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Ten inherited disorders in purebred dogs by functional breed groupings.

  • Author(s): Oberbauer, AM;
  • Belanger, JM;
  • Bellumori, T;
  • Bannasch, DL;
  • Famula, TR
  • et al.


Analysis of 88,635 dogs seen at the University of California, Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital from 1995 to 2010 identified ten inherited conditions having greater prevalence within the purebred dog population as compared to the mixed-breed dog population: aortic stenosis, atopy/allergic dermatitis, gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), early onset cataracts, dilated cardiomyopathy, elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), and hepatic portosystemic shunt. The objective of the present study was to ascertain if disorders with higher prevalence in purebreds were restricted to particular breed group classifications within the purebred population, specifically the American Kennel Club breed grouping or groups with genomic similarities based upon allele sharing. For each disorder, healthy controls seen at the hospital during that same time period were matched for age, weight, and sex to each affected dog to determine risk of disease presentation in the purebred group as compared to that of the mixed-breed population. To enhance reliability of the analyses, sampling of matched healthy to affected dogs was repeated 50 times. For each comparison, the purebred subgroups to mixed-breed odds ratio was determined as was the mean P value used to test this ratio.


For aortic stenosis, GDV, early onset cataracts, dilated cardiomyopathy, elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, and portosystemic shunt, most purebred groups were not statistically distinct from the mixed-breed population with higher prevalence in purebreds restricted to distinct subsets of purebred dogs. The conditions of atopy/allergic dermatitis, hypothyroidism, and IVDD were more pervasive across the purebred population with many groups having higher prevalence than the mixed-breed population. The prevalence of IVDD in purebred terrier groups was statistically lower than that observed for mixed-breed dogs.


The results offer an assessment of the distribution of inherited disorders within purebred dogs and illustrate how mixed-breed and subpopulations of purebred dogs do not differ statistically in prevalence for certain disorders. Some disorders appear linked to common ancestors providing insight into disease allele origin whereas others may be due to selection for common structural morphology. Knowledge of the origin of a condition may aid in reducing its prevalence in the dog population as a whole.

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