The Labradoodle and Goldendoodle community seems to have evolved toward many breeders doing early spay/neuter, prior to 10 weeks of age. While this is ostensibly done to offer a convenience to the new pet owner, it actually began as a way to protect the breeding bloodlines from unscrupulous breeders who wanted to jump on to the "doodle" craze and bypass the years of hardwork that go into creating gorgeous Labradoodles.
However, in 2013, several studies were released which implicated spay/neuter prior to one year of age as doubling the incidence of hip dysplasia and greatly increasing the chance of certain cancers. We quote below from UC Davis Veterinary School News, 2-13-2013.
Based on the research that we quote below, and our first-hand knowledge of the effect of early spay/neuter on other breeds as well as other species, we do not believe Labradoodles or any dog should be neutered early. Removing growth hormones at an early age is dangerous and damaging.
"The researchers chose to focus on the golden retriever because it is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and Europe and is vulnerable to various cancers and joint disorders. The breed also is favored for work as a service dog.
The research team reviewed the records of female and male golden retrievers, ranging in age from 1 to 8 years, that had been examined at UC Davis’ William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for two joint disorders and three cancers: hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumor. The dogs were classified as intact (not neutered), neutered early (before 12 months age), or neutered late (at or after 12 months age).
Joint disorders and cancers are of particular interest because neutering removes the male dog’s testes and the female’s ovaries, interrupting production of certain hormones that play key roles in important body processes such as closure of bone growth plates, and regulation of the estrous cycle in female dogs.
The study revealed that, for all five diseases analyzed, the disease rates were significantly higher in both males and females that were neutered either early or late compared with intact (non-neutered) dogs.
Specifically, early neutering was associated with an increase in the occurrence of hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear and lymphosarcoma in males and of cranial cruciate ligament tear in females. Late neutering was associated with the subsequent occurrence of mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma in females.
In most areas, the findings of this study were consistent with earlier studies, suggesting similar increases in disease risks. The new study, however, was the first to specifically report an increased risk of late neutering for mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma.
Furthermore, the new study showed a surprising 100 percent increase, or doubling, of the incidence of hip dysplasia among early-neutered males. Earlier studies had reported a 17 percent increase among all neutered dogs compared to all non-neutered dogs, indicating the importance of the new study in making gender and age-of-neutering comparisons."