9 Dog Breeds Most Prone to Cancer

Cancer in dogs is devastating news for any pet owner. However, did you know that certain breeds are more predisposed to cancer than others?

According to a study approximately 1 in 4 dogs will, at some stage in their life, develop neoplasia. Almost half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer¹.

Understanding which breeds face higher risks can help pet owners be vigilant for early signs of cancer, potentially saving their beloved dog’s life. Let’s get into the breeds that are most and least likely to succumb to this dreadful disease.

1. Flat-coated Retriever

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The Flat-coated Retriever tops our list with a startling 60% chance of dying from cancer². Known for their shiny, glossy coats and affectionate nature. These dogs, unfortunately, have a high predisposition to various forms of cancer.

This includes histiocytic sarcoma, a particularly aggressive type. Early detection and veterinary care are important for managing their health. Regular check-ups can potentially catch cancer early, offering a better prediction for these otherwise vibrant and lively dogs.

2. Bernese Mountain Dog

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With their tricolored, thick coats and gentle eyes, Bernese Mountain Dogs come with a 50% likelihood of cancer mortality². This statistic sheds light on the reality behind their fluffy exterior. Lymphoma and histiocytic sarcoma are among the most common cancers that afflict this breed, leading to this high mortality rate.

For owners of Bernese Mountain Dogs, being proactive about their health is key. Awareness of symptoms and routine health screenings can make a significant difference in their quality of life.

3. Bullmastiff

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The strong and formidable Bullmastiff faces an approximately 45% chance of dying from cancer². This breed, known for its loyalty and protective nature, is often affected by lymphoma and mast cell tumors.

Owners must remain vigilant and consult their vet if unusual signs or symptoms appear. Early intervention is crucial in managing the disease and potentially extending the lifespan of these noble dogs.

4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Staffordshire Bull Terriers, with their muscular build and courageous heart, have around a 40% cancer mortality rate². This dog breed is often confronted with mast cell tumors and skin cancers, which, if detected late, can lead to a higher mortality rate.

Pet owners should look for skin abnormalities or changes in health. They should seek veterinary advice swiftly to combat any arising issues head-on.

5. Scottish Terrier

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Scottish Terriers, the distinguished-looking dogs with their unique beards, also face a roughly 40% chance of succumbing to cancer². Bladder cancer and melanoma are sadly more common in this breed compared to others.

Regular vet visits and urinary health checks are recommended to ensure these spirited dogs have a fighting chance. Early diagnosis can be life-changing for a breed so full of character.

6. Pomeranian

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With their fluffy coats and spirited personalities, Pomeranians face a lesser likelihood of cancer mortality, at 10% or less². These tiny powerhouses are not only adorable but also resilient against cancer, which many larger breeds do not.

Regular health screenings and a healthy lifestyle can reduce their already low risk.

Despite their small size, Pomeranians have a big heart. Ensuring they live a stress-free, healthy life can contribute to their longevity and happiness.

7. Pekinese

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With its royal demeanor and unique appearance, the Pekinese also enjoys a low cancer mortality rate of 10% or less². Their sturdy little bodies are surprisingly resilient against the threat of cancer, making them one of the breeds with fewer cancer concerns.

Owners can take comfort in this statistic but should remain vigilant about their Pekinese’s health. Through regular vet visits and a proper diet to maintain their overall well-being.

8. Miniature Pinscher

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Miniature Pinschers, or Min Pins as they are affectionately known, show remarkable resilience against cancer². Their mortality rate from cancer is 10% or less. These energetic and fearless dogs prove that strength does not solely come from size.

Encouraging a healthy lifestyle filled with exercise and proper nutrition will help maintain their vigorous health and keep the risks at bay.

9. Chihuahua

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Chihuahuas, the smallest dog breeds with the biggest personalities, have a surprisingly low mortality rate from cancer of only 10% or less². Despite their small size, they pack a punch for health resilience, standing strong against the disease.

Attention to dental health, diet, and regular veterinary care is essential to keep these tiny warriors thriving and healthy.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10879274/
  2. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.231356
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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.