Which Dog Breeds are Most Susceptible to Joint Problems?

arthritis joint problems Mar 16, 2020

Joint problems are unfortunately common in dogs as they grow older, especially those that were not bred by respected and capable breeders. For some dogs these issues are only a minor nuisance. For others, however, these problems can get to the point where, over time, they become nearly incapable of performing any type of physical activity.

Dogs who suffer from osteoarthritis will experience varying levels of pain and inflammation around their joints through out their lives. Larger, heavier breeds of dogs in particular are more likely to suffer from this condition. As we see more and more disease of over nutrition, this can be a big problem for larger breed puppies as their bones can grow more quickly that their bodies and they are more likely to participate in more intense physical activity at a early age before there joint shave stopped developing. These are two big factors that influence osteoarthritis development later on in life.

Here are the top ten breeds of dogs (in no particular order) that are most susceptible to joint problems:

  • German shepherds
  • Golden retrievers
  • Labrador retrievers
  • Dachsunds
  • Newfoundlands
  • Bernards
  • Rottweilers
  • Great Danes
  • Mastiffs
  • Old English Sheep Dogs

As you can see, just about all of these breeds of dogs are on the larger (to very large) side. The notable exception here is dachshunds. For the dachshund, the primary issue is that its back is so long and its legs are so short that it makes it far more susceptible to both spinal and joint issues. Other dogs that fall into the same general family as dachshunds, are bulldogs and basset hounds, are also predisposed to cartilage and joint problems, as well as elbow incongruity (one leg/elbow bone growing longer or differently than the other).

The must common joint condition of smaller dogs are developmental patellar luxation, a birth defect and common condition where the patella (knee cap) dislocates or moves out of its normal location, which causes the dog’s knees to dislocate and potentially lock out of postion and this can force the dog to hop around abd try and relocate the displace patella (knee cap).

Here are the top 10 breeds of dogs (in no particular order) that are most susceptible to this joint problem:

  • Toy Poodles
  • Maltese
  • Jack Russell Terriers
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Pomeranians
  • Pekingese
  • Cavelier King Charles Spaniels
  • Boston Terriers
  • Plummer Terriers
  • Patterdale Terriers


In general, though, it’s the bigger dogs that have the most to fear in terms of arthritis. While breeding is definitely an issue, the amount of weight the dog carries also plays a major role in the likelihood of developing arthritis. Even healthy dogs of larger breeds have a high likelihood of suffering from joint problems at some point in their lives. Those that become obese are adding even more weight and pressure to their joints. Therefore, it’s important pet owners make sure their dogs are getting the proper nutrition, staying lean and plenty of exercise.

For more information about which breeds are likely to suffer from joint issues, contact us today at VTA.

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© Author: Dr. John | Veterinary Teaching Academy