A healthy dog breed is one that doesn’t suffer from hereditary health conditions as a result of selective breeding. However, all breeds can have health issues at some point in their lives – diet, exercise and grooming all play a big role. The key is to find a breed that doesn’t have a lot of health problems to begin with. The following list of the healthiest dog breeds around includes both large and small dogs. Enjoy!
How Are the Healthiest Dog Breeds Determined?
Looking through online rankings of the healthiest dog breeds, you’ll find a lot of variation. This is because there aren’t any comparative health studies of different dog breeds. So, any health claims are mostly anecdotal. There are plenty of breeds considered by veterinarians to be especially healthy, but it’s difficult to compare them to one another.
One curious thing about the healthiest dog breeds is that they tend to be ancient breeds. These are breeds that have been around for centuries (or even thousands of years) and haven’t changed much over time. Hounds are the least likely to suffer from health problems overall.
In contrast, many popular dog breeds today – like the Labrador Retriever or Poodle – have only been around for a few hundred years. They were created by breeding different types of dogs together to create specific traits. This is called artificial selection, and it can lead to health problems down the road.
To get an idea of which breeds might be healthiest, we looked at a variety of lists and rankings. We read through scientific articles, consulted with veterinarians, and scoured the internet for first-hand accounts from dog owners. The list you’ll find below isn’t a ranking – each dog breed has roughly the same potential to be healthy.
The Ibizan Hound – A Lean and Agile Dog
The Ibizan Hound is a lean, agile dog that was originally bred in the Mediterranean. There isn’t much known about their history, but they’re similar to primitive dog breeds such as the Pharaoh Hound and the Portuguese Podengo. They’ve been used for hunting game birds like rabbits and quail.
Ibizan Hounds are relatively rare in the United States, but they’re starting to become more popular as people learn about them. They’re gentle and loving dogs that make great family pets. They’re also relatively low-maintenance, which is always a bonus!
Health-wise, Ibizan Hounds are one of the healthiest dog breeds around. They don’t have any hereditary health problems besides rare seizures and allergies. They’re likely to live a long, healthy life (12-14 years).
The Whippet – A Descendant of the Greyhound
The Whippet is a descendant of the Greyhound – they share many of the same physical characteristics. They were originally bred in England as hunting dogs, but they quickly became popular as racing dogs as well.
Nowadays, Whippets are still used for racing in some parts of the world. But they’re also becoming more popular as family pets – children will love playing with them in the yard! With the right care, they can stay active well into their teens and live up to 15 years.
Whippets are also one of the healthiest dog breeds you can find. They aren’t even prone to hip dysplasia or ear infections, which are common issues in many breeds of dogs. The only (rarely) noted genetic defects in the breed affected the eyes.
The Havenese – A Sturdy and Fluffy Toy Dog
The Havenese is a small, sturdy toy dog that was originally bred on Tenerife. They were brought to Cuba by traders in the 18th century and eventually made their way to the United States.
Havenese are gentle, loving dogs that make great companions. They’re also relatively easy to train – they’re very intelligent! And despite their small size, they’re strong and active, so they need a good amount of exercise.
When it comes to health, Havenese are one of the sturdier toy breeds. They don’t have many health concerns, although some lines are prone to patellar luxation (dislocated kneecaps), liver disease, and eye problems like progressive retinal atrophy. Overall, their breeders do a great job of keeping them healthy and eradicating diseases from their lineages. Their life expectancy is 13-15 years.
The Rottweiler – A Large Dog, Powerful and Loyal
The Rottweiler is a large, powerful dog that was originally bred in Germany. They were used for herding and guarding livestock, but they eventually became popular as police and military dogs.
Rottweilers are still used for their original purpose in some parts of the world. But they’re also becoming more popular as family pets – their loyalty and protectiveness make them great guard dogs. They need a lot of exercise, but with the right training, they can be gentle and loving companions.
One of the healthier breeds of dogs, Rottweilers aren’t prone to many health problems – although they only live 8-10 years on average. They can be affected by hip dysplasia like other large breeds. Some lines may also be susceptible to osteosarcoma, but this condition usually presents early, and you’re unlikely to get a puppy with it.
The Pharaoh Hound – A Rabbit Hound From Malta
The Pharaoh Hound was originally bred for hunting rabbits. They were named that because they were thought to descend from the dogs shown in Ancient Egyptian paintings. DNA testing has since shown that they’re not actually related to those dogs, but the name has stuck.
The Pharaoh Hound is a rare breed – there are only about 1,000 of them in the United States. But they’re becoming more popular as family pets, especially since they do well with children and other animals. They’re gentle and loving, but they need a lot of exercise – they were bred to run! These dogs can live up to 14 years and aren’t known to suffer from any genetic health problems.
The Bichon Frise – A Small Dog With Noble History
The Bichon Frise is a small, fluffy dog that was originally bred in Spain as a sailing dog. The breed dates back to the 13th century, but it didn’t become popular among European nobility until the 14th century.
Bichon Frises have a long history as companion dogs. They’re gentle and loving, and they make great lap dogs. But they’re also active little dogs that need a good amount of exercise. They rarely suffer from health problems, although some may be prone to cataracts, ear infections or patellar luxation. They have an average lifespan of 12-15 years.
The Belgian Shepherd – A Versatile and Intelligent Dog
The Belgian Shepherd is a versatile, medium-sized dog that was originally bred in Belgium as a herding dog. They descend from the same type of shepherd dogs as the German Shepherd and Dutch Shepherd.
Today, Belgian Shepherds are still used as herding and working dogs. But they’re also becoming more popular as family pets. They’re very intelligent and trainable, but they need a lot of exercise – both mental and physical.
The healthiest lines of Belgian Shepherds are free from health problems. However, some lines may be susceptible to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or eye problems. Overall, they’re a healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12-14 years.
The Azawakh – A Rare and Elegant Dog
The Azawakh is a rare and elegant dog that was originally bred in West Africa. They were used as hunting dogs, but they eventually became popular as companion dogs among the nobility.
Azawakhs are very slender, athletic dogs. They’re tall and have long legs, which makes them look much taller than they actually are. They’re very elegant and graceful, but they need a lot of exercise – they were bred to run! This breed has an average lifespan of 10-12 years. They’re not known to suffer from any health problems besides the rare instances of epilepsy or wobbler disease.
The English Foxhound – A Hunting Dog Turned Family Pet
The English Foxhound is a hunting dog that was originally bred in England. They were originally used to hunt foxes. They’re a pack animal through and through – they get along with children, other dogs and animals.
These dogs have an average lifespan of 10-13 years. They’re not known to suffer from any health problems besides the occasional case of hip dysplasia, epilepsy or renal disease. They’re a healthy breed overall, and they make great family pets.
The Australian Cattle Dog – A Versatile Working Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog is a versatile working dog that was originally bred in Australia. They were used to herd cattle on the vast plains of Australia. But they’re also excellent guard dogs, watchdogs and companions.
Australian Cattle Dogs are very intelligent and trainable, but they need a lot of exercise. They’re exceptionally healthy and long-living, although some may be prone to deafness or hip dysplasia. They have an average lifespan of 12-15 years.
Other Healthy Dog Breeds
There are many other healthy dogs out there. Some of the healthiest dog breeds include the:
- Border Collie;
- Australian Shepherd;
- German Shorthaired Pointer;
- Siberian Husky;
- mixed breed dogs.
These are just a few of the healthiest dog breeds out there. But remember, all dogs need exercise, plenty of proper nutrition and regular vet check-ups to stay healthy and happy!
Would you add any other breeds to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
- Transylvanian Hound: All The Information You Need About This Rare Dog Breed, Including Care Needs and Temperament
- All the Pharaoh Hound Dog Breed Information You’ll Need: An Exotic Breed With a Rich History
- Lazy Dog Breeds: Top 12 Laziest Dog Breeds – Perfect for Cuddle Lovers
- The American Foxhound: A Guide to the Breed
- Basset Fauve de Bretagne Dog Breed. Things to Know About Its Temperament, History, and Care Needs
- List of Hunting Dog Breeds – Hounds, Sporting Group, and More
- Japanese Dog Breeds – Shiba Inu, Akita Inu and Beyond
- The Ultimate Guide to the Coonhound: A Comprehensive Discussion of the Breed (Black and Tan Coonhound, Redbone, Etc.)