5 Dog Breeds With The Most Health Issues

5 Dog Breeds With The Most Health Issues

There’s this daunting understanding that when you adopt a dog or become attached to a dog, it’s going to hurt when they cross the rainbow bridge.

It’s the circle of life and it’s inevitable, but what’s evitable are shortened lifespans thanks to the diligence and love of a dog’s forever home. That looks like many things like staying on schedule with veterinarian checkups and needed visits.

However, there are a number of dog breeds that have the potential to have the most health issues. Dog owners should be prepared.

In this blog post, we cover the Top 5 Dog Breeds With The Most Health Issues and what you should know about them.

1. Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel being at the top of this list is unexpected, but what’s even more unexpected? This List of 5 has anoher list for you. You see the cocker spaniel dog breed is well-known and even more so than the 5 common health issues they can face.

The 5 common cocker spaniel health issues are:

  1. Lip Fold Dermatitis 
  2. Overeating & Weight Management
  3. Ear Infections
  4. Cherry Eye
  5. Separation Anxiety

Lip Fold Dermatitis

This is an infection caused by skin folds around the mouth of your dog. The strongest indicator and symptom is a pungent smell from the mouth as particles collect and yeast may fester.

Cocker blog Fidose of Reality published, “You can control lip fold dermatitis in dogs by cleaning the lip folds, keeping hair at the fold shaved down, treating it with non-prescription methods such as coconut oil, applying medications prescribed by the dog’s veterinarian, and sometimes even surgery to correct chronic, ongoing cases that don’t respond well to treatment. Treatment of canine lip fold dermatitis varies according to the reason, severity, and frequency of the condition as well as pet parent compliance.”

Overeating & Weight Management

Cocker spaniels join a list of dog breeds, including Labradors and Golden Retrievers, that often face weight management issues stemming from overeating and consumption behaviors. Those puppy dog eyes will get you but remember, your dog doesn’t need to be fed at all times. 

Cherry Eye

Ernest Ward, DVM at VCA Hospitals defines cherry eye as “a common term for prolapse of the third eyelid gland.”

“The third eyelid serves as an additional protective layer for the eye, especially during hunting or fighting. The third eyelid also contains a special gland that produces a significant portion of the eye’s protective tear film. When this gland prolapses or "pops out", the condition is known as "cherry eye".”

Without proper attention and treatment, your dog’s vision may be impacted and at what rate depends on how quickly you act. Cherry eye often requires a surgical procedure to ensure the maintenance and flow of the glands.

Separation Anxiety

Cocker spaniels are companion personalities to a fault. Without their people, they can experience severe bouts of separation anxiety. 

2. German Shepherd

With the elongated structure of the German Shepherd's body, they often face health concerns of the body. The most common of the health issues with German Shepherds are:

  1. Hip dysplasia
  2. Arthritis

Hip Dysplasia

German Shepherds can live for many years with proper care while dealing with hip dysplasia.

“Hip dysplasia is the medical term for a hip socket that doesn't fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone. This allows the hip joint to become partially or completely dislocated. Most people with hip dysplasia are born with the condition.” - Mayo Clinic


All dogs can develop arthritis in time but it especially reaches older dogs and larger dogs. Unfortunately, for German Shepherds, they fall under that large dog category and they’re susceptible to arthritis. 

3. Bulldog

Bulldogs share a cocktail of similar health issues from the dog breeds you just read up on. Their health issues include:

  1. Hip dysplasia
  2. Cherry eye
  3. Cardiac and respiratory disease

Cardiac and Respiratory Disease

Bulldogs are Brachycephalic, or short-faced, breeds that make them already susceptible to breathing problems in general. Obstructed airways and breathing passages. 

English Bulldogs are known to have the most compromising of respiratory systems of all the Brachycephalic breeds.

4. Golden Retriever

Not our beloved goldens! Yes, Golden Retrievers are fur babies that can experience a slew of health issues, too.

  1. Hip dysplasia
  2. Elbow dysplasia
  3. Hypothyroidism
  4. Seizues


The condition of hypothyroidism is where the thyroid doesn’t create and sustain a proper flow of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. This makes the metabolism slow down. It can also make you feel tired and gain weight.

Hypothyroidism with dogs specifically affects 25% of Golden Retrievers.

5. Saint Bernard

These giant fur babies share a Venn diagram of health issues with their fellow dog breeds on this list. Their top health issues include:

  1. Hip dysplasia
  2. Elbow dysplasia
  3. Eye issues
  4. Osteosarcoma


This is a type of cancer that forms in the cells that create bones, and it’s much more common with dogs than it is with people. Swelling and masses are usually the first signs of the cancer.

For more doggie photos and pup-related fun, follow us on Instagram at @joyrideharness. And for a more detailed blog post about finding the best size dog harness for your pup, check out this blog post!

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