Vet shares his list of the worst dog breeds to own

If you’re thinking of getting a dog, it’s important to do your research to find a pooch that’s perfect for your lifestyle and personality. Not all dog breeds are created equal, after all. Some are more high maintenance than others; some need more exercise; some are better with kids; some require less grooming … the list goes on.

It’s easy to choose a dog based on their looks or how much energy the breed typically has, but according to one vet, there are some you should steer clear of.

In a viral TikTok video, user Ben the Vet, a UK-based veterinary surgeon, revealed the types of dog he would never have as a pet.

Ben’s video, viewed more than six million times, sparked a heated debate among dog lovers after he offered explanations for his least favourite varieties. And many commenters agreed with his points.

“I just want to give my opinion. Remember, it’s ultimately my opinion. You may disagree,” Ben said.

Chow chow

The chow chow is a medium-sized spitz-type of dog breed with deep-set eyes and a large head, accentuated by a mane of hair.

They are not usually social, outgoing dogs. They tend to be aloof with strangers and can be aggressive with other dogs. This is fitting with their history as guard dogs for homes and livestock. If you do choose to get one, early socialisation with other dogs, pets and people is very important.

“I’m sure there are some nice ones, but I just find they often don’t have a very nice temperament. They can be really aloof and they’re often very aggressive at vets,” Ben explained.

“It can be quite hard to fit a muzzle on their face. They suffer quite commonly with a ton of eye problems and their purple tongues are a bit unnerving.”

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

The second dog he would avoid owning is the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, a small dog breed known for its playful and affectionate personality.

“They are the loveliest dogs and if I was going to pick a dog breed for myself, if it weren’t for all of the health issues, it would probably be the cavvy – but they do have loads of issues.

“Pretty much all of them get the same kind of heart disease, called mitral valve disease, which means that many of them spend their last days coughing, spluttering and struggling to breathe – and ultimately dying of heart failure.”

The common inherited health problems are the biggest drawback of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Up to half of all Cavaliers will develop heart disease by five years of age, and virtually all Cavaliers by 10 (if they live that long). No-one should get this breed unless they can spend lots of money on ongoing heart care by a canine cardiologist.

Ben added: “Okay, they’ve got to die of something, but in my opinion, breeding a dog with such a high probability of disease is not fair.”


Despite being one of his “favourite patients”, Ben said he could never own a dachshund, otherwise known as sausage dogs.

The Dachshund is another dog breed with a fantastic personality that only makes the list for its health issues and the heartbreak that potentially causes.

“They’re really lovely dogs, but one in four of them develop back problems in their lifetime. That can range from pain to complete paralysis,” he said.

“This frequently means they have to have spinal surgery, which is obviously a massive undertaking that has a really long recovery period.”

Shar Pei

As adults, the Shar Pei dog breed fills out but they never grows completely into their skin, retaining their signature wrinkles around the head, neck and shoulders. Intelligent, loyal and fiercely protective, they make good guardian dogs, but also possess a calm demeanour that makes them excellent family companions.

Unfortunately, they’re another breed that is prone to disease.

“They even have a disease named after them called Shar Pei fever,” Ben said.

“There are people breeding less exaggerated Shar Peis, but most of them are too wrinkly. They’re so wrinkly that they have to have their eyelids tacked in place so their hairs don’t rub in their eyes.

“They’re always getting skin issues and they’ve got tiny, narrow ear canals. At the vets, they’re often trying to bite the faces off all of the staff. Most of the ones I see have loads of health issues.”

French bulldogs and pugs

Sitting at the bottom of the list of dog breeds Ben would ever own is what he described as “flat-faced” dogs, including French bulldogs and pugs.

You may have heard these dogs panting heavily or snoring, which can seem cute, but it’s actually much more serious. “Society has normalised the fact that these dogs snorting means that they can’t breathe very well,” Ben said.

Brachycephalic dogs have shortened snouts or faces that appear flat and, as a result, have narrow nostrils and smaller airways. This means they have trouble regulating their temperature when it’s hot or catching their breath when exercising.

“There are specimens of these dogs that are healthier than others, but they are so prone to so many problems – spinal issues, skin problems, eye problems.

“The fact that over half of them have to have a caesarean to give birth is enough of an ethical issue for me to never want to have one. If you’re okay with that, that’s fine, but for me personally, that’s not very fair.”

Do you agree with this list? Have you ever owned a dog breed on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also read: Is your dog in the top 10 smartest breeds?

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.


  1. Does breeding with another dog better the Cavalier’s chances? I just love the nature of our pet and hate to think she’ll be going through this. On another note, can you give a list of ten “best” dogs to own?

  2. I have at the moment a gorgeous but feisty Frenchy living with me who I absolutely adore. She is my granddaughter’s “baby” that gives us a huge amount of love. She does however have some of the medical problems that this breed inherits such as the inability to breathe well and the dislocation of her hind legs. Although I now absolutely adore Frenchies I won’t get one for myself as I intensely dislike listening to her breathing and snoring. It makes me think that she will die any moment due to lack of air which frightens me. Originally hoping to breed from her the breeder realised it would be unethical to do so with these problems so she is now desexed and living life to the full with us and her “Mama” my granddaughter.

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