Breed-Specific Health Risks

by Pawlicy Advisor
Pet Care Terms
Breed-Specific Health Risks

What are Breed-Specific Health Risks?

Breed-specific health risks are health problems that are a result of a smaller gene pool. To maintain a specific dog or cat breed, they must be mated with another dog or cat of the same breed. This limits their offspring’s gene pool, putting them at a higher risk of inheriting common breed-specific health risks.

For example, large dogs, like German Shepherds, are at an increased risk of developing hip dysplasia. After many generations of German Shepherds being bred, their offspring’s potential to develop hip dysplasia still remains because their gene pool is only made up of German Shepherds, who are all at risk for hip dysplasia due to their specific size and build.

How Breed-Specific Health Risks Work

Breed-specific health risks are a risk for all purebred dog and cat breeds. They often show up in health issues related to how the breed is built, like skin conditions, different types of cancer, or respiratory issues due to conditions like brachycephalic syndrome, which many dog breeds have severe forms of (i.e. French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, or English Bulldogs).

Many breeders work diligently to limit genetic health issues by only breeding the healthiest dogs within a breed, but all dogs and cats, regardless of their breed, will still be at some risk of breed-specific health problems.

Key Takeaways

  • Breeding creates a smaller, limited gene pool which puts their offspring at a greater risk of genetic health issues.
  • Different breeds are prone to specific issues based on their build, coat, and size.
  • All breeds are at risk of developing genetic health problems, but purebred dogs and cats are at a higher risk of developing them due to their smaller gene pool.

Related Terms

Cancer refers to a large group of diseases that all have uncontrolled, abnormal cell growth.
Read More.
Cremation is a process that many pet parents choose as an alternative to burying their deceased.
Read More.
Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a bilateral condition that occurs when the hip joint functions incorrectly due to the ball and socket not fitting or developing properly.
Read More.

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