Dog News: Breed Health Risks Don’t Stop Dog Ownership2 min read

Several dog breeds are known to have serious health issues. Great Danes often live short lives due to heart problems. Chow Chows often have a variety of severe orthopedic issues. Newfoundlands can die a sudden death due to a heart issue. Rottweiler’s, Labrador Retrievers, and Basset Hounds – the list could go on indefinitely. A recent study found that despite a dog breed’s tendency to have health issues, owners were not often deterred to get that breed in the future.

How We Choose a Dog Breed

The study completed at the University of Copenhagen identified several dog breeds that were prone to health issues. As compared to a dog breed not prone to health issues. The following breeds took part in the study French Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Cairn Terriers. French Bulldogs and Chihuahuas were chosen for their tendency to have difficulty conforming aesthetically. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (hence referred to as Spaniels), were chosen for their tendency to have health issues not related to their appearance. Cairn Terriers are relatively healthy, so they were chosen in contrast.

The reason for choosing each breed varied for each owner. Chihuahua owners often chose the breed for their convenience, without researching personality. Spaniel and French Bulldog owners often chose these breeds for their distinctive appearance and personality. Lastly, Cairn Terrier owners chose the breed based upon prior experience with the breed.

Why We Love Our Dogs

The study found that owners who chose their dogs for their appearance and breed attributes, were most attached to their dogs. We could argue that this is for an egocentric reason. Alternatively, this is most likely due to our natural inclination to grow attached to and parent things that are baby-like. For this reason, Chihuahua owners had the highest attachments to their dogs. Cairn Terrier Owners had the least attachment to their dogs.

For the statement “I would do almost anything to take care of my dog” the following results were obtained:

  • Chihuahua – 70% of owners strongly agreed
  • French Bulldog – 62% of owners strongly agreed
  • Spaniel – 56% of owners strongly agreed
  • Cairn Terrier – 43% of owners strongly agreed

Research Summary

Ultimately, a dog breed’s health issues may be something most owners avoid initially. After experiencing their dogs undergo a health problem or two, owners are often much less likely to adopt the breed again.

When you adopt your next dog, be sure to look into the long term health attributes of the breed, rather than just their personality and level of convenience.

Which dog breed is right for you and your family? Discover today! 

Source: Sandøe, P., S. V. Kondrup, and P. C. Bennett. “Why Do People Buy Dogs with Potential Welfare Problems Related to Extreme Conformation and Inherited Disease? A Representative Study of Danish Owners of Four Small Dog Breeds.” PLOS ONE. Public Library of Science, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2017. 04 Mar. 2017.

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