Can Dogs Have Down Syndrome? Some Amazing Facts!


Welcome friend, pet dog lover. Today we will deal with a very urgent problem – we will discuss the topic “Can dogs have Down syndrome?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this issue. Find out if the dog has a genetic abnormality, determine that the dog has Down syndrome and what to do if the dog has genetic disorders.

Can dogs have Down syndrome?

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every seven hundred newborns in the US has Down syndrome.

It, of course, cannot be said for dogs.  But if so, it must be different than Down syndrome in humans. In dogs, genetic abnormalities lead to premature death. Because of this, it is not possible to study such a deviation in detail. Science knows cases of such a disease in chimpanzees and other animals.

On the other hand, there is a lot of evidence for genetic abnormalities found in dogs. Some congenital anomalies are very similar to Down syndrome.

What are the symptoms?

How are chromosomal conditions like Down Syndrome in dogs diagnosed and treated? Because genetic testing is typically only available at specialized facilities, it will be difficult to confirm if your dog has a chromosomal abnormality. Since chromosomal abnormalities are congenital, unfortunately, there is no cure.

Symptoms of Dogs with Down Syndrome:

Sight and hearing problems

  • Risk of poor eyesight. Clouding of the eyes can be found in dogs with Down syndrome. It can be one of the early signs of cataract formation in the eyes of dogs.
  • Another characteristic of dogs with Down’s symptoms is hearing impairment. They are hard of hearing and slow to follow commands.

Abnormal facial features

  • If the Dog has round eyes and a flattened muzzle – this may be one of the signs of Down syndrome. Other facial features, such as a small head or short neck, and irregular ears, can also alert you. The entire structure of the face in a pet with Down syndrome appears to be deformed.
  • Teeth and dental problems. Such as rancid and late teething.

 Bloody discharge

  • Congenital malformations are common in dogs with Down syndrome. It happens due to a violation of the development of the circulatory system.
  • Discharge from the rectum with blood impurities is possible in the later stages of this disease.

Thyroid issues

  • Such pets often develop thyroid diseases. It affects the general condition of the dogs, their well-being, and their health in general.

Sudden pain

  • Due to growth hormone deficiency improper physical development, the dog’s internal organs can be deformed or affected. It can provoke severe, sudden pain in a dog with Down syndrome.

 Behavioral problems

  •  Such dogs have strange behaviors and traits that may include whining, howling, and yelling. A small dog does not go through developmental stages quickly and can be unusually reticent.

Poor coordination and weak muscles

  • Dogs suffering from Down syndrome have small size and stunted growth. A disproportionate body is also one of the signs of Down syndrome in dogs.
  •  Dogs have small, underdeveloped limbs. They suffer from impaired coordination of movement and have poor muscle tone.

Skin problems

  • Many dogs have skin conditions. Their skin is susceptible to the slightest irritation. It can be severely flaky and stained.
  • Dogs with Daun syndrome are very prone to manifestations of all sorts of allergies.

In addition to all of the above, the dogs get behavior problems. They may howl or whine frequently. Poorly trainable. Because such pets are lagging in development, there are difficulties to accustom them to the pot. They also suffer from urinary incontinence and may come after a walk and write on your house floor.

Well, these are special dogs. Treat them with understanding, patience, and love.

How to treat a Down syndrome dog

Your dog may not live as long as a normal dog. You can’t expect him to do all the things a normal dog can do, for example, “watchdog” duty, because of his mental and sensory impairments. If the dog suffers from a lack of potty training or has bloody discharges from the rectum, pet owners should keep their kids and other sick household members away from the affected dog and its discharges. 

Given that Down syndrome is a genetic disorder, there is no cure. People have learned to live with this disease by observing sick children’s conditions and trying to help them in life.

Dog with Down syndrome is more challenging to keep for dog owners. Firstly, this disease in animals has not been studied. Secondly, there are no instructions from veterinarians on how to behave with pets with Down syndrome. In this case, only patience, calmness, and a person’s desire to care for a sick can help it adapt to life.

How to care for a Down syndrome Dog

We have already found out that a dog with genetic mutations is not curing. And the pet owners can only improve the quality of life and reduce the severity of the symptoms of the dog with such a deviation as Down syndrome.

High-quality dog foods

  1. As a dog owner, you should know your dog needs to be fed very high-quality food. It will avoid even more significant complications from the gastrointestinal tract. You will have to carefully study the labels and composition information on the food packages to do this. Remember that dog is prone to allergies. Refuse feed with harmful additives. Find the right feeder for your pet from our review 15 Best Automatic Pet Feeder Reviews
  2. Add fresh vegetables and natural meat to your pet’s diet. It will help strengthen your pet’s muscles and intestines.
  3. Make sure your dog is drinking enough water.


  1. Exercise is essential for a sick or impaired dog too. However, check with your veterinarian, who has experience with dogs with Down syndrome symptoms, first about what activity is right for your dog. For physical activities, you can use a rope or a small ball. In any case, your pet will enjoy playing with you. Pull the cord or roll the ball – the main thing is together. On a walk, you will need to make sure that the pet does not get hurt, and in case of injury, be sure to treat the wound immediately. It will be useful if your dog can play with other dogs like a regular dog.

Be attentive to your pet

  1. If your eyesight is impaired, you will have to watch your dog’s move not to get hurt or hit against an obstacle. It will have to monitor at home.
  2. Buy a soft pad to relieve muscle or joint pain. There is an excellent variety of them now.
  3. If your dog is showing aggression, consult your veterinarian about how you can help and protect yourself and your family and friends

As you can see, it is not so easy to have a dog with special needs, but your love and friction will pay off.

Down syndrome-like condition in the dog

Some dogs have symptoms similar to or look like Down syndrome. Signs of the disease are not visible when looking at dogs. They can be understood by the singing and well-being of your pet.

The conditions that could be confused with Down syndrome in dogs include congenital hydrocephalus, pituitary. A dog that has hypothyroidism may mimic Down syndrome. The disease is the result of low levels of thyroid hormones.

There are many other developmental abnormalities in your pet whose symptoms similar to Down syndrome in dogs. Such as dwarfism, hydrocephalus, and others. Therefore, if you observe anxiety in your furry friend, contact your veterinarian urgently.

Known dog breeds with Down syndrome

Down syndrome in pugs

Of course, pugs are an adorable breed of dogs and we love them very much and want our pets to be healthy. But despite this, pugs can have such genetic diseases. The most common health problems are vision and breathing problems.

This chromosomal defect greatly affects the life of the pug. His organs do not develop normally. Its height is not the same as it should be for this breed. Skin diseases are very possible. This health condition in pugs endangers the dog’s life.

See the symptoms

  • Abnormal growth
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Skin diseases
  • Eye infection
  • Another disease associated with the growth of the pug

Down syndrome in chihuahuas

Chihuahua is a small dog with an amazing character. This is a companion dog. It is considered the smallest dog in the world and bears the name of the Mexican state.

Chihuahua dogs are small, courageous, sonorous companions, loyal to the pet owners. They have a calm, not evil disposition, smart and strong, despite their size. Chihuahuas are generally a healthy breed, but as you know, they are quite often prone to genetic disorders.

If a dog of this breed suffers from a genetic disorder like Down Syndrome, this is primarily reflected in the pet’s behavior.

See the symptoms

  • Several other behavioral changes
  • Pot problems
  • Tantrums
  • Aggression

Down syndrome in Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu is one of the oldest dog breeds. The roots of the Shih Tzu come from China. It was the favorite breed of the emperor, the name of the breed means “little lion”. This is most likely due to her long coat and fast-growing hair.

Shih Tzu is an absolute extrovert, fun, mischievous, loving, and trusting. They are cute, gentle tame dogs and great companions. Little optimists love to play and lie around. They are attached to their family and get along well with children who are gentle with them.

Shih Tzu is also susceptible to genetic disorders.

See the symptoms

  • Eye cataract and poor eyesight
  • Discharge from the rectum
  • Allergies
  • Heart diseases

Down syndrome in a golden retriever

The Golden Retriever is a very popular breed in the United States. It is an intelligent, calm and energetic dog that loves to be the center of attention. By the way, retrievers are so sociable that they cannot be alone for a long time, so they cannot be left in an empty apartment. The Golden Retriever is distinguished by its affectionate disposition and obedience.

Golden Retrievers are capable learners, grasping even the most difficult material with ease. But they have a predisposition to genetic diseases. Down syndrome is one such genetic material.

See symptoms symptoms

  • Diseases of the thyroid gland
  • Dullness in the eyes
  • Joint development problems
  • Skin infections
  • Allergies

Down syndrome in a bulldog

The English Bulldog is a strong, stocky dog ​​with a powerful body on short legs.

This dog is a couch potato with a calm temperament and balanced character. Bulldogs are quick-witted, easily trainable, mobile, but at the same time, they are often lazy and like to sleep.
English Bulldogs are fearless and unshakable, difficult to scare, dignity and typical English restraint. They are distinguished by perseverance, sometimes bordering on stubbornness. Bulldogs are the favorites of the whole family, including children.

Unfortunately, the English Bulldog is one such breed that has too many genetic diseases and health issues that are inherited.

See the symptoms

  • Diseases of the thyroid gland
  • Skin diseases
  • Eye infections

Down Syndrome in Pit Bull

The Pit Bull, or American Pit Bull Terrier, is one of those breeds known for being bullied and intimidated.
But this is more of a stereotype. These dogs are very intelligent and learn almost all commands and tricks with ease. They take advantage of everything life gives them and love to participate in any family activity.

Pit bulls love people, their family, and their guests. They are confident dogs that are acutely aware of their surroundings.
Pit bull is a watchdog and he will warn you every time about the presence of strangers, first of all, to greet them.

Even though their love for humans makes them poor guard dogs, their courage is unmatched and they will protect their family even at the cost of their lives.

It is believed that this breed is much more susceptible to a genetic disorder such as Down’s syndrome than other species.

See the symptoms

  • Disease of the nervous system
  • Allergies
  • Blindness

Scientific Facts About Down Syndrome in Dogs

Anyone who has devoted enough time to domestic canines understands that dogs and humans are very similar to each other. No wonder they say: “What kind of owner is such a dog.” What makes human interaction with pets so perfect is our unusual combination of similarities and differences.

However, there is another side to this similarity – a dark one. For example, diseases that both humans and dogs suffer from. These are diseases such as certain types of cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, and even heart attacks. It is not a complete list.

Such a genetic disorder is a human chromosomal abnormality. And, of course, we are interested in the question: “Could the dog have Down’s disease?” What does science say about such genetic disorders? Our body is made up of a considerable number of cells. Every cell in the human body has a nucleus that stores the genetic code.

At the heart of each section are 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46 chromosomes. We get half from mom, half from dad. Down syndrome occurs when 21 pairs of chromosomes receive another additional chromosome during a person’s formation. They become not 2, but 3. In other words, these people with an abnormality of chromosome 21.

These types of genetic material typically lead to early death in dogs.

On a note about special needs dog

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that can affect both humans and dogs. Because dogs with Down syndrome rarely survive, veterinarians know very little about how to care for and help such dogs.

Because genetic testing is typically only available at specialized facilities, it will be difficult to confirm if your dog has a chromosomal abnormality. Since chromosomal abnormalities are congenital, unfortunately, there is no cure. Your veterinarian will conduct a physical examination to determine if your dog has

Pass the necessary examinations and treatment, pass all the tests prescribed by the veterinarian. If your puppy turns out to be unique, you need a little patience, care, and love. He will grow up to be lovely and very friendly.

Follow a balanced diet, give vitamin preparations. Avoid injury while walking. Provide her with a comfortable, soft resting place. Remember, dogs with Down syndrome need regular bathing with shampoo that is free of allergic additives.

All of these special dogs need more attention, care, patience, and love. If your pet is around and you are willing to do whatever you can, keep walking. Together you will overcome everything!

Other animals with Down syndrome


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