Breed All About It: Common Dog Breed Problems to Know About

dog breed problemsDog lovers typically have one or two breeds that they are just a little bit partial to, but that doesn’t mean those special varieties of canine are without fault.

All of us have our weaknesses, and dogs are no exception. It is true that certain breeds are predisposed to more than their fair share of certain issues. This is not a reason to avoid them, however. Instead, Beverly Hills Animal Associates encourages pet owners to educate themselves about common dog breed problems so that they can be prepared to help the love of their lives live life to the fullest.

Notorious D.O.G.s

Any time you decide that you want to bring a specific type of dog into your life, you are smart to start doing some research. A toy poodle is not a Rottweiler, and different breeds have some very different needs. Besides overall personality, activity level, grooming needs, and life expectancy, you will want to know a little about what health problems you might face with your new friend.

Of course any dog can develop any problem. Certain dog breeds are over-represented in the development of certain issues, however. For instance:

  • Orthopedic issues like hip dysplasia are seen more often in large breeds such German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Great Danes, and Golden Retrievers.
  • Back issues are common in longer dogs or dogs with smushed faces (brachycephalic) including Dachshunds, Lhasa Apsos, French Bulldogs, and Basset Hounds.
  • Heart problems are seen frequently in Doberman Pinschers and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
  • Skin and ear trouble can be a recurring problem in German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Maltese, Pit bulls/Staffordshire Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels.
  • Bone cancer is diagnosed all too often in certain breeds including Rottweilers, Great Danes, and Golden Retrievers.
  • Dental disease is a common occurrence in small breed dogs such as Yorkshire Terriers, Toy Poodles, and Chihuahuas.
  • Gastric dilatation volvulus (“bloat”) is most common in deep chested breeds such as Weimaraners, German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Bloodhounds.

Almost every breed has a few issues that it is notorious for. You may never encounter the common dog breed problems in your canine companion of choice, but knowing that they exist is very important.

Brachycephalic Beasts

Dogs that have been bred to have the smushed-in faces (think Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih Tzus, and the like) are referred to as brachycephalic. These adorable breeds are the result of a lot of breeding for specific traits over the years, resulting in some health issues. They have been bred to actually have a form of dwarfism which affects the cartilage. Their small noses also result in some issues.

Brachycephalic breeds as a group often have problems including:

  • Trouble breathing resulting from their small nasal passage, large tongues, long soft palates, and narrow windpipes
  • Orthopedic problems resulting from abnormal cartilage and limb proportions
  • Back trouble related to cartilage abnormalities and/or abnormal proportions
  • Increased risk of overheating due to impaired heat exchange
  • Skin problems related to excessive skin folds
  • Dental disease secondary to tooth crowding/abnormal eruption

Brachycephalic dog breed problems are very common and numerous. Good thing they are cute!

How Knowing About Dog Breed Problems is Power

When you start reading about the various dog breed problems you may have to deal with, it can be intimidating. Try to remember, though, that just because you have a certain type of dog isn’t an automatic doom sentence. Education is power in this situation. By knowing what particular issues that you need to be on high alert for, you can take precautions that will allow you to catch them early or even prevent them in certain situations.

Be sure to discuss your breed or breed of choice with us at your next visit so that we can help you understand how to better help your pet.