Canine Lymphoma

Why do some dog breeds get lymphoma more often than others?

Dogs were domesticated around 10,000 years ago by hunter-gatherers. Once they were domesticated people began to breed them for specific characteristics. Some as bird dogs, or small game hunters, others as large game hunters, or guardians of their human companions, and yet others became working dogs or guard dogs. From this selective breeding, distinctive breeds emerged, dogs that all look the same and exhibit similar temperaments and behaviors.

Today, the American Kennel Club recognizes 192 such dog breeds. Each breed has its distinctive characteristics, including color, size, height, coat, intelligence, ears, eye color, and temperament. They are the result of selective breeding.

Unfortunately, along with the genes that make a breed unique, there are other characteristics in their genetic material that makes them more susceptible to canine lymphoma. They include Boxers, German Shepherds, Retrievers, Scotties, Pointers, and Rottweilers, to name a few.

At the Gerben Foundation, we believe it’s time to educate dog breeders about the link between canine lymphoma and the dogs they are producing. We want them to expand the limited gene pool they are working with to develop dogs less likely to succumb from this fatal illness. They have the skills and should put them to work producing dogs without a gene that would most likely shorten their lives and take them from their loving owners.