Continued from… What working breeds of dogs are affected by dog cancer?

These breeds listed below come from the herding, non-sporting group and toy group of dogs.  Each breed of dog is special and have their own personalities and traits that make them who they are.  Again, we want to inform you that there is a possibility that these breeds of dogs could get cancer more than other breeds, but please don’t let that be the only deciding factor when you choose your next furry family member. We urge you to become informed about all aspects of your breed of dog.  Having the knowledge about the breed and the common health issues they may have helps you to help them during their lifetime.

German Shepherds

This intelligent breed of dog was originally developed in Germany to guard and herd flocks of sheep but today they are known to be cherished family pets. You’ll also commonly find them in a wide range of capacities, from police dogs to guide and rescue dogs, functions that play to their deep sense of loyalty.

Hemangiosarcoma is the most common form of cancer in this breed of dog. This is a malignant cancer of the circulatory system and it usually occurs in the heart or spleen. As the tumor grows, internal bleeding may occur. The scary thing is that clinical signs are often not apparent until the internal tumor ruptures, causing extensive bleeding and collapse or death. It’s best to check the  German Shepherd’s circulatory system by looking at their gums in the mouth. White gums are usually cause for concern.

Bouvier des Flandres

This breed has a high risk of developing gastric carcinoma, a type of malignant stomach cancer. The Bouvier des Flandres is an agile farm dog that can live an average of 10 to 12 years. This bold herding dog is generally obedient and gets along well with children. This is a breed that definitely needs to have a healthy diet and daily exercise.


It is estimated that 40% of all Standard Poodles will die from some form of cancer. This specific breed is at risk of an aggressive type of cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma of the digit (SCDD). SCDD causes bone disease in the toes, and susceptible dogs like Standard Poodles often have multiple recurrences, one after the other. However, not all poodles are equally predisposed to SCDD. Dark-colored Standard Poodles are at high risk of this cancer, while light-colored poodles are almost never affected.


Beagles make great hunting dogs yet they are even-tempered and good with children. The reality, however, is that 23% of Beagles are affected by cancer. Lymphoma, osteosarcoma and bladder cancer are the most common forms of this disease in elderly Beagles. Symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in their urine, difficulty or painful urination, and frequent urination. Dogs with bladder cancer may also have recurrent urinary tract infections.

Bichon Frise

This small dog has a playful nature and happy-go-lucky attitude but the Bichon Frise also has a high rate of cancer. This breed is known to be good with kids, friendly towards other dogs, pets and strangers. Although it has a lifespan between 12 and 15 years, this breed is prone to health problems, including cancer.

Consider Environmental Factors

Admittedly we don’t know why certain cancers are common among specific breeds but it is thought that certain environmental factors may be important. For example, one study found that Scottish terriers exposed to herbicides applied to lawns had a higher risk of developing bladder cancer than those who were not exposed. In West Highland White Terriers, by the time bladder cancer is diagnosed it has often become difficult, if not impossible to remove.


It is clear that specific breeds have greater incidences of cancer than other breeds. We know that cancer is caused by many factors, some of which we don’t fully understand, but genetics are thought to play a role in susceptibility and the incidence of cancers. Knowing what types of cancer seem to be the most prevalent among certain dogs or dogs, in general, can inform the steps you take to detect any health changes in your pet.

The National Canine Cancer Foundation recommends that we regularly check our dogs once a month, on the 14th of every month. It’s best to look for a variety of symptoms, from new lumps or bumps on the skin to changes in their hair coat, appetite or water consumption. Also, keep an eye out for weight loss or changes in behavioral patterns like spending more time alone or sleeping in odd places or suddenly slowing down. An enlarged abdomen, coughing, difficulty breathing, limping, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in urinary habits and skin lesions that don’t heal normally may all be signs of cancer.

Become a core member today

Keeping a watchful eye and knowing what to look for can save the life of your pet.  You can download the full Check Your Dog flyer here. Also, check here for the 10 Early Warning Signs of Cancer. If you notice anything unusual, take your dog to see a veterinarian right away.

After reading the large number of breeds of dogs affected by cancer you might be discouraged about even choosing any of these breeds.  That is a valid concern, one that we wrestle with a lot, but we have decided that the love we receive from our pups that match our activity level and personalities outweigh the way we might lose them.  Knowing what to look for now and being prepared that it might come prepares us better for the future.