British veterinarian tells the truth about 5 popular dog breeds

Ben the vet criticises 5 dog breeds
Ben the vet criticises 5 dog breeds. Screenshot.

Ben the TikTok vet, makes it clear, quite rightly, at the outset that he is providing his personal viewpoint on these five dog breeds. He is playing safe which is fair enough. But when a veterinarian spells out the truth about five dog breeds – and they are popular dog breeds – you have to sit up and listen.

The point, though, is that humans tend to overlook these sorts of warnings about inherited diseases brought about through selective breeding and sometimes inbreeding which is just too extreme.

People tend to go for appearance. Appearance trumps everything else but if they are lucky, they listen to their brain rather than their heart and study the health issues as well (before adoption) because at the end of the day health trumps appearance and often that realisation has been brought about by the cost of dealing with the health issues in veterinary treatments!

The great point about a veterinarian talking about dog breeds is that not only do they have an acute knowledge of health matters but they can also observe their patients’ behaviour in the consulting room. This is a testing environment for a dog. The test can tend to highlight behavioural issues or let’s be kind and save potential behavioural issues.

Sadly, he states that he is sometimes criticised for his truthful videos! It is a bit mad. It is probably breeders and the dog fancy who hate him. 5 dog breeds I would/could never own as a veterinary surgeon #dogsoftiktok #learnontiktok #veterinary #benthevet ♬ Waiting For Heartache – BLVKSHP

Note: I can’t be sure for how long the video will work as it is out of my control. Sorry.

Chow Chow

He criticises the temperament of this dog breed. He claims that they are “really aloof” and “are often aggressive at the vets”. And he says that they “suffer from a ton of eye problems”.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

He says that this is a lovely dog breed but what puts him off terminally is their health problems. He says that “they get the same kind of heart disease, mitral valve disease”. This means that the spend their last days “coughing and spluttering”. He says that it is unfair to breed a dog with such a high probability of this kind of serious disease. They often end up dying of heart failure.


The dachshund is one of two breeds, with the French Bulldog, which became extremely popular during the pandemic with a huge number of fresh adoptions of this breed. But they tend to breed them too low to the ground for a start. When you compare modern day dachshunds with those that were bred 50 years ago you will see a stark difference in the amount of clearance that they have above the ground.

Ben the vet criticises the breeders by saying that the dachshund often suffers from spinal problems because of the elongated body and the weight that the spine has to endure. Ben the vet says that one in four develop back problems during their lifetime. Although he likes their character.

The spine problems are so severe that they can result in pain to complete paralysis. They can have spinal surgery but this is a major operation with a long recovery.

Shar Pei

There is a disease named after them called Shar Pei fever. They are too wrinkly with enormous folds in their skin. Ben says that they have to have their eyelids tacked in place so that the hair does not rub on the cornea of the eye. They have skin issues and their ear canals are too narrow. He also claims that “they spend their time trying to bite the face of the staff!”

Any flat-based dog breeds such as the French Bulldog

I have covered this highly popular breed in the past and discovered that it suffers from 21 different diseases which I have listed on the linked page (please click on the link). It’s extraordinary that a dog with perhaps the most inherited diseases is the most popular at one and the same time. It points, as I mentioned above, to the obsession with appearance over health. It has always been like that. You have the same issues with the cat breeds.

Ben objects to the fact that society has normalised the flat faces of these dogs and implies that they tend to forget that this is abnormal and it affects the health including breathing issues. It isn’t just breathing issues. There are spinal issues, skin issues and eye problems.

Remarkably, he states that just over 50% of them need to have Caesareans to give birth. This points to a genuine ethical issue about breeding French bulldogs.

Infographic of longest and shortest lifespans of UK dog breeds

Over 370 genetic diseases affect dogs

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
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