For first time dog buyers, the question of whether to spay or neuter their new dog is often at the forefront of their minds. There are those that feel strongly one way or another about the subject. In many cases, the decision is made for them because many reputable West Highland White Terrier breeders will only sell their puppies to those that will make the commitment to have the puppy spayed or neutered when it reaches the appropriate age. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but many believe spaying or neutering is the ethical choice for responsible pet owners. In this article, we'll take a look at some the most frequent issues involved in spaying or neutering West Highland White Terriers.
If I spay/neuter my Westie, it will get fat or lazy.
This is certainly not the case at all. Spaying or neutering does not affect the dog's energy level or metabolism. Westies that have obesity problems usually have been allowed to overeat and often don't get enough exercise.
Spaying/Neutering reduces the risk of several illnesses.
This is absolutely true. Spaying female Westies eliminates the possibility of developing a number of cancers, including tumors or cancer of the uterus and breast cancer. Neutering a male Westie removes the risk of developing testicular cancer and the risk of developing prostrate cancer is significantly lowered.
I want to enter my Westie in Conformation shows.
This is one of the few reasons to not spay or neuter a Westie, as all dogs entered in Conformation (or what we consider to be the "show" portion of a dog exhibition) must be "intact," which is to say not spayed or neutered. Many breeders will not sell their show dogs, but will keep them to include them in their breeding programs. If they do sell them when they are ready to retire, they will often be spayed or neutered before the sale.
I want to enter my Westie in other events.
Fortunately, Conformation is the only event that requires that dogs remain intact. Those that are interested in participating in events such as Agility, Obedience, Earthdog, Tracking, Rally or Flyball can rest easy, as spayed and neutered Westies are welcome to join in on the fun.
I want to show my children the "miracle of life."
This is a dangerous road to walk on. Folks that indiscriminately breed their pets without regard to health issues or experience may end up doing more harm than good for the breed. Even worse, puppies may end up unwanted, discarded or even destroyed. This is why breeders are so careful about who they sell their puppies to. If you're interested in purchasing a Westie that you can eventually breed, talk to local breeders in your area to learn more about it first.
Spaying/Neutering Cuts Down on Aggressive and Territorial Behavior.
This is absolutely true. Male Westies that have been neutered are less likely to mark their territory, are calmer around other males and won't be bothered when in the presence of a bitch in heat. Female spayed Westies don't go into heat, during which they can become aggressive or nervous and will undoubtedly attract unwanted male visitors. Spayed and neutered Westies are generally more affectionate and are able to focus on the task at hand.