Nothing is more difficult than watching a beloved canine companion suffer from health issues. Heart disease, cancer, infections, skin conditions—any one of these could impact your pet at any time. If you want to have a healthy dog in your home, of course there are no guarantees, but there is a way to better your odds at picking a healthier pet. It is true, some dog breeds are healthier than others. Knowing some basic facts will help you pick a puppy from the healthiest dog breeds.
Being a pet owner is already a big responsibility without having to deal with extra veterinarian visits and doctor’s bills. Fortunately, with a bit of information and some luck, you can make a more educated choice on a healthier dog breed to suit your lifestyle. Though it is nearly impossible to predict for certain, science and research proves that some breeds are healthier. They have less likelihood of genetic disease, bone-related injuries, and other health concerns. But how can you know which constitute the healthiest dog breeds?
Why are certain breeds more prone to illness? In some cases it is due to poor breeding practices. This is especially the case if a breed has raging popularity. Over-breeding can lead to many health problems as breeders seek out specific physical characteristics instead of health and longevity.
That makes many of the most popular breeds not only more expensive to own, but also diminishes their quality of life. Another reason some breeds commonly suffer from health problems is still based on simple genetics. There are many of these popular breeds, like bulldogs and pugs, which require surgeries just so they can see or breathe somewhat normally. To help avoid putting yourself and your pet through this, sometimes it is best to pick from the healthiest dog breeds instead of the most popular and good looking.
Often working breeds prove to suffer from the least number of health-related issues. This is because these dogs are rarely fostered for looks, but are bred instead to do a specific job and do it well. In doing so, breeders also want to breed out tendencies for debilitating illness or injuries in a reliable working dog. So dogs originally used for hunting, guarding, swimming, and retrieving are often some of the healthiest dog breeds you can choose from today.
Top 10 Healthiest Dog Breeds
Australian Cattle Dog
As the name entails, this breed has traditionally been cultivated for cattle herding.
The Australian Cattle Dogs, also known as heelers, have remained one of the most popular working dogs. This is because of their intelligence and problem solving skills. These dogs have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Dogs of this breed often do well in canine sports and thrive when there is work to be done. They are not known for being a lazy breed and make a great pet for high energy families or travelers with big yards and more open spaces for play.
This breed out of Africa is known not only for its inability to bark, but also for its remarkably long lifespan.
The dogs of this breed are also recognized as being a bit mischievous and will challenge their owners’ intelligence and maybe even their sense of humor. Originally they were used to flush out small game and control rodent infestations in villages. Now Basenjis are viewed as a clever and endearing breed. Basenjis have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. They have a short coat and muscular body. The breed is great for families, but requires people who will take on the challenge to stay one step ahead of these clever dogs. They are also a bit stubborn and though they don’t bark, they will certainly whine, whimper, growl, and even yodel a bit, making them far from silent.
Yet another world-class herding dog, the Border Collie was bred to gather and control sheep in Scotland and England.
These dogs are also considered to be one of the healthiest dog breeds. They have a tremendous amount of energy, not to mention intelligence. Border Collies have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. They are highly trainable and will excel in canine sports like agility, flyball, and obedience. However, Border Collies are not couch potatoes or cuddlers. Instead they want a job and will need to be with an active owner who understands and can provide that. To keep these dogs happy and healthy they will need to be engaged, well socialized, and well trained from puppyhood.
And by the way, if you’re not familiar with Flyball, check it out:
Schnauzers are a great, all-purpose dog beloved by many.
Originally bred to be ratters and guard dogs, they are naturally hardy and a reliable mid-sized breed. They are also bred in a range of other sizes because of their distinctive look. These dogs have stiff, wiry coats that hardly shed and rarely stink. They are good hunters and retrievers on both land and water. These are also very good looking dogs, squarely built with a dignified appearance. Standard Schnauzers have an average lifespan of 13 to 16 years. They are great family companions, are devoted to their owners, and are often described as dogs with human brains. They also make excellent watch dogs. They are quick to bark at any disturbance and the noise is deceptively deep, sounding like it should come from a much bigger dog.
English Springer Spaniel
Another one of the healthiest dog breeds is the English Springer Spaniel.
They are active, friendly, eager to please, and quick to learn. The breed has long been a favorite of sportsmen and was named for the way it springs at game to flush it out for hunters. English Springer Spaniels have an average lifespan of 9 to 15 years. They are an affectionate breed, making them people oriented, loving, and gentle. Because of this, owners should not expect to leave these dogs alone or isolated for long periods of time. Unfortunately, Springer Spaniels are not the best guard dogs. Though they do bark at noises and intruders, they will quickly quiet down and expect to get petted, even from strangers.
German Shorthaired Pointer
If you want a versatile sporting breed, then the German Shorthaired Pointer is the way to go.
They are a regal and stylish dog, but they also know how to work hard. Normally these dogs are used to hunt game, acting as both pointer and retriever. These dogs are intelligent, energetic, and can be a bit rambunctious if not provided with regular companionship and exercise. German Shorthaired Pointers have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. They are a superb hunting dog, but also make a great family companion. They can even be great companions while jogging or hiking. These dogs like to please people, will work hard, and play hard. They learn quickly and are not known for being stubborn.
Another breed with working dog genes is the Foxhound, primarily used for fox hunting.
These are good-natured dogs that work well in packs. They have a familiar tricolor coat and seem to be the best combination of grace and strength. Foxhounds have incredible stamina, good noses, and can be very determined creatures. These characteristics foster both pros and cons for pet owners. Foxhounds have an average lifespan of 11 to 13 years. These dogs will require daily exercise, will need to be kept on a leash during outings, and will not be well suited to small apartment life. Though they are not noted for being superior companion dogs, they are wonderful dogs for joggers and runners. They need a strong owner who will devote time to both obedience training and plenty of exercise.
This is one of the rare breeds with the distinction of being “made in America”.
Originally the Boston Terrier was bred to be a ferocious pit-fighter. Fortunately, the breed has evolved and is now known for being one of the gentlest of companions. These dogs are lively, affectionate, and very smart. Boston Terriers have distinctive ears that stand erect and big, beautiful eyes. Though they are a smaller breed, their build is strong and muscular, also making them one of the healthiest dog breeds. They have an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years. These dogs love children, but are also especially good companions for older people who are not quite as active as they used to be. Their size makes them perfect for owners living in apartments or smaller houses.
Another regal looking breed, the Shiba Inu is bold, fiery, and Japan’s smallest native spitz dog.
Often used to flush birds and hunt small game, this breed is known for big personality and rigorous strength. As such, the Shiba Inus are small, hardy dogs with fewer health problems. They are also known for being independent and slightly stubborn, approaching the world with calm dignity. Shiba Inus have an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years. Though it may take time with a professional trainer, these dogs do make great family companions once they learn how to get along with people. It is important to train and socialize them early, but to also treat them with respect. They can be loyal and devoted, and their keenness makes them excellent watch dogs. Also, these dogs do not need acreage to be happy, just a securely fenced yard and daily exercise.
Despite their popularity and breeding for good looks, the poodle is still one of the healthiest dog breeds.
Certainly beautiful and sophisticated, this breed is also intelligent and very clever. Though commonly known for looking regal and luxurious, these dogs were originally bred as water retrievers. Even the coat styling comes from this original use, as owners would trim the fur to prevent it from weighing the dogs down or snagging on underwater debris. Poodles have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. They are affectionate, family dogs and come with many talents. These dogs have a playful, yet dignified personality. They are also easy to train and often excel at performance sports like agility and obedience. Though they do have weepy eyes that can stain the surrounding hair, they are still classed as one of the healthiest breeds.