Friday, July 23, 2010

What's in those Genes?

Our first dog was a Dalmatian (That's Schuyler there on the left). After we adopted him, we learned that some dalmatians can be a bit snippy and also are prone to hip problems and deafness. Fortunately our dog was gentle and healthy.

Our next dog was a Yellow Lab. He was sweet and overall healthy, however like many labs he did become overweight (I take responsibility for my part in that).

Our little dog Kelly is part Cocker Spaniel and part Long-haired Dachshund. She's had a few seizures, which are reported in both breeds.

Just as we need to know our specific family history of cancer, heart disease and more, it's helpful to know the health history of our dog's breed too. With rescue and mixed breed dogs, we don't always have access to the parents or even any record of where the dog came from and what conditions may have been passed along. To help, has compiled a list of potential health issues for popular breed. Here are a few:

* Labrador Retriever-- tendency to become overweight

* German Shepherd-- bloat

* Yorkie--early tooth decay

* Golden Retriever-- hip dysplasia

* Bulldog-- enlarged heart

* Chihuahua-- skin sensitivity

Of course, not every dog will have every issue on the list. Use as a general guideline or as a checklist of things to be aware of. You can check out the entire list of health issues for the 15 most popular breeds of dogs.

What about you? Does your dog share any health concerns common for his or her breed(s)?


  1. Oh yes, definitely early tooth decay in yorkies. Joint problems are also common - I know from experience!

    Your pal, Pip

  2. Our dog is a mutt, with some black lab and some dalmatian. No health problems have appeared so far, and he's close to ten, I suppose (rescue dog). Personality...maybe. I tell people, the dalmatian in him makes him bad and the lab in him makes him sorry for it. lol

  3. Sorry about the teeth Pip. I don't like the dentist myself.

  4. Buster, our GSD, gets seizure - but none for many months since he is on medication. We try to minimize bloat issues by not exercising after meals (you can't go into the pool for 30 minutes after you've eaten!). GSDs can also get hip dysplasia, which we are trying to control by keeping hime very lean.

  5. Rod sounds like you're doing all the right things for your GSD. My friend's great dane had horrible situation with bloat.

  6. haha Marian, that is toooo cute!

  7. This is so helpful, Peggy! I will pass on to friends thinking of getting a new dog.

  8. My last dog was a black lab mix, and my current dog is a Hanvanese Cavalier mix (so I was told). Our lab mix got cancer at age 12, but for a large dog that's not a bad lifespan. Both are from our local shelter. Having this information up front is a good step in the process when thinking about getting a new pet. Good info!

  9. Oh yeah,

    Us boxers has LOTS of health issuse. :( The big one is the cardiomyopathy.

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  10. I had a Dalmatian too, named Pepper. He was very large, like a Great Dane, but with perfect spots. The Dal rescue people said he was an English Dalmatian. He was gentle but stubborn. He developed bladder stones which I learned is a common problem in Dals; they can't tolerate proteins. So we put him on a vegetarian diet which he ate happily for the rest of his life. He was 8 when we adopted him, and 14 when he died. I remember him fondly.
    Laurel at

  11. One of my dogs is a mutt and she has hip dyplasia. From what I understand it doesn't really make any sense @ all (for a mixed breed to have an issue like this).


Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!