A healthy dog is a happy dog. And while there’s no guarantee that any dog will be free from illness their whole life, there are dog breeds that face fewer health problems overall.
The healthiest dog breeds have a long lifespan and are less susceptible to getting sick. This, when coupled with maintaining an appropriate weight and keeping up with exercise, means pet parents can ensure their dogs have the best life possible.
How to Keep Your Dog Healthy
Just like us, dogs’ lifestyles play a part in keeping them healthy. As pet parents, we can do several things to prolong the lives of our beloved pups.
Exercise plays an important part in preventative care for dogs. It’s never too late to start your pup on an exercise routine, and doing so will give her long-term benefits. Exercise is a great way to combat obesity and allows your dog to ease into her senior years without the added stress extra weight puts on her body.
Pet parents should also be mindful of what they’re feeding their dogs. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a balanced diet must have six nutrients: water, carbohydrates (including fiber), vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein. You should also check the label to make sure you’re giving her an appropriate amount to eat.
Routine veterinary checkups benefit all animals, even a dog with few health issues. Annual checkups mean vets can catch the start of any hereditary diseases—or even prevent them altogether.
Healthiest Dog Breeds
1. Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog is one of the healthiest dogs out there. Known for their intelligence, work ethic, and stamina, these dogs are a typically resilient breed that doesn’t face many health issues. Just as their name implies, they’ve been bred to herd animals and need plenty of exercise to stay in top shape.
2. Australian Shepherd
Smart, loyal, and energetic, Australian Shepherds enjoy keeping active, and need physical and mental stimulation throughout their lives. These dogs especially enjoy advanced obedience training and excel in herding jobs. As a breed, they can be prone to certain diseases such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and some eye diseases. Nevertheless, they are generally healthy dogs.
Despite a tendency to forget how small they are, Chihuahuas are among the breeds with the longest lifespans. These loyal and energetic dogs pack a big personality and plenty of smarts. Since Chis—as they’re sometimes called—are prone to obesity, pet parents should be careful to give them lots of exercise, even if it’s just playing fetch in the living room.
Beagles are motivated by food and follow their noses everywhere—even into trouble. As pets, they are loving and affectionate. These dogs benefit from scent training and a controlled diet, since their insatiable appetites mean they will easily overeat given the chance.
The Greyhound is unique among hounds because it’s a sight hunter, meaning the breed relies on speed and agility to hunt prey. As sight hunters, they might not make good pets in homes with smaller pets, such as cats or rabbits, without proper training and introductions.
With their high energy levels and strong prey drive, Greyhounds need regular exercise. However, once they get their zoomies out, they can become cuddly couch potatoes.
Poodles—whether the Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle, or the Toy Poodle—make wonderful pets. Smart, loyal, and easy to train, these dogs tend to get along with other animals and people alike. Poodles enjoy swimming and learning new tricks, and they tend to face only minor health issues as they age.
The only dog breed native to Cuba, the Havanese has a long lifespan of 14–16 years. This affectionate small breed loves his pet parents and is easy to train due to his exceptional smarts. However, the breed can face a few medical conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy and patellar luxation.
8. German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointers are prized as hunting dogs because of their speed and stamina. GSPs boast high energy levels and need lots of exercise, as well as physical and mental stimulation, to stay healthy and out of trouble. These dogs can be predisposed to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and bloat.
9. Old English Sheepdog
Old English Sheepdogs love being around their pet parents. Generally, these gentle giants are well-behaved and affectionate, and they do especially well in households with kids. This healthy dog breed is not prone to many ailments and has an average lifespan of 10–12 years.
Typically an independent and energetic dog, Basenjis are sometimes described as catlike because of their aloof personalities and attentiveness to personal hygiene. Basenjis need plenty of mental and physical stimulation to satisfy their active minds and keep them out of trouble. This breed may be genetically predisposed to Fanconi syndrome, a kidney disease.
11. Shiba Inu
More than just a meme, Shiba Inus are small dogs with strong personalities. These dogs are known for being willful and for their classic “Shiba scream.” Their high intelligence makes them active and alert dogs that can become anxious if not given sufficient exercise. Though healthy, Shibas can develop arthritis in their old age.
12. Chinese Crested
The Chinese Crested is an elegant dog that is deeply devoted to her pet parents. The breed has two varieties: hairless and powderpuff. Both kinds need special attention to keep their long fur (hairless Cresteds still have fine white fur on some parts of their body) well-groomed, but the hairless variety also needs sweaters to keep warm when out in the cold.
13. Border Collie
Bred as herding dogs, Border Collies are brimming with energy and need regular exercise. They enjoy having a job that provides both physical and mental stimulation—after all, they are one of the smartest dog breeds. Border Collies are hardy dogs but are also predisposed to some genetic diseases, such as Collie eye anomaly.
Sleek and speedy, Whippets are capable of reaching speeds of 35 miles per hour. These easygoing dogs love chasing toys (and neighborhood squirrels), but their thin coats mean they can get cold easily. Whippets can be genetically predisposed to deafness, so pet parents should take them to their vet for regular checkups.
15. Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are working dogs that aren’t afraid to use their voices and speak their minds. These dogs are usually friendly and intelligent, but they can also be very strong-willed. They need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Huskies may be prone to cataracts, even as puppies.
16. Anatolian Shepherd
Bred as guardians, Anatolian Shepherds are giant-breed dogs that have calm demeanors. They are always on alert, however, because of their breeding history. Anatolian Shepherds tend to be independent and need outdoor exercise to release pent-up energy.
17. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise has lots of energy, but he doesn’t need prolonged time exercising outdoors due to his small size. Playful and affectionate by nature, Bichons tend to have long lifespans averaging 14–15 years. However, this breed is prone to developing diabetes mellitus, a condition that affects dogs’ abilities to regulate their blood sugar levels.
18. Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois are highly energetic dogs that serve as great companions for pet parents who enjoy outdoor activities, whether that’s cycling or hiking. Their intelligence also makes them wonderful working dogs, and they have been trained for jobs including herding and drug detection. The breed is hardy and healthy, though predisposed to cataracts.
19. American Foxhound
As the name implies, the American Foxhound was bred to hunt foxes. These energetic dogs love being outdoors and are usually devoted to their pet parents. At the same time, they do well indoors and can get along well with other pets. With a lifespan of 11–13 years, they are not genetically prone to many illnesses.
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