Dog Health

Due to the breed's versatility, the GSD has become a very popular pet. This is a mixed blessing. While many people truly enjoy the pleasure a well-bred and well-trained GSD adds to their lives, others have been attracted to the breed primarily to make money. A well-bred GSD is a remarkable dog, but a GSD from a disreputable breeder, accidental breeding, or someone trying to recoup their initial investment, can be a nightmare. Without careful consideration of genetic, temperament, and physical characteristics, the resulting litter can be plagued with serious health and temperament problems. Health disorders (some genetic) seen in GSDs are below:

D = Dominant

R = Recessive

P = Polygenic

% = may not always be genetic

^ = suspected genetic

? = unknown

  • Achalasia (R)
    • Dilated Esophagus; Vomiting Begins At Weaning
  • Ankylosis (?)
    • Fusing Of Vertebrae In Tail (Or Spine) Reducing Range Of Motion
  • Subaortic Stenosis (?)
  • Bilateral Cataract (D)
    • Opague Lens Form In Both Eyes, Usually After 2 Years
  • Calcium Gout (^)
    • Calcium Gout, Lumps In Skin Caused By Calcium Deposits
    • Calcinosis Circumscripta
  • Cerebellar Hypoplasia (^)
    • Abnormal Gait And Loss Of Control Starting At 12 Weeks
  • Chronic Pancreatitis (^)
    • Lack Of Enzymes That Digest Fat And Protein;
    • Chronic Weight Loss
  • Cleft Lip And Palate (%)
    • Nonclosure Of Bones Of Upper Jaw And Roof Of Mouth
  • Corneal Dermoid Cyst (^)
    • Congenital Cyst On Eye Surface
  • Cryptorchidism (^)
  • Undescended Testicle(S)
  • Cystinuria (R)
    • High Cystine In Urine; Prone To Stone Formation (Males Only)
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (?)
    • Spinal Degeneration In Older Dogs
    • Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyleopathy - CDRM
  • Diabetes Mellitus (R)
    • Onset Of Insulin Deficiency At 2-6 Months
  • Distichiasis (^)
    • Extra Row Of Eyelashes Irritate Eye
  • Ectasia (R)
    • Optic Nerve/Retina Abnormalities (Aka "Collie Eye")
  • Elbow Dysplasia (D)
    • Progressive Developmental Deformity Of Elbow Joints,
    • Symptomless To Crippling
    • May Be Polygenic
    • See Ununited Anchoneal Process
  • Eosinophilic Colitis (^)
    • Chronic Bouts Of Diarrhea
  • Eosinophilic Myositis (?)
    • Acute, Relapsing Inflammation Of The Muscles
  • Epilepsy (R)
    • Recurrent Seizures Onset Between 1-3 Years Old
  • Hemophelia A (R)
    • (Factor VIII Deficiency) Slowed Blood Clotting, Hemorrhages
  • Hip Dysplasia (P)
    • Progressive Developmental Deformity Of Hip Joints,
    • Symptomless To Crippling
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (^)
    • Slipped Disc, Pain, Weakness To Paralysis Of Limbs
  • Malabsorption Syndrome (^)
    • Inability To Absorb Digested Food Leads To Starvation
  • Nictitating Membrane Eversion (R)
    • Third Eyelid Rolls Back; Treated Surgically
  • Osteochondritis Dessicans (^)
    • Growth Disorder Of Shoulder Cartilage; Pain, Lameness (OCD)
    • Pannus (^)
      • Vessels, Skin And Pigment Migrate Over Eye Surface, Leading To Blindness
    • Panosteitis (^)
      • Acute Shifting Lameness Of Growing Dogs,
      • Deep Bone Pain
      • Self-Limiting
    • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (P)
      • Aortal Development Defect In Fetus,
      • Loud Heart Murmur
      • Exercise Intolerant
    • Perianal Fistuala (^)
      • Open Draining Tracts Around Anus
    • Peripheral Vestibular Disease (?)
      • Defect Of The Middle Ear Causing Puppies To Circle
    • Pituitary Dwarfism (^)
      • Normally Proportioned Dwarf, Mentally Retarded, Usually Fatal
    • Renal Cortical Hypoplasia (^)
      • Degeneration Of Both Kidneys, Beginning At About 1 Year
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (^)
      • Retina Degenerates Causing First Night Blindness Then Total Blindness
    • Right Aortic Arch (P)
      • Abnormal Artery Constricts Esophagus, Vomiting
    • Soft Ears (R)
      • Weak Ear Musculature
    • Spondylosis Deformans (^)
      • Spinal Arthritis
    • Ununited Anchoneal Process (D)
      • Elbow Dysplasia; Pain And Limp In Front Legs
    • Von Willebrand's Disease (D)
      • Bleeding Disorder