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Health Guide: Top 10 Issues in Popular Dog Breeds

With more than 200 dog breeds recognised globally, it's safe to say that man is not the only species that can be domesticated. These unique animal companions enrich our lives in ways we never imagined. They offer us company and love and provide stability and structure for our busy lifestyles. It's no surprise that there are more dogs than any other pet type today. They come from various backgrounds and have been recognised for their individual abilities for many years. But with so many different types of dogs to choose from, which one is right for you? Do you want something small or large? Do you prefer a particular coat type or colour? This comprehensive list aims to give insight into common health problems of your favourite dog breeds. 


The #1 Good Boy: The Golden Retriever 



One of the all-around best breeds is the Golden Retriever. This loyal, intelligent, and friendly dog is an excellent addition to any family. Still, they come with a list of common conditions that can affect their health. 

Golden Retrievers are prone to issues like:

  •  Hip and elbow dysplasia, leading to early onset of arthritis in their joints
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Skin allergies cause itchy, sensitive skin and ear infections
  • Heart conditions such as subvalvular aortic stenosis arising from a developmental genetic issue
  • Eye issues such as glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy

While Goldens are generally healthy overall, these conditions can undoubtedly plague them. Responsible breeders will have the parents screened for hip and elbow dysplasia and congenital problems with their eyes and overall cardiac health. Unfortunately, arthritis, allergies and cancer can happen even with a pair of healthy parents.



The Fan Favorite: Labrador Retrievers 



Labrador Retrievers have been the #1 ranked breed for over 30 years. Indeed an impressive number! These dogs are robust, lively and loyal, making beautiful pets for anybody. Unfortunately, their long reign of popularity has created a list of congenital health problems that no owner wants to see. 

Labradors can be affected by health issues such as: 

  •  Skin allergies; itchy, sensitive skin and ear infections
  • Obesity
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart conditions
  • Eye issues; progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia, leading to osteoarthritis

This list of health conditions looks similar to the issues seen in Golden Retrievers. Many large breed dogs like these two tend to be predisposed to identical health problems. Hip and elbow dysplasia, poor cardiac health, and eye issues can be bred out of a family line if the breeder is responsible and using breeding lines that are screened and tested for these common issues. 

Labs are prone to obesity and conditions like hypothyroidism, so monitor your pup for excessive weight gain. Again, like in the Golden Retriever, Labradors can still develop osteoarthritis, cancer and allergies, no matter how healthy their parents are. 



A Handsome Breed: The German Shepherd Dog


Holding the second-place spot for the most popular breed, according to AKC, is the German Shepherd Dog. They are handsome, strong and protective, making excellent guard dogs and companions. GSDs are pretty intelligent and have an intense desire to work and make their owners happy. While these dogs can be quite healthy, they are certainly not exempt from having their own list of unwanted health conditions. 

German Shepherds can suffer from health problems like: 

  •  Hip and elbow dysplasia leading to osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Bloat or gastric dilation volvulus (GDV)
  • Panosteitis
  • Perianal fistulas
  • Skin allergies; itchy, sensitive skin and ear infections
  • Eye issues such as corneal dermoids

This beautiful breed has many conditions that can affect them, so you must research and find a reputable breeder who believes in responsibly breeding out bad traits and introducing healthy, new ones. You can avoid many problems with good breeding, ruling out hip and elbow dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy (a condition that affects the spine). Panosteitis is a problem in young GSDs where their bones inflamed during the growth phase. Bloat, allergies and arthritis cannot always be avoided, even with good breeding. Read more about accessing CBD for pets here. 


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Chinese Royalty: The Pug 



Here comes the Pug! The naughty and funny breed was once created for and adored by Chinese emperors dating back to 400 B.C. They are entertaining and full of personality, so much so that there is an old Latin phrase for these flat-faced dogs, "a lot in a little," which sums them up. The Pug's long history means this breed will have a lengthy list of health problems. And their anatomy certainly doesn't help. 

Pugs can often be affected by health conditions such as:

  •  Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (difficulty breathing due to anatomy)
  • Eye issues; ulcers and infections
  • Encephalitis
  • Luxating patellae (kneecaps)
  • Skin allergies; itchy, sensitive skin and ear infections
  • Joint pain and arthritis

This breed's extreme popularity for many decades means an abundance of over-breeding led to many anatomical issues with extremely short noses, pinched nostrils and elongated soft palates. These undesirable physical traits can cause respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis and Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, often requiring surgery at an early age to correct. 

Problems with eyes in Pugs are widespread, as their large eyes are prone to corneal ulcers, dry eye and infections. Encephalitis is a genetic condition in Pugs that will lead to neurological issues like epilepsy and coma. Allergies, joint pain and arthritis are also quite common in this breed. Still, they are typically not something you can predict or prevent.



The Smartest Breed: Border Collie 



The Border Collie is a workaholic breed that is sharp as a tack and highly athletic. They have a keen eye for jobs that include herding animals and performing agility or stunts for a crowd. While they are a fantastic breed, they also require hours of exercise and mental stimulation. Otherwise, anxiety and unwanted compulsive behaviours can set in. The Border Collie is less famous than the previous dogs, but they are not exempt from the trend of breed-specific health problems. 

Border Collies are susceptible to health conditions such as: 

  •  Epilepsy
  • Anxiety and compulsive behaviours
  • Eye issues; lens locations, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and Collie eye anomaly (CEA)
  • Hip dysplasia and arthritis
  • Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Skin allergies; itchy, sensitive skin

While selective breeding of Border Collies is not as prevalent as with Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Shepherds and Pugs, this breed still has a decent list of common health conditions. Many of these are congenital, such as eye issues, joint problems and epilepsy. Patent ductus arteriosus is a congenital heart defect known to affect Border Collies. A veterinarian can perform some tests to help diagnose and maintain these health problems.

Want to know more about the Border Collie breed, read The Border Collie: A Closer Look at This Intelligent Breed,



The Tireless Australian Kelpie 



The (Australian) Kelpie is an athletic, intelligent breed known for its impressive stamina and herding skills. Taking quickly to most chores, agility tasks and jobs, this breed will work tirelessly for their favourite people, enjoying it the entire time. The Kelpie is similar to an Australian Cattle Dog but a little easier and less demanding for first-time dog owners. They are less overbred than the previous breeds but still have their list of common health issues. 

The Australian Kelpie is prone to health issues like: 

For the most part, the Kelpie has fewer health concerns than many other popular breeds. They are still susceptible to the same orthopedic issues that dozens of others are prone to, like hip dysplasia and luxating patellas. Congenital issues with progressive retinal atrophy and cerebellar abiotrophy are common conditions in herding breeds (and many others) such as Collies. 

Anxiety and behaviours with compulsiveness are common in breeds that are as high-energy and as intelligent as the Kelpie. They require hours of physical activity and mental stimulation to see them at their finest. 



Conclusion: Popular Dog Breeds and Their Health Problems 



No matter the chronic conditions or common health problems associated with these breeds, they are still beautiful dogs that can make excellent companions for families and single people. We hope that this list has helped you decide which dog breed is best suited to your lifestyle and needs so that you can go on to have a rewarding and loving relationship with your new dog. Just remember to research and find a reputable and responsible breeder to minimise some of these common and congenital health issues. Need more info on Hemp for your pet? View our ultimate guide here. 


Consider heading over to our animal health page to get further info on our fantastic all-natural range of dog and animal supplements.


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