Most people choose their favorite dog breeds based on physical cuteness and desirable personality traits. But veterinarians have a unique perspective. Their work provides a firsthand look at which breeds suffer the most health problems and have less-than-perfect temperaments.
Ben Simpson-Vernon, a veterinarian in Chigwell, England, shares helpful pet tips as Ben the Vet on TikTok. He recently racked up nearly seven million views—and lots of conflicting comments—when he shared a video titled, “5 Dog Breeds I Would Never Own As A Vet.”
The topic of “best” and “worst” dog breeds is very subjective. You’d be hard-pressed to find two dog lovers who agree on the top (or bottom) five. What makes Dr. Simpson-Vernon’s video all the more controversial is that he includes some of the world’s most popular pups.
He’s careful to start the video with a disclaimer:
“Remember, it is ultimately my opinion. You may disagree.”
But viewers are still fired up. Let’s see if you agree with the dog doc’s list.
5. Chow Chow
Chow Chows are sturdy, loyal, and delightfully fluffy, but as Ben the Vet points out, they can be a lot to handle.
“I’m sure there are some nice ones,” Dr. Simpson-Vernon says. ” But I just find they often don’t have a very nice temperament, they can be really aloof, and they’re often very aggressive at the vet’s.”
He notes that they are prone to eye problems and their broad faces make it difficult to apply a muzzle for safe handling. The doc also points out that the Chow Chow’s “purple tongue can be unnerving.”
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The American Kennel Club describes the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as “affectionate, gentle and graceful,” with top marks for their love of family and behavior around children and other dogs. Sadly, they are prone to a host of health problems, including heart disease, eye conditions, patella luxation, hip dysplasia, ear infections, and a neurological condition called syringomyelia.
Ben the Vet immediately acknowledges that Cavvies “are the loveliest dogs,” and he’d probably get one himself if they were healthier.
“They have a lot of issues,” he says. “Pretty much all of them get the same kind of heart disease, called mitral valve disease which means they mainly spend their final days spluttering and struggling to breath.”
Dachshunds are adorable, energetic and love entertaining their beloved humans with their playful antics. Unfortunately, one physical trait makes the breed a no-go for Dr. Simpson-Vernon.
The vet describes “sausage dogs” as some of his favorite patients, but one in four suffers from back problems due to their unusually long spines. For some Dachshunds, it’s a simple sprain. For others, it’s slipped discs, paralysis, lifelong pain, and even risky (and expensive) spinal surgery.
There’s “too much potential for heartbreak,” Ben the Vet says.
2. Shar Pei
The AKC states the ideal Shar Pei is “an amalgam of odd physical traits.” These include “a broad ‘hippopotamus’ muzzle; a blue-black tongue; small, sunken eyes with a scowling expression; tiny triangular ears; abundant folds of loose skin about the head, neck, and shoulders; and a tapered high-set tail—all blanketed by a harsh, sandpapery coat.”
These dogs are so wrinkly they have to have their eyelids tacked in place to prevent the lashes from rubbing painfully on the surface of their eyes. Shar Peis are also prone to skin problems and have “tiny, narrow” ear canals that are difficult to clean and medicate.
And these feisty dogs are a challenge for vets in more ways than one:
“They’re often trying to bite the faces off all the staff,” Dr. Simpson-Vernon remarks.
1. Pugs, French Bulldogs & Bulldogs
Dr. Ben cheats a bit when it comes to the number one breed he’d never own. Instead of one particular breed, he lists “any flat-faced or brachycephalic dog breed,” such as Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Pugs.
“They are so prone to so many problems,” Simpson-Vernon says.
He lists spinal problems, skin issues, eye problems, and the fact that more than half of these flat-faced dogs need C-sections to give birth safely.
“The Cesarian thing is enough of an ethical issue for me to never want to have one,” Simpson-Vernon says.
Not to mention how costly it can be to properly care for a brachycephalic breed.
@ben.the.vet 5 dog breeds I would/could never own as a veterinary surgeon #dogsoftiktok #learnontiktok #veterinary #benthevet ♬ Waiting For Heartache – BLVKSHP
Which Breeds Does Ben The Vet Recommend?
Due to popular demand, Dr. Simpson-Vernon created a follow-up video of the top 5 breeds he’d love to have. Check it out here!
Featured Image via Instagram