Do Purebred Dogs Really Have More Health Issues?

By February 18, 2018Pet Health
golden retriever

Like many things in society today, pets are often purchased because their specific breed is the current trend.  Maybe the breed won first place in the latest dog show.  Or, a favorite celebrity has a pet that is unique.  Whatever the reasons, people can’t seem to resist owning one of those furry little critters.  Often, these popular animals are expensive purebreds. 

Few people know the history of how animal breeding began and why they should do some research before investing in one of these pets.  For instance, they don’t know that most purebred dogs today are at risk of developing a variety of inherited diseases. Some develop physical deformities that make life difficult for the pet and the owner.  Why does it happen and what can a pet owner do to protect themselves and their pet?  Let’s take a look at some of the facts about purebreds, specifically dogs, and find out what is the most common genetic disorder they suffer from today.

Why Purebred Dogs Have More Health Issues

Creating a purebred puppy involves breeding two dogs from the same gene pool.  Sometimes, the two dogs come from the same family.  This is known as inbreeding, and it has benefits and disadvantages.  With this limited gene pool, the chance of genetic disorders increases with each successive mating.  Not to mean that all purebred dogs will suffer from any of the disorders, but it is something a person should consider when purchasing one of these pets.  Also, it is a good idea to buy a pet from a reputable breeder.  It might cost a little more, but the benefits outweigh the costs.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of people buying a pet that became ill or died within a few days after the purchase.  That type of disaster can be avoided by making sure the breeder is trustworthy.

Some of the Most Common Genetic Disorders of Purebred Dogs

For the last two centuries, as dog shows became more popular, people have been selectively inbreeding dogs to have certain traits. For instance, they want a specific physique that is ideal for a hunting dog. Or, a certain temperament that will make a loving pet for children. Others want to become breeders themselves and rake in the high dollar profits from selling the pups. 

But, as is to be expected when humans begin tampering with nature, things can go wrong. For example, here are some of the most common genetic disorders that resulted from inbreeding and the breed that is most likely to be affected by them:

  • Heart disease Bulldogs, Boxers, Dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Staffordshire Terriers, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
  • Eye problemsBloodhounds, Old English Sheepdogs, and Papillons.
  • Cancer Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, Greyhound, Golden Retriever, Labrador, Saint Bernard, German Shepherds, Chow Chows, and Scottish Terriers.
  • Skin conditions West Highland White Terrier, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, Dalmations, Vizslas, and Chinese Shar-Pei.
  • Bone and joint disorders (hip dysplasia) Rottweilers, Bulldogs, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Saint Bernards, Retriever, and Neapolitan Mastiffs.
  • Weak immune system Portuguese Water Dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, Australian Terriers, Poodles, Bearded Collies, and Samoyeds.
  • Epilepsy Beagles, Keeshonds, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Tervurens, and Retrievers.
  • Urinary tract dysfunction (bladder stones) Miniature Schnauzers, Dalmatians, Newfoundlands, and Bichon Frise.
  • Brachycephalic syndrome (short-headed, flat-faced) – Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs, French Bulldogs, Pekingese, and Shih Tzus.
  • Hearing problems Australian Cattle Dogs, Alaskan Malamutes, English Setters, Dalmatians, Siberian Huskies, Bichon Frise, and Samoyeds.

If a puppy or dog has a chance for developing pet genetic disorders, this shouldn’t prevent a person from owning a purebred animal.  But, we realize that you prefer a healthy pet, so we hope this information will help you make an informed decision.   

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