Dog breeds with the most health issues

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
A Wearable to Track Your Dog's Health

Watching your best four-legged friend struggle is one of the most painful experiences a pet owner can go through. Despite all your tender, loving care, health issues could plague the life of your dear pet. Such experiences can also take a toll on your wallet, with Americans spending nearly $16 billion on vet care in 2015. Pet owners should expect such medical emergencies, as it is likely each will have to pay $2,000-4,000 at some point for their pets.

When choosing a furry companion, it is useful to know which breeds are known for health issues. While purebred dogs are appealing for their characteristic traits, the selective breeding process also leads to the prevalence of a variety of inherited diseases within breeds. Different breeds are predisposed for ailments, such as cataracts, hip dysplasia and cancer. Reputable breeders often offer health guarantees but some diseases are difficult to predict at young ages.

Saint Bernard Puppy

The team at PetBreeds saved you some research and identified the 25 breeds with the most health issues. The data doesn't say that a given dog will definitely develop the corresponding diseases, only that these concerns are closely associated with the breed. We identified dogs with the highest total of health issues, according to Animal Planet. We then ranked these breeds according to the approximate number of major and minor health concerns and bucketed the total of health issues into tier labels including "Medium," "High" and "Very High." Any ties are broken by the dog with the greater number of major health concerns. This list of breeds is ranked from least to most specific concerns.

#25. Bernese Mountain Dog

Health Concern Level: Medium

The Bernese mountain dog, a relatively large dog breed, is prone to both hip and elbow dysplasia.

#24. Bloodhound

Health Concern Level: Medium

The bloodhound can have a variety of eye issues, such as dry eye and eyelid deformities.

#23. Weimaraner

Health Concern Level: Medium

Weimaraners can have a variety of minor health issues, including Von Willebrand disease. Von Willebrand, also found in humans, results in decreased blood clotting ability.

#22. Doberman Pinscher

Health Concern Level: Medium

Doberman pinschers can develop copper hepatopathy, which causes liver disease.

#21. Irish Setter

Health Concern Level: Medium

The Irish setter is prone to epilepsy, which can potentially be stabilized through medication

#20. Poodle

Health Concern Level: Medium

The poodle can develop gastric dilatation-volvulus, commonly known as bloat, which is frequently fatal without surgery.

#19. Boxer

Health Concern Level: Medium

Boxers are known for having a high cancer rate. Canine cancer can be treated if the disease is diagnosed in time and not aggressive.

#18. Toy Poodle

Health Concern Level: Medium

Toy poodles can suffer from bladder stones. These can potentially be dangerous without proper veterinary care.

#17. Goldendoodle

Health Concern Level: Medium

Goldendoodles, a "designer dog," are the result of poodle-golden retriever crossbreeds. The breed is prone to subvalvular aortic stenosis, a heart condition.

#16. Shih Tzu

Health Concern Level: Medium

The Shih Tzu can have patellar luxation, which creates unstable kneecaps.

#15. Shetland Sheepdog

Health Concern Level: Medium

The Shetland sheepdog can suffer from dermatomyositis, also know as "Sheltie Skin Syndrome." This manageable disease leads to hair loss issues.

#14. Kerry Blue Terrier

Health Concern Level: Medium

Kerry blue terriers can suffer from eye issues, including cataracts and dry eye.

#13. Great Dane

Health Concern Level: Medium

The Great Dane breed is prone to developing hip dysplasia, which is common among large breeds.

#12. Miniature Australian Shepherd

Health Concern Level: Medium

Miniature Australian shepherds can suffer from a variety of major health concerns, including hip dysplasia, cataracts and persistent pupillary membrane.

#11. Chow Chow

Health Concern Level: High

Chow chows can suffer from a variety of severe orthopedic issues, many of which reputable breeders screen for in order to receive Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) certification.

#10. Miniature Poodle

Health Concern Level: High

The miniature poodle, like the standard and toy poodle breeds, can suffer from eye issues such as cataracts.

#9. Newfoundland

Health Concern Level: High

The large Newfoundland is prone to subvalvular aortic stenosis, a heart issue that can result in sudden death.

#8. Rottweiler

Health Concern Level: High

Rottweilers can suffer from epilepsy and osteochondrosis, a degenerative bone disease.

#7. Labrador Retriever

Health Concern Level: High

The popular Labrador retriever is prone to cancer and exercise-induced collapse (EIC), a screenable genetic syndrome.

#6. Basset Hound

Health Concern Level: High

Basset hounds can suffer from a range of genetic diseases, such as bloat and Von Willebrand, that can be prevented through responsible breeding.

#5. Saint Bernard

Health Concern Level: High

The Saint Bernard, another large breed, can suffer from bone cancer and cardiac disorders.

#4. Golden Retriever

Health Concern Level: High

The popular golden retriever breed is known to suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia. A minor health concern is allergies.

#3. Bulldog

Health Concern Level: High

The bulldog, which can suffer from a variety of health issues, is regarded as "the most extreme example of genetic manipulation in the dog-breeding world that results in congenital and hereditary problems."

#2. German Shepherd

Health Concern Level: Very High

The German shepherd is noted as being particularly prone to hip dysplasia, which can be prevented through careful breeding and screening efforts.

#1. Cocker Spaniel

Health Concern Level: Very High

At the top of the list is the friendly cocker spaniel, which has the highest number of health concerns. While known to have a variety of orthopaedic issues, the cocker spaniel is also prone to epilepsy, heart diseases and liver disease.

Compare More Dog Breeds on PetBreeds


Read Full Story

Sign up for Best Bites by AOL and receive delicious recipes delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners