Study shows that breeding practices for the past decades has caused health problems in German Shepherd Dogs

According to the latest research in the UK, GSD’s are most likely to die from complications due to musculosketetal disorders.  Almost a half a million GSD’s were studied by the VetCompass™ Programme at the Royal Veterinary College.


The dogs surveyed came from 430 veterinary clinics. They found a total of 263 disorders, the most common were, inflammation of the ear canal (7.89% of dogs), osteoarthritis (5.54%), diarrhea (5.24%), overweight and obesity (5.18%), and aggression (4.76%).

According to Dr. Dan O’Neill, from the Royal Veterinary College, GSD’s have the second highest number of health disorders, with Great Danes being the first.  According to the report, GSD’s suffer from an abnormal formation of the hip joint, cancer, and degenerative spinal disorders which he feels is a result of breeding for cosmetic features such as a sloping back and lower hindquarters.

This is the first study, which included 17 different breeds, whose goal is to help breeders improve the health of their dogs.

It would be interesting to see how the study compares with the health of GSD’s in other countries.



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