Is there really such a thing as a dog without health issues? In my “Breed of the Week” posts, I often point out that practically every dog is prone to health issues, and I very much doubt that there are any dog breeds that are without health issues entirely. Some breeds, though, are far less prone to diseases and conditions than others are.
If you want a dog that’s very unlikely to have health issues, you’re probably best off with a mutt. Often, when there are two or more breeds in the mix, the defects that are known in the purebreds end up being bred out. If you’re a dog snob like me, though, you might have a preference for purebreds, in which case, you need to know about health issues that could occur in your breed of choice.
I would consider a very healthy dog breed to be one that has three or fewer known problems. So, with that in mind, I’ve done a fair bit of research, and come up with 32 dog breeds that are without many – and sometimes any – health issues. Here they are, in alphabetical order.
1. Airedale Terrier
In addition to being very handsome, the Airedale is free of many of the health issues that can plague dogs of a similar size. They are, however, somewhat prone to hip dysplasia. I wouldn’t suggest that you avoid adopting an Airedale for this reason, though, as hip dysplasia is something that can affect virtually any breed of dog.
2. American Eskimo Dog
The American Eskimo dog is smart, friendly, energetic, and very healthy. The only thing that the breed is prone to is patellar luxation, which is a condition in which he knee and thighbone don’t fit together properly. The condition is manageable and often not even painful, so I definitely wouldn’t rule out an American Eskimo as a family pet over something that is usually not all that problematic.
3. American Foxhound
The American Foxhound is an agile, sweet-tempered dog, and one of the dog breeds with very few health issues. The only thing you might come up against is thrombocytopathy, which is a clotting disorder that makes the breed somewhat vulnerable to bleeding gums.
4. American Staffordshire Terrier
The Amstaff is a big, protective dog but also very friendly. This is also a healthy breed, prone only to PDA (patent ductus arteriosus), which is a congenital heart defect, and also to hip dysplasia.
5. Anatolian Shepherd
Since the Anatolian Shepherd is a giant breed, hip dysplasia is a concern. Another condition that the Anatolian Shepherd can be prone to is entropion, which occurs when the lower eyelid rolls inward, causing irritation.
6. Black and Tan Coonhound
The Black and Tan Coonhound can be prone to hip dysplasia, entropion, and hemophilia.
Borzois are almost as close as you’ll get to dog breeds without health issues. They are, however, prone to gastric torsion (bloat), and if not immediately identified and treated, the condition can be fatal.
8. Bouvier des Flandres
This is another breed with an outstanding health record. Regular exercise is all that’s needed to keep your Bouvier healthy and problem-free.
9. Canaan Dog
We’re really on a roll here with extremely healthy dogs! The Canaan Dog is one of the dog breeds that have no health issues – literally none.
10. Cesky Terrier
The Cesky Terrier is generally healthy but could be vulnerable to “Scotty Cramp,” which is a condition that’s more common in Scottish Terriers. It’s harmless, but it looks horrible. When the dog is excited, or has engaged in vigorous exercise, he might arch his spine and look as though he’s “goose stepping.”
11. Chinese Crested
Chinese Cresteds are typically healthy but could develop Legg-calvés-perthes, which is a disorder in which the part of the thigh bone that connects to the hip deteriorates. The condition can cause instability and inflammation, and can be painful, but it can be managed.
12. Dogue de Bordeaux
Also known as the French Mastiff, the Dogue de Bordeaux is very healthy, and is one of the larger breeds that often gets a pass on hip dysplasia.
13. Finnish Lapphund
This is a medium-sized breed known for its affectionate nature and good health. You probably won’t have any issues with this breed.
14. German Pinscher
The German Pinscher is another medium-sized breed that is generally problem-free.
15. Glen of Imaal Terrier
The only things you might have to worry about with a Glen of Imaal Terrier are hip dysplasia (which I’ve already pointed out is common in many breeds), and PRA (progressive retinal atrophy). Even with PRA, it’s not likely that a Glen of Imaal Terrier will go completely blind.
The Harrier is a low-maintenance hunting dog with no significant health issues.
17. Ibizan Hound
This Spanish breed is alert, quiet, and gentle, and the only problem associated with the breed is deafness. Even then, it occurs only in very few dogs.
18. Icelandic Sheepdog
The Icelandic Sheepdog is one of the dog breeds without many health disorders. Some dogs might develop hip dysplasia, or dermoid sinus (a skin condition).
19. Irish Terrier
The Irish Terrier is a very healthy dog, prone only to developing mineral stones in the urine. The condition can be treated with medication.
20. Irish Water Spaniel
This is another dog breed in which the only concern is hip dysplasia.
This hairless breed is very healthy, and prone only to patellar luxation.
22. Pharaoh Hound
The Pharaoh Hound is a rare animal indeed, with his distinctive appearance. He’s also rare in that he’s one of the very few dog breeds that are without any health issues, major or minor.
23. Plott Hound
Plott Hounds are large, loyal, and sometimes aggressive. They’re also very active, having been bred for tracking, hunting, and guarding. Again, because of the size of the dog, hip dysplasia can be a concern.
24. Polish Lowland Sheepdog
This affectionate, gentle dog is super-healthy, with no health problems.
The Puli is also known as the Hungarian Water Dog. Whatever you choose to call him, though, you can be assured that this breed is exceptionally healthy. There are no known problems associated with the breed.
26. Redbone Coonhound
The Redbone Coonhound is actually healthier than his counterpart, the Black and Tan Coonhound. He’s not prone to any health issues.
This is an affectionate, loyal dog that has no known health problems.
The Samoyed is prone to only three health issues: hip dysplasia, PRA, and gastric torsion. Of course, there is no guarantee that your Samoyed will ever develop any of these problems. They’re just things to keep in mind.
29. Shiba Inu
This Japanese breed is affectionate and beautiful, and prone only to patellar luxation.
30. Skye Terrier
This medium-sized dog is prone to only one condition: premature closure of the distal radius. This is a bone growth that could result in limping, but it is manageable.
31. Tibetan Spaniel
The Tibetan Spaniel is a small, cheerful dog with no significant health issues. Patellar luxation is the only condition that could affect this breed.
This breed is also known as the Mexican Hairless (easier to spell and pronounce!). The only issue that you will have with this breed is minor skin problems that are easily managed.
So, that’s it! 32 dog breeds without any health issues to speak of. If you choose one of these breeds, you’ll save a lot of money on vet bills, and be able to keep your dog for a normal lifespan, if not longer.