Top 10 Healthiest Dog Breeds
Let’s be honest, we are all slightly, if not full-on, dog obsessed ‘pawrents’ and will do anything and everything in our power to provide the best life for our pooches. This may include feeding them homemade treats, curating the most eco-friendly toys, and adding the best veterinarian in town to our speed dial. Yes, I’m being a little cheeky, but we can go a little overboard when it comes to caring for our fur babies. Seriously, who hasn’t lost sleep over a sick puppy wondering, “Should I be feeding my dog something better?”
With advancements in veterinary medicine and nutrition, it seems our precious doggos have a happy, long life ahead. However, especially with pure breeds, there are hereditary conditions and diseases that can present as dogs age, which may break your heart and, if caught unprepared, your bank account. Keep in mind, mixed-breed dogs are generally healthier as inherited conditions can be bred out. If you are considering adding a dog to your family, research the breed information. In the meantime, here are some of the healthiest dog breeds around.
Beloved for centuries in England (a favorite breed of Queen Elizabeth) and for decades in the U.S., the Beagle is the smallest in the hound group. They are a compact, capable hunter with adorable droopy ears that provide excellent companionship. Friendly and happy, the Beagle bounds with energy and needs a lot of exercise to prevent boredom and mischief. They like to bark, however, so be sure to spend some time in training. With proper diet (Beagles can be very food driven), exercise, and routine care, they can live up to 15 years.
One of the oldest dog breeds in the West (dating back to 1570), the Border Collie is an intelligent, hard-working, herding sheepdog. Mid-sized with a thick, weather-resistant double-hair coat, they are popular in the obedience and agility competition arena. As one of the smartest breeds, the Border Collie needs lots of activity and mental stimulation to prevent behavioral challenges. Once trained, they make a remarkable guard dog and faithful companion. Border Collies are healthy dogs with few medical issues, and can live up to 14 years.
The Chihuahua is one of the smallest dog breeds, most weighing about 5 pounds. While diminutive in size, they are very active and have big personalities. They are not very social with other dogs and tend to get jealous if their owner pays too much attention to others, whether dog or human. This trait makes them undesirable as a family dog, unless trained from very early on. The perfect apartment dog due to their size, the Chihuahua can also be paper trained, eliminating daily potty walks. A very healthy breed, Chihuahuas can enjoy the pampered life for up to 18 years.
Don’t just take our word for it – a spokesperson from PetPartners, a pet insurance marketer says, “We definitely see lower cancer rates and fewer hereditary issues in these small breeds.”
A favorite breed of law enforcement, families, and the disabled, the German Shepherd or GSD, is in the herding group and is affectionate and loyal. They have a keen intellect, trainability, and well-rounded temperament, making them exceptional as K9 police dogs and guide dogs for the blind. With proper training and natural protective instincts, they can be great with children and effective guard dogs. A strong, muscular breed, the German Shepherd needs daily exercise and can live up to 13 years.
The graceful Greyhound was originally bred for hunting prey, such as foxes and deer. They can run 40 – 45 miles per hour, making them the fastest dog breed, but, despite their speed, they tend to be low energy dogs. They are, however, sweet, affectionate, obedient, and intelligent, making them a great pet for any home setting. In fact, their favorite pastime is napping! However, some can have a stubborn streak, so be sure to train from early puppyhood. Due to their mellow nature and lack of major hereditary health issues, they enjoy a long lifespan for dogs their size. Keep Greyhounds in a calm environment with a healthy diet and daily walks, and they can live up to 13 years.
The pretty Poodle breed comes in many colors and many sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. They may be different in size, but all are hailed as the smartest breed and also one of the healthiest. They are quick to learn tricks and commands and thrive on human attention (as opposed to time with other dogs), making them popular for families with children as constant companions. While they are generally healthy and considered hypoallergenic, they do require daily grooming to maintain their soft, dense, curly coat. The standard-size Poodle can live up to 16 years, while the toy and miniature Poodles can live up to 18 years.
The spunky and active Shiba Inu (pictured above) almost became extinct in their native Japan by the end of World War II. However, thanks to breeding programs, they were successfully introduced to American dog lovers in 1954. A compact, furry breed, Shiba Inu need consistent, firm training and early puppy socialization to prevent aggression toward other dogs. They are very courageous, loyal, and loving to their family members, not needing much exercise and making excellent watchdogs. With few medical concerns, Shiba Inu are healthy and can live up to 14 years.
Bred to be lap dogs in ancient Chinese palaces, the Shih Tzu relishes their role in the family as the adored pet. Their demure size and haughty look belies a surprisingly sturdy, playful dog that is the least delicate in the toy group. No wonder the name means ‘lion.’ Basic obedience training is all this loving dog needs to be the perfect, gentle companion for a family or the elderly. However, they need daily grooming to prevent mats and maintain a silky coat. Despite not needing much exercise, they are generally healthy with a lifespan of up to 16 years.
The beautiful Siberian Husky, with striking eyes that range from icy blue to multi-colored, first served as sled dogs, displaying incredible strength and endurance. Strong and rugged with thick coats that can withstand extreme weather conditions and an outgoing personality, Siberian Huskies are happiest when there is a job to do. This means they require lots of exercise to expend their abundant energy. Friendly, intelligent, and agile, they are a great addition to families who enjoy outdoor activities or agility training. However, due to their preference for cooler temperatures, it is important to avoid being outside for extended time in warmer weather. Siberian Huskies are very healthy and can live up to 15 years without major genetic medical concerns.
Lean and muscular, the Whippet is also one of the quietest breeds. They are part of the sighthound group, with an extraordinary ability to detect prey. These keen hunters are happy, faithful dogs, preferring to lie around their owner, so much so that they are capable of becoming too attached. Whippets are however, very intelligent, trainable, and gentle, making them wonderful with children. They require daily exercise and enjoy a good run, so be sure to keep them on leash. Another extremely healthy breed, Whippets do not have major medical concerns, except related to their thin skin and lean bones, which can lead to fractures and skin lacerations. A Whippet can live up to 15 years.
In addition to these healthy dog breeds, check out America’s most popular dog breeds.