What Diseases Does My Dog’s Breed Get?

Updated September 3, 2021

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 short-faced breeds are prone to Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).
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


Alaskan Malamute

American Staffordshire Terrier

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Kelpie

Australian Koolie no LIDA entry!

Australian Shepherd

Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Terrier


Basset Hound

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


Bearded Collie

Bedlington Terrier

Belgian Shepherd Dog Lakenois & Groenendael Malinois Tervueren

Bernese Mountain Dog

  • Malignant histiocytosis
  • Lymphosarcoma

Bichon Frise

Border Collie

Border Terrier

Boston Terrier



British Bulldog


Bull Terrier


Cairn Terrier

Cane Corso no LIDA entry

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


Chinese Crested Dog no entry

Chow Chow

  • Osteochondrosis dissecans

Clumber Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel – American

Colllie – Rough & Smooth

Curly Coated Retriever

Dachshund (Smooth, Long, Wire)

Dachshund Miniature



Dogue De Bordeaux no LIDA entry

English Setter

English Springer Spaniel

Finnish Lapphund no LIDA entry

Finnish Spitz

Flat Coated Retriever

Fox Terrier (Smooth)

Fox Terrier (Wire)


  • Spinal osteochondrosis

French Bulldog

  • Facial fold dermatitis

German Shepherd Dog

German Shorthaired Pointer

  • Fibrosarcoma

Golden Retriever

Great Dane


Griffon Bruxellois



Hungarian Vizsla

Irish Setter

Irish Wolfhound

Italian Greyhound

Irish Terrier

Italian Spinone

Jack Russell Terrier

Japanese Chin


  • Von Willebrand’s disease

Kerry Blue Terrier

King Charles Spaniel

Labrador Retriever

Lhasa Apso


Manchester Terrier

  • von Willebrand Disease

Maremma Sheepdog no LIDA entry


Miniature Pinscher


Old English Sheep Dog



Poodle (Miniature)

Poodle (Standard)

Poodle (Toy)

Portuguese Water Dog


  • 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


Pyrenean Mountain Dog


Rhodesian Ridgeback

  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Dermoid Sinus





Schnauzer (Standard)

Schnauzer (Miniature)

Scottish Terrier

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

Sealyham Terrier

Shar Pei

Shetland Sheepdog

Shiba Inu

  • Acute moist dermatitis
  • Allergies

Shih Tzu

Siberian Husky

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


West Highland White Terrier

Welsh Terrier

Welsh Corgi (Cardigan)

Welsh Corgi (Pembroke)

  • Cervical disc disease
  • von Willebrand Disease

Welsh Springer Spaniel


  • Cryptorchidism

White Swiss Shepherd

  • likely similar list to German Shepherd

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 (if open) will appear within 24 hours.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. Meet his team here.