Like humans, dogs can suffer from genetic health problems. Due to selective breeding, some dog breeds are more susceptible to health conditions, diseases and complications inherited through their genetic line.

It’s a sad reality, but one that any potential dog owner must face when choosing the type of dog they’re going to buy. To make sure you’re well-informed before you make your choice, take a look at the following list of dog breeds that commonly suffer from genetic health problems.

Pugs and English Bulldogs

Due to the size and shape of their faces, Pugs and English Bulldogs are often prone to respiratory problems. These breeds have small nostrils, a thin trachea and an elongated soft palate, and this combination can lead to severe breathing difficulties. Pugs, with their bulging eyes, are also at risk of eye problems – an eye can even pop out of its socket in the most severe cases where there is an accident or fight with another dog.

Siberian Huskies

Huskies tend to be predisposed towards autoimmune disorders, which commonly affect the skin and eyes. Sores, hair loss, glaucoma and cataracts are just some of the potential side effects that may result from these disorders.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

King Charles Spaniels are susceptible to syringomyelia, a serious and painful condition in which the skull is too small to accommodate all of the brain’s cerebellum. This leads to fluid-filled cavities developing within the spinal cord and can be very dangerous.

German Shepherds and Rottweilers

As a large breed of dog, German Shepherds can be prone to hereditary hip dysplasia. This means that the hip joint’s ball and socket do not fit together properly, leading to pain, walking problems and arthritis. Like German Shepherds, Rottweilers are a large breed that is also susceptible to joint problems like hip dysplasia, in addition to elbow dysplasia and OCD (a condition in which a joint’s cartilage does not form properly in growing puppies).


Due to their elongated bodies, Dachshunds are at risk of back injuries and spinal problems, especially if they’re carrying excess weight or having too much strain placed on their back.


While any dog can potentially become overweight, Labradors are especially prone to obesity. They love their food, and without a carefully managed diet and proper exercise, they’re at risk of becoming overweight – a condition that carries a range of resultant health problems.


Boxers have a higher risk of developing certain cancers, such as lymphoma and mast cell tumours. They can also be at risk of heart problems and epilepsy.


Doberman Pinschers are recommended to have regular heart screenings, due to the breed’s tendency to develop a serious heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, in which the heart’s chambers cannot pump blood effectively. Sadly, this condition has no cure, but can be monitored and regulated.

Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds

Due to their long, droopy ears, both these breeds are susceptible to frequent ear infections. Owners of both breeds must be careful to regularly clean, check and trim the fur on their dog’s ears.

Golden Retriever

This popular breed tends to suffer from skin allergies, most commonly caused by pollen or contact with plants. These allergies can lead to skin irritation, itching and sores.


The Poodle is at increased risk of developing glaucoma, a serious eye disease that involves a build-up of fluid in the eye. This can lead to pain and eventually blindness if not treated properly.


These are just some of the genetic health problems experienced by particular breeds. Be sure to do your research on the potential issues your chosen breed of dog may face.