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The Healthiest Dog Breeds

Updated on December 22, 2017
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Freelance writer trying to defy the Millennial stereotype through hard work. Joy is in the little things.

It is a sad truth that all dogs, like all humans, will likely experience some type of health problems in their lives. However, also like humans, some dogs have heartier genes than others. Certain dog breeds have been shown to develop fewer health issues over their lifetimes than others. Of course, every dog's individual health depends mostly on proper care and checkups, but the following breeds have a bit of a leg up.

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Shepherds are able-bodied, rugged, and characteristically fit. They were bred by Australians into a hard-working breed to move cattle in harsh conditions, so resilience was an important characteristic. They do experience occasional eye issues, deafness, and dysplasia, but overall they're a dough and robust breed. They're incredibly energetic and intelligent, and enjoy a large amount of physical activity in their lives.


Salukis are one of the oldest dog breeds in existence, as well as one of the most popular. While there are concerns about heart disease in Salukis, incidents are rare, and in general, these dogs display a high degree of health.

Airedale Terrier

Originating in England’s Valley of Aire, Airedale Terriers were bred to hunt small game, kill otters and rats, defend homes, and deliver messages and locate the wounded in the World Wars. This breed of course has a few health concerns, but are generally in the lower percentile for occurrences. The few issues they do have include dysplasia, though they see far fewer occurrences than other breeds. They are an impressive breed, and Teddy Roosevelt once boasted that we could do anything any other dog could, and then lick the other dog if needed.

American Water Spaniel

Bred from Irish and English Water Spaniels in Wisconsin, these dogs were selected for their ability to hunt, flush and retrieve game and waterfowl. They are a relatively rare dog breed that loves water and can thrive in just about any climate. They are very energetic, and this propensity for physical activity keeps them healthy. While the breed has individual occurrences of health issues, including diabetes and epilepsy, overall they're a hearty breed.

Border Collie

An active working breed, Border Collies are energetic and have a strong desire to keep moving. This contributes to their healthy dispositions. Easily trainable, this intelligent breed is skilled in sports. Some Border Collies experience minor health problems such as eye diseases, and rarely they are predisposed to seizures, but overall they are a very healthy breed.

Siberian Husky

A breed that has recently exploded in popularity, Siberian Huskies are incredibly intelligent dogs. Their playful nature makes them both lovable and active, which keeps them healthy. Some can experience eye issues, but their bodily health tends to be quite hearty.

Cairn Terrier

Scottish farmers bred Cairn Terriers to control pest populations on farmsteads. They were quite successful scaring vermin out of cairns, which led to the breed's name. They seldom see health issues, although many that do not live to old age meet their fate because of accidents while chasing squirrels and rabbits.

English Springer Spaniel

Recently rising in popularity, English Springer Spaniels are agile and easy to train. They are notoriously friendly, and stay healthier than other breeds their size. They have a slight tendency to gain weight as they age, but if you can keep that at bay they will lead a long and healthy life.

Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a breed that originated in Japan, and is best known for their high energy and affectionate demeanor. They can tolerate solitude for long periods of time, and thrive in colder climates. Their good health is particularly notable because they are a smaller breed. In fact, they are known as one of the healthiest small dog breeds in the world. While some Shiba Inus experience patellar luxation, a dislocation of the kneecap, this is relatively rare, and other maladies are all but nonexistent.

German Pinscher

German Pinschers are a medium-sized breed known for their power and hunting skills. They are particularly loyal and obedient. They are very active, which helps keep them healthy, and overall experience very few health issues.


A friendly and caring breed, Beagles are great with kids. If well taken care of, Beagles live long and healthy lifespans. If trained to bark and howl less than normal, they also make great emotional support animals.

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois is a smart, athletic breed that is incredibly easy to train. Similar to German Shorthaired Pointers, these dogs very active and need a lot of exercise. As long as they get this exercise, they rarely experience any major health problems, though some minor maladies such as cataracts have been known to pop up.


An African hunting dog, the Basenji breed are very clever and incredible companions. The one health issue Basenjis do experience are blindness, which often shows up as they near old age. However, they rarely experience other illnesses.


Bred from Greyhounds and other fast breeds, Whippets were created to be "racehorses for the common man." They are also hunting dogs, and are exceptionally lean and athletic. As long as they're able to run every day, this breed is very low maintenance. They do, however, need to be kept warm because of their low body fat content.

Australian Shepherd

A working breed, Australian Shepherds were bred to herd livestock. They are incredibly active, and will remain healthy as long as they are able to carry out this physical activity. In rare cases, they can develop certain eye diseases and hip problems.

Finnish Lapphund

Known as a friendly, gently, and loyal breed, Finnish Lapphunds are great for families and do well with children. They are bred herding dogs, and are exceptionally active and agile. They are quick to obey their owners. While they are common and popular in Finland, they are rarely seen outside of the Nordic countries.


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    • Michael-Duncan profile image

      Michael-Duncan 8 weeks ago from Spain

      When I was growing up, our family used to acquire dogs without understanding a thing about their nature. Outward appearances are not enough. It is important to be properly acquainted with the characteristics of the breed before bringing home the new pet. Thanks for sharing. Cheers!