Popular In Households And In Veterinary Clinic Waiting Rooms: Health Problems Of America's 5 Most Popular Dog Breeds

Posted on: 4 July 2016

Are you considering one of the American Kennel Club registration's top five most popular dog breeds in America to join your family? If so, it is essential to do a little homework before you buy. To keep up with the popularity of these breeds, there are a lot of breeders for these dogs out there, and having a discussion with a breeder about health conditions that are known to his or her specific breed before you fall in love with a puppy. This can save you money on future veterinary health care costs, and it will increase the likelihood that your family will end up with a hardy dog that the kids can grow up with. Some breeders are highly reputable and produce dogs with the goal of achieving the highest quality when it comes to temperament and health. In order to have an educated and productive discussion with a breeder, be sure to familiarize yourself with the common genetic health problems of these coveted breeds.


This medium-sized member of the hound group hunts by scent. Its endearing look that resembles a puppy for life has made the beagle a beloved pet. Some genetic health problems to which beagles are prone include the following:

  • Inherited Deafness
  • Chondrodystrophy, which is also known as dwarfism
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Patellar luxation, which is also known as trick knees
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease that results from an inherited carnitine deficiency
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Cherry eye
  • Keratoconjunctivitis, which is also known as dry eye

Beagles live average life expectancies of 12 years.


The bulldog belongs to the non-sporting breed group of dogs. Bulldogs are said to be brachycephalic, which means that they exhibit the pushed in face for which they are famous. Some genetic problems that bulldogs are prone to having include the following:

  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hyperuricosuria, a condition that predisposes dogs to developing bladder stones
  • Skin allergies
  • Cherry eye
  • Keratoconjunctivitis

Of the five most popular breeds, the bulldog lives the shortest average life expectancy at approximately six years.

Golden Retriever

Few can resist the docile eyes of the loving and loyal golden retriever. This large member of the sporting breed group is an ideal family member and is always eager to tag along for outdoor recreation. Some of the health conditions to which golden retrievers are prone include the following:

  • Various forms of cancer, including lymphosarcoma
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Subaortic stenosis, a heart condition in which the aorta is abnormally narrow, restricting the flow of blood from the heart
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Epilepsy
  • Allergies

Be aware that torn anterior cruciate ligament tears are costly injuries that tend to strike active dogs, including golden retrievers. Twelve years is the average life expectancy for a golden retriever.

German Shepherd

The German shepherd belongs to the herding breed group. This large dog's commanding presence pairs fittingly with his alert and protective instincts. Some health conditions to which the German shepherd is prone include the following:

The average life expectancy for a German shepherd is 10 years.

Labrador Retriever

Holding first place as America's most popular dog breed for 25 consecutive years is the delightful Labrador retriever. The large dog comes in three different coat color choices and belongs to the sporting breed group. Some health conditions to which the Labrador retriever is prone include the following:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Allergies
  • Osteochondrosis, a condition in which cartilage grows abnormally in the joints
  • Heart disease
  • Exercise-induced collapse

In addition to the aforementioned genetic problems, keep in mind that Labrador retrievers have a propensity for ingesting foreign objects, which can lead to intestinal blockages. Labrador retrievers are also prone to obesity and to sustaining anterior cruciate ligament tears. Twelve years is the average life expectancy for a Labrador retriever.

Remember that reputable breeders make the extra efforts to screen all of their breeding dogs and their puppies for potential genetic health problems and have no problem with furnishing potential buyers with proof of these screenings. Avoid pet shops, and steer clear of breeders who do not take these important steps to ensure healthy puppies. If a breeder seems uninterested in discussing the health and medical histories of their dogs with you, walk away and find another breeder to spare your family from potential heartache. Talk with a vet, like Canine Center, for more advice.