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10 Dogs Prone to Heart Disease: Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

a dachshund dog looks sick lying on its owner

10 Dogs Prone to Heart Disease: Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Lorna Whittemore  Photo


Dr. Lorna Whittemore

BVMS, MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Dogs are prone to different health conditions as they age. This can be seen more commonly among certain breeds in comparison to others, whether it be due to their genetics, environment, or their diet and lifestyle. Usually, these common diseases or health conditions among dog breeds will become more prevalent in elderly dogs.

A major health concern for a dog owner is whether their dog is prone to developing different heart conditions. Keep reading this article to learn about 10 dogs who are more prone to heart disease.


The 10 Dogs Prone to Heart Disease

1. Golden Retriever

golden retriever dog lying on the floor
Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock

Golden Retrievers are very common family dogs who are the friendliest of the canine bunch. They have stark white to golden fur and folded ears that love being scratched. Unfortunately, these dogs are also prone to health conditions, such as dilated cardiomyopathy, DCM. This is a type of heart disease resulting in weakened heart muscles and ultimately heart failure.

2. Great Dane

Great Dane
Image Credit:Nathalie SPEHNER, Unsplash

The Great Dane is one of the largest of all dog breeds. They have long legs and deep chested bodies, making them look overgrown and almost “giant”. Do not be alarmed by their size though, as they are generally very friendly and don’t need a lot of exercise. Great Danes are generally found lounging on the couch or squashing their partners by plopping on their laps for a stroke. Unfortunately these gentle giants are susceptible to DCM.

3. Boxer

boxer on a mountain hike

This dog has a reputation for being a high-energy dog with the need for a lot of exercise. Usually, they are brown in color and have the characteristic of white paws they love to use (hence the name “boxer”). Their dark brown eyes and low jowls give them a puppy-dog look that everyone is drawn to. Unfortunately, they are prone to genetic heart diseases involving narrowing of the pulmonary and aortic valves called pulmonary and aortic stenosis.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

cavalier king charles spaniel dog lying on sofa
Image By: Fotyma, Shutterstock

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known for its long, floppy ears (usually light brown in color) and friendly disposition. They are smaller-sized dogs with long, straight fur and have a patchy-type fur pattern. They are, unfortunately, one of the most prone dog breeds to develop heart diseases due to degeneration of valves in their heart. This is called mitral valve endocardiosis. It can be noticed by labored breathing, coughing, and reduced exercise tolerance.

5. Dachshund

miniature dachshund on the bed
Image Credit: Dominika Roseclay, Pexels

These pups are known for their spunky attitude and short stature, all while being quite loyal and affectionate. It’s the dog breed that is also known as the “wiener dog”, which easily describes their body type. Dachshunds are one of the longest-living dog breeds, but they are prone to heart diseases that can affect them as they age. It is a good idea to increase the number of visits your dog has with their veterinarian as they age to keep an eye out for degenerative valve disease.

6. Miniature Poodle

miniature poodle puppy on the grass
Image By: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

Another popular breed is the Poodle, and even more, the Miniature Poodle. These curly-haired dogs are well known for being tied to French royalty due to their intelligent nature and great posture. They almost have a sense of knowing how pretty they are! Sadly, the Miniature Poodle is also prone to valvular heart disease that will affect the function of the organ over time.

7. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher Sitting
Image By: 1790316, Pixabay

This breed has a rather uninviting reputation in television and movies, due to its intimidating appearance. However, this also makes them loyal and great defenders of their owners. The Doberman is very muscular but has a slim build making them look very strong and stable in their stance. But the Doberman Pinscher is also known for developing DCM later in life. It is a good idea to start visiting the vet more regularly to keep an eye on their heart function.

8. Schnauzer

Standard Schnauzer
Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock

The Schnauzer is highly recognizable with its long, curly fur around their face and legs. Coming in many different colors and sizes, the Schnauzer has grown in popularity in modern times. They look like they mean business, but they are also friendly and great with people. Unfortunately, this breed is also prone to valvular heart conditions that can affect them later in life.

9. Irish Wolfhound

irish wolfhound_Java Oudova_shutterstock
Image Credit: Jana Oudova, Shutterstock

Another giant dog breed on this list is the Irish Wolfhound. A less common breed that is characterized by its medium straight fur, bigger stature, and need for a lot of exercise. However, this makes them more prone to developing heart muscle disease DCM as they age. It is important to keep an eye on their heart health and any signs that may develop, especially in their older years.

10. Labrador Retriever

woman walking labrador retriever in the park
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

One of the most common dog breeds across North America is the Labrador Retriever. These loyal, friendly, family dogs are characterized by their dark brown, golden, or black coats and super friendly faces. They always seem to have big smiles on their faces and love to play. Unfortunately, Labrador Retrievers are more prone to an uncommon heart valve disorder-Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD).



It’s important to keep an eye on your dog, especially if their breed is prone to developing any type of heart disease. Monitor for coughing, reduction in ability to exercise, weight loss and increased breathing rate. Even as younger pups, you should regularly get them checked by a veterinarian who will examine and monitor heart health for you. Early detection and treatment will help improve the quality of life for your lovely pet.

Featured Image Credit: Leka Sergeeva, Shutterstock

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