7 Overrated Dog Breeds Vets Wish Dog Owners Would Stop Buying
We love all dogs, but there are plenty of breeds that we might think twice about owning. Whether it be because of serious health issues associated with the breed, or because the breed requires hyper-specific care, some of the most popular dog breeds in America are also some of the most overrated.
Tired of seeing poorly bred dogs and overwhelmed owners in over their heads with a high-needs breed, vets want people to know the truth before they commit to one of these dog breeds.
Dr. Whitney Terrell, a veterinarian from Alabama, shared a now-viral TikTok video about the breeds she would never own. When you hear the myriad of reasons Dr. Terrell wouldn’t own a Pug, for example, it starts to make you think about how serious the commitment of dog ownership is.
Don’t get caught up in the hype around these breeds—being popular doesn’t mean these dog breeds are right for everyone. Let’s talk about serious health issues associated with extreme breed standards, poorly bred “designer” mixed breeds, and dogs with physical and psychological needs that go far beyond the capabilities of the average dog owner.
1. French Bulldogs
After years of supreme reign by Labradors and Golden Retrievers, the title of most popular dog breed in the US now officially belongs to the French Bulldog. An undeniably adorable dog breed, French Bulldogs are unfortunately plagued by a host of serious health issues. The unique, smoosh-faced, short-tailed, somewhat rotund appearance of the French Bulldog is also the reason for these health problems.
French Bulldogs suffer from all of the issues associated with brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs, like heat sensitivity, reverse sneezing, skin rashes and infections, heat stroke, and more. Some French Bulldogs have such poor breathing due to the shortness of their snouts that they need to undergo invasive reconstructive surgery to open their airways.
In addition to serious breathing issues and respiratory distress, French Bulldogs also commonly experience these health conditions:
- Ear infections
- Cleft palate
- Skin issues (e.g. skin fold dermatitis, skin allergies, pyoderma)
- Eye issues (e.g. cherry eye, cataracts, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcer, entropion)
- Joint issues (e.g. luxating patellas, hip and elbow dysplasia)
- Back issues (e.g. degenerative disc disease, intervertebral disc disease)
Medically complicated and extremely expensive to care for as a result, French Bulldogs are easily the #1 most overrated dog breed.
Like French Bulldogs, Pugs have a ton of health problems. Being brachycephalic, Pugs often have breathing problems that can be physically uncomfortable and distressing, and potentially life-threatening. Pugs also suffer from skin, eye, and ear problems associated with short snouts.
Aside from their squished faces, the most recognizable trait of the Pug is their little curly tail. As cute as the corkscrew tail is, dogs with tightly curled tails run the risk of developing back problems thanks to this extreme look.
Other health issues that are all too common amongst Pugs include:
- Dental disease
- Mast cell tumors
- Bladder and kidney stones
- Liver disease
- Idiopathic epilepsy
As much as we love these adorable rolly-polly pups, the number of health issues that affect Pugs makes them one of our most overrated breeds. If this breaks your heart, you’re not alone, and there might be a solution! Developed by breeders intent on improving the health of the breed, Retro Pugs have longer snouts, less curly tails, leaner bodies, and fewer health problems!
3. Micro Bullies
Micro Bullies are one of the latest “designer dog” trends and have become particularly popular online. Breeders get millions of views and likes for photos of the most extreme Micro Bullies, which are American Bullies selectively bred to be extremely small. Sometimes crossed with other small breeds, Micro Bullies are truly a mad scientist experiment gone wrong.
Few Micro Bullies survive beyond a few years of life and are often physically extremely uncomfortable for their short lives. Bred purely for looks and without concern for health or neurological development, the vast majority of Micro Bullies are very sick or struggling with developmental issues.
While the hype might be big online, we think all the noise is just covering up how bad breeding these dogs is. Many have severe birth defects, and may even need physical assistance to do simple tasks like walking. Hopefully, as people learn how unethical breeding dogs for extreme physicality is, we’ll see fewer dogs suffering as a result.
Some of the most common health issues Micro Bullies experience include:
- Joint issues
- Back problems
- Breathing problems
- Developmental issues
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
One of the world’s favorite toy breeds is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. That sweet, soft face and super-gentle personality are irresistible, so it’s easy to see why so many people love this breed. The reason we think Cavaliers are overrated has nothing to do with their behavior or personalities.
So, what’s the problem? Why should fewer people choose the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?
Sadly, huge numbers of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels develop serious health issues, and heart disease is the cause of more than 50% of all Cavalier King Charles Spaniel deaths. Heart breaking and seemingly inevitable, breeders have yet to find a good solution to the suffering of this breed, and almost all examples of the breed will develop heart disease by age 10. In addition to cardiac diseases, Cavaliers are also highly susceptible to gastrointestinal issues.
Rottweilers are fantastic dogs with highly specific needs, and unfortunately too many find themselves in homes unable to meet those needs. In the right circumstances, Rottweilers make fabulous family dogs and are loyal, protective, and even-tempered. The right families have experience with working dogs and guardian breeds, and have the time to spend training and working with their Rotty almost daily.
In the wrong environment, Rottweilers can be reactive, anxious, and domineering. Happiest when they know the schedule and can follow a routine, Rottweilers are too often purchased by families that are not prepared for how much their lives will revolve around their dog. Dog breeds like the Rottweiler become popular for their looks but are all too often neglected when their humans can’t meet their needs.
Unfortunately, Rottweilers can also suffer from serious neurologic disorders like neuroaxonal dystrophy, a degenerative genetic condition.
Doodles—or Poodle mixes—have been the hottest dog craze for more than two decades, with breeders experimenting with new mixes all the time to create interesting but perhaps ill-advised combinations. Unfortunately, the breeding of Doodles is completely unregulated, and done without the physical or psychological health of the dogs in mind.
Many dog experts ask: Why buy a Doodle when you could own a Poodle or a purebred? Why spend thousands of dollars on a mixed-breed dog when there are countless adoptable mutts at local shelters and animal rescues?
Simply put, aggressive advertising by unethical breeders has worked, and people around the world have fallen for the false dream of the “perfect hypoallergenic family dog.” Not only are Doodles not hypoallergenic, but their traits are completely unpredictable, and often they are bred without proper health precautions like genetic testing and parental health screening.
Often plagued with behavioral issues like separation anxiety, hyperactivity, and inattention, many Doodles also suffer from health problems like allergies, joint issues, Addison’s disease, bloat, and more. In addition to physical health issues, many Doodle owners are not prepared for how much grooming they need, and they can quickly become matted.
Unhealthy, unethically bred, and high-maintenance, Doodles of all kinds are an overrated category of dog breed.
7. German Shepherds & Belgian Malinois
We’ve lumped German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois into the same category because we think they are overrated for the same reason. Gorgeous breeds with incredible intelligence, athleticism, and loyalty, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are not appropriate breeds for the average dog owner.
Both breeds were designed to be working dogs, and possess an intensity that doesn’t fit well with everyday family life. Guard dogs at heart, both German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois need experienced handlers who can dedicate the bulk of their time to training and enriching their dogs.
Often underestimated, these breeds come to vet offices and dog trainers with complaints of reactivity, possessive behaviors, and “unmanageable” energy that can’t be satisfied with a quick walk around the block. The simple truth is that few dog owners have the time, energy, experience, space, and resources for these breeds.
Also, we would NEVER tell anyone to buy a German Shepherd because shelters are flooded with them. If you really want this breed, go to any shelter and you will find many.
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