big group of purebred dogs sitting on bench - some of these dog breeds are prone to health conditions

Dog Health Problems by Breed


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Got a pedigree pup ruling the household? Then you might already know some dog health problems are more common in certain breeds.

This doesn’t mean your purebred dog is necessarily going to suffer from them, just that their risk is higher. Some dogs are born with a higher risk of issues due to their breed, such as joint problems, skin complaints, or cancers.

And yes, cross-breeds can develop these too. That’s why it might be a good idea to do dog DNA testing. Perhaps your adorable mixed dog is 70% Golden Retriever and 30% German Shepherd, and you need to watch out for hip problems, for instance.

Why is this important? Well, if you know what to watch out for, you can take a proactive approach to managing your dog’s health and wellness. Just like you would do if you knew your family was predisposed to certain illnesses. Spotting the early signs can give your dog better quality of life and help them to live the longest and healthiest life possible.

10 dog breeds and their possible health problems

Here are 10 of the most common dog health problems in certain breeds.

1. Cocker Spaniel eyes and ears

Their ears are undeniably soft, long and adorable. But with that comes ear infection issues. Make sure your Spaniel’s ears receive regular cleaning to help prevent infections.

Cocker Spaniels are also prone to dog health problems related to the eyes, such as cataracts and glaucoma. Regular check ups can help detect any potential issues early on, but it’s important to take your pup to the vet as soon as you see any signs of vision problems.

cocker spaniel dogs are prone to ear and eye health problems

2. Yorkie health problems

Yorkshire Terriers have a huge personality in a tiny body. Common health problems for these dogs are digestive issues, trachea collapse and Portosystemic shunt (PSS). PSS is a blood vessel birth defect where toxins aren’t properly removed from their blood. Thankfully this can often be corrected by surgery.

Their digestive issues can be helped by the right diet in many cases – your vet will be able to guide you in terms of diet.

3. Doberman Pinscher and DCM

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is an incurable heart condition. Unfortunately, it’s quite common in Doberman Pinschers though on the bright side can be successfully managed with medication and monitoring.

It’s crucial you take your Doberman Pinscher for annual check ups as careful management of DCM is very important for your dog to live a healthy life.

4. Sausage spines – Dachshund dog health problems

Dachshunds and their delightful little personalities are popular pets, especially for people who want a lap dog and snuggle buddy. Because of their looooong spines and short legs they’re prone to developing back problems. IVDD in Dachshunds is one of the most common issues.

Keep them a healthy weight to limit strain on the spine and make sure they don’t jump on and off furniture and into cars as this can exacerbate the issue. Doggy ramps and stairs are useful here!

5. Goldens and skin health problems

Friendly and playful, these calendar-model dogs are, unfortunately, quite prone to allergies. They often show up as skin problems. So if you notice your Golden Retriever chewing, licking, or biting at their skin a lot, you’ll want to investigate.

Try to use hypoallergenic bathing and grooming products as a standard, as well as regular flea and tick treatment. And though they’re water-loving, it’s best to avoid ponds, rivers, and stagnant water. Sometimes, a change in feeding to a sensitive skin diet one can help as well.

golden retriever dog sitting outside - they are prone to skin conditions

6. Labrador Retriever and extra weight

Australia’s most popular dog is a family favourite. Though they’re often quite healthy, the Labrador is likely to carry excess weight. And not just because of the extra treats – they do tend towards weight gain.

Unfortunately, when it comes to dog health problems, obesity is right up there. It can cause a whole host of extra health issues including diabetes in dogs, as well as heart complications, joint problems, and more.

Keep an eye on their weight and make sure you’re feeding an appropriate diet coupled with a suitable exercise regime.

7. Chihuahuas and breathing problems

The tiny package of dynamite that is the Chihuahua breed is prone to collapse of the trachea, aka the windpipe. In fact, this dog health problem is so prevalent that plenty of Chihuahuas live their whole lives with a collapsed trachea.

If it’s treated properly, they might just have a new lease on life. Ask your vet to check them over and always pay careful attention to their breathing.

8. Dog health problems for Pugs

The Pug, with their cute squished faces and stout little bodies, can unfortunately suffer from breathing issues, especially Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrom (BOAS). Symptoms of dog health problems related to breathing respiratory distress are typically worse in very hot weather.

You’ll need to consult with your vet if your Pug is struggling with their breathing. There are surgical and non-surgical options available that may alleviate symptoms and provide a better quality of life.

9. German Shepherd dogs and hip health problems

These dogs are well known for doing police work, yet tend to struggle with intense physical demands. Hip dysplasia in German Shepherds is a very common complaint. It starts very early on in life though symptoms usually only show later.

Keep a close eye on their development and watch out for any hip pain or limping issues. To limit the risk, make sure you only buy from a reputable and ethical breeder then make sure you don’t over-exercise your dog.

German shepherd dog lying in grass

10. Cancer in Boxers

Boxers’ dog health problems are often related to certain cancers, such as lymphoma and mast cell tumours. Because the breed is so prone to cancer it’s important to regularly check them for any lumps, bumps, or signs of sickness. The earlier cancer is caught, the more treatable it is.

Dog health problems and breeders

Picking a healthy dog is, of course, partly luck. But it’s also crucial to find a reliable breeder with a good reputation and to avoid puppy mills. This limits your risk, as responsible breeders work in humane conditions and will do their utmost to breed healthy and strong puppies.

And for added protection, it’s important to insure your furkid from the start. That way they’ll be covered should they develop problems later on. Luckily, you can get dog insurance from PD Insurance in a matter of minutes. All while sitting on your couch.  

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