5 Common Australian Dog Breeds that Suffer from Genetic Health Problems

 5 Common Australian Dog Breeds that Suffer from Genetic Health Problems

Certain dog breeds can end up costing their owners thousands of dollars to help treat certain inherited diseases and health complications.

For example, one Melbourne pet owner, Trudy Collinson, owns a Labrador and was surprised at how much her precious pet cost her. A single cruciate ligament operation set her back $1,600, and the vet bills are likely to keep coming as Labradors are especially prone to arthritis and ligament problems.

The RSPCA explained that unfortunately selective breeding in dogs has resulted in many of them having exaggerated features that can have a negative effect on their health. As we choose dogs for their particular physical characteristics, they can become so interbred that serious problems arise. By contrast, dogs that are crossbred with animals of other breeds have increased genetic diversity and are more resistant to infectious and genetic diseases.

The RSPCA states that the most popular dog breeds in Australia are Labradors, German Shepherds, Bull Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, Pugs, Rottweilers, Cocker Spaniels and Poodles. Unfortunately, many of these breeds are prone to genetic problems from selective breeding. Here are just some of them:

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

King Charles Spaniels are particularly prone to the painful disease Syringomyelia, where the dog’s skull is too small for its brain. These dogs are also susceptible to heart defects.

Pugs and Bulldogs

Short-skulled dog breeds such as pugs and the English Bulldog can have breathing difficulties due to the size and shape of their face, which is a selectively bred feature. The problem can be so severe that they faint from a lack of oxygen and sometimes require surgery. English Bulldogs also have problems giving birth naturally because they have been bred to have narrow hips and big heads, meaning that the puppy’s heads can’t fit through their mother’s pelvis. In most cases, pregnant English Bulldogs will need a cesarean section.


Boxers commonly suffer from cancers, heart problems and epilepsy.


Because Dachshunds have such long bodies they are predisposed to significant spinal problems. They often have cartilage problems too, which causes pressure on the spine that may require surgery.

Collinson also has a beagle that frequently needs vet attention for eating things he shouldn’t, and had a lump removed from his behind for $800. With two dogs and two cats that she loves dearly, the costs can really start to add up. Collinson said that if she got another dog she would choose to get pet insurance to help cover the vet bills. “You just never know whether you’re getting a healthy dog or not,” she said.