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Are some breeds of dog more prone to certain illnesses?

Updated on June 29, 2010

A dog in the family would be a loving and loyal companion, a dependable guard and a constant source of entertainment. There are hundreds of breeds to choose from but taking a dog home would need some considerations. Who wouldn’t want to have a healthy and happy pet? Unfortunately, dogs tend to get sick. Some breeds are even more prone to certain illnesses. Let’s face it. A $1000 dollar for vet bills would be a burden for a family on a tight budget. It would be heart rending to take the option of euthanasia just because it is impossible to afford the medical bills. This is the reason why it is important to take time to research the breed of choice before finally taking home a dog.  Below is a list of illnesses common to specific breeds. It is hoped that the information will guide potential dog owners in choosing the most suitable canine friend.

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Hip Dysplasia

All breeds of dogs can suffer from hip dysplasia but large breeds are noted to be more vulnerable. This condition causes subluxation of the hips due to the abnormal wear of the joints. Hip dysplasia is a very painful disorder that is common in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retriever, English Setter, Great Dane and German Shepherd Dogs. This illness commonly requires reconstructive surgery.


Breeds that commonly suffer from diabetes mellitus are Beagle, Poodles, Bichon Frise, Dachshund, Fox Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier. Dogs suffering from this illness have high sugar levels due to the incapacity of the pancreas to produce sufficient amount of insulin. This chronic illness is not fatal nevertheless; diabetes would need close supervision as insulin injections are necessary to maintain the ideal insulin level of the dog.


Great Dane, Greyhounds, German Shephard, St. Bernard, Great Pyrenees are the breeds prone to gastric torsion. It will be noticed that large breeds are again at risk. This condition occurs when the stomach swells and twists because of swallowed air. Bloat is a life threatening situation that needs immediate veterinary care.


This disorder is due to a hormonal imbalance that prevents the thyroid from functioning properly. Dogs prone to hypothyroidism are Dachshund, Cocker Spaniel, Doberman Pinscher, Golden Retriever and Irish Setter.  Symptoms include anemia, lethargy, excessive shedding and hair loss, skin discoloration, weight gain and sensitivity to cold. This illness can be easily treated with daily medication.

Heart Disease

Breeds that are predisposed to develop a heart disease because of a congenital heart problem are Collie, Bulldog, St. Bernard, Irish Setter and Miniature Poodle. Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Poodle, Cocker Spaniel and Schnauzer have the tendency to develop a heart murmur as well. Heart disease is fatal thus an owner has to take note of the symptoms that include wheezing and coughing, edema, abdominal bloating and poor circulation.


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