8 breeds of dogs with the most serious diseases

 8 breeds of dogs with the most serious diseases

8 breeds of dogs with the most serious diseases


Knowledge about genetic diseases in individual breeds of dogs is an important element in the work of veterinarians and breeders. Unfortunately, scientists still have limited knowledge about the frequency of specific diseases in different races. However, advances in technology make it possible to collect more and more data. What is already known?

Genetic diseases and dog breeding

Genetic diseases are passed on from generation to generation according to different patterns. This means that we are able to predict a certain probability of its appearance.


Breeding of breeds at risk of genetic diseases must only be based on the reproduction of healthy animals. Dogs showing signs of any hereditary disease should be eliminated from breeding. It is best to perform genetic testing before each dog is allowed to breed. They state clearly which dogs are sick.


Performing genetic tests also allows the detection of carriers of specific diseases. A genetic mutation does not always mean disease. Usually, no symptoms of the disease are observed in the case of carriers and there is an option to allow them to breed, but only in combination with a disease-free individual.

The most popular dog breeds are at high risk of genetic diseases

  1. Labrador retriever - in dogs of this breed there are cases of exercise collapse, which is associated with a mutation in the DNM1 gene. Sick dogs are characterized by unsteady gait, lack of power in the limbs, and an increase in body temperature. Proper handling of your dog reduces the risk of seizures. Labradors may also suffer from hip dysplasia and cardiovascular diseases. 
  2. Pug - pugs have a predisposition to various diseases. The most characteristic, however, is the brachycephalic syndrome associated with the structure of their skull and respiratory system. The brachycephalic syndrome consists of such problems as narrowed nasal wings, too long soft palate, tracheal collapse, and laryngeal pockets eversion. Dogs with these defects have breathing problems such as episodes of apnea, coughing, and shortness of breath. Another dangerous disease occurs in pugs, ie pug encephalitis. The disease is genetically determined, difficult to diagnose, and practically incurable. It is possible to perform genetic tests to detect the disease and eliminate such dogs from further breeding.
  3. French Bulldog - Like pugs, bulldogs often suffer from Brachycephalic Syndrome. Genetically conditioned diseases occurring in bulldogs also include cleft palate, cystinuria.
  4. German Shepherd Dogs - Shepherds suffer from around 50 genetic diseases. They are primarily at risk of hip dysplasia, but also von Willebrand's disease, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, mucopolysaccharidosis type VII, and degenerative myelopathy.
  5. Cocker Spaniel - Genetic testing shows that approximately 11% of dogs have been diagnosed with progressive retinal atrophy. In the studied population of dogs, it was shown that as many as 45% of dogs carried the gene for this disease, which can be passed on to puppies.
  6. Bulldog - is another breed with a high risk of hip dysplasia. It is estimated that the problem affects as many as 73% of the breed representatives.\
  7. Doberman - Dobermans are at high risk of von Willebrand disease, the most common hereditary blood clotting disorder. It is estimated that approximately 49% of dogs carry the defective gene.
  8. Collies - dogs of this breed often suffer from the so-called MDR1 gene mutation. This defect makes dogs sensitive to certain medications, incl. ivermectin or loperamide. This means that preparations with these active substances cannot be administered to dogs of this breed.

How to buy a healthy dog?

When deciding to buy a dog, you should analyze the needs of the breed and genetic predisposition to specific diseases. Then it is worth looking for a proven breeding farm. It is good if it is recommended by a veterinarian or owner of quadrupeds.

A puppy's parents should be tested for the most common genetic diseases in a given breed. This should be confirmed by documents from laboratories, which we should have access to before buying a dog.


Pedigree dogs are animals that we can learn quite a bit about. The pedigree gives us an insight into the ancestors of our puppy. Such a certificate allows you to estimate the future appearance of the dog, its predispositions, e.g. sports and health. Appropriate selection of the puppy's parents and grandparents increases the likelihood that young dogs will be free from genetic defects.


The price of pedigree dogs is high, but it is worth knowing that there are many costs incurred by the breeder. They include, among others preventive vaccinations, care, and nutrition of bitch and puppies. An important element of the breeder's financial contribution is also the mentioned genetic tests, which are often quite expensive. When buying a purebred dog, however, it is not worth saving or trying to take "bargains". 


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