9 Serious Canine Diseases and the Breeds they Affect Most

9 serious canine diseases and the breeds they effect most petrage

Unfortunately dogs, like humans, suffer from a variety of ailments. Some are more serious than others. Some are familiar to us, while others are limited to the canine world. Certain dog breeds seem predisposed to certain serious canine diseases. For example, big chested dogs, such as Boxers, Great Danes and Dobermans are predisposed to a condition called “bloat” or gastric dilation volvulus in which the stomach flips and stops blood flow to the heart, often resulting in death. As a precaution, these dog breeds should not be allowed to run or jump after eating.

We have listed 9 of the most serious canine diseases and the dog breeds they affect mostly. This data was gathered from various sources as reported by veterinarians in the treatment of such conditions.

Cancer-All Types

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs. Approximately 1 in 3 domestic dogs will develop cancer, which is the same incidence of cancer among men. (Pang, Lisa Y.; Argyle, David J. (2016). “Veterinary oncology: Biology, big data and precision medicine”. The Veterinary Journal. 213: 38–45.)

These are 10 of the dog breeds that have shown a relatively high cancer rate:

  1. Bernese Mountain Dog – almost half of this dog breed will die of cancer
  2. Boxer – highest rate of mast cell tumors of any breed of dog
  3. Cocker Spaniels – the most common cause of death in this breed
  4. Doberman Pinschers -mammary cancer has been found to be a leading cause of death in female Dobermans
  5. German Shepherd – prone to hemangiosarcoma
  6. Giant Schnauzer – show high rate of melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma
  7. Golden Retriever – suffer from both lymphosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma
  8. Great Dane – cancer is the leading cause of death for this big breed
  9. Rottweiler – Osteosarcoma is most common type in this breed
  10. Standard Poodle – estimated 40% of all Standard Poodles will die from cancer



Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects dogs of all ages and breeds, however, certain breeds are more prone to developing the condition. Older dogs and those that are overweight are at a higher risk for developing diabetes, as the dog’s body loses the ability to produce and utilize insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

Juvenile diabetes, also known as Type 1 diabetes, is a rare but serious form of the disease that occurs in young dogs and is caused by an autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Certain breeds such as Australian Terriers, Fox Terriers, and Toy Poodles are reported to be more prone to developing juvenile diabetes.

However, it’s important to note that any dog can develop diabetes, regardless of breed or age. Regular vet check-ups, maintaining a healthy weight and diet, and early detection of symptoms, such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, and weight loss, can help manage the disease and improve the quality of life for your furry companion.

  1. Miniature Schnauzers
  2. Australian Terriers
  3. Standard Schnauzers
  4. Dachshunds
  5. Poodles
  6. Keeshonds
  7. Samoyeds


von Willebrand’s disease (vWD) – Blood Diseases

Von Willebrand’s disease (vWD) is a serious inherited bleeding disorder that affects both humans and dogs. It is caused by a deficiency or dysfunction of a clotting protein called von Willebrand factor (vWF). This results in the blood’s inability to clot and seal wounds, leading to excessive bleeding from even minor injuries or surgeries. This condition is most common in Doberman Pinschers, but it can also affect other breeds such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Poodles, among others. The symptoms of vWD can vary depending on the severity of the disease, but they include nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding from cuts or injuries, blood in the urine or stool, and spontaneous bleeding from the gums or other mucous membranes. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to control the symptoms and prevent complications in dogs with vWD. Here are the breeds in which this condition is most seen:

  1. Doberman Pinscher
  2. Shetland Sheepdog
  3. Miniature Schnauzer
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Rottweiler
  6. German Shepherd
  7. Standard Poodle
  8. German Shorthaired Pointer



Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in dogs and affects nearly 25% of domestic breeds. It is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints wears away, leading to pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is less common and occurs mostly in small breeds. This autoimmune disease causes inflammation and destruction of the joints, leading to similar symptoms as OA.

To help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis in dogs, many veterinarians recommend the use of nutritional supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate. These supplements are thought to help rebuild and protect the cartilage in the joints, reducing pain and improving mobility.

While seen in almost all dog breeds, the following tend to have a higher rate:

  1. German Shepherds
  2. Golden Retrievers
  3. Labrador Retrievers
  4. Dachshunds
  5. Newfoundland
  6. St. Bernard
  7. Rottweilers
  8. Mastiffs
  9. Great Danes
  10. Old English Sheep Dogs



Heart Disease

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is a prevalent ailment in both dogs and humans. Unlike some of the causes of heart disease in humans, such as poor diet and smoking, the majority of heart problems in dogs are caused by a valvular disease, which affects the valves of the heart. This can lead to symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and a decreased ability to exercise. In advanced cases, the disease can cause fluid build-up in the lungs and abdomen, leading to further complications. Unfortunately, heart disease in dogs is largely not preventable, with the exception of heartworm, a parasitic infection that can be prevented through medication and regular veterinary checkups. These are the breeds that have shown the highest levels of this condition:

  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  2. German Shepherd
  3. Rottweiler
  4. Labrador Retriever
  5. Doberman Pincher
  6. Irish Wolfhound
  7. Pomeranian
  8. Collie
  9. Bulldog
  10. Boxer


Intervertebral Disc Disease – Spinal Problems

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) in dogs is a spinal condition that occurs when the intervertebral discs, which are located between the vertebrae in the spine and act as cushions or shock absorbers, deteriorate and press on the spinal cord. This can cause a range of symptoms including severe nerve pain, muscle weakness, loss of sensation in the limbs, and in severe cases, paralysis. IVDD is more common in certain breeds of dogs due to their anatomical construction, such as a longer spine or certain skull shapes. It’s important to note that early detection and management of IVDD can greatly improve the quality of life and prolong the lifespan of affected dogs. This can include weight management, physiotherapy, and in some cases, surgery. Some of the breeds that are most predisposed to IVDD include:

  1. Dachshunds
  2. Bulldogs
  3. French Bulldogs
  4. Corgis
  5. Pugs
  6. Basset Hounds
  7. Pekingese
  8. Shih Tzus
  9. Beagles
  10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels


Glaucoma-Cataracts & Other Eye Problems

The canine eye is susceptible to a variety of diseases that can affect its function and overall health. Some of the most common eye diseases in dogs include dry eye (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca), cataracts, and glaucoma. Dry eye is a condition where the eyes do not produce enough tears, leading to inflammation and irritation of the cornea. Cataracts are cloudy or opaque areas in the lens of the eye that can cause vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma is a condition where the pressure in the eye increases, causing damage to the optic nerve and vision loss. Certain breeds of dogs, particularly those with flat faces, such as pugs, have a higher predisposition to developing eye problems, including corneal issues. These breeds should be closely monitored by a veterinarian, and regular eye exams should be performed to detect and manage these conditions early on, as early detection and management of eye diseases can greatly improve the quality of life and prolong the lifespan of affected dogs.

  1. English Springer Spaniel
  2. Siberian Huskies
  3. Poodles
  4. Collie breeds
  5. Boston Terriers
  6. Great Danes
  7. German Shepherds


Skin Infections/Diseases

Skin conditions are some of the most common health issues in dogs, and can range from mild and manageable to severe and debilitating. Atopic Dermatitis is a chronic, hereditary condition that causes severe itching, irritation, and inflammation of the skin. This condition can be triggered by environmental allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust mites. Other autoimmune skin diseases, such as Pemphigus and Bullous Pemphigoid, can cause painful blisters, skin lesions and crusty scabs to form on the skin and mucous membranes. These diseases are caused by the immune system attacking the dog’s own skin cells. Other common skin conditions in dogs include infections caused by bacteria, yeast or fungal organisms, and parasites.

  1. Spaniels
  2. Standard Poodles
  3. Chinese Shar-Peis
  4. American Bulldogs
  5. Doberman Pinschers
  6. English Bulldogs
  7. Labrador Retrievers
  8. Pit Bull Terriers




Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by recurrent seizures. It occurs in approximately 5% of the domestic dog population, however, it can be much more prevalent in certain dog breeds. This is due to a genetic predisposition, which means that certain breeds are more likely to develop the condition due to specific genetic mutations. In these breeds, the incidence of epilepsy can be as high as 10-15%. The seizures associated with epilepsy can be of various types and severity, and can range from mild, brief episodes to severe, prolonged seizures that can be life-threatening. Some common signs of seizures include loss of consciousness, muscle twitching, salivating, and loss of bowel or bladder control. Epilepsy is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management, typically through the use of anti-seizure medication. Early detection and proper management are crucial in order to minimize the frequency and severity of seizures and improve the quality of life for affected dogs.

  1. Beagle
  2. Keeshond
  3. Belgian Tervuren
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Labrador Retriever
  6. Vizsla
  7. Shetland Sheepdog


What are the symptoms of common serious dog diseases?

Symptoms of common serious canine diseases can vary depending on the disease. However, some general symptoms to look out for include lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, coughing or difficulty breathing, vomiting or diarrhea, changes in behavior or mood, and abnormal lumps or growths on the body.

Serious Canine Diseases by Breed – Final Thoughts

It is important for pet owners to be aware of the health problems that certain dog breeds may be more susceptible to. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pet owners educate themselves about these serious diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, von Willebrand’s disease, arthritis, heart disease, intervertebral disc disease, glaucoma and cataracts, skin infections/diseases, and seizures/epilepsy. By being proactive and understanding the potential risks associated with these conditions, pet owners can provide the best care for their dogs. Regular veterinary check-ups and supportive care are crucial in managing these diseases and ensuring the overall well-being of our beloved pets. Remember, prevention and early detection are key in maintaining the health and happiness of our pups.

Read the 12 Dog Diseases Every Dog Owner Should Know About.

Leave your vote

819 Points

Ad Blocker Detected!

We are a free website and the only way we can stay that way is to show a few ads.
Support free content. Please turn off your Ad blocker.


Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top