dog breeds

What Diseases Does My Dog’s Breed Get?

Most decisions to own a purebred dog are based entirely on positive aspects, like temperament, personality and lifestyle. These are important, but we should also focus on the negative, like what can go wrong.

Some people believe that genetic diseases are becoming more common in certain purebred dogs due to limited gene pools and close breeding. Regardless of whether this is true, genetic diseases are well-known and common and we should make ourselves aware of them. Read about diseases of cat breeds here.

How do I Know What Breeds My Dog Is?

Got a crossbreed and don’t know what the breeds are? Easy! Bring him or her in for a DNA test. All the breeds listed below can be detected. Visit our DNA test page for more information.

Which Genetic Diseases Are Common In Australia?

If you search for the genetic diseases of any dog breed, you’ll get a large and bewildering list. Which ones are important? Just because a disease is reported doesn’t mean it will happen to your dog!

I’m going to assume that if I haven’t seen the disease in over 20 years of practice, it’s fairly unlikely in your dog. Therefore, I’ve not included a disease if I haven’t seen it in that breed.

Data for these breeds originally came from the Sydney University LIDA DOGS database (no longer publicly available). 

When there is a missing disease which I think is important and should be added, it appears at the end in italics. This isn’t good science, but my aim is to make a list relevant to you and your dog.

What’s wrong with the lists? See my comments at the end.

This list only includes dog breeds we see in Adelaide (yes, we’ve seen all these breeds!)

Guide To Inherited Diseases Of Dogs

First some general comments on the lists

All chondrodystrophoid breeds (Dachshunds, Corgis, Bassets, Beagles, Dandie Dinmont) are prone to spinal disc calcification and disc disease.

All deep chested dogs (Rottweiler, Great Dane, German Shepherd, Pointers, Setters etc) are prone to Gastric Dilation-Volvulus Syndrome.

All herding breeds and their crosses are prone to the MDR1 gene mutation which can make some common drugs toxic (your vet will tell you).

All sighthounds (Greyhound etc) are sensitive to certain anaesthetics, but your vet is on top of this one.

All short-faced breeds are prone to brachycephalic syndrome, a cause of airway obstruction.

As well as the diseases I haven’t seen in a particular breed, I’ve excluded mild or trivial diseases, diseases of breeding dogs, the wide variety of rare eye diseases and behaviour problems. That means some dogs on my list have no entries

Remember, this list is not complete and is only one vet’s impressions of what to watch out for. Want more information? Please ask us!

Dog Breeds

Italic = Andrew’s anecdotal additions

Afghan Hound

Airedale Terrier 

  • Acral lick dermatitis
  • Acute moist dermatitis

Akita

Alaskan Malamute

American Staffordshire Terrier

Australian Cattle Dog

  • Hepatic Encephalopathy, Portosystemic 
  • Brachygnathia
  • Prognathism
  • Osteochondritis dissecans

Australian Kelpie 

Australian Koolie no LIDA entry!

Australian Shepherd 

  • Collie Eye Anomaly

Australian Silky Terrier 

Australian Terrier 

Basenji 

Basset Hound 

  • Acute moist dermatitis
  • Ectropion
  • Entropion
  • Pododermatitis
  • Achondroplasia

Beagle 

Bearded Collie 

  • Haemolytic Anaemia
  • Addison’s disease

Bedlington Terrier 

  • Copper Storage Disease

Belgian Shepherd Dog Lakenois & Groenendael Malinois Tervueren 

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Epilepsy

Bernese Mountain Dog 

  • Malignant histiocytosis
  • Lymphosarcoma

Bichon Frise 

Border Collie 

Border Terrier 

Boston Terrier 

Boxer 

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Sub-Aortic Stenosis
  • Syncope
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Granulomatous colitis
  • Allergies
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Gingival Hypertrophy
  • Histiocytoma
  • Mastocytoma
  • Pododermatitis
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Corneal ulcer, superficial
  • Cushings Disease

Briard 

British Bulldog 

  • Facial fold dermatitis
  • Folliculitis
  • Furunculosis
  • Muzzle pyoderma
  • Hypoplasia of trachea
  • Dystocia
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Brittany 

Bull Terrier 

  • Acral lick dermatitis
  • Furunculosis
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Bullmastiff 

  • Gastric dilation volvulus syndrome

Cairn Terrier 

Cane Corso no LIDA entry

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

Chihuahua 

Chinese Crested Dog no entry

Chow Chow

  • Osteochondrosis dissecans

Clumber Spaniel 

Cocker Spaniel 

Cocker Spaniel – American 

Colllie – Rough & Smooth 

  • Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Nasal solar dermatitis
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus

Curly Coated Retriever 

Dachshund (Smooth, Long, Wire) 

Dachshund Miniature 

Dalmatian 

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies
  • Demodicosis
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Folliculitis
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Urolith, urate

Dobermann 

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Cervical vertebral malformation
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans
  • Flank sucking

Dogue De Bordeaux no LIDA entry

English Setter 

  • Gastric dilatation volvulus syndrome

English Springer Spaniel 

  • Ectropion
  • Lip fold dermatitis

Finnish Lapphund no LIDA entry

Finnish Spitz 

Flat Coated Retriever 

Fox Terrier (Smooth) 

Fox Terrier (Wire) 

Foxhound 

  • Spinal osteochondrosis

French Bulldog 

  • Facial fold dermatitis

German Shepherd Dog 

  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Gastric torsion
  • Pancreatic insufficiency, exocrine
  • Allergies
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Cellulitis (folliculitis and furunculosis)
  • Perianal fistulas
  • Fragmented Coronoid Process
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Ununited anconeal process
  • Epilepsy
  • Pannus
  • Lumbosacral stenosis

German Shorthaired Pointer 

  • Fibrosarcoma

Golden Retriever 

Great Dane 

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Gastric dilatation volvulus syndrome
  • Gastric torsion
  • Osteosarcoma

Greyhound 

Griffon Bruxellois 

Harrier 

Havanese 

Hungarian Vizsla 

Irish Setter 

  • Gastric dilatation volvulus syndrome
  • Gastric torsion
  • Acral lick dermatitis
  • Allergies
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Folliculitis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans
  • Ununited anconeal process

Irish Wolfhound 

Italian Greyhound 

Irish Terrier 

Italian Spinone 

  • Squamous cell carcinoma

Jack Russell Terrier 

Japanese Chin 

Keeshond 

  • Von Willebrand’s disease

Kerry Blue Terrier 

King Charles Spaniel 

Labrador Retriever 

Lhasa Apso 

Maltese 

Manchester Terrier 

Maremma Sheepdog no LIDA entry

Mastiff 

Miniature Pinscher 

Newfoundland 

Old English Sheep Dog 

Papillon 

Pekingese 

Poodle (Miniature) 

Poodle (Standard)

Poodle (Toy)

Portuguese Water Dog 

Pug 

  • Allergies
  • Demodicosis
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Entropion
  • Facial fold dermatitis
  • Tail fold dermatitis
  • Cervical disc disease
  • Corneal ulcer, superficial
  • Distichiasis
  • Encephalitis
  • Epilepsy
  • Keratitis sicca
  • Collapsed trachea
  • Stenotic nares
  • Pigmentary keratitis

Puli 

Pyrenean Mountain Dog 

Pomeranian 

Rhodesian Ridgeback 

  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Dermoid Sinus

Rottweiler 

Saluki 

Samoyed 

Schipperke 

Schnauzer (Standard) 

  • Hypothyroidism

Schnauzer (Miniature) 

Scottish Terrier 

  • Allergies
  • Atopy
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Folliculitis
  • Achondroplasia
  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy
  • Scotty cramp

Sealyham Terrier 

Shar Pei 

  • Vasculopathy
  • Allergies
  • Atopy
  • Demodicosis
  • Ectropion
  • Entropion
  • Fold dermatitis
  • Folliculitis
  • Furunculosis
  • Otitis Externa
  • Pododermatitis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Blepharospasm
  • Amyloidosis
  • Gastric dilatation volvulus syndrome

Shetland Sheepdog 

Shiba Inu 

  • Acute moist dermatitis
  • Allergies

Shih Tzu 

Siberian Husky 

  • Hepatic Encephalopathy, Portosystemic.
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier 

St. Bernard 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier no LIDA entry!

Swedish Vallhund no LIDA entry

Tenterfield Terrier no LIDA entry

Tibetan Spaniel no LIDA entry

Tibetan Terrier 

Weimaraner 

West Highland White Terrier 

  • Cushings Disease
  • Hepatitis, Chronic Active
  • Allergies
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Furunculosis
  • Pododermatitis
  • Seborrhea
  • Westie armadillo syndrome (it really says this!)
  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
  • White dog shaker syndrome

Welsh Terrier 

Welsh Corgi (Cardigan) 

  • Calcification of intervertebral discs

Welsh Corgi (Pembroke) 

  • Cervical disc disease

Welsh Springer Spaniel 

Whippet 

  • Cryptorchidism

Yorkshire Terrier 

Why Is This Dog Disease List Not Perfect?

  • Some data comes from dogs in other countries. No doubt, due to local gene pool variations, there are going to be some Australian differences.
  • You also won’t get much idea of how common or rare each disease is. For that reason I made this smaller list with only the diseases we see regularly
  • Not all diseases will be known to affect a certain breed. For a disease to make the list, someone has to have documented its increased prevalence in a breed. That’s not easy and is usually only done by university researchers. We can expect mild or rare diseases to be under-reported, especially in rare breeds.That’s why I added my own extras in italics, even though I know they are going to be less reliable.
  • Rarer dogs appear to have fewer entries than common dogs like Labradors without necessarily being more healthy.
  • There are breeds missing. We’ve contacted Sydney uni to ask why the English Staffy, Cane Corso, Dogue de Bordeaux, Koolie, Chinese Crested, Finnish Lapphund, Maremma Sheepdog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Swedish Vallhund, Tenterfield Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel aren’t included. Stay tuned.
  • If you think there are a lot of diseases for your breed, have a look at the list of human genetic diseases and you’ll see this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Have something to add? Comments are welcome and will appear within 24 hours of lodging.

By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These blogs are from a series regularly posted on Facebook and Twitter. Like or follow our page or subscribe via email to read the latest.
Have something to add? Comments are welcome below and will appear within 24 hours of lodging.

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