5 Popular Dog Breeds to Think Twice About, According to a Vet

When you decide on the type of dog you want, there’s really no holding you back: You’re flying to Scotland to pick up your golden retriever from its “ancestral home.” But if you’re on the fence, you may be questioning: do certain breeds live longer? Are some harder to care for than others? Will this breed cost me more money? No, you’re not a villain for having these thoughts. It just means you’re a thoughtful future pet owner.

So, which popular breeds should you be watching out for? We checked in with New York City veterinarian Dr. Katja Lang, DVM (aka @doctorkibble), who explained that it’s not totally black or white. Instead, “You should think twice (or thrice) before you say ‘yup to the pup’!” Why? Because certain breeds often require more care and more costs. Here are the five popular dog breeds that Dr. Lang warns people should be extra careful about before bringing home.

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english bulldog
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English Bulldog

“People love them for their laid-back personality and ridiculous wrinkles, but be prepared to spend hours on skin care. Their skin folds and feet need to be cleaned daily, and they are very prone to allergies and recurrent skin infections. Due to their short, bow-legged limbs they are also susceptible to arthritis and other orthopedic disorders.”

french bulldog
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French Bulldog

“Another bulldog breed that’s impossible to hate with their permanent smiles. Like their cousin the English Bulldog, it is very common for them to have skin issues and chronic allergy problems. They also can have severe breathing issues that can require a visit to their puppy plastic surgeon to help them breathe easier. Another reason they may have to see a veterinary surgeon is an injury to their spine caused by a prolapsed disc or malformed vertebrae.”

german shepherd
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German Shepherds

“There is no wonder why these are the dogs protecting our country and also tucking our human babies into bed at night—they’re intelligent and caring. Unfortunately, though, they are susceptible to many orthopedic problems including hip and elbow dysplasia which can lead to early onset of arthritis. Another common genetic disorder we see is called degenerative myelopathy which affects their spinal cord and has no cure at this time.”

cavalier king charles spaniel
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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

“It is easy to fall in love with this gentle, happy-go-lucky breed, but by six to seven years of age, many develop a heart condition that causes their valves to be leaky. These cuties can be maintained for years after the diagnosis with the proper medications and monitoring, but their life expectancy is shortened (that is unless you want to travel to Japan for a new heart valve).”

bernese mountain dog
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Bernese Mountain Dog

“These lovable guys and gals are a walking bear hug. Yep, they are soft and cuddly little…cancer machines. Studies have shown that BMD are 225 times more likely to develop a specific form of cancer called histiocytic sarcoma and about 25 percent will be affected in their lifetime. So hug a Berner today if you haven’t yet.”

We know: It’s nearly impossible to look at those adorable faces and read the scary descriptions. But, as Lang told us, “If you have done your research and still decide this is the breed for you, then I say go for it, because you might get lucky with a healthy little pup! And always: The best thing you can do is either #adoptdontshop or go to a highly qualified breeder.”

Dara Katz

Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...
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