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10 Healthiest Dog Breeds

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Healthiest Dog Breeds

By Jessica Remitz


Although it’s nearly impossible to predict which breed of dog will live the longest or be the healthiest, there are certain breeds that seem to have lower instances of genetic diseases, bone-related injuries and conditions relating to their skin and coat. Take a look at which breeds are thought to be among the healthiest and how to help your dog live a long, healthy life, below.

Australian Cattle Dog

While there’s no way to prove which breed is the healthiest, some working breeds, including Australian Cattle Dogs, may be among those with the least number of health-related issues.


“Unfortunately, there’s no hard data that provides a scientific answer,” said Jennifer Coates, DVM in Fort Collins, Colorado and veterinary advisor to petMD.com. “In my experience, dogs that are still being bred to do a job tend to be the healthiest.”


Australian Cattle Dogs have been traditionally used for cattle herding and have remained popular working dogs because of their intelligence, problem solving skills and soft but assertive bites with cattle. With a lifespan of about 10 to 13 years, Australian Cattle Dogs make excellent companions to high-energy families or on-the-go owners. Major health concerns include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and deafness.


Learn more about Australian Cattle Dogs.


Another working breed listed as one of the healthiest by Coates, Foxhounds have been primarily used for foxhunting and, because of their working dog genes, may be healthier than dogs bred for show.


“When breeders focus on function instead of just good looks, they naturally weed out the dogs that develop debilitating illnesses or injuries,” Coates explained.


With a lifespan of 11 to 13 years, Foxhounds make an excellent choice for families who live in rural areas or on large farms and are not prone to many major health problems. They require moderate daily exercise in the form of a walk or jog and need minimal grooming aside from an occasional brushing.


Learn more about American Foxhounds.

German Shorthaired Pointer

An all-purpose hunting dog known for its intelligence and proficiency with many different types of game and sport, the German Shorthaired Pointer is another healthy breed, according to Coates. With an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, German Shorthaired Pointers are prone to health concerns like hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia and gastric torsion. A high-energy breed that requires plenty of daily exercise, German Shorthaired Pointers will need plenty of access to the outdoors and, like all breeds, require mental stimulation throughout the day.


“Providing dogs with mental stimulation, physical exercise and maintaining them at a healthy weight will go a long ways towards keeping any dog healthy, regardless of its breed,” Coates shared.


Learn more about German Shorthaired Pointers.

Border Collie

Another high-energy breed renowned for its agility, intelligence and obedience, Coates lists the Border Collie as one of healthiest. With a lifespan of 10 to 14 years, Border Collies are prone to health problems including seizures and hypothyroidism. A breed that is eager to please with a high level of trainability, Border Collies should be provided with plenty of daily exercise as well as regular access to the outdoors.


Learn more about Border Collies.

Mixed Breed

With a unique genetic markup and a lower level of inbreeding, mixed breed dogs are generally among the healthiest, Coates said.


“A recent study showed that mix breed dogs were significantly less likely to develop ten genetically based diseases, including some types of heart disease, musculoskeletal problems, allergic skin disease and hyperthyroidism,” she added.


Known for being the smallest breed in the world, Chihuahua’s are loyal, intelligent, and among the healthiest breeds, according to Denise Petryk, DVM and director of veterinary services at Trupanion pet insurance. With an average lifespan of 14 to 18 years, Chihuahua’s are known to suffer from health conditions including hypoglycemia, patellar luxation and pulmonic stenosis, a heart valve disorder. A smooth-coated Chihuahua requires minimal grooming while longhaired varieties require brushing two to three times a week. Because of their size, Chihuahuas require minimal exercise beyond a short walk. 


Learn more about Chihuahuas.


Compared to other dogs of the same size, Petryk also lists the Havanese among healthy breeds. A popular friendly pet known for its friendly demeanor, Havanese live between 12 to 14 years and suffer from health problems including patellar luxation, deafness and elbow dysplasia. A non-shedding breed that requires brushing several times per week to prevent tangles, the Havanese breed requires short walks to meet their exercise needs.


In addition to keeping your pup fit, Petryk also recommends offering your dog high quality food and treats to help them stay healthy.


Learn more about Havanese.

Australian Shepherd

With relatively few claims for bone-related injuries as well as conditions related to the coat and skin, Australian Shepherds are also relatively healthy, according to Petryk. An all-purpose farm dog, Australian Shepherds are intelligent, obedient and agile and require regular exercise and mental stimulation. With an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, the breed is prone to health issues including hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and Collie Eye Anomaly, an inherited congenital eye condition. Australian Shepherds require minimal grooming beyond an occasional combing and, as with all dog breeds, Petryk recommends giving your dog regular, high quality flea and tick prevention with products recommended by your veterinarian to maintain its health.


Learn more about Australian Shepherds.


A popular mixed breed that is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle, Petryk lists Labradoodles among those with relatively few claims for bone-related injuries and conditions related to the coat and skin. The breed’s coat should be shampooed and brushed regularly and trimmed at least twice a year. They may suffer from health conditions commonly seen in its parent breeds including hip dysplasia, Addison’s disease and eye disorders including progressive retinal atrophy.


To ensure your dog lives a long, healthy life, Petryk recommends establishing a relationship with a veterinarian you like and keeping up-to-date with any preventative vaccinations they suggest. She also advises pet owners to schedule annual physical examinations for their dogs, including dental assessments.


Learn more about Labradoodles.

Siberian Husky

A medium-sized dog renowned for its abilities as a sled and racing dog, the Siberian Husky is relatively healthy compared to other breeds of the same size, Petryk said. While the breed is still used as a working dog, it has also become a loving pet for active families and those who love the outdoors. With a lifespan of 11 to 13 years, Siberian Huskies may suffer from health problems including progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidism and cataracts.


In addition to establishing a relationship with a veterinarian you trust, Petryk suggests becoming familiar with you local emergency and specialty hospitals, learning to provide pet first aid and getting pet insurance to prepare yourself in case your dog has a health-related emergency.


Learn more about Siberian Huskies.

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Comments  22

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  • Love the labradoodle
    02/19/2014 02:21pm

    While I can't say I am a fan of "designer" breeds, the labradoodle is a pretty cool looking dog.

  • 02/26/2014 05:28pm

    We have a 9 year old labradoodle. She is loaded with allergies. Has thyroid problems and occasional incontinence. I don't consider that overly healthy.

  • 02/26/2014 11:57pm

    When I read the headline of this article ,it said "Healthiest dog breeds " Unless I am mistaken a ladbraddodle is not a dog breed.it is just a high priced mutt.
    While I do love mutts ,don't you dare compare the two.
    You might want to begin by firing the writers butt and then do a little research!! you morons

  • 03/04/2014 06:58pm

    Well first of all, you spelled almost every other word wrong.
    Secondly, I think that they were just trying to make a guideline for people looking for a healthy dog to adopt, so it doesn't matter if a labradoodle is a purebred breed of dog or not.
    Thirdly, although a labradoodle is not a recognized breed- just a designer hybrid, it does meet the definition of a "breed" of dog. Dog breeds are defined as: "groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans."
    Designer dogs are NEVER mutts, technically or otherwise.

  • 03/04/2014 07:12pm

    I must ask: were you referring to me when you posted: " " Well first of all, you spelled almost every other word wrong "?
    If so,please point out my errors .I always enjoy learning.
    Secondly, If you have a specific breed, a breed recognized my the AKC and the CKC ,possibly more , then you have a specific breed , when you breed one of thses to another dog with the same credentials you have a mix of the two breeds,neither of which is recognized by AKC CKC etc. that is a mutt.
    if it walks like a duck ,quacks like a duck and looks like a duck well,,,,
    I look forward to your response
    Thanks Watson

  • 03/05/2014 04:28pm

    I apologize for saying that. As I look back on the post, I realize that it was not "spelling" that I was referring to, but something more like "crammer". I honestly don't even know why I said that- and I shouldn't have, since it is really not important. As far as I know, a "mutt" is 2 or more breeds. When it is two breeds, to be a "mutt" it would have to be a mix of 2 non-purebred dogs that was NOT the result of breeding (developed by natural selection). A crossbred, or "designer," dog is the mix of two strictly purebred dogs that were intentionally created by humans (developed by artificial selection). However, I'm in no place to argue that a Labradoodle is not a "breed" of dog by any definition. I just wanted to say that a Labradoodle was not a mutt (although I'm sure that at least one unfixed Poodle-ish dog/bitch and Golden Retriever-ish dog/bitch have reproduced without the owner prompting it [or it happening with stay dogs/bitches]). I like Labradoodles, but they certainly aren't very "healthy" dogs-so I'll agree with you that "firing the writer[']s butt and then do[ing] a little research!!" would be a very good idea. Personally, I am a "mutt" person though- I have one that I labeled as a "Bichon Frise" on this site because that's as close as I could get without saying that he was a "mixed breed" (which is a nicer synonym for "mutt"). He looks like a Bichon mixed with a Miniature Poodle, but he's all white and looks much more like a Bichon except for the length of his muzzle and the texture of his tail. He's really just a shelter mix- so I do like mutts, I just don't believe that a Labradoodle is one.

  • 03/05/2014 04:34pm

    -However, I'm in no place to argue that a Labradoodle *IS* a "breed" of dog by any definition.

  • 08/14/2014 01:07am

    Labradoodles do not consistently produce the similar characteristics to qualify as a breed. Typically, They are made by using two different breeds. When two breeds are united, it produces a mutt, not a breed. The definition of breed is that they have common ancestors and a consistency of characteristics tics as defined by a kennel club.

  • Surprised
    02/27/2014 11:57am

    I'm surprised to see the Chihuahua here! Its cool that small dogs are also some of the healthiest!

  • 03/05/2014 05:58pm

    So I wasted 5 minutes of my life that I shall never get back because you are an idiot ..thanks
    As I have already stated , a pup which is the result of two different dog breeds breeding is not a pure bred anything, will always be a mutt and my spelling will always be perfect

  • 03/08/2014 08:42pm

    Well "perfect" is an overstatement.
    "thses" is not a word, but "these" is
    ",,,," is not how one does ellipsis, but rather ". . ."
    I have never heard of a "labraddodle" but I have heard of a "Labradoodle"
    And your grammar still sucks.
    I am also sorry for wasting [u]my[/u] time to red-pencil and respond to comments from ignorant people like you.

  • 03/08/2014 10:56pm

    Get a life you child.

  • 08/18/2014 05:46am

    The only one I see making childish insults and holding on to degenerate standards of pedigree is you, sir.

    You make statements railing against the author, and sling off-the-cuff insults that make it clear that you consider "mutts" and "purebreds" to be less than equal. In your world, the only factor that deems a dogs value must be their parentage and their papers; mutts are a nuisance. Well it must be frightening to consider that EVERY dog breed that AKC and CKC raise on a pedestal is in fact MADE-UP. They are invented through years of artificial selection and inbreeding to arrive at a haughty, arbitrary standard, dogs' health be damned.

    A little (or rather a lot) of cross-breeding is necessary if we want to keep our most faithful companions happy and healthy, and to hell with your attitude.

    I'll take a mutt over a "purebred" any day.

  • 08/12/2014 11:07am

    I believe it was " ladbraddodle "

  • 11/13/2014 05:05pm

    I know you said you love learning new things so let me help you out a little. You are only half right. A Labradoodle (or any designer breed) is not a purebred... for now anyways. However, it is not a mutt/mongrel. It takes 5 seconds to research this if you wish. You seem to be confusing crossbreed with mutt. And yes, they are different. And yes, it is annoying when people have a designer breed and brag that it is purebred. I believe these people want to justify paying $1000 for a crossbreed (notice I didn't say mutt).

  • ndev
    03/07/2014 11:28am

    I hardly consider Gastric Torsion & seizures MINOR health problems!

  • Katie - My Border Collie
    08/04/2014 12:49pm

    Katie will be 14 Sept.1 2014. She has slowed down now with arthritis in her hips that is treated with glucosamine. Unfortunately she has become very shy and fearful of any noise and she now suffers from seperartion anxiety. She sleeps with me every nite and has done so since I first rescued her when she was. almost 3 months old. I dread the time when she is no longer here with me but I know that she has had a good life. last Monday her buddy Santana my 5 yr. old cat had a massive stroke and had to be put asleep so Katie and my other 5 cats miss him terribly and so do we.

  • Do some more research!!!
    08/12/2014 07:04pm

    There are so many breeds you missed that have fewer genetic anomalies and longer lived. I am greatly disappointed to see you use a designer mutt and mixed breeds as being healthy choices! There are rare breeds that are so much more healthy then those you used, even with their limited gene pools.

    Irish Terriers, Sealyham Terriers & Cairn Terrier come to mind very quickly.

    Support the breeds and breeders who do genetic testing and health screening BEFORE breeding!!

  • Vet Approved"?
    08/12/2014 08:15pm

    well that should make you very nervous.. when a vet does not know what a breed of dog is.. you should never believe anything they say. Dr Coates has for years been an animal rights supporter who believes that no one should breed a dog on purpose, She supports the ASPCA/HSUS/PETA factory fundraising machine when ever she can. and encourages people to buy their dog at the local shelters instead of from a good breeder. The best way to keep dogs OUT of shelters is to buy one from a good breeder. When a vet says "mixed breeds" are healthier run the other way

  • Just adopted
    08/13/2014 05:43pm

    I just adopted an Australian Shepard mix. I don't know what the other breed is but I'm glad to see she is listed as one of the healthiest breeds.

  • Doodle?
    08/13/2014 10:59pm

    It's clear that nothing scientific has been presented here. Not sure where or how the breeds were chosen. It's hard for me to believe that anyone could think that adding to the health issues of a breed by adding another health issue breed is going to produce good health. The reason mixed breeds are said to be healthier is because there are little to no records. Pure breeders keep records. Designer breeds are there to dupe the public and boy does that work well. They get something different and special. But the truth about the labradoodle is that only 25% of a given litter can be hypoallergenic, 50% is partially hypo allergenic! and 25% is a full shedding dog. You won't necessarily know which type you have until the adult coat comes in between 6-9 months. Most of them I've seen in the grooming shop were hyper. When people have to deal with the coat which needs to be groomed every six weeks like a poodle( not twice a year), and find out it sheds too... The poor dog ends up in a shelter. It's also a cool idea for backyard breeders and puppy millers to make fast money. So they get abused coming into and out of this life.

  • 08/14/2014 12:57am

    absolutely true and very sad to see vets push such nonsense..maybe they are looking for new clients