Breeds with most health pronblems

It must be noted than any list comprising of top ten unhealthiest dog breeds is created by the opinion of the writer and thus should not be taken as outright facts. Some dog breeds that have been considered very unhealthy can produce offspring that have no problems at all while others could have all the possible conditions they are susceptible to and more. It is important when acquiring these dogs that owners check their parentage and whether its past generations have a good or poor medical history. However, even if the members of the dog’s family tree have all been relatively problem free, this may not be true for the dog itself.

It can be argued that the majority of dog breeds that have been bred for their aesthetic or behavioural purposes have been the subject of a great number of health concerns. This is due to the fact that certain irresponsible breeders have allowed certain problem ridden dogs to create further generations simply because they are pleasing to the human eye and therefore sell well. This continues to occur now in huge proportions although activists are beginning to open the public’s eye concerning these issues.

It is important to note that the decision to buy a certain breed of dog should not only include its health prospects but should also take into account other issues owners will need to address. These will help decide what breed, if any, is compatible to the person’s lifestyle. Owners should be able to cater for all their dog’s needs including those that are financial and emotional. Different breeds, for example, require different levels of exercise and if these physical demands are not met then behavioural or health problems are likely to arise.

However, below is a list comprising of the top ten dogs, in alphabetical order, argued by some to be the most likely to suffer from hereditary problems. It must be noted this list is based on opinions and is relative to other breeds. It must not be taken as true for every dog in the breed.


There are three main problems that have been known to affect the Chihuahua. These problems are the luxation of the patella, an elongated soft palate, and hypoglycaemia. Many of the problems which these small dogs become affected with are hereditary and should, ideally, not be bred from.

The more easily understood way to describe the luxation of the patella is the dislocation of the kneecap. It has been observed that this problem is more noticeable as the dog ages. If this occurs in a Chihuahua then veterinary treatment should be sought immediately. As a result of certain small dogs having an elongated palate, they have difficulty breathing and will snort, reverse sneeze, and wheeze. In hot weather, this makes them particularly susceptible to heat stroke. Hypoglycaemia can be fatal in Chihuahuas. This is where the blood sugar levels drop very quickly.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman pinschers are susceptible to a large number of problems. These include bloat and gastric torsion, cancer, hypothyroidism, colour dilution alopecia, Wobbler’s Syndrome, hepatitis, dilated cardiomyopathy, and von Willebrand’s disease. Bloat and gastric torsion occurs in deep chested dogs such as the Doberman as they seem to be more prone to swallowing air. Their stomachs then expand and rotate. This can be fatal. Von Willebrand’s disease is an inherited bleeding disorder which Doberman Pinschers are especially prone to.

English Bulldogs

English bull dogs are another breed which have been bred to produce an aesthetically pleasing dog. This means that it has suffered in terms of the breed’s health. Many of the problems can be observed in these breeds although there will always be exceptions. All very uncomfortable problems, English bulldogs can experience patellar, elbow and hip dysplasia. Due to the folds of skin around an English bulldog’s muzzle, it can have an infectious disease of the skin known as Muzzle Pyoderma. Additionally, the hair follicles may become infected and this is called folliculitis.  Other problems include cherry eye, cleft lip and a condition which leads to ingrown eyelids and thus eye problems. Bulldogs may be prone to mitral valve defects as well as Circulatory Arteriovenous fistula.

English Setter

English Setters are another breed of dog which are known to be susceptible to a large number of health problems. These potential problems include Atopy, Bloat and Gastric Torsion, Cataracts, Cherry Eye, Congenital Deafness, Ectropion, Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, Haemophilia A, Hip Dysplasia, Hypoglycaemia, Hypothyroidism, Keratoconjunctivis Sicca, Lymphosarcoma, Lysosomal Storage Diseases, Osteochondrosis, Pemphigus, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and von Willebrand’s Disease.

Great Dane

The Great Dane is a breed of dog which can also be prone to particular problems as well as those which affect any type of dog. These particular problems can be fatal such as dilated cardiomyopathy. Bloat and gastric torsion can affect Great Danes since they are a deep chested breed of dog. Additionally, cancer can be found in this breed as is the case for many other breeds However, Fibrosarcoma and  Hemangiosarcoma are both cancers which this breed are more commonly affected by than other forms of cancers. Other problems include Hypothyroidism, Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, Panosteitis, Wobbler’s Syndrome, and Hip Dysplasia.  

Standard Poodle

It has been argued that Standard Poodles are a very unhealthy dog breed. This is due to that fact that they can be at risk of a large number of health defects. These include bloat and gastric torsion, juvenile renal disease, hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, sebaceous adenitis, von Willebrand’s disease, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease.  Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an inherited disease which affects a dog’s retina. Many other eye conditions may also affect this breed of dog. A disorder of the adrenal gland, Addison’s disease, leads to an imbalance of body salts. It can be fatal.


As a short nosed, or flat nosed dog, the pug has been seen to be susceptible to related problems such as an elongated soft palate and having a greater risk of heatstroke.  Due to the shape of a pug’s head, their soft palate is relatively longer than those in a normal dog. This can lead to problems with breathing and thus making exercise stressful for the affected animal. The function of the soft palate is to prevent food being swallowed the wrong way and so if it is elongated, swallowing can become difficult leading to what appears to be regurgitation. Pugs can also be affected with hemi vertebrae and Pug Dog Encephalitis.


The Rottweiler can be prone to various problems and it is important for owners to be aware of these. The problems which are found in the Rottweiler include bloat and gastric dilation, cancers of the bone and immune system, joint disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, and Osteochondrosis Dissecans. Another disease is hypothyroidism which means that the dog does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone and so its thinking ability is adversely affected as a result.

Saint Bernard

As a large dog breed, it could be argued that St. Bernards are at risk of a high quantity of problems and diseases. Saint Bernards can become affected with Bloat and Gastric Torsion, Cardiomyopathy, Cataracts,Cherry eye, Cutaneous asthenia, Diabetes, Dilated cardiomyopathy, Distichiasis, Ectropion, Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, Epilepsy, Hip dysplasia, Laryngeal paresis, Lymphosarcoma, Osteochondritis dissecans, Osteosarcoma, and Patellar luxation.

Shar peis

Shar peis are another developed breed which consequently has been known to have certain health issues. These dogs have been bred to have aesthetically pleasing folds of skin around the face. As a result, this can lead to rashes and mould occurring between these “wrinkles”. These can be very uncomfortable and so a large part of Shar pei care involves cleaning and drying these areas. Other problems include Entropion, Extropion, Mouldy Wrinkles, Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, and Swollen Hock Syndrome.


You can now get advice online 24/7 from a qualified vet: Ask a Vet Online Now

Close Bitnami banner