Ask Doctor Dog: Are Short-Legged Breeds Unhealthy?
Petite. Vertically challenged. Fun-sized. Whatever you call it, there's nothing wrong with being short. Unless you're a corgi who really wants to get on the couch.
Today, Doctor Dog is answering one reader's pressing question about diminutive dog breeds. Spoiler alert: Dachshunds aren't designed to be pole vaulters.
You can ask me any questions whenever you want. Then look for my responses in my Dear Doctor Dog advice column on Always Pets.
The Question: Are Dachschunds and Corgis Prone to Health Problems?
Dear Doctor Dog,
After waiting for years to live in a place that allows dogs, I'm finally ready to bring one home. I have the care aspect figured out, but I'm struggling to settle on a breed. I love the look of dogs with short legs, like Corgis, Dachshunds and Scotties, but I've heard they're prone to serious back problems.
How much should I worry about that? Should I go for a taller breed, or is there any way to prevent back problems if I do get a short, long-bodied breed?
— Rebecca Goldberg from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Doctor Dog's Answer: Yes, but No Breed Is Perfect
It's great to see that you're putting so much thought into choosing the right breed. You're on the right track to becoming an amazing dog parent.
To answer your question, it's true. Breeds with short legs and long bodies are more likely to injure their backs than more evenly proportioned breeds. That said, every breed has predispositions to certain health conditions, and many are preventable.
If you do adopt a corgi or dachshund, helping them avoid jumping on and off the couch or bed will go a long way to keeping their spines in tip-top shape. Shallow doggy stairs can be purchased to make it easier for dogs to be independent without hurting themselves.
No matter what breed you settle on, it's always wise to set aside a pet emergency fund to cover unexpected vet bills.
— Doctor Dog
More Infurmation About Caring for Short-legged Dog Breeds
Have a Question for Doctor Dog?
Leave any questions for me, and look for my responses in my Dear Doctor Dog advice column on Always Pets. Have questions about cats, bunnies, hamsters or any other critters? Shoot! I may be a dog myself, but I'm here to help all your animal companions, whether they have four legs or fins.
Important reminder: Doctor Dog is happy to provide general pet care guidance, but she cannot provide formal medical recommendations or diagnoses for your pet. Your pet's veterinarian should always be your primary resource for serious questions regarding your pet's health.