9 Dog Breeds Prone to Diabetes

9 Dog Breeds Prone To Diabetes

The rise in incidences of human diabetes has been mirrored in the canine world.

This has given rise to a considerable amount of research into the whole subject of dog diabetes.

As a result of this, we are now able to state which breeds of dogs are most likely to succumb to the condition.

In this article, we reveal the 9 dog breeds that are most likely to contract diabetes mellitus.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the dog breeds prone to diabetes, we got you covered:

Dog Breeds Prone To Diabetes

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The Most At-Risk Dog Breeds for Diabetes

Dogs With Diabetes

Before we consider the most at-risk breeds, it is important to note that a dog that is overweight and gets little exercise is going to be a prime candidate for diabetes no matter what breed he belongs to.

Dogs are also more likely to succumb to diabetes as they get older.

Research into the subject of canine diabetes reveals that there are several breeds of dogs that are more susceptible to diabetes than others.

The seven breeds that top this unenviable list are:

  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Australian Terriers
  • Standard Schnauzers
  • Dachshunds
  • Poodles
  • Keeshonds
  • Samoyeds

There are two further breeds that are most susceptible to developing juvenile-onset diabetes:

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Keeshonds

Signs Your Dog May Have Diabetes

terrier looking at bottle of water

The first sign that you might notice in your dog is a change in his eating and drinking habits.

Your dog will drink a lot more water than normal as the kidneys work overtime to flush the excess glucose from the dog’s body.

Even though the dog will probably be eating well, it will also usually be losing weight as a result of the condition.

As a result of drinking more water, the dog will also be urinating far more frequently.

Here are some other tell-tale signs of diabetes that you may notice in your dog:

  • Sweet-smelling breath
  • Dehydration despite an increased water intake
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Susceptibility to urinary tract infections and chronic skin infections
  • Regular vomiting
  • The development of cataracts

 Minimizing Diabetes Risk in Dogs

An overweight or obese dog is at a much greater risk of developing diabetes than a normal weight canine.

For that reason, one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your dog has a minimal diabetes risk is to keep his weight down.

Do not overfeed your dog, keeping the giving of treats to a minimum.

Your dog needs regular exercise to help keep his weight down. In this respect, dogs are just like humans.

If they consume more calories than they expend, they will gain excess body fat.

A 40-minute walk each day will help to burn those calories off.

Another important factor is responsible for breeding. If a dog has an inherited form of diabetes, it should not be used for breeding purposes.

Another important measure you can take to lessen the chances of your dog getting diabetes is to have your female dog spayed.

When the dog is going through her regular cycle, her levels of progesterone will greatly increase, which suppresses the release of insulin.

This, in turn, leads to an excess of blood sugar in the bloodstream.

The At-Risk Breeds

Miniature Schnauzer

Potrait of a miniature schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is a small, sturdy, muscular dog that originated in Germany.

It is the result of the breeding of a Standard Schnauzer with the Affenpinscher and the Poodle. It has been bred in America since 1925.

It was intended to be a small vermin hunter that could be more easily kept as a pet.

The Miniature Schnauzer has a strong, well-arched neck, short straight back, straight legs, round feet with thick black pads and a high set, a docked tail that is carried high.

A long, rectangular head and a strong muzzle are accentuated by a bushy beard and mustache.

The ears are set high on the head – erect and pointed if cropped or small, V-shaped and folded close to the head if uncropped.

This is a moderate, spirited, playful and athletic dog. It requires daily exercise, but that may come in many forms, from a walk to an exuberant play session.

In addition to being prone to diabetes mellitus, the Miniature Schnauzer is susceptible to hip dysplasia, epilepsy and patellar luxation.

 Australian Terrier

portrait of australian terrier

The Australian Terrier originated in the Australian state of Tasmania.

Its forebears were all-purpose companions, killing vermin and snakes, controlling livestock and sounding the alarm at intruders.

This rootstock was bred with a range of introduced dogs to produce what we know as the modern Australian Terrier.

Around 1900, the Australian Terrier made its way to England. It came to America in 1925. Australian Terriers are plucky, tough, fun-loving and adventurous.

They are eager to please, making them one of the more obedient terriers. They get on well with other dogs but are reserved when it comes to strange humans.

The Australian Terrier requires a moderate walk or a rollicking game each day. Health concerns beyond diabetes include patellar luxation.

 Standard Schnauzers

portrait of standard schnauzer

The Schnauzer is also known as the Standard Schnauzer.

This is the oldest variety of three varieties of the Schnauzer, the others being the Miniature and the Giant. This dog is of German origin.

The Schnauzer is an attractive, robust, intelligent and playful dog, which makes a good companion. It is generally good with children.

This dog enjoys plenty of exercises. Its hardy, harsh, wiry coat needs a certain amount of stripping and plucking.

It has a strong head, dark, oval-shaped eyes, net pointed ears, abroad chest and a tail that is set on and carried high.

The tail is usually docked to three points.

Over and above diabetes mellitus, the Standard Schnauzer is also susceptible to hip dysplasia, epilepsy and patellar luxation.


portrait od dachshund dog

The dachshund is of German origin. The modern name Dachshund means ‘Badger Dog.’ It is a tenacious hunter which would follow its quarry into its burrow, pull it out and kill it.

The Dachshund comes in three coat varieties (longhaired, smooth, wire-handed), and two sizes (standard and miniature). It has become a popular family dog.

Dachshunds are bold, curious and always up for the adventure. They enjoy hunting, digging, tracking and going to ground after the game.

It needs a daily romp or a short walk. Extra health concerns over and above diabetes include intervertebral disk disease and dry eye.


portrait of poodle

The poodle originated as a water retriever in Germany. Its hair was shorn in  working pattern and was clipped close to make it easier for the dog to swim.

The hair on the chest was left longer for warmth and around the joints and tail to protect the tip.

On arrival in France, the poodle was appreciated more as a companion and a circus dog than as a retriever.

After World War Two, the poodle became a very popular dog in America.

Poodles are amiable, playful, responsive and obedient. They are sensitive, tending to be devoted to a single person, and reserved around strangers.

They are generally good with other pets. However, the smaller variety has a tendency to bark a lot.

Poodle needs mental and physical exercise daily. A standard poodle will require a long walk every day. The smaller varieties can get by with a short walk or indoor games.

Other health risks for poodles are eyelid problems, Legg-Perthes, patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy and sebaceous adenitis.


portrait of keeshond dog

The Keeshond is of Dutch origin. It was well established by the 18th century as a companion and a watchdog. The Keeshond is now the national dog of the Netherlands.

This is an energetic, playful dog that has an attentive, loving nature. While ready for adventure, it is also easy-going.

It is sensitive and a quick learner which is friendly to all. Still, the Keeshond makes an alert watchdog.

 To keep your Keeshond in good shape, ensure that he gets a brisk walk every day, along with regular vigorous games.

Health concerns over and above diabetes include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and patellar luxation.


portrait of samoyed dog

The Samoyed originates in Russia. Historically it was a herder and guarder of reindeer, as well as a hunter of bears and puller of towboats and sleighs.

The Samoyed became a popular sled dog because it was more tractable than other sled breeds.

The Samoyed is a gentle and playful dog. It is amiable with strangers and, usually, with other dogs too. They are calm indoors but can be mischievous.

They are independent and often stubborn but are generally willing to please.

The Samoyed needs a long walk or jog or a vigorous play session every day. In addition to diabetes, health concerns include hip dysplasia and gastric torsion.


In this article, we have identified the dog breeds that are most prone to diabetes.

However, that does not mean that there an inevitability about the matter. The actions that you take in the care of your dog are the biggest factor involved.

Give your pooch the exercise, attention, and healthy diet that it deserves and you will have a good chance of keeping diabetes at bay. 

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