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‘Dog is a man’s best friend’ may be the oldest cliché in the book, but it holds true even in this day and age. Canines make for great pets, and a majority of people who want to have an animal in the house opt for a dog over other species.

However, deciding on the right breed can be a challenge, given that there are many options available to you. All puppies are cute and adorable. But, a major factor you should not ignore when selecting a breed are the health issues that your chosen breed historically faces.

Here is a look at the top six dog breeds with the most health issues:

Cocker Spaniels

Many people express surprise when they discover that Cocker Spaniels are vulnerable to the largest number of health conditions. However, Cockers are prone to developing heart health issues and orthopedic problems.

A common condition among dogs of this breed is albinism, where their bodies are unable to produce sufficient melanin. Lack of melanin in the bloodstream can cause issues with eyesight and make your dog sensitive to the sun. The eyesight related issues your cocker might face include

  • Cherry Eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Cataracts

Cockers are also at a higher risk of congestive heart failure and liver disease than other breeds. If you plan to bring home a Cocker Spaniel, you have to prepare yourself mentally to take your dog for regular tests for the eyes, knees, and heart. Generally, experts suggest that only seasoned dog owners should take on a Cocker as a pet.

Even with regular testing and trips to the vet, you still need to keep an eye out for potential health issues. Keep all this information in mind if you planning to adopt a Cocker.

German Shepherds

German Shepherds are among the most popular dog breeds around the world. The strong built and great features of the breed make them perfect for service as well as for keeping as pets.

In fact, German Shepherds work with the police and military in many countries, and also serve as Seeing Eye dogs. Popularity and functionality aside, this breed is prone to a number of health problems. German Shepherds are at a risk of hip dysplasia and similar conditions, which can cause their hips to wear out as they age.

Like Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds are also at risk for eyesight-related problems. Other conditions you need to look out for should you wish to adopt a pup from this breed include

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Digestion issues

The most concerning condition German Shepherds are at risk of is degenerative myelopathy, which can lead to full paralysis.

The popularity of this breed means breeders often test them for the common conditions they are prone to from an early age. That said, you do have to take your dog to the vet regularly.


Bulldogs are a popular breed because of their looks. However, their features, which receive much praise from their owners, are also a cause of numerous health problems.

Bulldogs are at risk of a skull abnormality due to their flat face, and current generations of this breed are born with hereditary and congenital disorders. In addition, Bulldogs are at risk of internalized tail, hip dysplasia, and an elongated soft palate.

The breed is great to keep as a pet, but you have to be wary of the fact that you have to constantly monitor your dog’s health and take him/her for regular checkups.

Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers have a warm personality and will cheer you up in no time. However, Golden Retrievers are at a greater risk of cancer than all other breeds on this list.

Many dog owners who adopt a Golden Retriever have to face a cancer diagnosis and managing their dog through the condition can be a major challenge. The risk of cancer is higher during the early years, which means regular checkups are necessary.

In addition to cancer, Golden Retrievers are also prone to eye-related issues, which include cataracts, epilepsy, and retinal atrophy.

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are a much-loved breed around the World. However, the host of health issues they are at risk of contributes to their short lifespan.

The average lifespan of a Labrador Retriever is around 11 years, which is shorter than other breeds. The risk of cancer is high for Labrador Retrievers as well, though less than Golden Retrievers.

They are also vulnerable to bone disorders, which include hip dysplasia, as well as skeletal dwarfism. When adopting a Labrador Retriever, you have to prepare yourself to look for signs of cancer.

Other conditions you have to watch out for bone issues and eye-related issues. As Labrador Retrievers are at risk of blood sugar issues, you need to take your dog to the vet for tests on a regular basis.


Hip dysplasia is a common ailment plaguing the breeds on this list, and this is true for Newfoundlands as well. Newfoundland is a large breed and therefore, the dogs from this breed have large hearts. Hence, they are at risk of heart health issues from an early age.

A common issue in Newfoundlands is Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis. This condition restricts the flow of blood to the heart, which can prove fatal if your dog suffers cardiac arrest. Other issues that Newfoundlands are prone to include elbow dysplasia and bone disorders.

So, there you have it, a list of the top six dog breeds with the most health issues. The intensity of the health problems will determine how healthy a dog is after you bring him/her home. That said, you do need to keep an eye out for the conditions they are prone to.

Regardless of the breed you adopt, make sure you educate yourself on the health problems they are at risk of so you can provide the necessary care and schedule the tests and treatments they require for a long and healthy life with you.

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