For millennia, the fortunes of dogs and humans have been intertwined. Because of dogs' remarkable adaptability and genetic fluidity, there are numerous distinct breeds of Canis lupus familiaris today. Dogs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and temperaments, which has been achieved through selective breeding.
Unfortunately, this practice occasionally produces unfavourable results, such as an increased incidence of certain hereditary defects, deformities, or infirmities within a given breed. Here are 12 common dog breeds and their associated health risks:
1. Labrador Retriever
One of the favourite dog breeds is admired for its intelligence and affectionate personality. Labs are ideal family dogs in many ways: they are loyal, gentle, and playful. This energetic breed has few health problems as long as it gets plenty of daily exercises. Under-exercised pets are more likely to gain weight and develop the joint disease if they are not exercised enough. Labs are also prone to hip and elbow dysplasia due to genetics. Eye disorders such as progressive retinal atrophy, which can lead to blindness, are examples of inherited diseases.
2. German Shepherd
German Shepherds, another contender for favourite dog breed, are exceptionally intelligent and easily trained. They excel at guard duty but require a lot of stimulation and exercise to stay healthy. Hereditary hip dysplasia, a deformation of the hip socket that can lead to arthritis or lameness, is common in German Shepherds. Degenerative myelopathy is also a common problem in German Shepherds. This is an incurable disease that causes progressive paralysis.
3. Basset Hound
These adorable dogs, with their droopy ears and sad-sack eyes, are plagued by issues related to their most endearing characteristics. Their droopy skin may obstruct vision. Their large, floppy ears are prone to infection and must be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. They also have a proclivity for constant, enthusiastic sniffing (made all the easier by their short legs). Intervertebral disc disease, a type of spine disease, can affect Basset hounds. If undiagnosed, this condition can make movement difficult and painful.
4. Jack Russell Terriers
These highly energetic, intelligent terriers are well known for their relatively good overall health and long lifespan. While some larger breeds may live 10 to 12 years on average, Jack Russells (and closely related Parson Russell Terriers) may live 14 to 16 years if given adequate, regular exercise. Inherited diseases include lens luxation, which can lead to vision loss.
5. Lhasa Apso
Experts describe these elegant dogs as "sturdy," but they require regular eye care to stay healthy. This breed is prone to constant tearing. On a regular basis, the runny fluid must be gently cleaned from the eyes with an isotonic (mild saltwater) solution. To avoid snags and tangles, the Lhasa's long flowing coat necessitates extensive brushing and combing. This breed is also susceptible to hereditary kidney diseases.
6. Irish Setter
Despite their current decline in popularity, Irish Setters are still ranked among the top ten breeds for playfulness and affection. These endearing redheads are thought to be hardy, but some hereditary diseases do occur. Hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, bloat, epilepsy, and bone cancer are all conditions that can affect Irish setters.
7. Yorkshire Terrier
“Yorkies,” who are known for having outsized personalities in an undersized package, have flounced into the hearts of humans. They are the third most popular breed in the United States. They enjoy their roles as miniature divas, with silky blue/tan coats and entitled terrier attitudes. Yorkies have a history of digestive issues. Their eating habits should be closely monitored. Tracheal collapse is possible in toy breeds, as it is in other breeds. A cough is one of the clinical signs, which can be exacerbated by a collar. Portosystemic shunt, a hereditary defect, may impair liver function and cause toxins to accumulate in the blood. This can result in behavioural and neurological issues.
Dalmatians are famous for their association with firefighters and as the fictional heroes in a series of popular Disney movies. Deafness is the most common hereditary defect in this breed, though reputable breeders are working to eliminate this problem. Dalmatians are also prone to kidney or bladder stones, a condition known as urolithiasis. This common issue may necessitate a special diet or surgery to correct.
9. Cocker Spaniel
These celebrities are known for their flowing coats, but having a supermodel's hair comes at a cost. To keep their long hair tangle-free, Cocker Spaniels must be bathed and brushed on a regular basis. Cocker Spaniels are prone to eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma, as well as heart disease, epilepsy, and liver disease. Their ears must also be cleaned on a regular basis to avoid ear infections.
Pugs, known for their flat, pushed-in face, are a healthy breed that lives a long life. While their flat-fronted face adds to their allure, it can cause breathing issues, such as snoring at night or difficulty breathing in hot weather and humidity. The pug prefers to spend its days as a house companion, avoiding extremely hot or cold temperatures. However, because this breed is prone to obesity, moderate exercise is still required.
This tiny breed, made famous by Taco Bell commercials, weighs around 6 pounds or less. Chihuahuas, a gentle breed that will pair well with an equally gentle owner, can live a relatively long life for dogs — 12 to 15 years. However, Chihuahua is not immune to health issues. Patellar luxation is the most common, and it can lead to arthritis. Other medical issues to consider include cardiac and eye disease.
The Boxer, a highly athletic breed, is said to have gotten its name from the way it uses its front paws for nearly every activity, appearing to bat at objects as if sparring. However, this compact and muscular breed is prone to a number of ailments. Boxers are predisposed to heart and thyroid issues, as well as skin allergies. Cancer, bloat, and elbow dysplasia are among the other medical concerns.
When thinking about bringing home a new puppy or adult dog, work with a reputable breeder who is upfront and honest about the health lines of their dogs. Don't buy a puppy unless you have proof that the parents are healthy. If you adopt from a shelter, make sure to take your new dog to the vet as soon as possible after the adoption.