Intact Dogs are Healthier, Stronger and Smarter

Posted on 03/14/2009


In August 2000, I put the first (and so far only) AKC OTCH on a Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog who was intact until the day he died four years later….and guess what, I even showed him in obedience rings that were located right next to conformation rings where bitches in season were being gaited around, and even got OTCH points at such places, can you simply imagine that such a thing was possible…

As to “distractability” of intact males, I’ve had the good fortune to train with a nationally known Border Collie trainer and breeder, who wouldn’t give the time of day to your theory of distractability since so many of her many OTCHs have been intact dogs and bitches. As to the possibility of being “distracted” , she’d matter-of-factly tell you , that’s what we train for, isn’t it??? (and by the way she has herding championships on her very much intact Border Collies as well.)

As to bitches, well again, when I had “mom” to the OTCH dog above and before she was bred, I put 8 titles on said bitch in less than 14 months (AKC and Canadian CDs- CDXs -UDs; AKC TD; AKC breed CH); isn’t it just surprising how some of us can work around those pesky heat cycles, and false pregnancies with intact bitches and still get enviable results??

I will be very truthful with you…some of us simply like to work with intact dogs and bitches as performance dogs, as we really feel that it gives them an extra “edge” (in intelligence, drive, endurance) in competition and training, and we’re willing to work just that extra bit more with intact males to overcome that “distractability” because we know that end result will be so much better, and work around the calendar a bit to schedule tests, trials etc with our intact bitches, again for the same reason.

And it’s not just me who feels that way. Go to not just obedience and agility trials, but also tracking tests, hunt tests, field trials, and you will learn – surprise! – that a significant portion of the entrants are intact animals, especially at the higher levels of performance. Oh sure, some of them are valuable breeding animals and must remain intact, but there are an increasingly number of people who, like myself, have learned that, all things being equal, intact is better. Perhaps that “betterness” quality is a bit intangible, and not easy to describe, but it’s none-the-less very much there. Maybe the late Vicki Hearne (perhaps one of the few people who could read into an animal’s inner being) described it best when she wrote in her book “Bandit” that “spayed and neutered animals are not as strong, not as determined, not as joyful in their work as intact ones.”