We recognize dog breeds by their distinctive characteristics. It’s what makes them unique. We see the cute short, squished face of a pug and the long body and tiny legs of a dachshund. These characteristics define a dog breed and were developed over time by breeders. Along with how they look, breeds can also have hidden hereditary conditions that can cause issues throughout a dog’s life.

Every dog owner should understand the diseases and conditions that put their dog at risk. This post will discuss some of the most common hereditary disorders by breed, and the early warning signs dog owners need to look out for.

Common Hereditary Conditions

New research shows that while some purebred dogs are more susceptible to certain conditions, many health issues affect mixed breed dogs at the same rate. Researchers found that these conditions are tied more to dogs sharing a common genetic ancestor rather than affecting a particular breed of purebred dogs.

Knowing these issues can help you understand your pet’s needs and help you plan for their health coverage through pet insurance for dogs.

Here are some of the most common hereditary diseases in dogs:

Canine Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is one of the most common hereditary conditions affecting mixed-breed and purebred dogs. It happens when there is abnormal growth in the hip joint. This growth causes movement between the femur and pelvis that should fit together snugly, leading to arthritis and cartilage damage. Larger breeds of dogs like German Shepherd or Saint Bernards are at high risk, but it can affect all types and sizes of dogs.

Signs to look for include lethargy, difficulty walking or moving, stiffness or pain, and an unusual walking gait.

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome

This syndrome primarily affects smaller dogs with compressed faces and round heads like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers. The condition occurs due to abnormalities in their respiratory system.

The dogs have shallow tracheas and thin nostrils, making it difficult to breathe when they exercise. It can also cause issues if they get upset or excited due to stress because it can cause their tracheas to collapse. Owners will recognize snorting or snoring sounds when sleeping because of breathing difficulties.

These dogs can also be at risk for dental problems, skin disorders, and eye issues, along with breathing issues. Extra care at home and the vet can help keep these dogs healthy, so be sure your pet insurance USA has the coverage you need.


Chondrodysplasia is another word for canine dwarfism. It refers to the abnormal development of bones and cartilage. It is a characteristic of many breeds with short, low legs like Dachshunds and Basset Hounds. This condition can lead to severe arthritis as they age. Their long bodies can also put additional stress on their spine, leading to disk disease, which can ultimately cause paralysis.

Heart Issues

Many dog breeds are at increased risk for heart conditions. Great Danes, Boxers, and German Shepherds are genetically predisposed to develop dilated cardiomyopathy. This condition leads to abnormal growth in the heart, causing heart weakness. Other breeds like Dachshunds or King Charles Spaniels have a greater risk for myxomatous valve disease, which builds up pressure in the heart valves.

Watch your dog for signs of heart failure such as coughing, weakness, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing.

Dog owners need to understand how to properly care for their dogs. This includes knowing what health conditions or diseases could put them at risk. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best way to care for your dog and maintain its health, despite any predisposed health conditions.

Wagmo pet insurance can ensure you are covered for any sudden illness or injury to your pet. You should never have to choose between paying an expensive vet bill or your dog’s health. Take a look at our coverage to find pet insurance for dogs that fits your dog’s needs and your budget.