Unfortunately, overproduction of dogs and irresponsible breeders have led to the fact that today the most popular breeds of dogs – German Shepherd, Golden and Labrador Retriever, Maltese – have serious hereditary diseases.
Each breed has its advantages and disadvantages, so each breed implies certain health problems. I would venture to say that not every race is for every human being. Before you decide which breed will be your pet, ask yourself well and do not rush. Choose “your type”, choose a dog according to yourself, because it should be enjoyed for the next ten to 20 years. That coexistence should be a pleasure for both you and your dog.
It is said that every dog that is not a German Shepherd tries to become this dog all its life, or to get as close to it as possible. It is certainly the most complete dog, the breed with the most positive innate characteristics. But that mass “production” of dogs of this breed, that desire to have them all, and on the other hand the bad work of cynological societies and the weak breeding commission, led to big problems with shepherds, primarily health.
As we veterinarians say, mass production also meant mating externally inferior specimens, especially those with certain defects. And what did we get as a result? Huge percentage of dogs with congenital problems with elbows and hips, so-called dysplasias. Some are of a smaller degree and can be corrected by training (primarily swimming) and certain supplements, and some, unfortunately, only by very expensive surgical interventions. Some, on the other hand, cannot be corrected by surgery.
What is also important is that in German shepherds we got a “weaker”, softer character, and even timid dogs. All this was caused by this mass or trend, the hyperproduction of dogs led by people who are not capable of it.
After the era of German shepherds, the time of golden retrievers came. It is a dog of wonderful, tame character, mild temperament, a domestic dog, for the family, it adores children. Here, too, due to the mass, we have a weakening of health characteristics, and here I primarily mean the locomotor system – again dysplasia of the elbows and hips.
For example, there are so many different types of retrievers, which is a consequence of non-compliance with the standard, which is best supported by the fact that we had adult mature males weighing from 28 to as much as 55 kilograms in our clinic! A huge difference, you will agree.
This is a race we used to meet often, and it is the same today. Also, it is a wonderful dog, great nature, ideal for a family. Unfortunately, they are also prone to problems with the locomotor system. What often happens is that their silly character in the house prevails. This most often happens with new owners, more precisely with people who have not had dogs before, or with slightly “softer” and more lenient owners. That’s why I always tell everyone when they come to the clinic with a Labrador puppy to read a book or watch the movie “Marley and I”.
Small, white dogs
After these larger, “maxi” dogs, comes the decade-long era of small white dogs, as they are commonly called. In a large number of patients, Maltese, bison and poodles are in the first place. Why are there so many of them today, that is, why do small, white dogs rule today? Several things play a role here. Smaller dogs eat less, which may sound crazy to some, but the fact is that we live in difficult times and this is one of the important factors when choosing a pet. Smaller dogs require less walking.
What is very devastating for me is that an increasing percentage of these dogs are almost not taken for a walk, but perform their physiological needs at home, on diapers, as my owners praise me. Fortunately, that number is not that big, because in my opinion, in this way, we are depriving the dog of a huge part of his life. No running in nature, no hanging out with other dogs. They need all this for normal sociological development, because otherwise we have a lot of problems with behaviour – a lot of antisocial dogs that are not allowed to develop properly in character. Sometimes I say – we keep them like in a cage.
The Maltese is definitely the most common breed, and of course the price dictates that, because you can buy a Maltese puppy for 50 euro. For me, it is a very low price, miserable, and I always start from the fact that the puppy should not be taken before the vaccine, which also costs money; furthermore, that puppy had to be cleaned of intestinal parasites at least twice, and I can only hope that the puppies ate quality food. When a puppy is bought for that amount, there is always a doubt as to what has really been done from everything I have stated and how much has been invested in that puppy.
Characteristically, of these three breeds (Maltese, poodle, bison), the best and most stable is the bison. All three races have similar health problems – they all have a sensitive stomach and often require a special diet. Poodles usually have character problems, and often neurological disorders. What characterizes all three races, and especially the Maltese, is the portosystemic shunt, a disease of the blood vessels of the liver, which is genetically transmitted.
This is a breed that I say has a heart on four legs. However, it is also a race that is probably the only one born as a non-swimmer, or to put it mildly, as a bad swimmer who is not allowed to go into the water without supervision. In the last ten years, it has been very popular in our country, and its price has even dropped, so it has become more affordable. Its disadvantages are skin problems, frequent allergies and, of course, brachiocephalic syndrome.
Dogs with a blunt snout often have problems with breathing, due to narrowed nostrils, problems with the trachea, and due to a prolonged soft palate (which is the most common cause). This anatomical problem can lead to major health problems, even to occasional interruptions of breathing with loss of consciousness. The only way to solve this problem is – surgically. In some European countries, dogs with an elongated soft palate are excluded from breeding because it is suspected that this anatomical defect is genetically transmitted.
Spitz and Pomeranians
Everyone would like a Pomeranian Spitz, and they get a dog that weighs ten kilograms when it grows up. A classic example of fashion and, in my opinion, a poorly chosen pet, if you only do it for fashion. It is certain that fraud most often occurs through advertisements – you are looking for a Pomeranian, and you get a German spitz. Both races are wonderful – German Spitz are a bit “stronger”, while on the other hand Pomeranians are very sensitive.
German Spitz are very healthy and resistant dogs, and Pomeranians, however, have frequent heart problems and very often suffer from a disease called alopecia X. It is a hair loss that occurs in males older than a year and a half. This is a disease that is genetically transmitted and is characterized by hair loss, sometimes on the whole body except on the head and tail. The disease changes the color of the skin, so it sometimes becomes completely black. These dogs are organically healthy, but they should not be taken out in the strong sun, and sometimes they also need sunscreen.
Today they are forgotten, and they used to be very popular and present. These are dogs that love their family, that are long-lived. However, the biggest health disadvantage of this breed are spine problems and very common heart diseases.
Most often, the owners call him Snoopy and associate him with this cartoon character, but I must say that the beagle is everything except Snoopy. It is a hunting dog that requires a lot of space, a lot of time for walking, it is a dog whose head is constantly lowered because he is looking for, sniffing, exploring. A dog is required and often loud, but someone who once fell in love with a beagle will love it for the rest of his life. The most common health problems associated with them are frequent ear infections, pain syndrome, various intestinal parasitosis and gastrointestinal problems (this refers to chronic gastritis, inflammation of the pancreas and intestinal problems).
There are more and more of these dogs, and that makes me especially happy. Vizsla is a hunting dog, but first of all he is a wonderful family pet, a wonderful friend, someone for whom you will return to nature, to the forests. It is a breed of stable character, it is a little easier with females, and they are generally very healthy dogs.
Lagoto, a truffle hunter, has made a real boom in the Balkans in the last six to seven years. Some took it because of the beauty, some because of the hairstyle, some just love them, and some are doing their original task – searching for truffles. As with any breed that has been accompanied by expansion, and in this case we have a small litter, bad traits have been transmitted. These are primarily problems with dysplasia, with character (they are too scared or too angry), they have frequent ear infections due to the increased hairiness of the ear canal.