We currently own an intact 4 1/2yr old Bernese Mountain Dog bitch. She is shown in conformation by her breeder. She just whelped her first litter (they are 5wks old now). We will be keeping the pick pup which her breeder will show. We have narrowed it down to two. One boy and one girl. I am having a hard time deciding which to go with based on sex. Both are VERY similar in personality and conformation. Here are my thoughts… having two females means that 4-5 months out of the year we would have a bitch in heat and blowing her coat. And by blowing her coat I mean that I have TONS of hair floating around everywhere. It is daily vacuuming and that does not even touch the amount of hair that comes off before a heat cycle. Of course they would most likely not go into heat at the same time – which is why I say 4-5 months out of the year this would be our reality. If we choose a boy, then twice a year when our current girl is in heat – we would have to send our boy somewhere. The breeder has offered to take him (possibly) – but he already has 6 dogs and I don’t want to burden him as he does not have a lot of space to begin with.
A bit about us, in case this matters in helping us decide… we have 3 children, 10, 7 and 3yrs old. We have a large fenced in yard and I’m a stay at home mom – so I’m always home for the dog(s). Another option, if it seems beneficial to our current girls health would be to spay her. I plan to talk with her breeder (she won’t be having any more litters as she will be 5 in September) and her vet about this option. IF that is the case and it seems beneficial to her health to spay her now then we will do that. So then it just leaves the decision on whether we want an intact boy or another female (which we already know what that is like).
Appreciate any advice from those who have experience in this.
Just a few comments from me on this:
Spayed females will fight other females pretty quickly compared to any other gender/alter combo. Especially if there are two spayed females. and berners already tend to pester other dogs.
Other than that-I find dogs to be a bit better with kids, and more attached to the family. Easier to train in a way, but goofier and like to show off, so don’t always do things right. Females are a bit more precise, but also a bit more stubborn because they think they know it all. They are more aloof than males in an attachment sense.
Of course, all of this is overall, and depending on the specific animal
aquariangt, thank you for the feedback. It’s much appreciated. Our current girl is the sweetest thing ever. I cannot imagine another dog being better with kids than she is. She is aloof of strangers – but that is common with the breed. As soon as she sees that we are fine with whomever is approaching, then she is too and they quickly become her best friend. She is, however, very stubborn and bull headed. She is very dominant and will even hump other dogs (doesn’t matter their gender). With this said – do you think that adding another intact female would cause issues? And what about an intact male – should we leave her intact as well if it proves to be the better option for her own wellbeing and health.
Hi, I would desex your girl as soon as she is ready & keep the boy pup, mother & son..
I personally think leaving both males and females but especially females intact for a long time is best for developmental reasons. There are MANY health reasons both ways with a ton of research to read, but from a mental development standpoint, I wait at least three years for dogs I get from breeders, and I don’t do conformation-just performance.
2 intact females can be fine if they mesh well. Less likely to fight than a spayed female, and less likely to have a power struggle than two intact males. Intact male and female-you need to employ some management for unwanted pregnancies, but can be very compatible from a personality standpoint
I agree with Aquariangt, it’s more healthful to leave them intact longer.
What about checking into alternative forms of sterilization. Zuetering for males, tubal ligation leaving ovaries for females, etc.
A very big decision! You’re wise to obviously be putting so much thought into this decision. You’ll make the right choice for the health of your pets.
I third what Aquariangt and DogFoodie said. My male is intact. We have no plans to neuter him and we have 2 others that are intact as well and healthy.
My intact pitbull shows no signs of aggression with other dogs, infact he was attacked by another intact male and had no idea what to do. He was hurt and left no marks on the other dog what so ever.
I support keeping dogs intact. However, I can’t imagine trying to keep a male and female apart when she is in heat. Especially when you have young kids to care for as well. Btw, I thought it was funny that you said you are a stay at home mom for the dogs not the kids! Lol! I’m sure that is not exactly how you meant it. 😉
I have a coworker with two female spayed dogs that get into terrible fights. One got pretty ripped up a few weeks ago. They have to try and keep them separated all the time. I know that doesn’t mean that all females would. There are probably other factors involved as well. Good luck picking out your pup. Pictures would be awesome! I can only imagine how adorable they are.
I would probably have the female spayed as she is 4 1/2 now and not planning on anymore litters. Then I would most likely choose the male pup. A male and female would probably get along the best.
Thank you all so much – it’s definitely helped me to consider my options. I am going to give my vet a call and discuss options for spaying Zoe. As she won’t be bred again and she will be 5 this fall, perhaps it is the best choice for her. I know doing so reduces chance for certain cancers. And cancer is quite prevalent in our breed u fortunately.
Would love to post pics – need to figure out how??
P.s. Lol yes definitely a stay at home mom to the kids too. And the cat and chickens lol. It’s almost a regular zoo over here 😉
These pics are from our visit on Sunday – pups were 5wks old.
Oh my gosh!! They’re so, so cute aren’t they. Such beautiful markings. They always remind me of my tri-color Cavalier, just in a much larger package!
I wouldn’t complain about being the bottom of a puppy pile of those
So, so, so, soooo cute!!!
cuteness overload! omg they are all so so adorable. either one you pick will be just gorgeous! though im sure you already knew that 😛
- This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Pitlove.
You have a beautiful family.. 🙂
If you’re going to spay your female, look for a vet who can perform an ovary sparing spay. It wasn’t available when I spayed my mastiff female 3 years ago. My vet says they are now teaching the procedure in vet schools. I spayed her because I was keeping my male intact, didn’t want to breed her, and all her growth plates were closed. Unfortunately, spaying changed her metabolism. It’s very hard to keep her weight in healthy range and she developed spay incontinence.
I have three spayed dogs. There has never been even the slightest disagreement amongst the three. They are each others BFF’s. They pal around together all day long and cuddle up together on the couches and insist on squeezing in on the various dog beds together even though there are several in every room of the house. They chase each other, wrestle (never ever has it turned into a fight), play tug….funny to watch all three playing tug together), chase toys always allowing who ever gets it first to keep it. They don’t steal each other’s food or treats. Two, my younger girls (6 years old next week) also have been playing their version of hide n seek since they were only weeks old. My opinion, and it’s just that, my opinion is that a lot has to do with the energy in your home to begin with. My home is calm and stress free (as much as can be anyway) and the energy has been commented on by a lot of people that come inside our home.
Also, spaying them never caused any differences in them be it metabolism, incontinence, personality or whatever. They remained the same as before the spays. Perhaps not all veterinary surgeons are the same.
Your family, human and fur, are just beautiful. Is there a possibility that you keep both a male and a female?
One more edit: The three girls, two almost 6 years old and one almost 16 years old are the the sweetest most affectionate with each other and even more so with my husband and I. Even if one of us leaves a room for a moment they follow us around. Hubby calls me the Pied Piper. As I was about to say, even if I leave the room for a moment they follow me. If I go out to get the mail or put out the garbage and come back they act like I’ve been gone for months. They’re a huggie kissie little group. Just like their human parents? The three love to snuggle up on us whether we’re sitting reading, watching t.v. or in bed.
Thank you all! I was in Canada after I posted the pictures and just got back into the US today so didn’t have a chance to reply earlier. Going to visit the puppies tomorrow and bring our girl home (she’s been at the breeder’s since she whelped). I will decide which puppy by this upcoming weekend as we’re less than 2wks now from bringing he/she home!! So excited! Now onto the chore of wading through the masses of which food to put the pup on. Oh boy!
Just a comment on the spaying thing, I always highly recommend it due to both population and medical reasons. After Lily was spayed, the only change was that she became more food-motivated. She didn’t gain weight, and her personality didn’t change.
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