10 of the Healthiest Dog Breeds
With longer lifespans and a lower risk for illness, these pups are prone to living a happy, healthy life.
Doggone good health
Like humans, every dog is different, and all pet owners want their pup to live a long, healthy life. After all, they are an important member of the family. Each breed comes with their own set of health concerns, but some breeds tend to have lower risks of genetic disease, and longer lifespans, than others. After speaking to pet experts, we rounded up the healthiest dog breeds that statistically live a long life when on the right diet with enough exercise, regular visits to the vet, and, of course, plenty of love.
Australian cattle dog
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest dog to ever live was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey who lived to be 29 years old. This would make Bluey around 151 years old in human years, but Bluey has not been the only Australian cattle dog to live so long. Another pup of this breed named Chilla lived to be 32 years old in Queensland, Australia, but unfortunately did not claim a title from Guinness. “These dogs live so long because they are naturally active, which means they get a lot of health benefits from exercise,” claims Jeff Neal of The Critter Depot. “But they are also a small to medium-sized dog, which means they don’t have a lot of weight to lumber around that breaks down their cartilage faster.” These are the dog breeds that live the longest.
The Icelandic Sheepdog has minimal health conditions while being great with families and children. They typically live between 12 and 14 years, making them one of the healthiest dog breeds. “These dogs can have hip and elbow dysplasia and kneecap luxation,” says Dr. Michelle Burch of Safe Hounds Pet Insurance. “Breeders have the responsibility for testing their dogs for these diseases and not breeding them.” See which other dogs are the best for kids and families.
German shorthaired pointer
German shorthaired pointers are full of energy and are commonly used in hunting. With such short fur that they rarely shed, this breed makes a great indoor dog, but they do need a substantial amount of exercise. “The most commonly reported diseases in German shorthaired pointers are hip dysplasia, entropion (the eyelid rolls inward toward the cornea resulting in irritation), and some cancers,” explains Dr. Burch. “They are full of energy with a life span of ten to 12 years of age.” See what the cutest dog breeds look like as puppies.
One of the rarest dog breeds out there, English foxhounds are natural hunters and very easy to care for. They were raised to hunt in packs with tons of athleticism and the stealth needed to run for hours. “Foxhounds were bred to be of outstanding physical condition, with little or no genetically manifested diseases such as elbow dysplasia, patella luxation, or eye conditions,” says Steffi Trott of Spirit Dog Training. “Foxhounds are not prone to having rashes or food allergies and often live up to 13 years.” Learn how much exercise your dog really needs.
These little herding dogs originated in the French Alps and were bred to herd flocks across difficult terrain for many hours a day. Pyrenean shepherds are quite rare in the United States and Canada but fairly popular in Europe. “The breed is notably free of many genetic diseases, is not prone to heart conditions or cancer, and tends to be very easy keepers,” claims Trott. “Only rarely are they prone to food allergies or skin rashes. They can live up to 17 years.”
Look at those big ears! Belgian Malinois are guard dogs and high-energy working dogs that can be very intense for the average dog owner. Nevertheless, they are one of the healthiest dog breeds with endurance and strong athleticism. “Belgian Malinois are nearly always free of kidney and liver disease and rarely have heart conditions or luxating patellas,” explains Trott. “They tend to be very food-driven dogs and can over-eat especially as they age, so owners should watch out to make sure that their Malinois does not become overweight.” These are the best guard dog breeds for protection.
Like many of these other healthiest dog breeds, Basenjis are used as hunting dogs, but also serve as wonderful family dogs. Believe it or not, these pups don’t bark! But they do share their thoughts and feelings with a sound described by many as a yodel. “These sweet African sighthounds are long-lived and have few health conditions for you to worry about,” says dog expert Jeff Carbridge. “Fanconi syndrome and anemia are the main concerns, but these are very rare and responsible breeders will have tested parents for them beforehand.” Make sure you know how to tell when your “healthy” dog is showing signs of illness.
Chihuahuas, the smallest dogs in the world, are also one of the healthiest dog breeds. Typically weighing around six pounds, these tiny pups are full of energy and are certainly not little when it comes to personality. Chihuahuas can live up to 20 years with proper health care, according to Dr. Rachel Barrack. They are certainly the opposite of lazy.
“Poodles tend to live longer than other large breeds and are highly intelligent,” claims Dr. Barrack. They can be extremely active and love to be athletically challenged by their owner. With the proper diet and exercise, poodles can live to be around 14 years old. They also get the gold star when it comes to not shedding, making them a near perfect choice for people with allergies. Don’t miss more of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds.
The healthiest dog breeds are typically those that have been cross-bred. “This is because their genetic pool is wider and they are less prone to hereditary health issues such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, or congenital deafness,” says veterinary surgeon Dr. Linda Simon. With the larger gene pool, mixed breeds are less likely to have a recessive disorder. Your dog’s diet is a crucial part of their health—see which dog food brands veterinarians feed their own pets so your pup can get the best meal possible.
- The Guinness Book of World Records: “Oldest dog ever”
- Extreme Dog Fence: “Bluey – The World’s Oldest Dog”
- Jeff Neal, The Critter Depot
- Rachel Barrack, Animal Acupuncture
- Steffi Trott, Spirit Dog Training
- Michelle Burch, Safe Hounds Pet Insurance
- Rich Duda, Dog Care Authority
- Jeff Carbridge, Dog Owner
- Linda Simon, Animals Are Us