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6 of the Healthiest Dog Breeds and the Secret Behind Their Healthiness

Veterinarian Reviewed by Dr. Janice Huntingford, DVM on September 26, 2018
Posted in Parent Help

When making the decision to adopt a dog, it’s difficult to picture a day when that beloved pooch will no longer be with you. Unfortunately, dogs can’t live forever, but some tend to live much longer than others.

It’s a well-known fact that certain breeds have a tendency to fall ill with particular diseases. In the same vein, some dog breeds are known to be much healthier, with fewer genetic predispositions to illnesses. When selecting a pup to join your family, you may want to try to adopt a dog of a healthier breed so that you can enjoy its life as long as possible.

Here are six of the healthiest dog breeds—many of which have a lifespan between 12 and 15 years!

  1. Foxhounds: Foxhounds are largely used for hunting foxes, meaning they’ve historically gotten—and need—regular exercise. These dogs are quite strong and have great endurance, and they don’t often suffer from hereditary diseases.
  2. Australian cattle dogs: The oldest-living dog in the world lived until age 29 and was an Australian cattle dog. These dogs are mainly used to herd cattle on farms and are known to not have many health issues. The Australian cattle dog tends to be intelligent and agile, making it an ideal working dog.
  3. Brittany spaniels: Brittany spaniels are high-energy dogs that require a lot of exercise. They are extremely playful animals and are known to be quite intelligent, making them easy to train.
  4. Shiba inu: Small yet stocky and tough, Shiba inus are commonly thought to be extremely healthy animals. While they are quite territorial, these dogs are smart and are known to live to around 16 years.
  5. Australian shepherds: Australian shepherds are great farm dogs because they have lots of energy and love to be outside. They require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation but are quite easy to train and are considered to be very healthy.
  6. Mixed breeds: Although many people think purebred dogs are among the healthiest, mixed breeds can actually top the list of healthiest dogs. This is because there is far less inbreeding happening with mixed-bred dogs, resulting in a lower genetic predisposition to hereditary diseases like hyperthyroidism and heart disease.

Applying the healthiest dogs’ secrets to your dog

It doesn’t really matter what breed of dog you adopt—all dogs are deserving of love, care and a happy home. Even if you adopt from a breed that isn’t one of the healthiest, or if you adopt a dog that may have a higher risk of disease later in life, that doesn’t mean your dog can’t still be healthy!

We can learn from some of the healthiest dog breeds and apply their health secrets to all dogs to keep them happier and healthier throughout their entire lives.

  • Preventative medicine: Modern medicine has allowed us to create vaccines and medicines to prevent some of these common illnesses from afflicting our dogs—even the ones that are most at risk. Make sure to get your dog fully vaccinated and put on medications or supplements that will help it fight off illnesses more easily.
  • Routine vet visits: Every dog should get a regular check-up with a veterinarian to ensure its health is being maintained. Also, a yearly exam can help you catch the start of diseases early and get your pup the treatment it needs to live a longer, healthier life.
  • Diet and supplements: A healthy diet is absolutely crucial for every dog’s wellbeing. Feed your dog food that is jam-packed with nutrients so that it has the energy and vitamins it needs to live healthily. If your dog has a nutritional deficiency determined by a vet, you can also give it supplements to keep its dietary needs on-track.
  • Exercise: Most of the healthiest dog breeds mentioned above are active dogs, largely because they have a lot of energy. Not all dogs will be as high-energy as these breeds, but every dog should get regular exercise to keep its body strong and fit. Take Fido for walks or runs regularly and let it play in the yard to maintain its health.
  • Oral care: Taking care of your dog’s teeth does more than get rid of its nasty doggy breath. It can actually help prevent harmful bacteria from entering other parts of its body and causing illnesses.
  • Love: Last but not least, all dogs require love and care from their owners to ensure their happiness and health. A loved dog with a careful owner is sure to outlive a dog that is stressed and sad, so make sure to show your dog you love it!

While certain dog breeds are considered healthier than others, it doesn’t take much work to implement a healthy routine for your dog, regardless of its breed, to help it live as long as possible. After you adopt your new dog, you may want to consider getting a genetic screening done just to know what potential diseases it is at risk for, so you can keep an eye out for symptoms.

Read also: How Much Shedding Is Too Much Shedding and What Does It Mean?

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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