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Like any member of your family, you want your dog to lead a long, happy, and healthy life. Choosing a breed that is less prone to health problems and illnesses will give you peace of mind while you take care of your pooch – and save yourself traveling to the vet.
You can consider how long a particular breed normally lives, but lifespan is just one element of what makes a dog breed healthy. Genetic predispositions to certain diseases, as well as a dog’s tendency to remain active throughout their life, can also contribute to physical health.
“Purebred dogs generally have more problems because they tend to have less variety in the genetic pool,” says Liz Trepp, DVM at Banfield Pet Hospital in Clive, Iowa. “If you’re looking for a really healthy breed, you can get the medium-sized dog out of the shelter because it’s a mix of breeds.”
Missy Matusicky, DVM, MPH, DACVPM and Assistant Professor at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, agrees. However, Matusiky notes that reputable breeders are looking for many health issues. “A responsible breeder conducts health checks on both mother and father before breeding,” she says.
Dog owners should do their research and think about which type of dog would best suit their family and lifestyle. A look at the Breed Club of America for your favorite breed can be a valuable resource. Always check the breeder to make sure they are legit before bringing home your new best friend.
“Do you know what you are getting yourself into and why you want this particular breed of dog,” says Matusicky. “Certainly some breeds of dogs have less known health conditions than others. So it really comes down to what an owner is willing to handle.”
Every dog is an individual. Talk to your veterinarian about simple ways – including proper nutrition and grooming – to ensure your pooch can lead a long, healthy, and happy life regardless of breed.
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If you’re hoping to spend less time in the veterinarian’s office and more time playing in the back yard, read on to explore 10 Generally Healthy Dog Breeds.
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Healthiest, Longest Living Dog Breed: Australian Cattle Dog
When it comes to longevity, the Australian cattle dog rules, living an average of 12 to 16 years. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest-lived dog ever recorded was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey, who lived until he was 29 years old. These active dogs – a key trait to general dog wellbeing – not only stay relatively healthy, but they too. They’re also medium in size, making them good for many households. Trepp noted that if you plan to add her to a family with children, they must be properly trained and have plenty of exercise.
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Healthiest Small Dog Breed: Chihuahua
The smallest dog breed of all also happens to be on the list of the healthiest dog breeds. Chihuahuas, who typically weigh around 6 pounds, not only have lots of sperm and personality, but they can live between 12 and 18 years of age. Content to carry around, cuddle on your lap, or jump around the house are lovable dogs that, with proper care, generally stay healthy and happy. Keep in mind that while small dogs are less likely to interact with large dogs, such as gas or hip dysplasia. However, according to the Chihuahua Club of America, Chi owners should work with their veterinarians to keep an eye out for heart problems. Patellar luxation and eye diseases, especially in old age.
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Healthy Medium Dog Breed: Australian Shepherd
When it comes to medium-sized dogs, the Australian Shepherd’s limitless energy makes it a great choice for a breed with fewer health concerns. If you’re an active, seasoned dog owner, Aussies make dynamic companions as they get older. You’re always ready for a run, a hike, a long walk, or even a swim.
CONNECTED: 15 Energetic Dog Breeds For People With Active Lifestyles
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Healthy Large Breed Dog: Greyhound
Greyhounds are the cheetahs of the dog kingdom. With their phenomenal musculoskeletal condition and athleticism, they can run up to 45 miles per hour, making them the fastest breed of dog in the world. These large pups are generally disease free, except for the conditions common to all large breed dogs. However, you can develop congenital heart disease and osteosarcoma.
If you are looking for a large breed to take home with you, keep in mind that larger dogs, with more weight, can be prone to certain health conditions because of their size. According to Matusicky, large breed dogs are prone to neurological or musculoskeletal disorders, and any medications they need tend to be more expensive because of the higher dosages.
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Healthiest Dog Breed That Doesn’t Shed: Poodles
If you are looking to add a dog to your home that not only leads a long, healthy life, but also won’t fidget all over your furniture, clothing, or irritate your allergies, a poodle is an excellent choice. Not only are poodles chubby and pretty, but they are also active and highly intelligent dogs who love to play games. Poodles are typically between 12 and 15 years old – longer than most larger dog breeds – and have few health issues.
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Healthiest hunting dog: German Shorthaired Pointer
Many hunting dogs are healthy breeds thanks to their time outdoors when given plenty of exercise. The German Kurzhaarzeiger (GSP for short) is one of the healthiest. They are a great addition for active families as they are very trainable and energetic. Thanks to their short coat, they also don’t lose much, which makes them an ideal companion both indoors and outdoors.
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Healthy dog breed for cold weather: Old English Sheepdog
It’s no surprise that the Old English Sheepdog can handle the cold, which has to do with their heavy, shaggy fur. This weatherproof breed loves to frolic in the snow. However, be sure to supervise your puppy at all times and never push him too hard while training or playing, as this breed can develop a genetic condition called exercise-induced collapse (although responsible breeders will test this).
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Healthiest dog breed for warm weather: Havanese
If a sunny climate is more your speed, consider a Havenese to keep you company. These small, intelligent pups are originally from Havana, Cuba, so they can usually adapt to warmer temperatures. However, all dogs need a break from the heat every now and then. Therefore, it is imperative for any breed that your pooch has plenty of shade, cool air, and easy access to water to stay hydrated. And if the weather is too cold or too hot to go outside, it is better to find indoor games to play together.
Havanese dogs, on average, live between the ages of 14 and 16 and make great companions as they are also very social. As a small breed dog, liver and kidney disease are often seen more often than in larger dogs, but these lively pups are otherwise a healthy, long-lived breed.
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Healthiest Family Dog Breed: Basenji
For a puppy who has few health problems and is great for playing with the kids, the Basenji is just the thing. With roots in ancient Egypt, this breed evolved from hunters to domestic companions. According to the Basenji Club of America, Basenjis can get a condition called Fanconi Syndrome, a kidney and urinary tract disease, but responsible breeders often look for this condition according to tests recommended by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
Another peculiarity of this breed: Basenjis do not bark. They share their feelings through yodelling, a lovable trait to be sure about when looking for a family dog.
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Healthiest Dog Breed: Beagle
Sometimes being healthy means being easy to care for. That describes the beagle perfectly. They enjoy long, slow walks – on the beach, in the woods, on a hike, or anywhere they can sniff – and are known for being gentle with their owners. They typically live to be 10 to 15 years old, and their smaller stature for a dog makes them good for a number of different homes.