Unhealthy breeds

JessLough

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#21
Honestly, I would. It's not really a thought when thinking of breeds...

Then again, I also have ferrets, and they are notorious for cancer killing them by the time they are 7.
 

Toller_08

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#22
I own a sort of unhealthy breed. Granted, I do not believe that Dobermans have more health issues than a lot of other breeds. It's just that a couple of the ones they do have are a lot more severe than some other breeds. But I own them anyway, and to be honest, I was fine with it until DCM struck my dogs' close relatives. I always knew it was a possibility, but now that I have two dogs who I know could very realistically not make their 6th or 7th birthdays... it's a little different than just knowing it's a possibility. So I'm not sure if I'll have another Doberman or not, health being a big reason, although there are breeds better suited to me temperamentally as well. But I am very, very glad that I've shared my life with three fantastic Dobermans... and eventhough I know my dogs might not live the long and healthy life I envisioned, I wouldn't trade them for the world. If health was my only concern about the breed, I'd probably still have another even knowing what I know. But for me it's not just health that keeps me from wanting another Doberman anytime soon.

Tollers are a relatively health breed, IMO. That is one thing that appeals to me about them. They are known to live pretty long, healthy lives. Sure, they're prone to vaccine reactions in the way of autoimmune disorders, but there are ways to help prevent that from happening. Aside from that, I'm not really concerned about anything else health wise. The breed I am wanting next is also a very healthy breed by the sounds of things, which again is appealing.

I've never had a dog that we've raised from puppyhood live past 5 years old and that is always in the back of my mind. I dream of the day that a dog of mine lives to a nice old age. So now when I am looking at breeds, longevity is near the top of my list.
 

Romy

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#23
One of the things I love about borzois and sight hounds in general is their overall good health.

My husband is dead set on an Irish wolfhound or Scottish deerhound some day. Their health problems really scare me, as do their shorter lifespans. Every single deerhound I've ever met died before its 10th birthday. I even met one breeder who lost an entire litter to osteosarcoma when they hit their 7th birthday. :( I'm trying to talk him into an extra shaggy American staghound or staghound x deerhound instead. If we can find someone who breeds dogs like that when we're ready, he'd probably be really happy with one.
 

Southpaw

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#24
American cockers aren't all that unhealthy a breed. I would question where are the dogs sourced from. Yes cockers were over bred.. Terribly popular for bybs and popular mill dogs in the US and those cockers are often unhealthy. Breeders who health test and care.. less likely to have issues. Yes, issues can happen. American cockers are less healthy than English, but it seems the people with the most problems have sourced them from less desirable places or rescued them.
Yeah, both of hers have been rescues. The one she has now, his previous owners won him in a contest... so God knows where he came from.
But I think generally they're a breed associated with having health problems.
 

Ratboy

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#25
I'm basically sold on mutts. King and Molly are less than 2 months away from 13 years old, and even though Molly's hips are shot, and King has his Cushing's disease, they are both doing very well. So many of their buddies have passed away, some at shockingly young ages. My one friend had four Boxers die before the age of 7! So far, he's refused to even consider getting another dog, because he can't go through "it" again. Another friend had a Doberman that died of a brain tumor before it was 4. Others have had dogs that died well before they hit 10 years old. So far, I've been lucky, even my unheathiest dog, my yellow Lab, Joe, lived about 12 years. When I look for my next 2 dogs, they will almost certainly be short haired mixed breeds between 40 to 90 pounds. Right now, there's a dog that resembles a larger King available and it was at one of the local pet stores recently and if the time was right, I would grab him up in a second. He and King seemed to get along fine, but Molly would be a problem, and I really don't want 3 dogs, especially with 2 of them being 12 years older than the newcomer. I will wait until these two are gone, and start over again. It will happen all too soon anyway.
 

elegy

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#26
I absolutely love Dobes, but I don't think I could handle owning one. Too many of them just drop dead, and I don't think I could deal with that. Hopefully things are improving and will continue to improve, but for the time being, they're off my list primarily because of health issues.

They're the biggest breed for which this is an immediate concern for me. Well, and Mudis, which I crossed off my list because so many of them seizure, and seizures freak me out too much. The other breeds that I kind of consider to be tremendously unhealthy in way that freak me out (primarily Goldens, Flatties, and Boxers) aren't dogs I'd want to own anyway.

But beyond those couple of breeds, health issues aren't an automatic no for me. Every breed has its issue, and you need to know what those issues are, ask questions, do your research, etc. Part of the reason I'm moving away from pit bulls is because too few breeders are acknowledging the many health issues in the breed and even fewer are actively working to produce dogs without those issues.
 

kady05

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#27
On the skin/coat, ear infection, etc. issues that lots of breeds have, remember that a lot of that can be solved by proper diet.

Had a friend with a Bulldog that was feeding her Iams and go figure, dog was riddled with skin issues, ear infections, you name it. Switched her to a grain free food and *poof* all issues gone.
 

Emily

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#28
I definitely prefer hardy breeds. I'm totally turned off by breeds with both poor general health and breeds that are heartbreakers. I just don't want to deal with it. All breeds (and all individual dogs) have their issues. Hell, Mackenzy is only a cocker MIX and she has food sensitivities - her ears get nasty if she eats corn, and rice just makes her fat, lol. No dog is perfect (physically or mentally) but I definitely want to stack the deck in my favor. I also won't buy any breed that can't breed naturally and free whelp. To me, that's the biggest signal that "ur doin it wrong".
 

Dekka

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#29
I think "popular" breeds. Ones that byb and millers embrace often get reps for being unhealthy. And yes those dogs are, but that doesn't mean good examples of the breed are.

Around here there are loads of unhealthy poodles and poo things. That seems to be what people like to churn out. I don't think that poodles are all that unhealthy. I have met many a lab with skin issues as well as temperament issues... but that doesn't mean I think labs are sickly vicious dogs. (I have had more labs go to bite me than any other breed, and the 'scariest' dog I have ever met was a lab)

I think generalizations are fine.. but one needs to separate the churned out milled dogs and the well bred ones.
 

feedogs

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#30
Well, I own an English Bulldog, and they are known to be 'unhealthy', so can say, yes, I'd own an 'unhealthy' breed. ;)
 

Michiyo-Fir

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#31
In breeds like Cavs and Dobes, many dogs from seemingly decent breeders often will still have the health problems associated with the breed. I would definitely consider them heartbreaker breeds, even the ones not from BYBs and millers.
 

Dekka

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#32
In breeds like Cavs and Dobes, many dogs from seemingly decent breeders often will still have the health problems associated with the breed. I would definitely consider them heartbreaker breeds, even the ones not from BYBs and millers.
I agree, but I wouldn't call those very popular breeds with millers and bybs.

My statement was more a generalization, thinking about the unhealthy poodles, and labs I have met as well as the thought in the US about cockers being unhealthy (they are not a popular breed up here and so are not thought unhealthy)
 

JacksonsMom

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#33
I don't think they'd be something I'd seek out. If I happened upon a dog that was a breed with well known health issues and fell in love, well, I wouldn't turn it away, you know? But I probably wouldn't actively seek out a "heart ache" breed. Although I may eat my words in a few years because I am really really interested in an English Mastiff one day and they are known to be an expensive breed.

I am attracted to a lot of the smaller terriers, maybe, for this reason. In general, I really want my dog to be around with me as long as possible. Westies, Yorkies, Silky's, Border Terriers, all seem to be breeds with relatively low health problems and longer lifespans. Usually the only things they deal with a lot are luxating patellas. Well, except maybe Yorkies, but again... since they've become more popular, their health has declined. A lot of Yorkies that I see on my yorkie forum have lived up way past the age of 13 and still going strong. There's one who is 19 and besides being nearly blind and a bit slow moving, he's in pretty good shape. I love a good small hardy terrier who is still going strong past 10.

But then again, I guess it just depends. I have a friend with a Boxer/Mastiff who is pushing 13 and still doing fairly well. Eats normally, poops normally, happy, etc, but of course he does struggle with his joints and weight. Also know of a Cane Corso who is around 11 or 12 and the owner got him chemotherapy and he's still pushing through like a champ... takes 3 mile walks every day. So I suppose you just never know.

I grew up with a Golden Retriever who by the age 7 started having lots of health problems and later got cancer. My dad did buy her another three years of life having all the tumors removed, etc, but she died by the age of 10. However, we also fed her a crappy diet (probably Kibbles n Bits or something), she hardly got any exercise in her later years, not from a good breeder, etc, etc. So I think there's a lot of factors that play into health things -- yes, sometimes genetics are just a crap shoot no matter what you do, but you could always be the odd one out who has a Mastiff live to 13 or something.

I guess I am kind of all over the place. But in general, I'd say, no I don't seek out the unhealthy breeds.
 

Aleron

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#34
When I'm looking at different breeds, health is one thing I look at. I wouldn't get a dog that was fairly likely to die from cancer between 5-8 years old. I wouldn't get a dog that would likely drop dead from heart issues under 10 either. Obviously anything can happen with any dog. I had a GSD who died just before he turned three due to seizures and that was horrible. But my other two GSDs, one lived to be 13 and the other is about to turn 14. Belgians often live into their mid to upper teens. I have two friends who each have a 16 year old Belgian currently - they'll turn 17 in Dec. Sure, they are old dogs at 16 but they weren't old dogs at 10 or 11 or 12. My 9 year old Belgian is still as exuberant as ever. That said, there is always a risk of a lower number breed becoming an extremely unhealthy breed, especially as time goes on. FCRs didn't always have a 6-8 year lifespan. And I have a rather different viewpoint on that then others seem to.

I personally can't imagine why people allow this sort of thing to continue in the breed they love. It's like breeders throw their hands up and say "Well nothing we can do now, they're all equally affected! We'll just continue to breed dogs who die progressively younger and younger because we love the breed." These problems are basically coming from too small of a gene pool and too many people making poor breeding choices in too few generations, either purposefully because it suits them at the time or unknowingly. In a low number breed, everyone's breedings count if they go on to contribute to the gene pool. There is a solution to this problem, one that has been used throughout the history of purebred dogs to introduce desired traits not easily found in the population. That solution is to add new genes into the population. One might argue that all dogs of X breed are too closely related, there are no new genes to introduce. Which is the thinking that got breeds into this situation to begin with. We want each generation to be typey to be show champions and to be "pure".

Adding in a different breed is totally taboo in modern times but that is what is keeping these breeds unhealthy. I think change is happening with that, slowly but surely. Basenji breeders have twice introduced unregistered "Basenjis" from Africa into their breeding population. And their breed has benefited from it. A Pointer was added to a line of Dalmatians and that line has shown how much the breed can benefit from it. Cavalier breeders in Europe are beginning to experiment with outcrossing to I believe Clumber Spaniels to improve health.

I'm not suggesting widespread, free for all outcrossing but careful use of a breed which does not suffer the same health issues as the problem breed and doesn't add any major new ones. The breed doesn't even have to be similar. The Bobtail Boxers prove that it doesn't take more than a few generations to have obviously purebred dogs of the breed you started with.
 

Laurelin

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#35
I think Clumbers are really unhealthy too. I thought they were looking at English Cockers. I still think papillons/phalenes would be a good choice for cavs too. I know there was a Clumber outcross project in Sweden? (Maybe Norway) where they bred in an english cocker spaniel. By the third gen they were back to a typey phenotype and the dogs were registered as clumbers. It seems like with careful outcrossing projects you can usually get back to pretty typey dogs by the third generation. I find all these projects fascinating.

Anyway, you basically said what I think too. If papillons became too unhealthy, I'd want to start outcrossing. Really unfortunately for us, the closest relatives are things like English Toy Spaniels and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, which are among the unhealthiest of breeds. So we'd have to find a more distantly related breed to outcross to.
 
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SaraB

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#36
There are certain problems I'm more willing to deal with than others. I own a pretty unhealthy breed, Great Danes. Osteosarcoma, bloat, cardiomyopathy, allergies, hip/elbow displaysia, and thyroid issues are just some of the ailments that are common. I do not think I would own danes if I didn't work at a vet clinic and receive the discount that I do. Even heartworm meds are twice as expensive (you have to buy two pills every month).

I wouldn't have a lot of different breeds due to health issues though, just because their good qualities arn't enough to weigh out the bad qualities in my opinion.
 

RD

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#37
I would have a hard time getting into a breed prone to crippling and/or life-ending health issues at an early age. I can handle a shorter life expectancy if that life is not spent riddled with health problems.

Granted - the #1 thing I would not want to deal with is seizures, which is an issue in my breed of choice. A health issue doesn't keep me out of the breed entirely, but I do go out of my way to avoid any dogs or lines that have issues with epilepsy.

I am greatly in favor of outcrossing in order to preserve and improve certain breeds, and frankly I'm not sure why so many people defend their breed's "purity" so fiercely. It's killing a lot of good breeds.
 
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#38
Pug are pretty bad. We have been lucky so far with ours, but he's still been to the vet quite a few times. He is currently sleeping right next to me and snoring louder than a train.
 

bjolly

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#39
like someone else said, unfortunately there are certain breeds that are just prone to short lifespans or serious health problems no matter how well bred. If a dog of one of these breeds fell into my lap I would love it and keep it, but I wouldn't seek one out. I just couldn't set myself up for the heartbreak.
 

Sweet72947

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#40
The only breed with a lot of health issues I would consider owning is a Cane Corso. Not sure if I ever will, but I think about it. They are prone to issues most big dogs are, plus they have a lot of hip issues found in the breed. It doesn't help that they've become very popular with BYB who want to breed big badass dogs. There are so many of them on petfinder now. :(

Filas tend to be a pretty hardy large breed, and I fully intend to own one someday. My other dogs will just be mutts from the shelter, and I could potentially wind up with an unhealthy dog, and if I do, I will just do my best.
 

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