Are Purebred Dogs More Likely to Have Allergies


As a nation, we love our dogs…especially the purebred varieties. Who can resist the adorable face of an American Cocker Spaniel, the elegant grace of an Italian Greyhound, or the fancy looks of a Shar Pei?

Of course as different looking as they are, all these dog breeds come from a common ancestor. It’s only through a very careful and selective process of breeding have these varieties of dogs come about. Keeping the lines pure is a major obsession and also big business. The purebred dog industry represents a multi billion dollar business each year.

Dog Breeding Has its Downsides

What most people don’t know is that there’s a darker side to purebreds and it involves their health. The very same breeding methodology that brought us droopy ears, longer legs, or smaller frames also brought a predisposition to allergies.

You see, in order to arrive at a certain genetic outcome, breeders find dogs with similar characteristics and breed them. Eventually, the gene for long floppy ears, or whatever mutation you’re seeking, becomes part of the strain of generations of dogs and a breed is born.

The problem arises when dogs who share the desired trait also share some less desirable traits. One of these is allergies.

Skin Allergies in Purebred Dogs

Purebred dogs are way more likely to have skin allergies than “mutts”. The technical term for skin allergies is atopic dermatitis and it’s particularly prevalent in the following breeds:

  • Terriers
  • Dalmatians
  • Vizslas
  • English Bulldogs

Although all purebreds are more prone to skin allergies, the list above shows breeds commonly known to have skin allergies due to their breeding.

Next, we’ll explore one breed in particular, to see the effect of not just skin allergies but all types of allergies including inhaled and food allergies.

Allergies in English Bulldogs

Although you may not have an English Bulldog, learning about their predisposition to allergies can teach you a lot about your own dog, especially if it’s a purebred.

English bulldogs are also well-known to be prone to allergies. In fact, they are said to be the most expensive pet to own, simply because frequent trips to the vet for things like allergies can add up to thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the pet.  It’s because of this that pet medical insurance makes sense for many owners.

Skin allergies in any dog, but especially the English Bulldog, can be a result of what’s in their diet. One tiny change in their diet has been known to upset the whole balance and cause hair loss. Imagine what allergies can do!

Here’s a short list of allergy symptoms to watch out for:

  • chronic ear infections
  • swollen, bloodshot eyes
  • licking the paws incessantly
  • non-flea-related scratching
  • hot spots
  • rubbing the face on the furniture
  • watery eyes nonstop

English Bulldogs’ genetic makeup can make them allergic to so many things it’s hard to know what’s happening when you see these symptoms occurring.

They can be allergic to food, dust, pollen, perfume, polyester, carpets, a new laundry soap…you name it, the English Bulldog may very likely have a problem with it!

What Can You Do?

Owners of purebred dogs simply have to hope the cards aren’t stacked against them when it comes to their dogs and allergies. Of course you can do things to eliminate or reduce environmental allergens like keeping a clean home that’s as close to dust-free as you can make it. You can also choose soaps and cleaners that are free of dyes and perfumes- that’s nice for you, too. Clean your dog’s bowl often and keep his paws clean after a walk. If all these efforts don’t help, a vet can help you with altering the diet to see if it’s a food allergy causing their symptoms.

Regardless of the breed of your dog and the cause of his allergies, these improvements you can make are good for him and for you, too- might as well! Who knows, you just may find allergy relief for your purebred dog.


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