Too many dogs are bred strictly for outward appearance of the breed, sadly introducing genetic time bombs into their lines.

Genetic Time Bombs in Dog Breeds

Genetic Time Bombs in Dog Breeds

Guest Writer: Dr. Scott Shaw

There are two types of dog breeders: ones who promote their breed by selecting for quality and culling dogs with genetic abnormalities, and those who breed for money.  Too many dogs are bred strictly for outward appearance of the breed and unfortunately introduce genetic time bombs into their lines. These abnormalities can cause the pet, the breed and the future owners much expense and heartache.

Think German Shepherd dogs and hip dysplasia. The breed became popular decades ago and still suffers the consequences to this day. Numerous types of surgical interventions, including triple pelvic osteotomies and total hip replacements, were developed to counter the effects of bad genes.

The list of genetic defects keeps expanding as new breeds become popular. A search of congenital and heritable diseases shows the list of disorders grows as a breed becomes more popular.

Too many dogs are bred strictly for outward appearance of the breed, sadly introducing genetic time bombs into their lines.
English Springer Spaniel, Wiki

Behavior problems are more difficult to assess. There is a syndrome named Springer Spaniel Rage, which has been proven to have a genetic link. We all know that Chihuahuas have a “short guy” attitude, but this could be as much behavioral as it is genetic.

The public needs to accept part of the blame. People have the mindset that they want a certain breed because of their appearance, but they don’t think about the historical use of the breed. Rottweilers come to mind. Here is a breed that was developed as a guard and police dog. This type of use requires certain aggressive traits. Then somebody thought, “Wow, such a pretty dog would make a great family dog.” Bad idea! Same goes for Chows.

Breeders need to be more proactive in removing dogs from their lines that pass along harmful genetic traits. Breed organizations need to do a better job in policing their members to maintain healthy lines. The public needs to educate themselves better about a breed’s historical uses when choosing a new family pet.

Guest Writer Bio:

Dr. Scott Shaw has been practicing veterinary medicine for over thirty-two years. For the past fifteen years he has expanded his education into holistic medicine. He finished the professional veterinary homeopathy course in 2000. He became a certified veterinary acupuncturist in 2004. Since then he has taken many classes on advanced acupuncture techniques, Chinese herbal medicine and food therapy. He feels the blending of western veterinary and eastern veterinary medicine creates a balance for optimum patient care.

Check out his website, Westside Pet Hospital

Other articles by Dr. Scott Shaw:
Exercising Your Cat


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4 thoughts on “Genetic Time Bombs in Dog Breeds

  1. Hi Dr. Scott,

    Great post! I’m developing a website to monitor pomsky breeding at We’re working to put together a guide for breeder ethics and practices, do you have any recommendations for what should be included in this guide?

    Jake recently posted…Do Pomskies Shed?My Profile

  2. I have two mixed breeds. Both can have issues. My Chug a chihuahua pug mix has breathing and eating issues associated with the pug. I received him after I adopted a Chihuahua. I was not told she was pregnant when I adopted her. My Chug is the result.

    I also have chihuahua mixed with wire foxy terrier mix. He is really tiny and can not eat any hard food. He is almost 2 years old and weighs 5.6 pounds. I received him from a friend that allows their dog to roam the streets. My pup is the result. Other than that, I don’t see to have any issues yet.
    Sandy KS recently posted…Peanut Butter And Jelly French ToastMy Profile

    • Hi Sandy. Your two mixed breeds sound like little darlings, despite the health issues they have. I admire you for adopting them. Thanks for visiting my site. Hope to see you here again soon. Peace

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