My girl was spayed at exactly 6 months. I worked in a vet's office and have been active in volunteering for shelters in the past, and my advice is to get her spayed as soon as her current heat cycle is over (and be sure she's not in contact with any unneutered males). There is absolutely no health benefit to allowing a female to have a heat cycle, or even to have one litter of puppies.
The benefits to spaying your dog are huge -- she won't have heat cycles (which is messy for you), she'll be mellower (a lot of people think their dogs personalities will change -- they won't; they just won't be in the same state of mind as when they're in heat) and she will be less likely to get some of the diseases that unspayed females can be prone to - such as ovarian and breast cancer (yes, those diseases affect dogs, too).
Plus, if you're not really interested in breeding, having even one litter of puppies can be a burden for you. A lactating mother and all her puppies requires lots of work.
I don't want to sound preachy, because I'm not saying this in a mean way - I like to share information that peole may not know - but there are many homeless animals and many puppy mills in the world. Responsible breeders breed for the love of the breed and to better the breed (such as reduce the chance of hip/elbow/eye diseases in Labs). Don't feel as though it's going to give your dog a better quality of life if she has one litter of puppies. She won't know the difference.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
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