No breed is completely without health problems. Ask the breeder what health testing they have done on the sire and dam and if they are aware of any health issues in their lines (parents, grandparents and great-grandparents). Even among the most responsible breeders, health issues may arise. How a breeder responds to such problems is a more accurate indication of how reputable the breeder is.
A few health issues to be aware of include:
Canine hip dysplasia (CHD)
The primary abnormality in canine hip dysplasia is varying degrees of hip joint laxity, (looseness of hip joint), subluxation (partial dislocation of the hip joint), and severe arthritic change (a degenerative condition).
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
A disease of the heart muscle which causes the heart to enlarge and not function properly. Typically, both the ventricle (lower chamber) and the atria (upper chamber) enlarge and the ventricle loses its ability to contract and pump blood out to the body or the lungs.
There is a range of eye problems that can affect dogs. A yearly ophthalmologic examination by a certified veterinarian eye specialist is recommended for all breeds of dogs.
Allergies can be either food-based or environmental. The most common food allergens are beef and milk products, cereals (wheat, corn, soy), chicken and eggs.
Gastric Dilation and Bloat
This condition occurs mostly in large breed dogs with deep chest cavities. Gas in the stomach causes it to swell. In some cases, the stomach rotates on its axis (known as torsion), closing off both ends of it. This condition can be life threatening to the dog if not treated immediately, usually through surgical intervention.
Osteochondrosis Desiccans (OCD)
OCD is a hereditary disease due to a defect in the cartilage overlying the head of one of the long bones. It is usually found in the shoulder or elbow joints and rarely affects the hocks or stifles. The condition is characterized by cracks and flaps in articular cartilage, which cause inflammation, joint instability, pain, lameness, and degenerative joint disease.