Common Health Issues in Shepherds

Some of the most popular breeds of shepherd dogs in the United States are the German Shepherd, Anatolian Shepherd, Australian Shepherd, Miniature American Shepherd, and Pyrenean Shepherd. For each of these breeds, we have compiled lists of potential health issues that you can find below.

The purpose of these lists is to inform dog owners about potential health issues that might arise if they own a dog of any of the mentioned breeds, or are just about to get one. This doesn’t mean that all of the diseases mentioned below will certainly occur in your dog, nor that a dog cannot have a disease that is not on these lists.

The following lists are not arranged in any particular order, i.e. it doesn’t mean that the health issues at the top of the list are more likely to occur and vice versa.

Common Health Issues in German Shepherds

The German Shepherd is the second most popular breed in America. These are strong athletic dogs, but like all others, they are susceptible to certain health issues. Below is a list of potential health issues that can occur in these dogs. This doesn’t mean that these health issues will surely occur in your dog, nor that the dog cannot suffer from some disease that is not mentioned on this list.

The health issues that German Shepherds are prone to more than other dog breeds are:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, degenerative disc disease, panosteitis, osteoarthritis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy
  2. Heart diseases: cardiomyopathy, subaortic stenosis (SAS)
  3. Problems related to the nervous system: epilepsy, degenerative myelopathy,
  4. Eye problems: cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, corneal dystrophy
  5. Cancer: lymphoma, osteosarcoma, melanoma, hemangiosarcoma, leiomyosarcomas/adenocarcinomas
  6. Dental health issues: gum infections
  7. Perianal fistula
  8. Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE)
  9. Von Willebrand’s Disease
  10. Megaesophagus
  11. Bloat or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)
  12. Hemophilia
  13. Diabetes
  14. Skin Allergies
  15. Endocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)
  16. Hyperparathyroidism
  17. Bladder stones
  18. Urinary tract infections
  19. Nose infections

German Shepherds need to be regularly examined by veterinarians in order to detect and treat potential health problems in time. These dogs are active and need a lot of physical activity, but it’s important to find balance and not overdo it because they have slightly more sensitive joints.

Common Health Issues in Anatolian Shepherds

Although the Anatolian Shepherd is known as a strong and hardy breed, this, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that dogs of this breed cannot have certain health problems. Below is a list of health issues that can occur in an Anatolian Shepherds.

The health issues that Anatolian Shepherds are prone to are:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, elbow dysplasia, panosteitis, anterior cruciate ligament rupture (ACL), arthritis, patellar luxation, carpal laxity syndrome
  2. Skin disorders: mange/demodicosis, lick granuloma
  3. Allergies: food and medicine allergies, atopy, flea allergies
  4. Cancer: osteosarcoma, mast cell tumors, lymphosarcoma, mammary cancer
  5. Eye problems: entropion
  6. Heart diseases: cardiomyopathy
  7. Ear infections: otitis externa
  8. Gastrointestinal syndrome (bloat)
  9. Ankyloglossia
  10. Hypothyroidism
  11. Dental issues: malocclusion
  12. Epilepsy

Please note that this doesn’t mean that all or most of these diseases will occur in your dog, but that these health issues have been reported in this breed over the years. Anatolian Shepherds are also known to be sensitive to anesthesia, so it’s necessary to approach its use with caution and monitor the dog all the time while under because there is a risk of an allergic reaction.

Common Health Issues in Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherds are among the breeds that don’t have major health issues. However, as with all other dogs, they also have certain health problems that you should be aware of if you own an Australian Shepherd or are planning to get one.

The health issues that Australian Shepherds are prone to more than other dog breeds are:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis (OCD), elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation
  2. Eye problems: cataracts, collie eye anomaly (CEA), colobomas, progressive retinal atrophy, persistent pupillary membrane (PPM), distichiasis
  3. Cancer: lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma
  4. Multi-Drug Resistance 1 (MDR1)
  5. Nasal dermatitis
  6. Hypothyroidism
  7. Epilepsy
  8. Inherited deafness
  9. Heart disease: patent duct arteriosus (PDA)
  10. Chronic allergies
  11. Hemophilia
  12. Von Willebrand’s disease
  13. Dental problems: malocclusion, missing teeth
  14. Umbilical Hernia
  15. Demodectic Mange
  16. Ear infections

This list includes diseases whose occurrence has been reported in Australian Shepherds over the years. This doesn’t mean that these health issues will necessarily occur in your dog, nor that he cannot get ill from some disease that is not mentioned in this list.

Common Health Issues in Miniature American Shepherds

The Miniature American Shepherd looks very similar to its predecessor, the larger Australian Shepherd. In addition to a number of physical traits, what these two breeds also have in common are certain health problems.

The health issues that Miniature American Shepherds are prone to are:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia, osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD)
  2. Eye problems: progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), iris coloboma, Collie eye anomaly (CEA), cataracts, corneal dystrophy, distichiasis, retinal dysplasia, microphthalmia
  3. Multi-Drug Resistance 1 (MDR1)
  4. Degenerative myelopathy
  5. Von Willebrand’s disease
  6. Deafness
  7. Heart disease: patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  8. Nasal solar dermatitis
  9. Hypothyroidism
  10. Cancer
  11. Epilepsy

This list has been compiled with the aim of letting Australian Shepherd owners know what are the potential problems their pets may face during their lifetime. This doesn’t mean that the mentioned diseases will certainly occur in all dogs of this breed, nor that there is no chance that some disease that we didn’t mention on the list will appear. To minimize the risk, always get the dogs exclusively from verified breeders and take them to veterinary checkups regularly.

Common Health Issues in Pyrenean Shepherds

Pyrenean Shepherds are quite healthy dogs with a fairly long life expectancy (about 15 years), but there are still a few health problems that can occur in this breed.

The health issues that Pyrenean Shepherds are prone to more than other dog breeds are:

  1. Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia
  2. Heart disease: patent ductus arteriosus
  3. Eye problems: progressive retinal atrophy, choroidal hypoplasia, Collie eye anomaly
  4. Epilepsy
  5. Cushing’s syndrome
  6. Ataxia

This list is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily mean that your dog will certainly develop any of the diseases we have listed. To maintain the health of your Pyrenean Shepherd, take him to the vet regularly, provide him with a sufficient amount of activity, and make sure that the food he eats is in accordance with his needs.