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20 Dog Breeds Prone To Seizures: Vet Approved Health Guide

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

beagle hiding under the bed

Vet approved

Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

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

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We can’t always foresee what can go wrong when we bring our puppies home. Our dogs can have numerous oddities crop up, from accidents to health issues. Our job is to prepare for anything we might encounter along the way to care for our canines the best we can.

Seizures can happen to any dog based on several factors. However, some breeds are genetically predisposed to idiopathic epilepsy. This form of epilepsy usually affects young to middle aged dogs and no underlying cause for the seizures can be found. As this form of epilepsy is believed to be partly due to genetic factors, some families and breeds are at an increased risk of developing it.

So, what breeds fall on the list for a tendency to epilepsy? And what can you do to prepare? Here are 20 dog breeds that could face the problem.

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The 20 Dog Breeds Prone To Seizures

1. Beagles

beagle dog lying on the bed covered with a blanket
Image Credit: Kuznetsov Alexey, Shutterstock

Beagles warm our hearts with their sweet personalities. It’s no wonder they are one of the most popular dogs to exist. Originally, these pups were hunting dogs with the vocals to prove it, but they have taken a much more domestic role over time.

Beagles are usually healthy dogs with few issues to speak of. However along with epilepsy here are other health issues they can be more prone to:

Beagles can also suffer from:
  • Cherry eye
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Luxating patella
  • Obesity
  • Ear infections
  • Dental disease

2. Bernese Mountain Dogs

male and female bernese mountain dogs on the ground
Image Credit: Cheese78, Shutterstock

Bernese Mountain Dogs definitely get points for being such fantastic companions. But unfortunately, they are another breed that can be at increased risk of developing seizures.

Bernese Mountains Dogs also can be prone to other health conditions like:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Certain Cancers
  • Bloating- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)
  • Canine degenerative myelopathy

3. Border Collies

Red Border Collie
Image Credit: Ksenia Raykova, Shutterstock

Border Collies are well regarded for their athletic capabilities. These intelligent dogs rank high, usually in the top three, for canine intelligence. In addition to their brains, these dogs make fantastic family companions if they have plenty of exercise and lots to keep them occupied.

While typically very healthy, Border Collies can sometimes have epilepsy.

Border Collies suffer from additional health issues such as:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Collie eye anomaly
  • Hypothyroidism

4. Boxers

close up of boxer dog
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Boxers are very popular dogs because of their playful and loyal characters. They were originally bred as working dogs and have a lot of energy.

Boxers have a very high prevalence of seizures and other health conditions including:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Heart disease
  • Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Disease
  • Eye ulcers
  • Certain Cancers

5. Cocker Spaniels

Senior cocker spaniel dog on the grass
Image Credit: Angyalosi Beata, Shutterstock

Cocker Spaniels are cheerful, chipper little dogs with unique appearances and quite a history. They have wonderful temperaments and make perfect additions to growing families or single owners alike. Plus, you can give them some pretty adorable hairstyles to sport around.

Cocker Spaniels can experience other potential health issues like:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Earproblems
  • Luxating patella
  • Allergies
  • Hereditary eye disorders

6. Rough Collies

Rough Collie
Image Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

Rough Collies might be quite familiar faces if you know the classics—like Lassie. These even-tempered, graceful dogs have excellent dispositions. They make loving companions for families and they love to have space to roam.

Rough Collies can suffer from idiopathic epilepsy and may have other issues crop up, like:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Eye problems
  • Heart disease

7. Dachshunds

Brindle Dachshund
Image Credit: Sapozhinkov Shoes Georgy, Shutterstock

Dachshunds, or wiener dogs, are charming little sausage-shaped pups with larger-than-life personalities. Even though they were bred to chase badgers and weasels, they weaseled their way into our hearts in the home. These perfect, tiny companions are excellent additions to almost any living situation.

Dachshunds can suffer from seizures as well as other health problems including:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Back problems- Intervertebral disc disease
  • Luxating patella
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

8. Golden Retriever

golden retriever dog with a toy football in its mouth
Image Credit: cookie_cute, Shutterstock

Golden Retrievers are among the most popular dogs in the United States. People are completely smitten by their beautiful personalities and capabilities. Golden Retrievers are one of the primarily selected candidates for service training

However, Golden Retrievers can have seizure disorders like epilepsy along with a laundry list of other health issues.

Golden Retrievers can have:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Eye problems
  • Allergies
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Ichthyosis
  • Aortic stenosis

9. Irish Setters

irish setter in mountains
Image Credit: Kseniia Kolesnikova, Shutterstock

Irish Setters are beautiful, athletic dogs that make wonderful companions. This vibrant breed has been used as hunting dogs for so long—but has mainly transitioned to indoor home living.

Irish Setters can have seizures and other neurological conditions that can cause tremors, weakness, and imbalance.

Other health issues that Irish Setters suffer from include:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Gastric dilatation
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Entropion
  • Von Willebrand disease

10. Irish Wolfhounds

irish wolfhound
Photo credit: 12019, Pixabay

Irish Wolfhounds are among the most massive dogs known to man. These tall, ancient beasts awe onlookers with their unique appearance and elegant grace. Despite their speed, these dogs usually prefer a relaxed lifestyle.

In addition to seizure disorders, Irish Wolfhounds have shorter average lifespans than most breeds and can be susceptible to a number of issues.

Irish Wolfhounds can develop:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

11. Keeshonds

Image Credit: Pikist

Keeshonds are very vibrant dogs with happy-go-lucky personalities and adventurous attitudes. They are affectionate and make loving family pets.

However, seizures are a possibility. This breed doesn’t suffer as frequently as some of the others we mentioned, but they rank high for epilepsy.

Keeshonds could have other health developments like:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Luxating patella
  • Eye problems

12. Labrador Retriever

Happy Labrador Retriever running on grass lawn
Image Credit: Alexander Nadrilyanski, Pexels

Labrador Retrievers rank as one of America’s most popular dogs—and it’s no wonder. This common breed woos dog lovers with energetic, amiable characters and stunning obedience capabilities. These dogs often fulfill pet and service animal roles.

As well as idiopathic epilepsy ,Labs can also have atypical seizures where, rather than convulsing, they stagger or gaze off aimlessly.

Labrador Retrievers may have other health issues like:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Obesity

13. Poodles

two poodle dogs on the grass
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

Poodles are notorious for their intelligence and elegance. This stunning breed is most often recognized in its show coat, parading around with poufs for days. But these flashy pups are quite modest and mellow, in contrast.

Poodles might also develop:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Addison’s disease
  • Luxating patella
  • Cataract
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Cushing’s disease

14. St. Bernard

St. Bernard lying on grass
Image Credit: Ilona Krijgsman, Pixabay

St. Bernards are one of the giant breeds with hearts equal to their size. These gentle giants are known for being good family dogs but these big guys and gals work best in larger living spaces.

These dogs are prone to seizures, primarily idiopathic epilepsy. Like other dogs with this seizure type, it generally develops between 6 months and 6 years of age.

St. Bernards can also have trouble with:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
  • Skin and ear problems

15. German Shepherds

german shepherd dog at the park with his male owner
Image Credit: nori_jaafer, Pixabay

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dogs to exist, and for a good reason. If you’re looking for a loyal,  trainable dog, look no further than this beautiful breed. With proper training, these dogs can learn just about any task, from simple to complex.

German Shepherds are at risk of certain conditions and illnesses which are unfortunately more common within their breed. As well as epilepsy these include:

German Shepherds can also suffer from:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Canine degenerative myelopathy
  • Anal furunculosis
  • Hemophilia

16. Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog on a beach at the beach
Image Credit: K E Walker, Shutterstock

Shetland Sheepdogs, or simply “Shelties,” are absolutely charming little dogs that are roughly half the size of their Collie cousins. These pups are social, gentle, and fun, so it’s no wonder many folks choose to add a Sheltie to the family.

Shelties can be prone to idiopathic epilepsy as well as other issues like:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Luxating patella
  • Legg-Perthes disease
  • Eye problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

17. Siberian Husky

siberian husky lying on the floor
Image Credit: e-Kis, Shutterstock

Siberian Huskies are talkative, energetic dogs with a strong pack mentality. They are incredibly loyal to owners and love to exercise and usually suit experienced owners best. These dogs can work in several environments, but they really love the cold—and they’re built to withstand it.

This breed is also prone to seizures. The common form of epilepsy—idiopathic—is responsible for Husky seizures in most cases.

Huskies can also have other health issues like:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Certain cancers
  • Eye problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Zinc deficiency

18. English Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel standing in field
Image Credit: Martin Christopher Parker, Shutterstock

English Springer Spaniels tout lean muscles and sharp minds. These dogs also have webbed feet, making them exquisite swimmers. These working dogs make ideal candidates for advanced training and will love to go on adventures—like hiking.

These athletes have certain health issues, including seizures. These seizures are typically resulting from idiopathic epilepsy and begin sometime before 3 years of age.

English Springer Spaniels might have other issues develop, like:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Ear infections

19. Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Image Credit by: lightman_pic, Shutterstock

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are famous for their amiable nature and adorable appearance. These popular pooches make lovely additions to practically any lifestyle, matching children’s energy, and can work very well for seniors or retirees.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis can also suffer from:
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Back problems-intervertebral disc disease
  • Cataracts
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

20. Wire-Haired Fox Terriers

Foxy Rat Terriers Diet
Image Credit: chaya_may_be_little, instagram

Wire-haired Fox Terriers are highly alert dogs that never miss a beat. They can keep up with active folks and leave you in the dust if you tire easily. While they are fearless, they also make magnificently loyal family additions.

Even though these dogs are athletically inclined as well as epilepsy they can suffer from other problems such as:

Wire-Haired Fox Terriers can also suffer from:
  • Eye issues
  • Luxating patellas
  • Legg-Perthes disease
  • Allergies

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What Are Seizures?

Seizures, sometimes called ‘fits’, are due to a brain disorder which causes a dog to lose control of their body. Seizures can vary in how they look , some can be focal muscle twitching while others can cause collapse and paddling movements of the legs.

As well as idiopathic epilepsy, which has a genetic basis, seizures can also be caused by poisons, illness and injury such as head trauma.Sometimes, a seizure might happen once and then no more. Other times, it can turn into a disorder that requires Investigation and treatment. Speak to your vet if your dog has had a seizure.

Importance of Pet Insurance

When you bring your dog or puppy home, you must decide whether you will opt for pet insurance. Pet insurance is an up-and-coming layer of protection for your canine companion. While policies range and coverage, policies generally cover accidents and emergencies.

Most insurance policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, so it’s important to get pet insurance sooner rather than waiting until something such as seizures comes up. If you wait until after seizures develop to get pet insurance, the policy may not cover treatment for the seizures.

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So, now you know what breeds may be more prone to having seizures. While this can be more common among these breeds, it of course doesn’t necessarily mean they will have seizures.

If you think your dog may have had a seizure, contact your vet immediately. If you just want information before getting a specific breed, remember to shop for pet insurance that covers issues like seizures to get the coverage in case it’s ever a problem.

Featured Image Credit: JSKphotog, Shutterstock

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