The Top 10 Dog Breeds Most Susceptible to DJD

Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) refers to arthritis or osteoarthritis caused by the gradual deterioration of the cartilage within one or more joints. Whilst it affects all dog breeds, some are more susceptible than others. Understanding a breed’s predisposition to DJD can help owners take proactive measures to prevent or manage this condition as best as possible.

1. German Shepherd

German Shepherds are loyal and highly intelligent dogs which is likely to be one of the reasons they are the third most popular dog breed in the world. The breed has a relatively long life expectancy given their size, but they are at high risk for joint problems, with many GSDs suffering from hip or elbow dysplasia. To help prevent DJD it’s recommended GSD owners regularly exercise their dogs and give them joint supplements once they’re over the age of 5.

2. Labrador Retriever

Labradors are friendly, outgoing and brilliant family dogs – which is probably one of the reasons it was America’s favourite dog breed for 31 years straight. However, studies have shown they are much more susceptible to DJD than other breeds, which is exacerbated by their tendency to be overweight which puts additional strain on their joints. If you own a labrador, weight management and proper exercise can help prevent issues further down the line.

3. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are another one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, likely due to their great temperament and love for affection. However, the breed has long been known to be at high risk for elbow dysplasia. Kirberger & Stander (2007) found elbow dysplasia in 38% of Golden retrievers in South Africa but others have estimated prevalences of 4 – 5% (Clements et al 2006, Coopman et al 2008). There is strong evidence that dysplasia can be genetic, so if you’re looking to purchase a Golden Retriever puppy it’s recommended that you check whether the parents suffer from joint issues before purchasing. If you own a Golden Retriever early screening, weight management and joint supplements can help prevent or manage DJD.

4. Rottweiler

Rottweilers are robust working dogs who are known for their loyalty, intelligence and protectiveness. However, due to their size and breeding, some studies show between 33 – 55% of rottweilers are susceptible to elbow dysplasia. To understand whether your Rottweiler is at high risk for DJD you can go and have their distraction indexed analysed, this will help determine how likely they are to suffer from dysplasia. Ensuring your dog has proper exercise, a good diet and joint supplements can help prevent or manage DJD.

5. Bulldog

Bulldogs are loved for their goofy and affectionate personalities, but their stocky body and predisposition to obesity can make them particularly at high risk for arthritis. If you own a bulldog, regular check-ups, weight management and frequent low-impact exercise such as swimming is recommended to prevent DJD. 

6. Dachshund

Dachshunds are famous for their long body and short legs. But this unique physique puts excessive strain on their back and joints making them highly susceptible to DJD particularly in their later years. If you own a dachshund it’s recommended that you give your dog joint supplements from a young age and are particularly cautious and avoid activities that can exacerbate joint issues, such as opting for low-impact exercise.

7. Great Dane

Great Danes are the big friendly giants of the dog world and according to the American Kennel Club are the eighth most popular dog breeds in the US. However, their size is already the reason they’re at high risk for joint problems. Whilst most dogs need to take joint supplements from the age of eight, it’s strongly recommended that Great Danes start taking them from four or earlier.

8. Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards are known for being loving, placid dogs and with good socialization, they can make great family dogs. Their average life span is between 8-10 years and they are very high risk for DJD because of their tremendous size and heavy weight. If you own a Saint Bernard it’s recommended that you take the Arthritis Questionnaire every six months and give your dog joint supplements.

9. Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are known for their long ears and short legs, which contribute to their susceptibility to DJD due to the added stress on their joints particularly in the elbows. You should give your dog joint supplements from a young age and go to the vet for regular screening so you can catch anything as early as possible.

10. Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel is the ‘smallest member of the sporting dog family.’ and is a hugely popular dog breed. Due to their high energy and active lifestyle, their joints can be under a lot of stress, making them susceptible to DJD. To help prevent joint issues make sure your cocker spaniel gets plenty of exercise and give them joint supplements if they’re over the age of five.

The benefits of using joint supplements to prevent DJD

We spoke to Dec’s Pets an Irish Pet Shop about the key benefits of using joint supplements and they said “There are many scientific studies that show giving your dog joint supplements can help lubricate joints, support cartilage regeneration, prevent stiffness and reduce inflammation”.

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