Which dog breeds are more at risk of joint problems?

Which dog breeds are more at risk of joint problems?

As with any species (us humans included), our canine pals are prone to certain health problems and diseases. Unfortunately, one of them is joint degeneration and hip issues. 

While any breed of dog can develop joint problems, it’s more common in certain breeds, with medium to large pedigree dogs being the most susceptible. 

Whether or not your dog is at risk of developing joint trouble depends on a huge range of interconnected factors—like genes, breeding, nutrition and their activity level. 

Before we dive into the types of breeds with this particular predisposition, let’s first take a look at the most common joint and hip issues our furry friends face. 

Common joint and hip problems in dogs

In addition to congenital and inherited joint disorders, the most common joint problems for canines are osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia. 

Canine osteoarthritis

Similar to osteoarthritis in humans, canine osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease caused by the wear down of tissues and joints over time. 

It’s sometimes referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease and can lead to the loss of joint movement, mobility, a build of inflammation and pain. 

Canine osteoarthritis can be caused by injury, infection, over exercise when joints are developing, or simply ageing. 

Canine hip dysplasia

Another degenerative issue, canine hip dysplasia is when the hip joints develop abnormally. It’s characterised by a loose joint, which leads to osteoarthritis and its symptoms over time. 

Hip dysplasia can be caused by over exercise, poor nutrition, excessive growth and genetic or hereditary factors. 

Dysplasia can also commonly occur in the elbows, depending on the breed. 

Top 11 dog breeds at risk of joint problems

As we mentioned, it’s generally larger, pedigree dogs, like Labradors and Great Danes, that more commonly face joint and hip issues. This is often down to their larger frames and weight balance putting more strain on their joints, with hip dysplasia being common.

Dogs that have been bred to have longer backs, like Dachshunds and Basset Hounds can also often face musculoskeletal issues, including osteoarthritis. 

Finally a few smaller breeds with short legs and longer bodies, like Corgis and Bulldogs are also at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. 

Let’s take a look at the 11 most common breeds for joint issues. 

  • Labrador Retrievers 
  • Labradors have a genetic predisposition to both hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis. Their weight distribution and tendency to carry extra weight and high energy, can all put stress on joints leading to issues with age. 

  • German Shepherds
  • Due to their size and frame, German Shepherds suffer with a genetic predisposition particularly to hip dysplasia which can begin to present at any age. 

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Similar to their cousins, the Labrador Retriever, Goldens are also prone to weight gain leading to hip and elbow dysplasia, which can develop into osteoarthritis. 

  • Rottweiler 
  • Another large, heavy framed dog, Rottweiler’s are susceptible to hip dysplasia, especially if they end up carrying more weight than recommended. 

  • Bulldogs 
  • Smaller in size, but featuring a unique body structure that puts them at increased risk of developing elbow and hip dysplasia, Bulldogs are another common breed that suffer from osteoarthritis. 

  • Dachshunds
  • With very long backs and short legs, the Dachshunds’ unique shape often puts pressure on their joints, specifically their spine. These pups can suffer with intervertebral disc disease, which can lead to further joint issues. 

  • Boxers
  • Another big breed, Boxer’s are predisposed to hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis and other joint impact issues, from their high energy nature. 

  • Saint Bernards
  • One of the largest dog breeds (and definitely the cuddliest) Saint Bernards are prone to joint problems including hip and arthritic joints due to their size and weight. 

  • Great Danes
  • Another very large breed, the Great Dane is no different—suffering with joint troubles because it’s size, frame and genetic history. 

  •  Pugs
    Similarly to Bulldogs, Pugs also have a unique body shape from their breeding lineage. This can cause a heightened osteoarthritis risk. 

  • Newfoundlands
  • The final breed on our list is the lovely Newfoundland. Often mixed up with the Saint Bernard, this big breed also suffers from elbow and hip dysplasia which can develop into osteoarthritis if left untreated.

    Why prevention is so important

    Whilst certain breeds do have a predisposition for hip and joint issues, it’s important to remember that not every dog within this breed will develop problems. 

    With these breeds (and our list is definitely not exhaustive), prevention is key. Ensuring your dog is getting enough, but not too much, exercise, along with regular vet check ups and good, balanced nutrition are all equally important. 

    Supplementing your dog’s diet with a joint health supplement, whether you have a breed from our list or not, can go a long way to keeping your best friend bounding about well into their old age. 

    Look for supplements with lipped mussel extract specifically, like Joint Sure