Many dog breeds have distinctive physical traits that make them attractive to pet owners, but they also carry health problems. As a result, it’s important to test for hereditary diseases.
Researchers from UMass and Broad used Darwin’s Ark, an open-source database of owner-reported canine traits, to investigate genetic associations. They found that dogs of all breeds carried genes for over 190 different genetic health conditions.
1. Alaskan Malamute
A huge, powerful dog with a wolf-like appearance, the Alaskan Malamute is an outgoing, affectionate, and loyal family companion. A good choice for active families, it’s a devoted friend who will thrive when given plenty of exercise and attention.
While they’re generally healthy dogs, Alaskan Malamutes are at risk for a few genetic health conditions. Make sure you get your puppy from a reputable breeder who screens for these issues and offers clear test results.
2. Australian Cattle Dog
Developed in Australia to herd cattle, this breed has strong protective instincts and is wary of strangers. They are intelligent and eager to please, making them great family pets if properly socialized.
They need two to three hours of exercise each day. A walk around the block won’t be enough for these dogs, so if you live in an area where you can enjoy a daily run, an Australian Cattle Dog could make a terrific companion.
3. Border Collie
The Border Collie is among the most genetically healthy dogs in the world. They have been bred for over a hundred years to provide them with intelligence, agility, and the energy to herd sheep.
They are also extremely trainable and intelligent household pets. But they need guidance to ensure their boundless energy is channeled in positive ways.
4. Cairn Terrier
A friendly, playful dog, the Cairn Terrier gets along well with other pets. They are highly intelligent and enjoy agility training.
These dogs are extremely loyal and will do anything for their owners. They also do best when they are properly socialized and trained from puppyhood.
If you’re looking for a dog that’s both spunky and alert, then the Dachshund may be your perfect match. These small dogs were originally bred to be hunters, so they have plenty of drive and are fiercely protective of their human family.
They can also be prone to spinal problems, including intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), which can lead to permanent paralysis. Bloat is another serious condition that can be life-threatening, so you’ll need to get your Dachshund to the vet as soon as you notice any symptoms.
6. English Cocker Spaniel
A cheerful, biddable, loyal, sensitive dog, the English Cocker Spaniel is a popular hunting breed that is equally at home in the field or in the family.
This medium-sized dog is an excellent family companion, especially if you can provide it with plenty of exercise. Be sure to monitor your pet’s weight, as overweight dogs are more susceptible to health problems.
7. Golden Retriever
One of the most popular breeds in the United States, Golden Retrievers have a strong, sturdy physique and patient temperament that makes them an excellent family dog.
These dogs are prone to a number of health problems, including hot spots and hemangiosarcomas, a type of tumor that grows in the spleen and other organs. Fortunately, genetic therapies are available to help Golden Retrievers cope with these conditions.
8. German Shorthaired Pointer
Originally developed in Germany in the 19th century, the German Shorthaired Pointer is an all-around gun dog that excels at hunting both birds and mammals. Their streamlined shape, strong legs and elegant noses make them excellent hunters.
A high-energy breed, they thrive on exercise and interaction with their people. They are also very intelligent and will benefit from training and socialization.
9. Great Dane
A gentle giant, the Great Dane has a loving temperament and is known for being big people pleasers. These dogs make excellent family pets if properly socialized from a young age.
The Great Dane is a relatively healthy breed, but they do have some health problems to be aware of. They are prone to bloat and heart disease, so be sure to have yours checked by a veterinary cardiologist if they show any signs of these conditions.
A mix of the poodle and golden retriever, the Goldendoodle is an excellent family dog. Known for their patience and gentle demeanor, this hybrid breed is a perfect companion for novice dog parents or experienced canine families.
They can be great with kids of all ages and are easy to train. They’re also very social and enjoy the company of their human companions.