. It is recommended that male Miniature Poodles are neutered no earlier than 11 months of age and male Cocker Spaniels are neutered no earlier than 6 months of age. Female Miniature Poodles did not show an increased risk, therefore no age recommendation is given, and it is recommended that female Cocker Spaniels are neutered no earlier than 23 months of age. Since Cockapoos are half Poodle and half Cocker Spaniel, we encourage people to follow the older age recommendation for neutering-males 11 months of age and females 23 months of age.