Breeds of Dogs

Is my Dog Prone to Seizures?

Finding out if specific breeds of dogs are prone to seizures is relatively easy.  Check your breed against the list below.  Although certain breeds are more prone than others to seizures, epilepsy can appear in any breed.  You will want to determine if the seizure is caused by epilepsy, an illness or a toxin.

Take your dog to the vet and go over the health history. Specific illnesses, such as hypoglycemia, head trauma, liver disease, lead poisoning, kidney failure, and even worm infections can cause seizures.

Talk to your vet about the following tests:

  • MRI to check for brain lesions
  • Blood test to check for lead poisoning
  • Glucose-tolerance test to check for hypoglycemia

Look throughout your house and garage  for toxins that may trigger a seizure, to rule out environmental causes.

Breeds of Dogs Prone to Epilepsy

Border Collies Seizures in Dogs

Epilepsy rates are high in Border Collies.

Any dog can develop epilepsy, but some breeds are genetically predisposed to the disease. Here is an alphabetical list:

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Beagle
  • Belgian Shepherd Dog (Tervuren)
  • Border Collie
  • Boxer
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Dachshund
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Irish Setter
  • Keeshond
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Poodle
  • Saint Bernard
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Siberian Husky
  • Springer Spaniels
  • Welsh Corgy
  • Wirehair Fox Terrier
  • Vizsla
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Finnish Spitz

Genetic testing for seizures in dogs is not yet available, but that field of research is expanding quickly.

Epilepsy Samping

The Canine Epilepsy Project is a collaborative study into the causes of epilepsy in dogs. It is supported by grants from the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), individual breed clubs and private donations.

As of 1/28/11, samples from 9909 dogs representing 108 different breeds have been submitted for epilepsy research. Included in this total are 1578 affected dogs. As samples arrive, families are assembled and data compiled. Some of the breeds with extended family groups sampled, and a minimum of 20 “sib pairs” (an affected dog paired with it’s normal sibling) in the collection, have been or soon will be included in mapping experiments. For family groups that have been mapped, if there are potential areas of interest on specific chromosomes, those areas are being further examined. Although a few genes have been discovered in a few breeds for specific rare diseases that include seizures as one of many symptoms of the disease, at present there are no genes identified for “classic” epilepsy in any breed. The tools available for genetic studies are better than they have ever been, and research is ongoing wherever it appears that progress is possible. Samples from potentially useful families of any breed are still needed, and we encourage owners to participate by sending samples from epilepsy-affected dogs and their normal close relatives

Breed  Total Number Affected Total Affected %
German Shepherd Dog 31 16 52%
mixes/cross-bred dogs 12 6 50%
*Other breeds 155 70 45%
Poodle - Miniature 25 11 44%
Jack Russell Terrier 28 11 39%
Boxer 13 5 38%
Italian Greyhound 52 20 38%
Silky Terrier 26 10 38%
Shetland Sheepdog 42 16 38%
Border Terrier 184 70 38%
Dalmatian 102 36 35%
Canaan Dog 26 9 35%
Schipperke 52 18 35%
Pomeranian 34 11 32%
Bulldog (English Bulldog) 10 3 30%
Golden Retriever 67 20 30%
Cocker Spaniel (American) 133 38 29%
Rottweiler 14 4 29%
Chesapeake Bay Retriever 87 24 28%
Alaskan (Racing) Husky 11 3 27%
Poodle - Standard 232 63 27%
Pyrenean Shepherd 26 7 27%
Fox Terrier (Wire) 15 4 27%
Spinone Italiano 30 8 27%
Siberian Husky 98 26 27%
Irish Setter 250 66 26%
Labrador Retriever 308 81 26%
Welsh Terrier 47 12 26%
German Shorthaired Pointer 63 16 25%
Brittany 41 10 24%
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen 78 19 24%
Border Collie 144 35 24%
Collie 121 29 24%
Weimeraner 22 5 23%
Great Pyrenees 23 5 22%
Bernese Mountain Dog 19 4 21%
English Shepherd 39 8 21%
Finnish Spitz 80 16 20%
Beagle 198 38 19%
Ibizan Hound 94 18 19%
Dachshund 84 15 18%
Curly Coated Retriever 75 12 16%
Tibetan Mastiff 25 4 16%
Mastiff 26 4 15%
Otterhound 261 40 15%
Newfoundland 14 2 14%
Great Dane 30 4 13%
Irish Water Spaniel 310 41 13%
Australian Shepherd 1221 158 13%
Chinook & Chinook cross 304 39 13%
German Pinscher 36 4 11%
English Springer Spaniel 921 99 11%
Welsh Springer Spaniel 243 25 10%
Vizsla 282 29 10%
American Water Spaniel 266 27 10%
Borzoi 21 2 10%
Saint Bernard 343 32 9%
Standard Schnauzer 183 17 9%
Pointer 337 28 8%
Norwich
Terrier
94 7 7%
Akbash Dog 14 1 7%
Anatolian
Shepherd Dog
14 1 7%
Field Spaniel 115 8 7%
Greater Swiss
Mountain Dog
1247 86 7%
Bloodhound 73 5 7%
Alaskan
Malamute
170 9 5%
Cardigan Welsh
Corgi
19 1 5%
Bullmastiff 21 1 5%
Giant
Schnauzer
63 3 5%
Komondor 48 1 2%
Samoyed 52 1 2%
TOTALS
(01-28-11)
9909 1577 16%

Genetic Tests Available for Dogs

The following genetic tests are currently available:

  •  Degenerative Myelopathy  for Boxer, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, German Shepherd Dog, Wire Fox Terrier,Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and Poodle.
  • Episodic Falling Syndrome and “Dry curly coat syndrome”  for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Hemophilia A / Factor 8 for Havanese and Havana Silk Dog
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy 1 & 2 for Golden Retrievers
  • Primary Open Angle Glaucoma for Beagles

For more information on these tests, please contact VetGen.com.