When it comes to bringing a dog into the family there are a lot of things to take into account, including what the healthiest dog breeds might be. With purebred dogs’ certain health issues can be common and they are a thing to watch out for.
You should always have an emergency fund ready in case you need to take your dog to the vet – but if those funds are on the lower end right now, you should do your best to get a breed that is less likely to have a bunch of health problems!
All dogs are going to have to visit the vet for something other than a routine checkup at least once in their lives. It could be that your puppy ate something he shouldn’t have or decided to jump from too high of a place and got hurt.
Whatever the case those sort of accidents cannot be planned for. On the other hand, knowing what health issues are common in certain breeds can help you determine if that dog is right for you and your family and if you will be able to afford any potential health care he needs.
1. AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG
The Australian Cattle Dog is a relatively healthy breed of dog and does not have a history for having any life threatening illnesses or defects.
There are only three conditions that often present themselves in the Australian Cattle Dog and with proper care and safety procedures, any dog with these conditions can live a perfectly full and happy life.
One of the conditions that may show up in the Australian Cattle Dog is PRA or progressive retinal atrophy. This condition usually sets in when the dog reaches adulthood around 5-8 years of age.
PRA is a condition where the dog will slowly loose his eye sight, but due to the fact that it sets in slowly the dog will easily adjust to not being able to see. You will have to take certain safety procedures to keep your dog safe if he has PRA.
Hip dysplasia is also something to consider, but this goes for all large dog breeds. This can be treated with one or more of a few different surgical procedures including reconstructive surgery or a joint replacement.
The only other thing you need to look out for is the possibility of having a deaf pup – but many deaf dogs lead full lives with a bit of special training, so this should not really be a worry.
2. BORDER COLLIE
The Border Collie is another breed known to be extremely heathy with only a few minor genetic conditions that are becoming controlled better and better with each advance in DNA testing. Similar to PRA, Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) is a disorder that affects the retinas.
This disorder is where the eye did not develop normally and can have a wide range of affects, whether there be no visual impairment or total blindness.
This condition can be tested for with DNA and pups should be checked by 12 weeks old, after this age the eyes could potentially have a mild and undetectable form of the disease known as “go normal” where normal tissues grow over and disguise the affected areas.
Other genetic diseases include hip dysplasia and epilepsy. Hip dysplasia is actually a genetic disease and unfortunately this is one of the more common conditions found in the Border Collie breed (though less in this breed than many other mid to large sized dogs). With proper treatments this disease can be managed for quite some time and doesn’t usually set in until the later years of the dog’s life.
Also mentioned was epilepsy – a genetic disorder and the least common of the genetic conditions to affect most Border collies. This disease can have a variety of affects and a wide range of severe-ness and the reason for this is undetermined. All in all, this mid-sized and loving dog would make a great and generally healthy option in breeds for any family to bring home. You can learn more about this breed by checking out this article we’ve got on the Border Collie.
3. AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD
As with the previous two breeds, the Australian Shepherd has only a few pretty common health risks. They are prone to hip dysplasia and a number of different eye conditions, including CEA.
Most of these conditions can be tested for using genetic testing and depending on the condition there are several treatment methods. If your shepherd suffers from an eye condition leading to blindness, do not feel he is not happy – he can live a very full life with a few simple safety precautions!
The most curious of the conditions that are more likely to affect an Australian Shepherd is Multiple Drug Sensitivity (MDS). This is a condition where the dog is hypersensitive to ordinary medications used in common veterinary practice, even including some heartworm preventatives.
You can get your puppy screened for this test with a simple cheek swap which could save your dog’s life – rather than end up losing him while trying to keep him healthy.
Epilepsy and other genetic conditions are possible but not likely in this breed. If you buy your Aussie from a reputable breeder you should be confident in the health of your puppy.
On the other hand, with Beagles one of the major health issues commonly seen in them can actually be controlled by you – and that condition would be obesity.
This breed is made from greedy dogs when it comes to their food and many would probably eat until they exploded, if they could. Controlling the amount of food your dog eats and the amount of exercise he gets in order to keep your Beagle at a weight where he can be happy and healthy!
The Beagles ears can also be a little bit of a problem – be prepared to clean their ears often and for them to still get ear infections! This is simply due to the shape of their ears and size of their ear canals. Beagles are usually pretty sturdy little hounds and they are built to keep going and going.
5. MIX BREED
This really is a topic of great debate for many – breeders will argue with you that mutt’s are far less healthy than a purebred. After all, they are breeding all the dogs that do not have the conditions you are trying to avoid – how could mutt’s, bred usually on accidental occasion even come close to competing with the health of a purebred?
On the other hand you have owners and even many veterinarians saying that their mutt’s have been healthier and lived longer lives than many purebred dogs they have owned. I myself had a mutt that lived to be fourteen years old – I honestly don’t have a clue what he was a mix of, but he was a beautiful dog and the most loving guy ever!
Unfortunately, there really is no specific scientific testing that states this either as fact or not – it is simply rumor that Mixed Breed dogs are healthier. Many vets would like to point out, however, that with a mix breed it is like a genetic lottery, one litter could live long, full and healthy lives while another litter may suffer from one or more of the conditions we talked about in the other breeds.
If you are planning to buy a purebred, always make sure that you go to a reputable breeder. Your breeder should be willing to answer any and all questions about your dog’s health, including the history of health defects in the dog’s lines. An honest breeder would tell you if one or 2 dogs had hip dysplasia while the other 10 in the line were perfectly fine.
There is no breed that is the “ultimate healthy dog”. Sadly, genetics doesn’t work that way and even a puppy whose linage shows no sign of genetic defects can be the one where the gene is dominate. On the other hand, it is true that some dogs are just known to be in overall better health for their breed and who live long lives, while other breeds may have a shorter time with you. Of all the breeds though, these seem to have the fewest health problems overall.