Picking a breed of dog for your family is always a tough decision. If you grew up with a specific breed as your family pet, you may be inclined to choose the same for yourself. Or, you may want to try a breed you’ve heard about in magazines, books, or from friends.
When you are making your decision, there is one additional thing you should think about – the pet health concerns of different breeds. Many breeds have a history of specific health concerns, and some of them can be quite expensive over the lifetime of the dog. While measures can be put in place to help offset the costs of these illnesses, such as purchasing pet insurance, it’s still a good idea to be aware of what you could encounter. And remember...if you are looking for a specific breed, be sure to check your local shelter first.
Following are the top five dog breeds in the United States and the most notable health concerns for each:
1. Labrador Retriever – It’s no secret that Labrador Retrievers are great family pets. They are friendly, eager to please, and easy to train. Some of the major health concerns for this breed include cataracts, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (displaced kneecap), and Osteochondritis Dissecans (a cartilage disease).
2. German Shepherd Dog – Known as the great protectors, German Shepherds are often utilized as police dogs. As a pet, they offer a sense of security for a family. This breed is prone to cardiomyopathy (heart dysfunction), cataracts, dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), and elbow dysplasia.
3. Yorkshire Terrier – Yorkies’ personalities far outweigh their little bodies, as they are fearless and bold and love adventure. Patellar luxation is the main health concern for this breed, but they also can suffer from achondroplasia (a genetic disorder causing dwarfism), Legg-Perthes (a degenerative disease of the hip joint), and portacaval shunts (a serious liver condition).
4. Golden Retriever – Like the Lab, the Golden Retriever is a family-friendly pet who loves to please. Be prepared to be smothered with love and affection from this sweet pooch! Some of this breed’s most common health concerns are elbow dysplasia, hemangiosarcoma (a fatal form of cancer), lymphoma (a disease that causes immune system cancer), and progressive retinal atrophy (deterioration of the retina).
5. Beagle – The beagle is known to be one of the happiest of all dog breeds. This dog will love his family unconditionally and is regarded as being a great pet for children. Beagles are prone to Cherry Eye (a congenital eye defect), glaucoma, epilepsy (recurring seizures), and hip dysplasia.
And when you decide on the right breed for you, consider investing in pet health insurance to help offset the costs of veterinary care over the lifetime of your pet.