By Jessica Remitz
Although it’s nearly impossible to predict which breed of dog will live the longest or be the healthiest, there are certain breeds that seem to have lower instances of genetic diseases, bone-related injuries and conditions relating to their skin and coat. Take a look at which breeds are thought to be among the healthiest and how to help your dog live a long, healthy life, below.
Australian Cattle Dog
While there’s no way to prove which breed is the healthiest, some working breeds, including Australian Cattle Dogs, may be among those with the least number of health-related issues.
“Unfortunately, there’s no hard data that provides a scientific answer, ” said Jennifer Coates, DVM in Fort Collins, Colorado and veterinary advisor to petMD.com. “In my experience, dogs that are still being bred to do a job tend to be the healthiest.”
Australian Cattle Dogs have been traditionally used for cattle herding and have remained popular working dogs because of their intelligence, problem solving skills and soft but assertive bites with cattle. With a lifespan of about 10 to 13 years, Australian Cattle Dogs make excellent companions to high-energy families or on-the-go owners. Major health concerns include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and deafness.
Another working breed listed as one of the healthiest by Coates, Foxhounds have been primarily used for foxhunting and, because of their working dog genes, may be healthier than dogs bred for show.
“When breeders focus on function instead of just good looks, they naturally weed out the dogs that develop debilitating illnesses or injuries, ” Coates explained.
With a lifespan of 11 to 13 years, Foxhounds make an excellent choice for families who live in rural areas or on large farms and are not prone to many major health problems. They require moderate daily exercise in the form of a walk or jog and need minimal grooming aside from an occasional brushing.
German Shorthaired Pointer
An all-purpose hunting dog known for its intelligence and proficiency with many different types of game and sport, the German Shorthaired Pointer is another healthy breed, according to Coates. With an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, German Shorthaired Pointers are prone to health concerns like hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia and gastric torsion. A high-energy breed that requires plenty of daily exercise, German Shorthaired Pointers will need plenty of access to the outdoors and, like all breeds, require mental stimulation throughout the day.
“Providing dogs with mental stimulation, physical exercise and maintaining them at a healthy weight will go a long ways towards keeping any dog healthy, regardless of its breed, ” Coates shared.
Another high-energy breed renowned for its agility, intelligence and obedience, Coates lists the Border Collie as one of healthiest. With a lifespan of 10 to 14 years, Border Collies are prone to health problems including seizures and hypothyroidism. A breed that is eager to please with a high level of trainability, Border Collies should be provided with plenty of daily exercise as well as regular access to the outdoors.
With a unique genetic markup and a lower level of inbreeding, mixed breed dogs are generally among the healthiest, Coates said.