While we can't predict any specific dog's health, certain breeds are more predisposed to certain illnesses and issues because of their genes. If you're thinking about adopting a pup, check this list to find a dog breed least likely to have genetics-related health problems.
We breed dogs for individual temperaments, skills, intelligence, and distinctive looks.
Purebred pups are stunning to look at, but they're often more prone to specific health conditions.
Why? Well, humans created the dog breeds we know today through selective breeding, in which we pick two dogs to breed that have the looks or other aspects in common so that they're likely to pass them on to their pups.
In the past, breeders were pulling from gene pools that were too narrow, and many dogs were closely or more distantly related to each other.
While the selective breeding process works, it also has unintended consequences – the small gene pool makes these pups more likely to pass down rare genetic conditions from generation to generation.
Learn more about the shared genetic conditions in purebred dogs and which are the healthiest dog breeds to adopt!
What Are Common Health Issues in Dog Breeds?
When you're looking to adopt a pup, you're likely already doing a bit of research on which breeds will be the best fit for you.
But it's also important to consider adopting a breed that's most likely to give you the healthiest dog.
Although you can't predict any individual dog's future health, you can go into dog adoption armed with the knowledge of common health issues among breeds.
You can potentially save yourself some vet trips, money, and stress in the long run by avoiding a dog breed that is prone to conditions that may shorten its life or result in expensive treatments – and opting for one of the healthiest dog breeds instead.
If you've got your heart set on a breed despite any genetic issues, it's still better to go into things well-informed so you can take preventative measures to keep your doggo in the best health possible.
Here are the most common genetic issues we see in purebred dogs:
- Skin allergies and inflammation
- Autoimmune disorders
- Neurological and behavioral disorders
- Blood disorders
- Hearing and vision loss
- Heart disease
- Thyroid and other organ issues
- Hip dysplasia and other joint conditions
The 15 Healthiest Dog Breeds To Own
#1: Australian Cattle Dog
These helpful livestock herders are energetic, intelligent, and less prone to health conditions than other breeds.
Farmers bred the Australian Cattle Dog for performance, not looks, which may have helped to widen their gene pool and avoid future health conditions.
Australian Cattle Dogs have a long lifespan of 10 to 13 years, which is quite long for a breed of their size.
Potential Health Issues: Hip and elbow dysplasia, and eye and ear atrophy.
The Foxhounds are another healthy working breed that seems to have decent general health as they breed for function, not looks. This means breeders use selective breeding to weed genetic disease and mutations away from the gene pool, not into it. These pups will live 11 to 13 years on average.
The Foxhound is an excellent fox hunter and makes a fantastic farm dog, as they need a moderate amount of exercise daily.
Potential Health Issues: Hip dysplasia and blood platelet disorders.
These teeny, tiny puffs of fur are among the healthiest breeds in the small dog category. They live 12-14 years and don't shed their fur, making them an excellent choice for anyone with pet allergies.
While they don't shed, they require weekly grooming and brushing to keep their coats from tangling and matting. They need moderate exercise and live well in small spaces.
Potential Health Issues: Arthritis, joint pain, liver issues.
#4: Border Collie
The Border Collie has a ton of energy to burn and is incredibly intelligent.
These dogs are some of the easiest to train, as they're eager to please their owners and smart enough to understand commands with ease.
Collies require quite a bit of exercise, and they love the excitement of living in a big family home with children.
Potential Health Issues: Epilepsy and hypothyroidism.
These long, stubby-legged sweeties live longer compared to other breeds - even to 20 years, in some cases!
A Dachshund’s body shape makes it prone to some skeletal and joint issues, but it’s still one of the longest living breeds.
Dachshunds are small, kind-tempered, and energetic, but don't require as much exercise as some of the larger breeds.
The Dachshund breed does well living in small spaces, like apartments and condos.
Potential Health Issues: Disc disease, hip dysplasia, obesity.
#6: Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is a high-energy guard dog that can be a bit much for the first-time dog owner. It's best to leave these pups to a hands-on owner that has plenty of time to exercise them.
These dogs are strong, athletic, smart, and obedient when well-trained.
Potential Health Issues: Kidney and liver disease, heart problems, and luxating patella.
This mix of Labrador Retriever and Poodle has a wide enough gene pool to keep these pups free of most genetic health concerns. They have the fur of a poodle, so they're hypoallergenic for anyone with allergies.
The Labradoodle needs its coat shampooed, groomed, and trimmed at least a few times a year.
They're sweet as pie, easy-going, and not in the least bit aggressive, making Labradoodles great family dogs to bring around babies and children.
Potential Health Issues: Eye disease, cataracts, and hip dysplasia.
#8: German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer breed is high-energy and makes an excellent all-around hunting dog with high levels of intelligence.
The average lifespan of the Pointer is between 12 to 14 years, and they're best suited for a farm or large property.
These dogs love lots of exercise and stimulation each day, so the smells, excitement, and wide-open spaces of a farm make it the home of their dreams.
Potential Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, entropion, some cancers.
#9: Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a Nordic dog that closely resembles a wolf and has undergone less human intervention for breeding, keeping their gene pool larger than many other breeds.
We know Huskies for their strength and endurance to pull sleds in the Arctic weather.
They're a sweet, family-oriented pup that will live 11 to 13 years on average.
Unsurprisingly, these sled dogs need a lot of exercise and stimulation to stay happy and well-adjusted. They do incredibly well with others that will spend a lot of time outdoors with them.
Potential Health Issues: Eye issues, cataracts, and hip dysplasia.
#10: Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd dogs were bred down-under as all-around helpful farm dogs to their owners.
They're smart and obedient, but like other farm dogs, they have a lot of energy to burn and need adequate exercise.
Aussie Shepherds live 12 to 15 years and require little grooming.
Potential Health Issues: Epilepsy, eye disease, and hip dysplasia.
Chihuahuas are one of the small dog breeds that aren't prone to many health issues. These pups are intelligent, loyal, and live a whopping 14 to 18 years on average.
These pups are tiny, so they do well in small homes and apartments.
They require little grooming and little exercise – they're the perfect low-maintenance dog breed for a new or older owner!
Potential Health Issues: Luxating patella (dislocation), hypoglycemia, and bad teeth and gums.
#12: German Pinscher
The German Pinscher is known as an aggressive dog, but it's all a matter of training. These pups certainly can be fierce when trained as serious guard dogs, but they are devoted and loyal pets.
Pinschers live up to 14 years, with very few genetic issues.
This dog is best for the experienced owner to keep them well-tempered and well-socialized, as they love their alone time more than most other breeds.
Potential Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, cataracts, and thyroid disorder.
The Beagle is the ultimate family dog – these sweet pups love being around children!
This healthy breed can live up to 15 years.
Beagles love to hear themselves talk too. They will howl and bark as they please without the proper training.
A Beagle needs a moderate amount of exercise and very little grooming.
Potential Health Issues: Progressive renal atrophy, obesity, and epilepsy.
#14: Bichon Frise
These tiny pups are among the healthiest small dog breeds, living up to 13 years of age.
The Bichon Frise is loyal and affectionate with their owner, but they do not do very well with children.
These dogs grow very attached to being around their owner and perfectly suit a retired senior.
Potential Health Issues: Allergies, patellar luxation, and hip dysplasia.
#15: English Springer Spaniel
These loving, loyal doggos are full of high energy and need a decent amount of exercise daily.
The English Springer is so sweet around others that it makes a terrible guard dog – they're far too keen to play with strangers instead!
These dogs are obedient, easy to train, and can live for up to 15 years.
Potential Health Issues: Elbow and hip dysplasia, and retinal atrophy.
Final Note: The Best Dog Breeds for Good Health
The best way to avoid common genetic disorders is to adopt a mixed-breed dog – the more the variety of genes in their blood, the better.
With a wider gene pool, dogs are less likely to have a hereditary disorder, as the chances of them getting the same recessive gene from each parent are far lower.
If you want to stick to a purebred pup, we suggest choosing one of the healthiest dog breeds above that are likely to live a happy, disease-free life!