Dog Breeds Vets Worry: Top 5 to Watch Out For!

Are all dogs created equal? Not quite. Some breeds, like basset hounds, bulldogs, and Belgian Malinois, have veterinary surgeons feeling a little uneasy. You see, these specific dog breeds can raise concerns among animal doctors. But why? What makes these breeds different from the rest? Let's dive into the reasons behind vet worries for basset hounds, bulldogs, and Belgian Malinois.

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Some dogs get sick more often than others because of their genes. Genes are like instructions that tell your body how to grow and work. All dogs can get sick, but some dogs that come from the same family have more problems with their health.

These dogs are called purebreds. Vets are doctors for animals, and they are worried about some purebred dogs. Some of these dogs are Bulldogs, Pugs, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers.


The Bulldog is a breed vets often worry about due to numerous health problems. Some of the top issues include:

  • Breathing issues: Bulldogs have extremely short snouts which can cause breathing difficulties, coughing, overheating, and more. This brachycephalic anatomy makes them prone to respiratory distress.
  • Hip dysplasia: This inherited condition leads to arthritis and lameness in the hip joints. It affects a large percentage of Bulldogs.
  • Skin fold infections: The folds around the Bulldog's face are prone to yeast and bacterial infections that can be painful and smelly.
  • Cherry eye: Bulldogs have prominent eyes that can pop out of place. This “cherry eye” requires surgery to reposition the tear gland.
  • Allergies: Bulldogs tend to suffer from allergic skin disease and ear infections due to food or environmental allergies.


The Pug is another brachycephalic breed that vets see for the following problems:

  • Eye prolapse: Pugs have large, prominent eyes that can actually pop out of the socket due to trauma or pressure. This painful prolapse requires urgent vet care.
  • Elongated palate: Along with breathing issues, Pugs often suffer from an elongated soft palate that obstructs normal respiration.
  • Patellar luxation: Dislocation of the kneecap joint is common in Pugs, causing lameness and arthritis.
  • Pug encephalitis: This neurological disease leads to seizures and aggression.
  • Dental issues: Pugs are prone to early tooth loss, overcrowding, and gum infection.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds also have several inherited disorders:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia – This orthopedic disease leads to painful arthritis in joints. It has a strong genetic link in the breed.
  • Bloat – Large, deep-chested breeds like German Shepherds can twist their stomach, trap air, expand, and require emergency surgery.
  • Degenerative myelopathy – This neurological disease causes progressive hind limb paralysis in older German Shepherds. There is no cure.
  • Allergies – Both food and environmental allergies are common. These lead to chronic skin and ear conditions.
  • Ear infections – Floppy ears trap moisture leading to chronic yeast and bacterial ear infections.

Labrador Retriever

America's most popular dog breed has its own common health issues:

  • Obesity Labrador Retrievers love food and tend to overeat, becoming obese. Carrying excess weight stresses joints and organs.
  • Ear infections – Floppy ears combined with allergies makes them prone to chronic ear issues.
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia – Malformed joints become arthritic and painful at an early age.
  • Eye issues – Problems include cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and eyelash abnormalities.
  • Bloat – The large chest of Labs can expand with gas and twist the stomach. This is a life-threatening emergency requiring urgent vet care.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers share many disorders seen in Labs but also suffer from:

  • Cancer – Goldens have high cancer rates, especially lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, mast cell tumors, and osteosarcoma.
  • Skin problems – Allergies lead to chronic ear infections, rashes, and skin infections. The thick Golden coat also harbors yeast and bacteria on the skin.
  • Seizures – Epilepsy that causes seizures has a hereditary basis in Golden Retrievers.
  • Hypothyroidism – Low thyroid hormone leads to obesity, hair loss, and skin infections.
  • Eye issues – Cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal dysplasia are common.


Like we said before, some purebred dogs have more health problems than others because of their genes. Vets see these problems a lot and try to help the dogs. Some of these problems are the Bulldog’s trouble with breathing and the Golden Retriever’s chance of getting cancer. These problems come from the dogs’ parents or grandparents.

It is important to find these problems early and stop them from getting worse. There are ways to check the dogs’ genes and see what problems they might have. Vets also check the dogs regularly and look for any signs of trouble.

If the dogs have these problems, there are things that can be done to help them. Some of these things are changing how the dogs live, giving them medicine, taking them to special doctors, or doing surgery.

Some of these problems cannot go away, but the dogs can still live better and longer if they are taken care of well.

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