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Over 370 genetic diseases affect dogs

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More than 370 genetic diseases affect dogs

The dog is the non-human species for which the largest number of genetic disorders is known and as at 2002 (20 years ago) over 370 genetic diseases had been documented (Ostrander et al 2000). These diseases have been catalogued and they are searchable on a web-based database, “Inherited Diseases in Dogs”. If you are a member of the University of Cambridge with a Raven account you can login and access it. If you are not, you cannot! Shame because it would be nice to see it. I think it should be available to the public because it would help people to understand the health issues concerning the dog breed in which they are interested and might want to adopt.

More than 370 genetic diseases affect dogs

More than 370 genetic diseases affect dogs. Background image by Arek Socha from Pixabay. Dog: BBC. Montage: MikeB.


I am able to provide a list of the “10 inherited conditions having greater prevalence within the purebred dog population as compared to the mixed-breed dog population in America.”

So, this list tells you the most common genetic diseases inherited by dogs from their parents in America and the date of the assessment is from 1995-2010. The study is called ‘Ten inherited disorders in purebred dogs by functional breed groupings’.

  1. Aortic stenosis;
  2. Atopy/allergic dermatitis;
  3. Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV);
  4. Early onset cataracts;
  5. Dilated cardiomyopathy;
  6. Elbow dysplasia;
  7. Epilepsy;
  8. Hypothyroidism;
  9. Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD);
  10. Hepatic portosystemic shunt.

By number, the following diseases are no more prevalent in purebred dogs than they are in the general mixed breed population: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10.

However, the diseases numbered: 2, 8, and 9, were more prevalent in purebred dogs “with many groups having higher prevalence than the mixed-breed population”. However, the prevalence of intervertebral disk disease in purebred terrier groups was lower than that in mixed-breed dogs.

Some of the diseases are clearly linked to foundation dogs i.e. common ancestors.

I am sorry but I do not have any more information on the totality of genetic diseases affecting dogs in general. There is one last obvious point: the reason why inherited genetic diseases exist in purebred dogs in such a large number is because of artificial selection, otherwise known as selective breeding. When breeders create dogs primarily for their appearance and subjugate the health of the dog to a much lower priority you end up with genetic diseases. This clearly infers that breeders should pay more attention to dog health and remove foundation dogs which carry these recessive genetic mutations causing ill health in their puppies.

RELATED: 21 genetic diseases inherited by the French bulldog. Are they always in pain?

Many influential people have called upon the Kennel Club in the UK and their membership of breeders to tackle the problem. As I understand it, they have begun to tackle it but the problems by and large still remain. The picture on this page is of a French bulldog which is a classic example of over-breeding to the point where they create health problems that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

Below are some articles on dog health.