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Old 04-23-2012, 12:46 PM
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,357 posts, read 9,823,387 times
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I'm learning from all the comments here. I've wondered if a dog breed that is more "natural" and not as popular as some, such as the American German Shepherd show dog with it's strange low hocks, might not be healthier?

Of course, then there's the dog food issue and the questionable numerous vaccines to add to the equation that might play a role in health of our our dogs. We had to feed our dog ( a Whippet/rat terrier cross) a hypo-allergenic special order dog food from the Vet to prevent his allergies such as hives and hot spots. He did make it to 16...but was blind and deaf when he got there...and he got all the vaccines and heartworm and flea and tick meds...

On the other hand, we had a childhood mixed breed pet who lived to 18 and was rarely, if ever, ill. She was sort of a Sheltie blend, who was found as a new-born half-drowned in a sack in the creek who rarely saw the Vet, ate table scraps and crappy Strongheart canned dog food--who was very robust and healthy...kind of the luck of the draw...with her rocky beginning, you'd think she'd have been weak and ailing.

But modern dogs seem to be having more ailments but maybe, with the 'net, we're just hearing more about their diseases?
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:10 AM
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There seems like a lot of misinformation here, and since it appears this thread is still read a lot thanks to Google, I figured I'd chime in.

First off, the "healthiness" of a breed is not necessarily interchangeable with the life span of a breed. The life span of a breed has far more to do with diet, exercise, environment, and basic genetic chance than it does breed healthiness.

So to respond to the OP, and future readers looking for this information, the difference between "healthy" breeds and non-healthy breeds is generally defined by their pre-disposition to certain health problems.

Beagles were brought up earlier and are a great example of a breed that has been developed long enough that most genetic problems have been bred out of them. Yes, they can develop problems like hip dysplasia, but that is almost always attributable to obesity (you put more weight on the joints than they are genetically developed to handle). Other than that, they are mainly at risk for ear infections, etc... because of the physiological design of their ears. This is the kind of information you want to gather when looking for a healthy breed.

Mutt vs. Purebred has also been brought up, and misrepresented. Not all purebred dogs are inbred. Good breeders should be able to show you 4+ generations worth of pedigree that show there is no inbreeding. On the other hand, you have absolutely no idea in most cases what the genetic background of your mutt is. A mutt's parents, albeit completely different breeds, might be perfectly healthy, or they might have been prone to cherry eye, degenerative joints, or any other number of common dog health problems. This direct genetic makeup will have a lot more impact on your dog's health than some ancestral commonalities in a purebred.

The bottom line is there are many breeds (usually the ones that have been around for a long time) that are generally healthy thanks to selective breeding. Overall however, the health of the dog is going to be primarily related to its daily routines including diet and exercise, and its genetic makeup going back a generation or two.
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:01 PM
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 20,707,191 times
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have to disabree somwhat here hawaiicy...
hip elbow and knee problems are GENETIC, they can be agrivated by weight however the root cause is NOT weight but genes...this is why good breeders get hips knees elbows ect checked in thier breeding dogs foor dysplaysia, it is a genetic pre-disposition...Ive seen many a healthy wieghted dog suffereing from hip dysplaysia...weight doesnt CAUSE it...it does make it worse though.

in erms of "older breeds" being healthier...this is also not nessicairly true...
UNCOMMON breeds, and "UNPOPULAR" breeds are healthier...why? becuase theres LESS maniplulation (and less attraction to BYB/Puppymills) Popular breeds are more likely to be "mass produced" and therefore more likley to have health issues (because mas production breeders arnt testing for genetic problems) good healthy seliectiv ebreeding does help reduce and even remove genetic issues in breeds BUT if were talking "NATURALLY HEALTHY" you want to look at paraiah/primitive breeds like the dingo and newguinnea singing dog...these are ANCIENT breeds with little-NO man made interaction and as a result they are hardy breeds..
the HUMAN hasnt come in sand started mass producing them or trying to "change' them to suit a specific look (ie the bulldog or the confo bred German Sheperd ect)

and on the"inbreeding" aspect. many GREAT breeders use line breeding (the breeding of close relitives) to Lock good traits into their lines. its not uncommon to see granddaughter bred to grandfather in order to improve certain traits...(mother to son/father to daughter and brother to sister however are NOT used) as long as the breeder is doing this correctly theres nothing wrong with it (ie there doing all the health testing ect...) bad linebreeding however can cause a WORLD of trouble.

i do agree in terms of mutts it can go either way....

i think the point im trying to make here is theres 2 tyes of "healthy" theres LIFE health, health controled by things you do in every day life...keeping your pet a good weight, making sure they are vacinate as nessicary, feeding a good diet ect...
then theres GENETIC health...things your dog is pre-disposed to based n the genetics of a breed...these thigns can be manipulated by good breders to help keep lines free of these gentic issues, but if your dog has it from its genetics nothign can change it at that point (ie dysplaysia, pcra-prd, luxation ect...) and these issues then must be "managed" in a dog with them...(ie you can CURE obesity by changing your dogs habits...you cant CURE genetic blindness by changing what your dog eats ect.

However by managing these genetic impacts you can then reduce the impact of it.
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