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5 Dog Breeds With the Lowest Cancer Rates

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Belgian Malinois on a mountain

When looking to buy a new dog, it’s common to wonder about which breeds are the least susceptible to health problems, including cancer. You can reduce the money spent on vet bills if you learn as much as you can before choosing a dog. If you already have your dog, knowledge can be a powerful tool, and the more you know, the better off you will be.

Cancer can strike anywhere, at any time. No breed of dog is immune to getting cancer, but we have listed five breeds of dogs with the lowest cancer rates. Keep reading to see them in alphabetical order.
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The 5 Dog Breeds With the Lowest Cancer Rates

1. Belgian Malinois

belgian malinois
Image Credit: TC_Perch, Pixabay

The Belgian Malinois is a medium to large dog that is intelligent, protective, and friendly. These dogs make perfect watchdogs. They can also do police work and perform can search and rescue. They have an extremely low cancer rate, especially for their size because of the process of selective breeding. In fact, these are one of the healthiest dogs on the planet, suffering very few hereditary ailments.

2. Papillon

Image Credit: SergVG, Pixabay

Papillon means “butterfly eared” in French, and it is a relatively accurate description of these small dogs. These dogs often weigh less than ten pounds, and they are very intelligent. They are reserved around new people but socialize well once they get to know you. Pappilon is a friendly and adventurous dog with almost no predisposition for any health problems, including cancer.

3. Chihuahua

long-haird chihuahua portrait
Image Credit: HG-Fotografie, Pixabay

Chihuahua is a toy breed with likely comes from Mexico. This breed is the smallest dog recognized by many kennels, and they usually weigh less than six pounds. Chihuahuas frighten easily, and their small size causes them to be quite delicate and sensitive to temperature. This breed is generally not compatible with small children. Chihuahua has a long list of predispositions toward health problems, but amazingly, cancer isn’t on it.

4. German Pinscher

tan and black German Pinscher standing on a river bank
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

The German Pinscher is a medium-sized dog breed dating back to the early 1800s. These dogs are alert, playful, watchful, and fearless. This breed makes excellent watchdogs, and they are amazing companions. Luckily, German Pinschers come from a tiny gene pool without much cancer.

5. Pomeranian

close up of pomeranian dog
Image Credit: funeyes, Pixabay

The Pomeranian is another tiny breed of dogs with royal history from the early 1900s. This breed features a thick, double coat that is exceptionally fluffy and is part of the reason for the dog’s popularity. This dog does well in small inner-city apartments and is an intelligent, stable, and healthy dog. The Pomeranian does have a predisposition toward a host of health problems, but these problems either show up early, or late in life, and hardly ever include cancer.

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Types of Cancer

Here is a short list of the different types of cancers most commonly found in dogs.


Osteosarcoma is the most popular form of bone tumors found in dogs. This type of cancer can affect any breed of dog but affects mostly larger breeds and is much rarer in small dogs. This type of cancer is an aggressive tumor that spreads rapidly.

German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Saint Bernards, and Greyhounds are among several other large dog breeds prone to getting this type of cancer.


Hemangiosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects the cell lining of different tissues in the dog’s body. This type of cancer is almost exclusive to dogs, and it is a fast-moving type of cancer. Hemangiosarcoma affects mostly medium and large dogs.

German Shepherds, Boxers, and Golden Retrievers are at the highest risk for contracting Hemangiosarcoma

Mast Cell Tumors

Mast Cell Tumors are a type of blood cancer that affects a type of blood cell that deals with the body’s response to inflammation and allergens. Mast cell tumors are the most common cause of skin tumors in dogs, but it can also affect other areas of the body as well, including the liver and the gastrointestinal tract.

Boxers and Bulldogs are the most likely to get this type of cancer, but Pugs, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, and a few other breeds are also at an increased risk.

an adorable beagle lying on grass outdoor
Image Credit: laureettaawilliams, Pixabay


Lymphoma is cancer that attacks the lymph nodes and causes them to grow three or more times their original size. It also affects white blood cells, the liver, and the spleen. Lymphoma, according to Purdue, is one of the most common types of cancer that affects dogs.

According to a study from Washington University, Boxers and Bulldogs are once again the most likely to get this cancer, but the SAaint Bernard, Scottish Terrier, and several others also have a high higher than average chance.

Melanocytic Tumors

Melanocytic tumors are tumors that are usually found on haired skin and in the oral cavity. These tumors occur in older dogs with pigmented skin. These tumors are a type of melanoma and usually lead to problems with the lymph nodes.

The same study also shows that Schnauzers and Scottish Terriers have an increased risk for this cancer as well as the Chow Chow and Golden Retriever.

Mammary Tumors

Mammary tumors are a type of cancer found only in female dogs and is very rare in male dogs. Surgery can often remove these tumors, and chemotherapy is not always required. This type of cancer is more common in unspayed or late spayed females.

The Washington University study also points out that German Shepherds, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Dachshund, and several other breeds are more susceptible to this cancer than other breeds.

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A pattern emerges when looking at the many dog breeds, and that pattern says that the bigger the dog, the better chance there is that it will develop cancer. In a minimal number of breeds, the breeders were able to remove the cancer danger from the genes, and fewer breeds are naturally resistant.

These five breeds provide an excellent starting point for choosing a pet with a low chance of developing cancer. The Belgian Malinois and the German Pinscher, in particular, are likely to provide many years of cancer-free companionship.

If you have learned something new, please share these dog breeds with the lowest cancer rates on Facebook and Twitter.

The sources we used for this list:

Featured Image Credit: Ekaterina Brusnika, Shutterstock

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