10 Healthiest Dog Breeds
A dog’s health status is one of the things that people look for when they want to bring home a dog as a pet. One has to keep in mind that a dog’s health is the result of many factors such as genetics, general care, and nutrition, among others. It is also important to remember that there is no dog breed that is not immune to sickness or canine disease. However, there are those that are sturdier than others such that they suffer fewer illnesses. Having said that, there are certain dog breeds that stand out as being the healthiest in the dog world. Here are ten of them:
Australian Cattle Dog
Being the holder of the Guinness World Record for the oldest dog breed, the Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) is also one of the healthiest. Bluey, an ACD from Rochester, Victoria in Australia lived for 29 years and 5 months. If Bluey’s owners did not put him down on the 14th of November 1939, it is possible that this dog would have lived longer.
Bluey’s case is exceptional. On the average, Australian Cattle Dogs can live for up to 13.4 years, plus or minus 2.36 years. What is more remarkable is that this breed is known for having almost intact senses and teeth until their final days. Senior ACDs in their 13th to 14th year are still very active in their work. They can run the fields and help their owners with the flock. Many of these dogs can still possess good eyesight and sense of hearing, a trait that is very rare among geriatric dogs. Some of them still have complete teeth.
About 2% of ACDs have congenital deafness; although progressive retinal atrophy is more common. While ACDs are robust, some do present with the more common dog illnesses like elbow dysplasia, blindness, and infertility. ACDs are more prone to injuries such as cruciate ligament tear and fracture.
The pride of the Land of the Rising Sun, the Shiba Inu is a dog that is so tough that it can live up to 15 years. The oldest Shiba Inu known to man was Pusuke. This Shiba reached a ripe age of 26 years. It follows Bluey in the list of the oldest dogs in the world. The secret to Pusuke’s longevity? Everyday walks, which are crucial to the health of this Japanese breed.
This does not mean that the Shiba is already free from getting sick. It still is quite prone to cataracts, glaucoma, luxating patella, and hip dysplasia. That is why Shiba Inu breeders always test their kennel for eye problems early in the dog’s life. The same is true for the dog’s joints. If it doesn’t show any abnormalities in its joints by the time that the Shiba Inu reaches its 2nd birthday, then it is already free from joint diseases.
Shibas also tend to develop allergies. If you’re careful enough about the type of food that you give to the Shiba, you may be able to reduce the risk.
German Shorthaired Pointer
This 19th century German hunter is a versatile breed. It has streamlined yet powerful limbs, allowing the German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) to run fast and make quick turns. Best of all, this all-purpose gun dog is also one of the planet’s healthiest.
On the average, GSPs live up to 12 years. One out of 8 German Shorthaired Pointers can live longer than 15 years. The oldest of them was known to have reached 17 years. One good reason for the dog’s longevity is its increased physical activity. It is a gun dog that excels both on land and in water. They can run all day and they require plenty of exercise every day.
GSP’s are one of the healthiest and toughest breeds on the planet. However, some of them may display hereditary disorders because of faulty breeding practices. These hereditary disorders can include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, osteochondrosis, skin disorders, and epilepsy, among others. It is for this reason that potential GSP owners have to get their pets only from reputable breeders.
If you can lead a team of sled dogs for more than 600 miles over treacherous snowy and icy terrain, then you’ve got to be tough. Such is the Siberian Husky. This breed may be smaller than the Alaskan Malamute, but it sure is a sturdy dog. Huskies may not live as long as the Australian Cattle Dog or the Shiba Inu, but it can live up to 14 years. As always, there are undocumented reports of Siberian Huskies living up to 15 or 16 years.
Majority of the diseases that affect the Siberian Husky are genetic or hereditary in origin. This means that one or both of the dog’s parents have the disease. It is, therefore, imperative that you ascertain the genetic makeup of the Siberian Husky you wish to get.
Examples of genetic diseases that this breed is known for include seizures, progressive retinal atrophy, juvenile cataract, glaucoma, and corneal dystrophy. What is interesting is that hip dysplasia is not common. However, it can still develop. Racing Siberian Huskies are also at risk of bronchitis and gastric ulcers.
With an average race speed of 40 MPH, there is no other dog breed that can outrun the Greyhound. Within the first 100 feet, the Greyhound can already blitz at 43 MPH. Aside from its remarkable speed, the Greyhound is also famous for its longevity and health. As a matter of fact, Greyhounds are one of the very few breeds of dog where hereditary or genetic diseases are very rare.
Some Greyhounds can develop gastric dilatation volvulus, which can be life-threatening if not managed immediately. A few Greyhounds may also develop esophageal achalasia, a rare disorder of the esophagus. Another rare condition that can affect this breed is osteosarcoma, which is a type of cancer of the bone. There is another rare disease that affects Greyhounds. This is Alabama Rot, which is also known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy.
Greyhounds can live up to 14 years. While this breed is sturdy, it is quite sensitive to a few things. For example, it cannot metabolize certain types of anesthesia. They can also display increased sensitivity to insecticides, especially Pyrethrin-based flea and tick treatments.
Bird hunters always rely on the Brittany Spaniel for its hunting proficiency. It is a gun dog that has the hunting efficiency of a pointer and setter. The Brittany can live, on average, up to 15 years. However, there are also reports of Brittany Spaniels living up to 16 years of age.
It is a hardy and healthy breed. One of the most common issues that pet parents face about the breed is the occasional smelly ears. This often results from moisture getting trapped because of the floppy nature of their ears. It is also for this reason that Brittany dogs require frequent cleaning of their ears.
From 1974 to 2009, only 14.9 percent of Brittanys had hip dysplasia. It is one of the canine breeds that have a low incidence of hip dysplasia. Between 2003 and 2004, the incidence rate of hip dysplasia among Brittanys was further reduced to 10.3 percent. However, this is a dog breed that is quite notorious for canine discoid lupus erythematosus. Some dogs are also known for developing epilepsy.
It may not be a very popular breed, but the Pharaoh Hound is one of the world’s healthiest. The origins of the breed are quite controversial, though. There are those who say that it is a descendant of the Tesem, an ancient hunting dog of Egypt. Known as the Kelb tal-Fenek, the Pharaoh Hound is a Maltese dog that can live up to 14 years. It is not as long as the other breeds, but one can always rely on the breed’s sturdiness.
One good thing about the Kelb tal-Fenek is that breeders outside Malta do not consider it profitable. Hence, the breeding of the Pharaoh Hound remains in the few Maltese breeders who are fans of the tal-Fenek. What this also means is that these breeders can employ the strictest practices in making sure that the dog will turn out to be healthy.
Pharaoh Hound breeders subject their stock to regular testing for genetic conditions. These can include eye problems, luxating patella, and hip dysplasia. However, like many sighthounds, the Pharaoh Hound is also hypersensitive to barbiturate anesthetic agents.
If you prefer a small companion type dog that you would like to be with you for up to 16 years, then the Havanese is a good choice. This breed from Havana, Cuba is a healthy breed. It can still get sick with the usual stuff. But when it comes to serious health issues, this breed only has a few.
Some of the more common genetic problems that the Havanese are known for include congenital deafness, congenital eye problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, luxating patella, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and cardiac diseases. One should remember that good breeding practices can help reduce the risk of these diseases. Hence, if you’re getting a Havanese, it is best to get from a trustworthy breeder.
Aspiring Havanese pet parents should always check with the Canine Health Information Center. This organization promotes the testing and reporting of the different health test results for this breed of dog. Reputable breeders will always present a CHIC certificate for their dogs. This helps guarantee that the Havanese does not carry any of these disease markers.
Do not underestimate the “barkless dog”. It may not produce the characteristic sound of dogs, but the Basenji is a worthy hunting dog in Africa. It is a sighthound that yodels. It is also a dog breed that can outlive other breeds of its size. The Kennel Club of the UK puts the Basenji’s median age of 13.6 years. However, the oldest Basenji that the organization has on its record is a 17.5-year old dog.
Three in 10 Basenjis die of old age; proof to the sturdiness of the breed. There are dogs that die because of disease or accidents. Among Basenjis that die because of disease, about 13 percent of them succumb to urinary diseases such as chronic kidney failure and Fanconi Syndrome. The latter is a genetic disorder whereby the kidney tubules are no longer able to reabsorb electrolytes and other substances. This leads to increased frequency of urination as well as the presence of glucose in the urine. Many inexperienced vets misdiagnose the condition as diabetes.
The good thing about this is that Fanconi Syndrome is hereditary. If you can ascertain that the ancestors of the Basenji you want to get is free from this syndrome, then you will have a dog that doesn’t have the disease.
A favorite among law enforcement units and special weapons and tactics groups, the Belgian Malinois is a sturdy and very active dog breed. If it does not meet any accident or incident in the line of duty, this breed can live up to 15 years. The average lifespan, however, is about 10 to 12 years. For its size, this is still commendable.
The Belgian Malinois can present with cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. These can have an impact on the dog’s ability to see its world. And if it is a dog of the uniformed services, then it will not be able to perform its duties that well. The Belgian Malinois can also present with hip dysplasia, thyroid disease, and epilepsy.
Selective breeding practices can help reduce the incidence and risk of these diseases. Hence, it is important that one gets his or her Belgian Malinois only from a breeder with a good reputation. It is also critical to ask for information about the health condition of the puppy’s parents.
No dog breed is ever 100% free from disease or illness. Most will die of old age, while others may meet an untimely end because of an accident. What is clear is that genetics, physical activity, nutrition, and general care can help make any dog healthier and happier.