Keep up to date with the Rebarkable Newsletter!

When Is The Best Time To Spay Or Neuter My Boston Terrier?

September 20, 2021
September 20, 2021

It’s hard to know when to spay or neuter – or if you should at all. Here’s the best veterinary advice for your Boston Terrier.

So you’ve decided to spay or neuter your Boston Terrier? – but when?

Often called getting your dog Fixed or Done (nomenclature that bugs me, because, fixed, implies broken, which is kinda mean!), the majority of dogs have this minor procedure performed upon them at a young age. Usually on a veterinary recommendation.

I know when Indie was little, I was told: “Six months, on the dot” – which is common advice given across America and Europe. If you ask the Internet (i.e. Facebook) usually recommendations say later and say a minimum of twelve months. 

But is that even right? Or is it founded in any sort of science? 

I know when Indie was little, I was told: “Six months, on the dot”

Ali Smith

With this conflicting information, how are you meant to know? Trust your vet? Do as your family has always done? Or trust the rando on the internet who appears to know it all. 

None of that seems to be a good idea when the potential consequences of these procedures are rumoured to be some of the scariest diseases and ailments a dog can face… Cancer, Hip or Elbow Dysplasia, and other rotten afflictions like pyometra. All of this is the result of removing the availability of hormones…

Luckily, research has come forward which is not just size specific, but breed-specific for 35 breeds! So, here we’re going to discuss the ideal times for spaying or neutering your dog.

First, let’s do a little housekeeping…

Spaying or neutering a Boston Terrier is a big decision, it's best that they are responsibly bred
Vigorous exercise like this? Is really not recommended straight after a spay or neuter surgery instead try Post-Surgery Recovery: 12 Ideas For Keeping Your Dog Happy And Entertained.

What is Neutering?

This is the surgical castration of a male dog – usually by the removal of his testicles (sorry for making you cringe, gents!). This process means that your male dog cannot breed and that they are no longer producing hormones that are important to your dogs’ development – both emotionally and physically.

What is Spaying?

Similar to neutering, spaying is a form of surgical castration that removes the ovaries and most often the fallopian tubes along with it. This means your girl cannot breed, but it also means she is missing some critical hormones.

This process can be done in a ‘keyhole’ surgery at extra cost, though it is much better for recovery times.

So when is the best time for my Boston Terrier?

Recommended age:

Male – Beyond 1 year

Female – It’s your choice!

It’s so curious, unlike a lot of breeds, the number of intact males spikes dramatically to 53% of the male population… that’s huge!! Which, to me, says that this information is pretty darn trustworthy.

Generally speaking, it’s quite a small sample size for both genders, so this information should be only a component in your decision. Consider everything that you can and use this to paint a larger picture!

Boston Terrier peeking over wall. When to spay or neuter
The age of your pup is really important as a factor in their future health as you consider spay or neuter surgery. If you need more info on the process, head over to The Rebarkable Spay & Neuter Information Center!

What Are The Risks?

Here’s a quick overview of what the study says the breed suffers from depending on when their surgical castration (Spay or Neuter) was performed. The aim of providing this information is about giving you all the information to make the best decision.

Disorders include – Cranial cruciate ligament tears or ruptures, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia 

Cancers include – LymphomaHemangiosarcomaMast Cell Tumours, Bone Cancer (Osteosarcoma),

GenderAge of
Surgical Castration
Disorder riskCancer Risk
MaleUnder 6 months0%10%
Male6 to 11 months0%12%
Male12 to 23 months0%0%
Male2 years to 8 years0%8%
MaleIntact0%5%
FemaleUnder 6 months0%6%
Female6 to 11 months0%3%
Female12 to 23 months0%0%
Female2 years to 8 years0%0%
FemaleIntact0%2%
Comes from Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs: Associated Joint Disorders, Cancers, and Urinary Incontinence (Hart et al, 2020) where 291 Boston Terriers were monitored over the course of 15 years to collect this data.
  • For intact females, 7% reported Pyometra
  • Urinary Incontinence was reported 2% in early spayed female
  • Mammary cancer was reported at 2% in intact females
  • Mammary cancer there was a non-significant increase of cancers, reflecting one case, with spaying at under 6 months and 6-11 months

Genuinely? The statistics here have astonished me.

With the popularity of Bostons? I expected more health issues, but it appears that the issues with Bostons aren’t things that can vary with the spay or neuter of your dog (which is really lucky!) Instead of the given conditions within this study, the issues (according to the OFA) are deafness, eyes and Patellar luxation – The last? Is something that may be impacted, but it’s not something that this study reviewed.

Are there other options?

If you’re doing what I am doing and looking at this research and reconsidering? It’s good to know that there are other options available.

Yes! On the presumption that these issues are caused by the lack of hormones (which is almost certainly the issue!) – there are a couple of ways to keep hormones but not facilitate breeding.

For Girls

Hysterectomy

This is the surgical removal of the uterus and only part of the fallopian tubes! The removal of these means that your girl is without the ability to breed – however – as she keeps her ovaries, hormones will still be produced and should mean that her risk levels are the same as an intact female – without the risk of pyometra! Though, there is a risk that the breeding instinct can remain? Which may be quite risky if a male tries to breed with her. 

For Boys

Vasectomy 

The tubes that run from the testes are called the vas deferens – these are what get cut or removed in this instance – rendering your dog without the ability to impregnate a female. It leaves his hormones (and likely his desire to breed as a result) but also means that your dog should have the same risk factors as an entire male.

Chemical Castration

Did you know that surgical castration is not legal in Norway? Consequently what is common in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway is chemical castration which is an injection your dog will have to have every six months that drop the levels of testosterone by approximately half. Which is proven to be effective in temporary neuter for your dog. This means you can actually test what castration might do to your dog and is often how it’s used in the UK and America – but it’s also a fantastic way of not putting your dog through surgical procedures. 

Spaying or neutering a Boston Terrier is a big decision ,it's definitely best that they are responsibly bred
Spaying or neutering a Boston Terrier is a big decision, it’s definitely best that they are responsibly bred. If you ever need information on this? Please do feel free to get in touch!

About the Study

The study “Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs: Associated Joint Disorders, Cancers, and Urinary Incontinence” (Hart BL, Hart LA, Thigpen AP, Willits NH) was released in July 2020 – it covers 35 different breeds – and a separate scientific paper for mixed breeds. The study followed a total of 15,414 dogs over 15 years of recording;

  1. The age of the dog when neutered or spayed
  2. Breed
  3. Disorders including: 
  4. Cancers including;

General Thoughts Across The Study

I find it incredibly interesting that there is breed-specific deviance. Prior to this, I was very much of the camp that it was simply a case of variations for dogs of different size brackets – but that appears not to be the case.

For example, a male Labrador (for whom I would have assumed were not dissimilar to Boston Terriers) actually have the best results when neutered at 6 months – yet the females prefer a slightly older age (When Should I Spay Or Neuter My Labrador is here by the way!).

So it’s really worth doing your research about these things.

As always? There’s not quite enough information to make a totally informed decision (yay for variables!) but, you can definitely get a good idea of it.

Other Considerations

It is worth noting that this study is a fantastic guideline – and one of the most solid pieces of research we’ve had – it doesn’t take into account many factors that I would imagine should be considered. The limitations I see are as follows;

  • Multiple conditions were not recorded if they fell in the same category,
  • Genetics were not considered,
  • Living conditions were not considered,
  • Food quality was not considered,
  • The exercise a dog had was not considered,
  • Body condition was not factored in because it had been studied previously and no strong correlation was found between body condition and joint issues.

The biggest thing I can say is, that whilst this is the scientific recommendation for when to spay or neuter your Boston Terrier do remember that at the end of the day? This is your decision. You are the only one who can make this decision. So, do your best – you’ve already found a phenomenal resource – just keep reading.

If you have any questions about spaying or neutering your Boston Terrier, drop them in the comments below! I’ll soon be doing a spay/neuter Frequently Asked Questions, which should help!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021’s worlds’ best pet blog!

You may also like

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for further information.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related posts

Ruffwear Palisades Backpack For Dogs – An Honest Review

The Ruffwear Palisades - what an interesting item for your dog - a doggy backpack!  So, being the trainer I am, I’m always looking for new tools, new things, and new ways to train and get the most out of your dog.  And, there was a rumour on the wind that...

read more
When Is The Best Time To Spay Or Neuter My Chihuahua?

When Is The Best Time To Spay Or Neuter My Chihuahua?

It’s hard to know when to spay or neuter – or if you should at all. Here’s the best veterinary advice for your Chihuahua. So you’ve decided to spay or neuter your Chihuahua? – but when? Often called getting your dog Fixed or Done (nomenclature that bugs me,...

read more
A Simple Introduction To Parkour For Dogs!

A Simple Introduction To Parkour For Dogs!

Local walks can be a real snooze-fest - for both you and your dog - so why not change it up a little and introduce some parkour?  COVID-19 is a real killjoy for walks. I’m trying to be super strict and keep us as local as possible as often as possible so we’re...

read more
When Is The Best Time To Spay Or Neuter My English Bulldog?

When Is The Best Time To Spay Or Neuter My English Bulldog?

It’s hard to know when to spay or neuter – or if you should at all. Here’s the best veterinary advice for your Bulldog. So you’ve decided to spay or neuter your Bulldog– but when? Often called getting your dog Fixed or Done (nomenclature that bugs me,...

read more
​ ​