Dog Breeds With the Fewest Health Issues

If you’re looking for a furry family member with few health problems, these dog breeds might be good choices.

Miranda Marquit
Miranda Marquit Insurance Writer
  • Co-hosts the Money Talks News podcast

  • MBA from Utah State University

Miranda is a financial writer and avid podcaster with nearly two decades of experience contributing to major outlets, including Forbes, The Hill, and NPR.

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Katie Powers
Edited byKatie Powers
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Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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Updated January 24, 2024

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Some dog breeds — both purebreds and mixed breeds — have more issues than others. Due to breeding and genetic factors, some dogs are more prone to developing health conditions and genetic disorders.

Knowing the health issues your dog may face in the future can help you prepare to meet its needs. And if you don’t have a dog yet, you can look into which breeds typically experience the least amount of health problems.

Here’s what you need to know about some of the healthiest dog breeds, as well as common health issues that dogs experience.

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10 dogs with the fewest health problems

If you’re looking for a healthy dog to adopt, several breeds have generally healthy lives with few genetic diseases and other issues. As long as you properly care for these dogs, they’re likely to live with good health up to their life expectancy. Of course, your dog’s specific health issues may vary — despite common genetic health issues, or lack thereof, within their breed.

Here are 10 dogs that face some of the fewest genetic health problems.[1]

Australian cattle dog

These herding dogs have high intelligence and a good work ethic. Australian cattle dogs do well in active families that will provide them with opportunities for exercise and engagement.

Typically, these dogs don’t experience many serious health issues, so vet bills should be relatively low. However, Australian cattle dog owners should know that these dogs can potentially develop heart conditions, eye defects, deafness, and orthopedic problems like hip dysplasia.


For the most part, this breed doesn’t have a lot of serious health issues. Beagles are usually affectionate and love spending time with their owners. The main issue beagles face is that they’re prone to overeating and can become unhealthy if you let them eat too much. For this reason, they benefit from scent training and having a controlled diet.

Beyond obesity caused by overeating, some common beagle health issues include ear infections, allergies, cherry eye, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism.

Old English sheepdog

The average life expectancy of an Old English sheepdog is about 10 to 12 years, and these animals have very few health issues. These large dogs need a lot of mental stimulation and physical exercise but can fit in well with your family, as they’re fairly gentle and can be great with kids.

Common health issues found in Old English sheepdogs include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, autoimmune thyroiditis, and exercise-induced collapse.

American foxhound

The American foxhound is a relatively healthy breed that’s not prone to a lot of specific diseases. Dog owners who get these pets can usually introduce them into a home with smaller dogs, other animals, and children. They have long legs and like to be active. As long as you bring them outdoors regularly for exercise, they’re likely to do well.

American foxhounds can commonly experience thrombocytopenia, hip dysplasia, ear infections, and dental diseases.

Chinese crested

Chinese crested dogs are small and relatively easy to care for. The breed tends to show devotion to their owners and doesn’t require much outdoor physical exercise. These dogs don’t have a lot of hair and are prone to being cold, which means they probably need to wear sweaters in colder climates.

The breed has a long lifespan of up to 18 years and doesn’t have many serious health problems. Some common issues this breed may experience include dental problems, eye problems, deafness, skin problems, and orthopedic issues like patellar luxation.

Standard poodle

Standard poodles are an intelligent and generally loyal breed. They don’t face a lot of serious medical issues as they age, making them relatively healthy. Poodles enjoy learning new things, so you can train them relatively easily, making them good pets for families. Miniature poodles and toy poodles can also be good choices and integrate well with other animals and children.

Common health problems the standard poodle may experience include hip dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, von Willebrand (blood-clotting) disease, skin conditions, and gastrointestinal issues.


One of the smaller breeds, Chihuahuas have a long lifespan of around 14 to 16 years. Chihuahuas aren’t likely to have a lot of medical issues as long as owners help them maintain a healthy diet because the breed can have issues with obesity. Other common health problems the breed faces include luxating patellas, periodontal disease, collapsing trachea, heart disease, hydrocephalus, and eye problems.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are generally healthy small to medium-sized dogs. They have an active lifestyle and need a lot of exercise to deal with their high energy. The breed doesn’t have many genetic disorders but might develop arthritis with age. Other common problems are allergies, patella luxation, dental disease, and anxiety.

Border collie

Like other relatively large dogs bred for herding, border collies are active dogs that like hard work. If you have an athletic dog like a border collie, it’s a good idea to make sure that it gets plenty of exercise so it’s more likely to reach its average lifespan (or go beyond it).

Border collies don’t usually have serious health problems, but the breed has a predisposition to eye issues, multidrug resistance mutation (MDR1), trapped neutrophil syndrome (TNS), and neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis.

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois dogs are typically very smart and loyal. A high-energy dog, the breed rarely needs serious medical attention as long as they get a lot of exercise. A Belgian Malinois can be a good choice for families that spend a lot of time outdoors.

These dogs have a lower risk of many health issues but can develop elbow and hip dysplasia, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy.

Common health issues in dogs

Dogs can experience different health issues depending on their genetic makeup and life circumstances. You can get DNA testing for your dog to see what might affect it in the future.

Here are some of the most common health issues dogs develop.


When dogs have allergies, you might see itching behaviors, sneezing, vomiting, and chronic ear infections as symptoms. The most common type of allergy in dogs is allergic dermatitis, or skin allergies. You can typically get a prescription for your dog from your vet to help with allergies, but you should also try to help your dog avoid allergy triggers when possible.


Elbow and hip dysplasia are somewhat common issues, especially in older dogs. Lifestyle modification and surgery are two treatments that can help alleviate symptoms. Genetic testing can help you determine your dog’s likelihood of developing it. Though commonly associated with large dogs, smaller breeds can also have this skeletal condition.

Kidney disease

Excessive urination, increased drinking of water, loss of appetite, and blood in urine can indicate your dog’s kidney function is in trouble. Veterinarians can identify some kidney problems through regular testing, but you should bring your dog in for testing if you notice any irregularities.


Your dog may have a genetic predisposition to a certain type of cancer. If you notice lumps or if your dog appears to be in pain, you should consider taking it to the vet for an evaluation. Dogs can live for a long time if your veterinarian identifies and treats any cancer early on.

Eye problems

Infections, cataracts, and other issues can cause health problems for your pet. In some cases, allergies can cause eye problems. You might need to have your dog treated for cataracts and other issues if developed. Some dogs are prone to genetic eye conditions.

How to keep your dog healthy

You can take steps to help your dog stay healthy and live a long life. Here are some ways to safeguard your pet’s health, regardless of its breed:

  • Exercise your dog regularly. This will help keep your dog’s muscles strong and prevent obesity.

  • Feed a healthy diet. Make sure your dog gets the nutrition it needs through a balanced diet ideal for its size and breed.

  • Get proper vet care. Make regular checkups to help identify when health problems arise.

  • Keep up with preventative care. Keep up with treatments for fleas, ticks, and ringworm, as well as other preventative care.

  • Socialize your dog. This helps keep your dog emotionally healthy around other pets and people.

  • Brush your dog’s teeth. Prevent costly dental diseases with regular dental care at home.

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Is pet insurance worth it?

Pet insurance is often a good investment for dog owners in the United States, even for healthy breeds. Pet insurance can help cover unexpected injuries and diseases, reducing veterinary costs. However, it does have its limitations because some companies exclude coverage for dogs over a certain age and don’t cover specific genetic disorders.

Dogs with the fewest health issues FAQs

The following information should help answer your remaining questions about common health issues and dogs. You can save some money on vet care by purchasing pet insurance for your furry friend.

  • What dog breeds live the longest?

    The oldest dog, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, recently died at the age of 30. The second-longest-living dog was an Australian cattle dog that lived to be 29 years old. Breeds that generally have longer lives include Chihuahuas, shih tzus, Yorkshire terriers, bichon frises, and Shiba Inus.[2]

  • Do small dogs live longer than big dogs?

    In general, research indicates that smaller dogs live longer than large dog breeds. The median lifespan for small dogs is about 15 years. This decreases to about 14 years for medium-sized dogs and 13 years for large dogs.[3]

  • How often should you bring your dog to the vet?

    For most breeds, it makes sense to have a checkup at least once a year. Puppies and senior dogs might need to see the vet more often. Consult with your vet to determine the right schedule to make sure your dog stays healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations.

  • What are the least healthy dog breeds?

    Some of the dogs most prone to health problems include Great Danes, German shepherds, English bulldogs, and dachshunds.


  1. petMD. "19 of the Healthiest Dog Breeds."
  2. petMD. "21 Longest-Living Dog Breeds That'll Be Your Longtime Companion."
  3. American Kennel Club. "Why Do Small Dogs Live Longer Than Large Dogs?."
Miranda Marquit
Miranda Marquit Insurance Writer

Miranda Marquit, MBA, is a freelance financial writer covering various markets and topics since 2006. She has contributed to numerous media outlets, including Forbes, TIME, The Hill, NPR, HuffPost, Yahoo! Money, and more. Her work has been syndicated by MSN Money, Marketwatch,, and other publications. She has written about insurance topics for Clearsurance,, and various other websites. She is also an avid podcaster and co-hosts the Money Talks News podcast. Miranda has a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Syracuse University. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Katie Powers
Edited byKatie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
Photo of an Insurify author
Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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