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Common names or abbreviations:

bulletRetained testicle

Description or definition:

The term cryptorchid means “hidden testicle.”  At birth, the testicles of a puppy are still within its abdomen. As the animal develops, the testicles slowly descend into the scrotum. Testicular descent can occur as early as 10 days following birth, but should be completed by 6 months of age.


Cryptorchid testicles can be retained within the abdominal cavity, or they can descend partially into the inguinal region (the entrance into the scrotum).   If one testicle is retained, a dog is a unilateral cryptorchid.  If both are retained, he is a bilateral cryptorchid.  An undescended testicle is usually underdeveloped and non-functional.  Therefore, although unilateral cryptorchids are generally fertile, bilateral cryptorchids are usually sterile.  Cryptorchids generally experience normal sexual drive unless they are castrated.


Cryptorchidism is hereditary and is a sex-limited (only affected males not carrier females show it) trait. The exact mode of inheritance is still under debate.


Related Terms or Conditions:

bulletMonorchidism: is the total absence of a testicle.  In other words, the testicle did not merely fail to descend, it never formed and is completely absent. 
bulletAnorchidism: is the total absence of both testicles. 

Both monorchidism and anorchidism are very rare.



Cryptorchidism is diagnosed by palpation of the scrotum and finding the absence of one or both testicles. The diagnosis is frequently made in the young healthy dog when he is presented to the veterinarian for routine castration. Often the owner is unaware of the problem.



There is an increased risk of cancer and testicular torsion in abdominal testicles, therefore, removal is recommended.  Surgical placement of the retained testicle into the scrotum is possible, however, castration and removal of both testicles is the preferred treatment.


Links to sites about this disease:



This summary provided by:

bulletJessica S
bulletWildfire Kennel



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Copyright © 1998 - 2009. Shiloh Shepherd Dog™ Club of America.
All rights reserved. Revised: January 2008

The information on this website was written by ISSR breeders and other concerned individuals, however we are are NOT veterinarians. This information is being provided as a general overview, from information we were able to find about each disease through our own research. These summaries are not intended to be relied upon as medical or veterinary advice, nor do we consider ourselves experts in the veterinary field or in any of these conditions. While we do our best to provide the most up to date information, new research is constantly being done on these diseases. We recommend that you do further study and talk to your veterinarian on any topics you see here, as we cannot guarantee that the information posted here is the most current information available.  This site was originally designed and maintained by Debbie Knatz.