Which Dogs Have the Worst Health Problems?

Dogs don’t live as long as humans, unfortunately, so if you have a furry best friend, you always have to be prepared that one day, you will have to say goodbye to him. However, among various dog breeds, there are those who tend to have more health issues than others, and are therefore more fragile, require more care, and can pass away earlier.

Having a dog is not only a pleasure and a privilege; it’s a massive responsibility, plus, it can get expensive. They need to eat right, according to their breed, age, and adjusted diet (PetFoodReviews.Online looks at dry dog food and more to help you choose the right products). Then, there are dog accessories, grooming, not to mention the veterinary appointments can be a significant burden for your finances. Even only annual checkups and vaccinations are quite expensive, and they can go unimaginably high when your dog has any chronic health issues.

Some diseases can be contracted, but most of them are related to the breed. Purebred dogs are more likely to suffer from various health problems; some breeds more than others. So what are the breeds most likely to suffer from any chronic ailments?

Miniature poodle

They do have a long life expectancy, but it comes with a cost, and this cost can get very high for the owner. Miniature poodles are prone to a variety of eye problems, e.g., glaucoma, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, abnormal eyelash growth, eventual blindness, and more. Apart from that, they very often have epilepsy and can suffer from a degenerative blind disease that can lead even to a total immobilization.

Cocker spaniel

Cocker spaniels can also live up to 15 years old, but not without any problems. They are known for their tendency to heart problems and orthopedic issues, but, what is really uncommon among other dogs, cocker spaniels are prone to the decreased production of melanin, which can result in Albinism. Albinism means eyesight problems (glaucoma, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy, cherry eye, ectropion/entropion, etc.), and sun sensitivity that can all be quite problematic for the owner. Apart from that, it’s not unusual for Cocker Spaniels to suffer from liver diseases, skin problems, blood diseases, kidney stones, or gastric torsion.


There are exceptions to this rule, but in general, larger dogs have a shorter life expectancy, plus, they are more prone to serious health issues. Newfoundlands are one of the bigger breeds, and, unfortunately, they aren’t an exception. Their most common conditions include dysplasia, epilepsy, cataracts, and a blood clotting disorder called Von Willebrand’s Disease. Also, most large purebreds suffer from heart issues, because their heart can’t manage all the work related to pumping blood to such a big body. A Newfoundland is likely to have a heart attack, just like a human being, or suffer from Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis in older age.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds can often suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, like many bigger breeds. Apart from that, it’s not unusual for this dog to have cataracts, cardiomyopathy, pyotraumatic dermatitis, Von Willebrand’s disease, and various skin allergies. A spinal cord disease called Degenerative Myelopathy, or Cauda Equina, is generally rare, but not so uncommon when it comes only to German Shepherds; the same about Malignant Neoplasms (cancerous tumors.) Many poorly bred German Shepherds (or mixed improperly) can also grow tissue where they shouldn’t (e.g., on the cornea, which can lead to blindness), limp, or have other difficulties walking.


They are great guardians and also very protective and loyal towards their owners; they are therefore very often chosen for family dogs. However, rottweilers can worry you with their hip and elbow dysplasia, bone disorders (Osteochondrosis is especially common among Rottweilers and results in weak and brittle bones), arthritis, or bone cancer. If you have this dog, watch especially his heart and bones.


They surely are cute with their flat faces, but this abnormal, massive genetic manipulation has also caused many problems for bulldogs – and this is only the beginning. Diseases and conditions such as elongated soft palate, hip dysplasia, an internalized tail, irregular tear duct production, dislocated shoulder joints, collapsed nostrils, an eyelid abnormality, and many more.

Basset hound

Their chubby short legs are their trademark, and many people love them because of it, but they can also lead to some severe health issues, e.g., foreleg lameness, foot cysts, and other infections. Apart from that, basset hounds can suffer from the eyelid and lash deformities, ear infections, blood clotting, glaucoma, and gastric dilatation-volvulus, which can even lead to death if you don’t treat him.

Saint Bernard

They are lovely and gentle giants, and it’s sad to think that their average lifespan is as short as nine years. They are very likely to get bone cancer, suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, gastric torsion, diabetes, epilepsy, cardiomyopathy, and many more.

These are some of the most high maintenance dogs in the world. It doesn’t mean that you should never consider any of them, as they all deserve our love, especially if they end up in an animal shelter. However, it is important to condemn irresponsible breeding, which can lead to even more abnormalities in dogs.

Richard Hayes

Hey there! Meet Richard Hayes, the big boss and marketing guru behind Pet Dog Planet. He's been a total doggo fanatic since forever and loves all kinds of pups, from tiny teacup Chihuahuas to big, burly Bulldogs. His absolute favorite pastime? Snuggling with adorable puppies—he can't get enough of those cute little faces! Plus, he's totally into iced coffee, chilling in hammocks, and, of course, more puppy cuddling!

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