No, purebred dogs do not have more health problems

World's Ugliest Dog Awards Held At The Sonoma-Marin Fair In California
World's Ugliest Dog Awards Held At The Sonoma-Marin Fair In California / Justin Sullivan/GettyImages

Many dog lovers choose purebreds for their predictable size and energy levels. However, a common misconception is that they’re more prone to illnesses. A recent research study debunks this myth. Discover what the study found below.

The Truth Behind “Purebreds are More Prone to Health Issues”

A Frontiers in Veterinary Science study suggests there’s no truth behind this common misconception. This research led by the Dog Aging Project involved 27,541 companion dogs to prove that a dog’s health profile is unique to their diet, genetic makeup and other factors — and not breeding alone.

Dr. Kate Creevy, Dog Aging Project’s chief veterinary officer and professor in the VMBS’ Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, says, “Several well-known diseases frequently occur in specific dog breeds. This occurrence helped perpetuate the misconception that all purebred dogs are more prone to disease, but that is not true.”

What Are the Study’s Findings About Purebreds?

Researchers determined 25 breeds that constitute roughly 60% of the purebred dog population. These breeds include the following:

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. Golden Retriever
  3. German Shepherd 
  4. Poodle
  5. Australian Shepherd
  6. Dachshund
  7. Border Collie
  8. Chihuahua
  9. Beagle
  10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  11. Boxer
  12. Shih Tzu
  13. Miniature Schnauzer
  14. Pug
  15. Havanese
  16. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  17. Yorkshire Terrier
  18. Great Dane
  19. Greyhound
  20. Boston Terrier
  21. Siberian Husky
  22. Shetland Sheepdog
  23. English Springer Spaniel
  24. Australian Cattle Dog
  25. Doberman Pinscher

Health Issues Associated with Breeds

A total of 53 unique medical issues make up the top owner-reported health complications. Across the aforementioned 25 most popular breeds, the 10 conditions were:

  • Dental calculus
  • Dog bites 
  • Extracted teeth
  • Giardia, a type of parasite
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Ear infection
  • Heart murmur
  • Fractured teeth
  • Cataracts

Almost the same list of health issues appeared for mixed-breed dogs, with torn or broken toenails and chocolate toxicity replacing cataracts and heart murmur. Medical conditions like osteoarthritis and dental calculus are equally common among purebred and mixed-breed dogs. 

However, it’s also important to note some health complications were more prevalent in one than the other. For instance, dog bites and extracted teeth occur more frequently in purebreds, while ear infections are more common in mixed-breed dogs.

What Does It Mean for Dog Owners?

This study matters for all dog owners because it finally busts the long-believed misconception that purebred dogs are more prone to health complications, which means their care requirements are more expensive and high-maintenance. The death of this myth may also encourage more individuals to adopt more purebreds.

The research also showed some common illnesses in purebreds and mixed breeds, reminding you to bring your furry friend to regular vet visits.

Dr. Kate Creevy states, “Dental issues, allergies and osteoarthritis are some of the most common conditions, regardless of the breed.” As a responsible dog owner, you should work with your veterinarian on a personalized plan to help manage your canine’s dental health. Keeping your dog active can help promote a healthy weight, mitigating or reducing osteoarthritis symptoms.

How to Help Your Dog Live a Healthy Life

Here’s how to give your furry friend a happy, healthy life besides regular vet checkups.

1. Stay Active With Your Dog

Exercise is mutually beneficial for you and your pet. It can help your pet maintain a healthy body weight. For instance, daily walking can motivate you to stick to a workout routine. Aside from the motivational benefits, it can help you ease back into exercise and alleviate back pain. Walking regularly with your pet is beneficial if you always accommodate a big pet or are prone to prolonged sitting, which can stiffen and strain your back muscles.

2. Buy Pet Insurance

This investment protects your wallet and animal companion from surprise health complications. The ideal pet insurance includes coverage for unexpected illnesses, accidents, vaccinations and other necessary expenses. The average monthly premium for pet insurance in the US is around $53 for dogs.

3. Invest in Regular Grooming

Grooming is essential to boosting your pet’s health and comfort. You can go to a grooming center or learn how to do proper grooming yourself. However, remember that some tasks, such as nail trimming and coat clipping, are best outsourced to experts for safety reasons.

4. Practice Proper Dental Hygiene

Dental calculus is prevalent in all dogs. Your animal companion should get their teeth looked at once a year by their veterinarian since gum inflammation and tooth loss can be severely painful for your furry friend if left untreated. To prevent this, brush your pet’s teeth regularly and avoid dental products with Xylitol to prevent toxic reactions.

5. Provide Healthy Foods

Give your dog appropriate food and supplements. Your veterinarian can advise you about the proper diet based on your dog’s life stage, health and body weight. Practice portion control to prevent obesity.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

The frequency of health illnesses among purebreds and mixed-breed dogs is mostly equal. All dogs are at risk of several health complications, making proper care essential. Follow these tips to give your furry friend the best life they deserve.

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