Top 10 Most Over-Bred Dogs

Published by PETA.

One of the many tragic things about breeders (I’m talking about the bad kind here, not the awesome, rockin’ kind) is that their obsession with generating a manufactured, unnatural series of traits in the animals they manipulate inevitably results (as you might expect) in a whole slew of health problems for the victims (not to mention an untimely death for the homeless animals who won’t be adopted as a result). I’m about to drop some science on you here, so bear with me, but this list, of the top 10 over-bred dog breeds in the U.S., is a stark reminder of the sacrifices that these people think it’s acceptable for animals in their care to make so that they can tell their friends that their dog is the fluffiest, or the shiniest, or whatever the hell it is they talk about when they’re not leaving hateful comments on this blog or writing big checks to help the AKC stifle laws designed to protect animals from abuse. Phew! Sorry for the run-on sentence (and the possibly unforgivable use of the phrase “drop some science”)—I tend to get a bit ranty when I talk about breeders. Here’s the list:

The Top 10 Most Over-Bred Dogs and Their Ailments
(Coincidentally enough, this is also the list of the top 10 most popular breeds, according to the AKC)

1. Labrador Retriever

  • Hip dysplasia—a hip disease that can lead to crippling, lameness, or painful arthritis
  • Progressive retinal atrophy—degeneration of the retina, which can lead to blindness
  • Cataracts
  • Eye abnormalities
  • Bloat—a life-threatening condition in which the stomach becomes overly filled with food, water, and air and may twist, cutting off access to the esophagus and small intestines; can lead to circulatory failure and death within hours
  • Elbow dysplasia—a degenerative elbow disease which can lead to lameness or crippling

2. Yorkshire Terrier

  • Bronchitis
  • Early tooth decay
  • Poor digestion
  • Paralysis in the hindquarters caused by herniated disks and other spine problems
  • Fragile bones can easily be fractured
  • Poor tolerance of anesthetics
  • Abnormal skull formations in Yorkshire terriers measuring less than 8 inches (20cm)
  • Birthing complications
  • “Teacup” Yorkshire terriers often have serious health and behavioral problems
  • Slipped stifle—a condition in which the knee-like joint above the hock in a dog’s hind leg slips; may require surgery
  • Eye infections
  • Gum weaknesses

3. German Shepherd

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Blood disorders
  • Digestive problems
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic eczema
  • Keratitis—an inflammation of the cornea
  • Dwarfism
  • Flea allergies
  • Bloat
  • Gastric disorders
  • Panosteitis—a painful bone disease that causes periods of sudden pain and lameness
  • Spinal paralysis
  • Eye disease
  • Skin conditions

4. Golden Retriever

  • Heart problems
  • Epilepsy
  • Von Willebrand disease—a blood disorder that can cause prolonged bleeding from simple injuries
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Cataracts
  • Congenital eye defects
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Skin allergies

5. Beagle

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Demodectic mange—a skin condition that occurs when a dog’s immune system can’t regulate the number of mites living in the skin and mites proliferate, causing hair loss and open, crusty sores
  • Umbilical hernia
  • Epilepsy
  • Eye and eyelid problems
  • Cryptorchidism—absent or undescended testicles, which increases the risk of testicular cancer
  • Dwarfism
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Intervertebral disk disease—slipped or ruptured spinal disks, which can cause pain and paralysis
  • Luxating patella—a condition in which the kneecap moves out of place, can cause limping, difficulty walking and osteoarthritis, and may require surgery to correct

6. Boxer

  • Cardiomyopathy—a heart disease that causes abnormal heat beat, which reduces blood flow to the body and can lead to unconsciousness, collapse, and death
  • Heart problems
  • Subaortic stenosis—a narrowing of the outflow valve beneath the heart’s aortic valve, can lead to heart failure
  • Epilepsy
  • Tumors
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Deafness (in white boxers)

7. Dachshund

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Urinary stones
  • Spinal disc problems
  • Eye disorders
  • Skin conditions

8. Poodle

  • Cataracts
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Allergies
  • Severe skin disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye problems, especially runny eyes
  • Ear infections
  • Von Willebrand disease
  • Bloat
  • Addison’s disease—an adrenal gland deficiency which requires lifelong medication and monitoring

9. Shih Tzu

  • Spinal disc disease
  • Respiratory problems
  • Obesity
  • Early tooth loss
  • Eye problems
  • Ear problems

10. Bulldog

  • Cherry Eye
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Entropia
  • Dermatitis
  • Heart Problems
  • Demodectic Mange
  • Gastric Torsion and/or bloat
  • Hip Dysplasia

If you bought an American Kennel Club-Registered dog and they became ill or violent or died prematurely, let us know.


Learn more about dog breeding on The PETA Podcast:

Listen to more episodes on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify! Subscribe for new episodes.


Posted by Christine Dore

Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind