It’s true that all dogs face certain health issues; heart problems, aching joints, obesity, various eye conditions… The list goes on. But this by no means entails that every dog will get sick or have some kind of health problem ― most dogs live out long and healthy lives. That said, some breeds are more prone to these kinds of issues. And the opposite is also true.
What makes healthy breeds?
It’s impossible to determine exactly how long any given dog will live, just like it’s impossible to determine how long a human’s life will be. But overall health is of course a huge factor in at least estimating anyone’s lifespan, and so is genetics. With some breeds, genetics and breeding history give them a slight advantage over others. Here, you’ll find fewer hereditary diseases, as well as fewer bone-related injuries or conditions related to the skin and coat. Active breeds tend to live longer, as well, and are pretty healthy breeds.
A lot of breeds on this list are more assumptions and guesses, than hard facts ― there simply haven’t been enough serious studies done to get a clear idea about healthy breeds. But based on personal experience, as well as the history of the breeds and their lifestyle, it’s easier to get an idea. Therefore, these breeds are overall considered to be the healthiest.
Around the top of the list of healthy breeds, you’ll find various herding breeds and working dogs. This is mostly due to their active lifestyle and physically demanding purposes, but they also seem to have fewer health issues. The Australian Cattle Dog, for example, is among the particularly healthy breeds. Dogs still being bred to do a job tend to be the healthiest. For the Australian Cattle Dog, a few of the only major health issues that tend to show up are hip and elbow dysplasia, and deafness. The average lifespan of this breed is 10-13 years.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a dog that has been bred for function over looks, which is the case for many of the healthiest breeds. This dog is an all-purpose hunting dog, and is known for its intelligence and skill at many different types of game and sport. Their average lifespan is 12-14 years, and while they’re prone to things like hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, and hypothyroidism, they’re overall in the top healthy breeds. They need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, which is essential in keeping up this health. The Border Collie also belongs on this list of healthy breeds, which is no surprise, considering their active lifestyle. It’s one of the most healthy breeds, and is highly intelligent, with an average lifespan of 10-14 years. Still, they can have health problems such as seizures and hypothyroidism. The Australian Shepherd also deals with fewer health issues, as does the Siberian Husky, and Foxhounds.
Small dogs and mixed breeds
The Chihuahua is the reigning champion when it comes to living the longest among dogs, and it’s definitely on the list of healthy breeds. Their average lifespan is 14-18 years, and they suffer from relatively few health issues. Conditions that may come up, however, include hypoglycemia and pulmonic stenosis, which is a heart valve disorder. The Havanese is also among the most healthy breeds, which is unusual for a dog of its size. They live for 12-14 years, and may deal with health issues such as patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia, and deafness. They’re a moderately active breed, and keeping up the grooming demands of their coat is the main concern.
Mixed breeds are overall considered healthier than purebred dogs. This is due to their varied, unique genetic makeup, and lower levels of inbreeding. Genetic and hereditary health issues are inevitable among pure breeds, given that there are so many similar genes going around. Same-same just isn’t as good for your immune system and overall genetic circumstances. Scientific studies show that mixed breeds are less likely to develop ten genetically based diseases, including muscoskeletal problems, allergic skin disease, hyperthyroidism, and some types of heart disease.
A mixed breed that has become its own is the Labradoodle, and is among the top healthy breeds. This popular mix is a cross between the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle, as the name suggests. The Labradoodle has relatively few bone-related injuries and skin- and coat conditions. The most pressing matter is their grooming upkeep. They may be prone to some health issues seen in their parent breeds, however, such as hip dysplasia and certain eye disorders. Other healthy breeds include the English Springer Spaniel and the German Pinscher.
Things to keep in mind
We all want our dogs to live forever; they’re more than just pets, they’re family. But while we sadly can’t do much about their relatively short lifespans, there are certain, healthier breeds out there if this is particularly important to you. Most of them are active, physically demanding breeds, meant for herding and working, and their genetics won’t be as much of an advantage without proper exercise. Many healthy breeds aren’t quite as demanding, of course, but there are still important things to keep in mind to keep them healthy. Food, exercise, low stress-levels ― all essential to a healthy, happy dog. If you want to have your new canine friend in your life for a long time, then check out these healthy breeds. They’ve got a bit of a head start, after all.