Genetic Disorders Plague Our Favorite Purebred Pups - And It's Our Fault

Dogs were the first animals to be domesticated by human beings and over the last few thousand years, they have evolved from creatures similar to modern wild wolves to a wide range of different breeds that exist today. While all of these purebreds are adorable - French Bulldogs with their mushed faces, Dalmatians with their signature coats - their overall health is on the decline.

The main issue is that breeders generally select certain dams and sires for breeding in order to produce certain traits in litters, and they have a small gene pool to work with. As they want to have puppies that look and behave in certain ways, they often resort to inbreeding the animals, which can lead to serious health issues down the line. This selective breeding leads to purebred dog genetic disorders that leads them susceptible to all kinds of issues.

If you are thinking of getting a purebred doggo, you might want to think twice. Pet health issues are emotionally and financially draining, and these purebreds suffer the most. 

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  • Congenital Deafness Is A Huge Problem For White Haired Dogs

    Although there are many different causes for deafness in dogs, a major problem is congenital deafness that is the result of faulty genes. Remarkably, it is an issue that seems to affect breeds with white hair or fur the most. Dalmatians are the most affected with an estimated 29.9% of them being born deaf in one or both ears. The problem is so severe that some dogs become completely deaf just a few years after being born.

  • Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome (BAOS) is a condition that mainly affects Pekingese dogs but also other breeds with those flat, adorable faces. The problem occurs as selective breeding has led to the faces of these dogs being made shorter and flatter. However, the internal biological systems, such as the throat, are not altered. This leads to the respiratory system being put under huge pressure as the throat and windpipe are squashed. Dogs suffering from BAOS cannot exercise very much and often overheat due difficulty in breathing.

  • Bulldogs Are Too Large To Be Born Naturally
    Photo: Aobranc / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

    The large size of a Bulldog's head, which has been selectively bred for its pleasing appearance, has led to a problem that is unique to the breed. Mothers have tremendous difficulty giving birth, as the puppies are simply too large to pass through the birth canal. This means that a natural birth is often not possible with Bulldogs. Instead, vets have to perform cesarean sections in order to ensure the safety of both the puppies and the mother, otherwise both could be killed during birth.

  • 60% Of Golden Retrievers Are Predicted To Get Cancer
    Photo: Camilo Arango / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

    The average lifespan of the golden retriever has lowered significantly over the past half a century, almost half of what it used to be. The main cause of this reduced average age is that selective breeding has led to a range of genetic mutations that is causing a host of different cancers. Some 60% of lovable Golden Retrievers will get cancer during their lifetime. They are likely to suffer from bone cancer, lymphoma, and others that will usually be painful.

  • Syringomyelia Causes Immense Neck And Back Pain For Spaniels

    Syringomyelia Causes Immense Neck And Back Pain For Spaniels
    Photo: Kbwatts / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0

    One genetic condition that seems to be particularly problematic for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is Syringomyelia. It essentially involves cavities forming in the spinal cord that become filled with fluid. It can occur in any type of animal but has become prevalent with this breed of dog due to the fact that they have been bred to have very small heads. This disparity in size between the brain and the skull puts the spinal cord under pressure and causes malformations. Syringomyelia can cause severe neck and head pain, putting the dog at risk of lifelong agony if not successfully treated.

  • German Shepherds have been bred to have a sloped back for cosmetic reasons. Unfortunately, this look is anything but healthy for the breed. Sloping backs cause the German Shepherds' hips and knees to be closer to the ground, causing a shuffle sort of walk. This repeated motion can lead to severe walking issues down the line. Some of the ailments that a German Shepard's sloping back can cause are severe lower back pain, hip dysplasia, spinal problems, and the complete inability to walk.