The 3 Most Common Inherited Canine Disorders

The 3 most common inherited canine disorders are genetic. Certain breeds tend to be more at risk for certain canine disorders than others and are thought to have a breed predisposition. Since inherited disorders usually cannot be cured, it is important to be aware of breed predisposition when you are in the market for a new dog. Asking the breeder for a health history of the dam and sire may prevent you from purchasing an animal that may later exhibit canine disorders.

Canine Skin Disorders

While there are nearly 30 inherited canine skin disorders, many of them primarily affect only one or two breeds. Most do not have a cure but the symptoms can be controlled with topical or oral medications. If you suspect your animal has inherited a skin disorder, see your vet for a medical diagnosis and treatment.

  • Acanthosis nigricans: found in dachshunds and is a hyper pigmentation of the skin
  • Canine acne: found in boxers, bulldogs, Dobermans and Great Danes
  • Icthyosis: found in terriers and spaniels and causes thickening of the skin and footpads
  • Pemphigus foliaceus: found in collies, Dobermans, and shepherds and causes blisters and pustules
  • Vitiligo: found in dachshunds, Dobermans, Labradors, pointers, and shepherds and causes loss of pigmentation or whitening

Canine Eye Disorders

The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) has a registry of purebred dogs that have been examined for inherited eye disorders. To reduce the possibility of obtaining a dog with an inherited eye disorder, only buy from breeders that can show their dogs have been tested and cleared through CERF. If the dog is not purebred, you can still check registrations through the Institute for Genetic Disease Control in Animals since they maintain registries and information on all breeds.

  • Corneal dystrophy: found in boxers, Boston terriers, welsh corgi and sheepdogs, and causes ulcerations of the cornea
  • Ectropion: found in basset hounds, bloodhounds, boxers, Labradors, spaniels and setters, and causes eyelids to sag or roll out
  • Entropion: found in mastiffs, chows, Great Danes and Saint Bernards, and causes the bottom eyelid to roll inward
  • Pannus: found in shepherds, sheepdogs, greyhounds and Siberian huskies, and causes chronic inflammation of the cornea
  • Retinal dysplasia: found in spaniels, retrievers and terriers, and causes the retina to fold and can cause blindness

Canine Neurological Disorders

These types of disorders are most often found in conjunction with musculoskeletal disorders. Also referred to as metabolic disorders, neurological disorders can be seen in both canines and humans. If you feel your animal may be suffering from a neurological disorder, visit your veterinarian for diagnosis.

  • Deafness: found most often in breeds with white coats and blue eyes such as dalmatians, border collies, and Shetland sheepdogs
  • Hydrocephalus: found in toy breeds such as chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian and poodles, and causes cerebrospinal fluid to build up in the brain
  • Laryngeal paralysis: found in dalmatians, Siberian huskies and bull terriers, and causes airway obstruction and issues with respiration
  • Myasthenia gravis: found in Jack Russell, springer spaniels and fox terriers, and causes muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Vertebral stenois: found in German shepherds and Dobermans, and causes narrowing of the spinal canal that leads to spinal cord compression