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Which dogs are more at risk of joint stiffness?

Which dogs are more at risk of joint stiffness?

At YuMOVE, we know that your dog is more than just a dog. They’re actually furry family members. And we know how devastating it is when you find out that your darling doggie has been diagnosed with joint stiffness.

It’s widely known that joint stiffness is more common in older dogs. But did you also know that some breeds are more at risk of joint issues due to their genetics and anatomy? All pet parents should be on the lookout for the signs of joint stiffness, but you should keep a particularly close eye on your pup if they’re a certain breed. Let’s take a closer look…

Top tips for spotting joint stiffness in dogs

Sometimes it’s hard to spot the signs of stiffness. Dogs tend to hide their discomfort and can be very tolerant. This is why the signs of stiffness are so hard to spot until it’s too late. Stiffness can occur in any joint, but is most commonly found in the shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees. Here are some things to look out for in your dog:

  • Excessively licking joints
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Limping or lameness
  • Lethargy
  • A generally low mood
  • Grumpiness and sensitivity when being touched or stroked
  1. Labradors

Golden Labrador running around

    Labrador Retrievers often stay very playful throughout their entire life, which is why they make great pets. But their higher activity levels, large size and genetics make this breed more susceptible to joint issues, especially:

    • Hip dysplasia
    • Elbow dysplasia
    • Cruciate ligament rupture

    What’s more, Labradors are extremely prone to obesity. And extra weight intensifies the stress put on your dog’s joints, and can make the above conditions even worse.

    1. Dachshunds

    Dachshund running

    There is a greater risk of stiffness in Dachshunds due to their long shape and short legs. This pairing increases the likelihood of knee, hip and back issues – especially if your sausage dog has put on some pounds.

    Having said that, even the trimmest of Dachshunds put a lot of strain on their very short legs. This is also why we recommend you shouldn’t let your Dachshund jump up as much as other dogs for fear of joint damage.

    1. Spaniels – like Cocker, Cavalier King Charles and Springer

    Two Spaniels running on the beach

    Here are a few breed-specific issues to look for in your Spaniel:  

    1. Hip dysplasia. Spaniels are natural athletes (particularly Cocker Spaniels). This means that their joints can become overused, resulting in stiffness – especially in the hips.
    2. Luxating patellas. Genetically, your Spaniel’s kneecaps are likely to dislocate and move out of place.
    3. Joint stiffness. Find out more about joint stiffness in this expert guide from Pet Active Life.
    1. German Shepherds

    German Shepherd running in a field

    These large, agile, intelligent and muscular dogs are considered one of the best working breeds. But their size means they’re more likely to get stiff joints. Like many purebreds, German Shepherds are biologically susceptible to joint stiffness, as well as other health issues.

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    1. Pugs

    Pug on a walk

    In general, Pugs aren’t known for being the healthiest breed of dogs. Their flat-faced structure causes lots of breathing problems and overheating. Plus, they’re prone to joint stiffness due to their short and stocky nature. When exercising your Pug, opt for shorter walks and plenty of playtime and mentally stimulating toys.

    1. Golden Retrievers

    Golden Retriever on a walk

    Like any purebred dog, Retrievers are sometimes faced with genetically related health problems. For instance, they have short legs compared to their body size. What’s more, it’s crucial to keep your Retriever fit and active, as they tend to become overweight easily.

    Your Golden Retriever will thrive with two hours of exercise each day, such as walks, running and lots of playtime and training. And they love a good game of fetch – it’s even in the name!

    1. Rottweilers

    Active Rottweiler running

    These canines are more prone to certain health issues thanks to their pedigree breeding. But the main reason they appear on this list is because of their incredible strength and muscular weight. Plus, Rottweilers are extremely active. All of this makes them likely to suffer from joint stiffness.

    1. St. Bernards

    Two St Bernards standing in a field

    Unlike most breeds mentioned so far, these gentle giants don’t like much exercise. But their humungous size lands them a spot on this list. Their heavy weight adds extra strain to their joints, so it’s important to monitor your St. Bernard as they grow older.

    What to do if your dog is on this list

    Although there’s no cure for joint stiffness, you can learn how to relieve discomfort and keep your dog active in this expert article.

    We recommend supplementing your dog as soon as possible to help mitigate the effects of joint stiffness. Here at YuMOVE, we’ve spent the past 15 years developing our all-natural range of canine joint supplements. They’re packed with the finest quality active ingredients and have been clinically proven to soothe stiff joints and aid mobility in dogs.

    What to do if you’re an aspiring pet parent

    Understanding which breeds are susceptible to stiffness can help you choose the dog that’s best suited to you, your family, and your lifestyle. When bringing a new dog into your family, first find out if the parents (or any puppies in their other litters) have ever shown any signs of joint stiffness – like hip or elbow dysplasia.

    How to support your dog from puppyhood to old age

    If your dog is already part of your family, but you have some concerns about their joint health, talk to your vet about exercises to help maintain mobility and what activities should be avoided.

    You can also try adding joint-soothing supplements to their diet. It’s a common misconception that joint supplements are just for stiff, older dogs. The truth is, dogs have different health needs throughout their lives. Here’s how to support your dog’s joints:


    In the early days, playtime is non-stop, but it’s important to be proactive to protect your pup from joint stiffness:

    • Add a puppy-specific joint supplement to their diet, as opposed to one aimed at older dogs
    • Introduce them to multivitamins from a young age to look after their overall wellbeing and health
    • Watch out for over-exercising. Puppies never know when to stop as they’re always having so much fun!
    The teenage years

    After your adorable puppy hits 12 months of age, you’ll be dealing with a troublesome teenager that’s prone to naughtiness. Here’s why a joint supplement is a good idea at this stage:

    • Your dog is still growing, and a joint supplement can really help with their development
    • Their boisterous behaviour is simply the result of extra energy. And this increased activity can put a real strain on growing bones, muscles and joints.
    Old age

    Sadly, our dogs slow down as they grow up. Keep a close eye on your ageing dog with these top tips:

    • Reach out to your vet if your pooch is sleeping more, slowing down during walkies or is struggling to climb the stairs
    • Introduce a joint supplement to their diet. You might be surprised at just how quickly they’ll feel the benefits! Ideally, opt for one that’s specially made for stiffer golden oldies.    

    Want to find out more about keeping your dog happy and healthy for longer? Check out our guide on home remedies for joint stiffness, or learn how to help your dog’s sensitive stomach.