Dogs have been humanity’s stalwart companions for tens of thousands of years. Unfortunately, not every dog is as genetically healthy as they deserve to be, thanks largely to our meddling. Over the past few centuries, human-guided breeding has split dogs into hundreds of distinct breeds, based on specifically desired physical characteristics. And sometimes, these characteristics, or the inbreeding needed to create them, can lead to a high risk of health problems.
Scientists, animal welfare advocates, and some breeders have long been trying to bring attention to the plight of these less-healthy dogs. And while there are many in these communities who believe that it’s still possible to steer breeding practices in a positive direction, at least some countries have recently taken action to heavily regulate or effectively ban the breeding of certain dogs. Some organizations have also launched public outreach efforts to discourage the buying and selling of specific breeds.
Of course, every dog alive today is a good boy or girl worthy of being part of a family. But for people who are interested in letting a dog occupy their home and heart, here are some breeds known to be less healthy than others.