Recently, someone on a Shiba board asked for recommendations for a good vet to neuter their dog. One of the responses was "Why do you want to do that to your dog? If you are a responsible owner and control your dog, there is no reason."
Well… there are more than a few reasons why truly responsible owners have their companions spayed or neutered.
Even if “you are a responsible owner and control your dog” there is no guarantee that your dog will never be loose without permission (how many of us have had our Shiba slip or break their lead?). If you aren’t there to control your dog, you can’t be sure he won’t impregnate another dog (or get pregnant if she’s female).
Dogs that are not spayed/neutered are not welcome in as many social situations (like daycare and some dog parks) and therefore can’t be as well socialized and enjoy as many fun activities.
Unneutered males are attacked more often by other males – regardless of how well behaved the unneutered dog in question may be – because other dogs can smell the testosterone and it makes them more aggressive and defensive.
Unneutered males are more likely to develop prostate cancer. Unneutered males can develop testicular cancer. Unspayed females are more likely to develop breast cancer. The odds of all these things are pretty low, but why take the chance?
I will admit, I am absolutely pro-spay/neuter, although I am not a fan of early spay/neuter. (I waited until Snick was 14 months old to have him neutered because my personal conviction is that no hormone production should be altered until after the dog is physically mature.)
I have seen too much pain and suffering caused by the overpopulation of companion animals in this country – overpopulation caused by irresponsible owners, backyard breeders and puppy mills – to not be pro-spay/neuter. I don’t believe anyone should own intact dogs other than responsible, knowledgeable breeders who are breeding selectively to better the breed. I strongly encourage everyone who loves the breed in general and their dog in particular to have their dog spayed or neutered.