Nature didn’t create dog breeds—humans did! Breeding purebred dogs (dogs with certain genetic traits or appearances) can cause inherited health conditions that can be painful and deadly. The idea that dogs are fashion accessories is promoted by the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) dog shows, like the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, and breeders who believe that “their” breed will be ruined if animals don’t maintain the image handed down by breed clubs decades ago.

An article in Time magazine estimates that one in four purebred dogs is afflicted with a serious genetic problem. Some of the health problems that result from breeding for certain physical attributes include the following, by breed:

1. German Shepherds

German Shepherd Dog purebred

These dogs are more likely to suffer from the following conditions:

  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • At least eight different heart conditions
  • Hip dysplasia

2. Beagles

beagle purebred

Beagles face an elevated risk of developing problems such as these:

  • Glaucoma
  • Breast cancer
  • Herniated discs
  • Dementia

3. Labrador Retrievers

labrador puppy / Marco Togni 

Labs have a higher risk of encountering these issues:

  • Eye cancer
  • Skin allergies
  • Joint pain

4. Yorkshire Terriers

yorkshire terrier / ROSIKA VOERMANS 

These terriers are more likely to develop these conditions:

  • A collapsing trachea
  • Seizures
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Hepatitis

5. Bulldogs


As a result of selective breeding, bulldogs often have to be artificially inseminated and give birth via cesarean section because their heads are too large and their hips are too small to give birth naturally. They also commonly suffer from breathing problems. Learn more in the video below:

6. Boxers

boxer dog / Jeff Broderick 

Boxers are prone to these issues:

  • Several types of cancer
  • Eye ulcers
  • Respiratory problems
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy

7. Poodles

poodle / Caio Spassapan 

Poodles are at risk of developing the following problems:

  • Progressive vision loss
  • Seizures
  • Diabetes
  • A collapsed trachea

8. Rottweilers

rottweilers / burntright  

Rottweilers may wind up suffering from these issues:

  • Nerve pain
  • Weakness and loss of control of the limbs
  • Head tremors
  • Heart disease
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Uterine infections such as pyometra (which can be fatal if it isn’t treated quickly)

9. Golden Retrievers

golden retreiver

Golden retrievers are more likely to suffer from these conditions:

  • Melanoma of the eye and mouth
  • Deadly kidney dysplasia
  • Bone cancer
  • At least five different heart conditions

10. Dachshunds

long haried dachsund / Ula Kapala 

Dachshunds face a host of health problems. Their long backs and short legs lead to a higher risk of lifelong back, knee, and joint problems. They are also particularly susceptible to these other issues:

  • Eye disease
  • Heart valve defects
  • Deafness

11. Dalmatians

dalmation / Tracy Wade  

AKC breed standards stipulate that dalmatians with large patches of color on their fur can be disqualified. However, dogs with smaller patches who pass the “test” are more likely to be deaf.

12. Shar Peis

shar pei / Renxx Gmdr 

Shar Peis are prone to frequent skin infections because of their excessively wrinkled skin.

13. Pugs

pug purebred

Pugs are prone to spina bifida because many breeders feel that their tails must be curled as tightly as possible over the hip. They are also more likely to suffer from the other conditions shown in the image above.

14. Pekingese

pekingese flat face / Angela Seiffert 

The brachycephalic (or flat) faces of Pekingese can cause breathing problems because of shortened air passages.

15. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel / Jeroen Kortekaas 

These spaniels have been bred to have unnaturally shaped skulls, which can cause a condition called syringomyelia, in which the skull is too small for the brain, forcing brain tissue to protrude through the base of the skull and put pressure on the spinal cord. The dog pictured below is recovering from surgery to correct syringomyelia.

Breeders and those who participate in dog shows like Westminster are selfishly hurting dogs just to meet a stupid, arbitrary “breed standard.” 💔 But purebred dogs aren’t the only ones who are suffering. With MILLIONS of dogs in need of homes, every puppy born to a breeder means a lost opportunity for a dog waiting in a shelter for a family of his or her own.

If you are determined to adopt a purebred dog, check out local breed rescue groups or open-admission animal shelters. It has been estimated that at least 25 percent of dogs in animal shelters are purebred! Just be sure that you’re ready for the challenge of taking care of a purebred pooch, as many of them have special needs. 

Spread the word! Dogs are NOT status symbols or fashion accessories! 

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