What Puppies Have The Most Health Issues?

Adopting a puppy comes with a vast array of responsibilities. Basically, you take over for its mother and must provide everything your puppy needs from the day you adopt it, ensuring they thrive.

That’s why it can be frustrating and depressing when you have a dog or puppy with health problems. When you give your love, devotion, and attention to a beloved pet, watching it suffer can be horrible (not to mention how your poor pup feels).

Of course, knowing whether a puppy you adopt will have health problems in the future is impossible to say…

Or is it?

The truth is that several dog breeds are known to have health problems more often than others. Unfortunately, most are due to overbreeding, while some are due to size, breed, and other factors.

Thus the question becomes; what puppies have the most health issues? Which dogs are known to suffer the most from inherited diseases like cataracts, hip dysplasia, cancer, and other disorders?

That’s the subject of today’s blog. In it, we’re going to take a look at the breeds of dogs that, for one reason or another (“cough” over-breeding “cough”), are predisposed to health problems.

There’s one caveat, and it’s this; not all dogs predisposed to health problems will get those health problems. For some breeds, the chance of getting a certain disease is low, while, for others, it’s much higher.

Wherever the case might be, the dog breeds below all have minor, moderate, or severe risks of getting sick and suffering somewhere down the road after you’ve adopted them. 

Should the information today deter you from adopting a certain breed of puppy? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s not for me to say. The information provided today will educate you about the risks; after that, the decision about what breed of puppy to adopt is entirely up to you.

Cocker Spaniel

When you see an adorable cocker spaniel, the last thing you imagine is a sickly dog; they’re so energetic, friendly, and loyal. Unfortunately, These wonderful and loving dogs can suffer from a wide range of health problems, including heart and liver disease, epilepsy, and orthopedic problems.

German Shepherd

A large dog breed, German Shepherds are intelligent, loyal, and make fantastic family pets. However, one thing to remember when you adopt one is to seek a caring and qualified breeder. The reason is that German Shepherds suffer from a painful condition called hip dysplasia which can make walking extremely painful. They also tend to have skin allergies, develop cataracts, and even cardiomyopathy, a deterioration of specific heart tissues.


A brachycephalic breed, which means that they have relatively flat, pushed-in faces, Bulldogs suffer from various allergies and skin infections and sometimes struggle to breathe. They also have a tendency to become obese, which causes a variety of health problems all its own.

Siberian Husky

Hyperthyroidism is a common problem that Siberian Huskies suffer. Considering that most have beautiful eyes, it’s a shame to know that many Siberian Huskies suffer from progressive retinal atrophy, an eye condition that can be quite awful. They also have a high incidence of cataracts and other eye problems.

Toy Poodle

Toy poodles are an adorable and tiny breed of dog that, unfortunately, copes with health issues larger poodle breeds typically don’t. Bladder stones are one of them, for example, and usually require surgery. Being tiny also makes them very susceptible to collapsing and seizures because of low blood sugar. 

Basset Hound

It’s difficult to look into a basset hound’s face and not feel something stirring in your heart. Unfortunately, veterinarians recommend getting health insurance when you adopt a basset hound because they have many health issues. These poor pups tend to suffer more from digestive, blood clotting, and joint issues than many other breeds.


Another brachycephalic breed, pugs, suffer from breathing problems very often. They also tend to have eye infections regularly and dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin. 

Saint Bernard

Large, bold, and beautiful, Saint Bernards also have a nasty predisposition to bone cancer. They tend to suffer from a heart problem called cardiomyopathy, also, which can be fatal. 

Labrador Retriever

One of the world’s most popular dog breeds, the labrador retriever, has a relatively long list of health issues. For example, they frequently suffer from elbow and shoulder dysplasia and a problem that attacks their muscles called muscular dystrophy. Sadly, Labrador Retrievers also develop cancer much more often than other dog breeds. Limiting the amount of strenuous exercise you allow your Labrador Retriever to enjoy is also important. If they get too excited, they tend to collapse, a condition known as exercise-induced collapse or EIC. 

Pit Bull

Many pit bulls suffer from skin allergies, and it’s very common in their breed. They also have an excessive number of cases of hip and elbow dysplasia as well as heart conditions of several types and thyroid conditions.


One of the largest dog breeds on today’s list, the Newfoundland frequently suffers from elbow and hip dysplasia. They also suffer from a heart problem called subvalvular aortic stenosis which, unfortunately, decreases blood flow to their heart and can often cause cardiac arrest.

Doberman Pinscher

Though they have a reputation for being dangerous, the average Doberman Pinscher is a very gentle and loving dog. Sadly, they suffer frequently from cancer, hepatitis, and hip dysplasia, as well as a severe and often fatal problem called gastric torsion. 


A newer, “designer”  breed of dog, the Goldendoodle is a combination of golden retriever and poodle. While relatively new to the dog scene, Goldendoodles suffer from subvalvular aortic stenosis, a heart condition that can often be fatal. 

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu Is a tiny dog breed that makes the problems they suffer with their knees even more surprising. This lovable and friendly breed also suffers more from corneal ulcers and eye infections than most other breeds.

Bernese Mountain Dog

One of the biggest drawbacks to adopting a Bernese Mountain Dog, a beautiful, loyal, and gentle breed, is they have incredibly short lifespans. The reason why is, not surprisingly, many generations of inbreeding. Due to that inbreeding, this wonderful dog breed suffers cancer more often than almost any other and, for that reason, has a life expectancy of 6 years or less.

11 Healthy Dog Breeds

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the dog breeds with the least amount of health problems and thus live the longest lives. That’s not to say that these dogs are “better” than the dogs on the former list, but that, in most cases, they will have fewer health problems and cause your heart less sadness. (And cause your wallet less stress, too.) They include:

  1. Australian Cattle Dog
  2. Greyhound
  3. German Shorthaired Pointer
  4. Basenji
  5. Border Collie
  6. Chihuahua 
  7. Australian Shepherd
  8. Belgian Malinois
  9. Dachshund
  10. Miniature Schnauzer
  11. Pomeranian 

Final Thoughts

What puppies have the most health issues? As we’ve seen today, there are quite a few adorable, wonderful, caring, and simply gorgeous breeds of dogs that, sadly, suffer from health problems more than other breeds.

The best advice I can give is to adopt from a well-known and high-quality breeder that genuinely cares for their dogs and does the best they can to breed them well.

The fact is, any dog can suffer from health problems, and some of the dogs on this list might not suffer from any health problems (or at least fewer) if you adopt them.

While I realize that today’s blog might not have been enjoyable, I hope it was informative and answered all of your questions. Please see my other blogs if you have more or would like more information on being a pet parent.