dog

Dog Breeds With The Biggest Health Risks

by Elyse Wanshel
Elyse is a Senior Writer at LittleThings.com. She enjoys tacos, kickboxing, and naming animals. In fact, she named two of her mother’s six cockatiels Mr. and Mrs. Featherbottom.

There are pug people, Doberman devotees, and pit bull fans… When we fall for a breed, it’s a lot like falling for another person.

First we’re attracted to their looks — their squishy faces, floppy ears, or fluffy tails. Then, we get to know their lovely personalities — their intelligence, loyalty, and playfulness.

Yet we seldom consider their health issues — and sometimes we don’t even recognize their symptoms. But knowledge is power, and learning how to recognize the signs of a dog’s health issue is the powerful first step.

Several dogs have severe health conditions that are specific to their breed. Usually these conditions are due to irresponsible breeding, in which breeders give physical qualities higher consideration than good health, passing on a slew of problems to their victims.

So which breeds are most susceptible to genetic health conditions and what issues do these breeds have? We break it down for you in this exclusive article, which could one day save your dog’s life…

Irish Setter: Epilepsy

Irish Setter: Epilepsy
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Irish Setters are usually healthy dogs with few inherent medical issues overall. However, within the breed, the Irish Setter has a higher-than-average chance of suffering from epilepsy, writes Terrificpets.com. The neurological condition is inherited and is a result of breeding.

An owner can usually spot a seizure from a behavioral change before it happens, and the condition can be regulated with medication.

Doberman Pinscher: Heart Conditions

Doberman Pinscher: Heart Conditions
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

This handsome breed is beloved for their alertness, fearlessness, and loyalty. In fact, it’s the 14th most popular dog, according to the American Kennel club.

But they unfortunately suffer from “dilated cardiomyopathy.” It is a heart condition in which “the muscle wall of the heart becomes thin which results in a bigger but weaker heart that is not efficient at pumping blood,” according to Pet Health Network.

German Shepherd: Hip Dysplasia

German Shepherd: Hip Dysplasia
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

According to WebMD, hip dysplasia happens when the joint’s ball and socket don’t quite fit together, causing pain, problems walking, and arthritis. Lots of large dogs have this issue, but German shepherds tend to have it often.

Yet, if a puppy’s parents didn’t have the problem, it’s likely they won’t either. That’s why it’s always important to ask a breeder if a pup’s ma and pa had hip dysplasia.

They are also prone to certain types of cancers like melanoma and heart disease, according to The Official German Shepherd Resource Guide.

Great Dane: Bloat

 Great Dane: Bloat
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Right behind the Doberman in popularity is the gigantic Great Dane, being the 15th most popular breed.

Although these gentle giants are beloved for their friendliness, patience, and massive size, that hugeness comes at a cost — which you may see reflected in your vet bills. Due to the breeding involved in keeping the Great Dane greatly large, it is riddled with health issues.

Great Danes have a very high risk of bloat due to its size and deep chest. Bloat can make it harder for a dog to breathe, tears the stomach wall, and prevents blood from flowing to the dog’s heart and stomach lining, according to WebMD.

Great Danes can also develop cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, and cataracts, claims the Great Dane Club of America.

Rottweiler: Joint Issues

 Rottweiler: Joint Issues
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Think hip dysplasia sounds bad? Add elbow dysplasia and arthritis and you’ve got the multiple joint problems of a Rottweiler.

The confident, loving breed also suffers from another bad joint condition, osteochondrosis dissecans — a condition that develops “in large, fast-growing puppies in which the cartilage in a joint doesn’t form properly,” according to WebMD.

A balanced diet may help your pup grow healthy joints, but many of this breed need to undergo surgery to remove the abnormal cartilage.

Click “Page 2” for more dog breeds and their health issues!