I'm a vet – these are five of the most underestimated dog breeds
I’m a vet – these are five of the most underestimated dog breeds in the UK
- Ben Simpson-Vernon’s list included some of the country’s most popular breeds
- The veterinary surgeon said their needs are often overlooked or unknown
A vet has revealed his list of five dog breeds which owners often underestimate when it comes to how easy it is to keep them, and how much it might cost to take them to the vet.
Ben Simpson-Vernon, a practicing veterinary surgeon who goes by Ben The Vet online, gave his shortlist, which featured some of the UK’s family favourites.
New owners underestimating the needs of their dog can lead to mistreatment, neglect, or even abandonment if not acted on so, always be sure of what needs you can accommodate before you buy.
Ben began his list, shared to his TikTok page: ‘What are five types of dog that people frequently underestimate?’
5 types of dog that pet owners frequently underestimate #learnontiktok #dogsoftiktok #veterinary #woof #benthevet
Ben Simpson-Vernon, a practicing veterinary surgeon who goes by Ben The Vet online, gave his shortlist of five dog breeds which are underestimated by owners
According to recent research, only Stoffordshire bull terriers are put up for adoption more than German shepherds, despite the latter being a favourite of many
First on the vet’s list was a husky, which he said were ‘really not for everyone’ even though they are ‘super cute puppies, beautiful dogs and can make loyal pets.’
He went on to explain that there had been a massive boom in the popularity of this breed as they, and other wolf-like dogs, appeared frequently in hugely popular films and TV shows such as Game of Thrones and Twilight.
This was apparently swiftly followed by a surge in rehoming shelters seeing a marked increase in the number of huskies being handed in to them.
Owners can struggle to cope with the demands of having a husky, with Ben reminding his viewers ‘you have to remember that these dogs are bred to pull sleds long distances in cold weather conditions so a five-ten minute walk round the block? Definitely not enough.’
As well as becoming overweight, this level of understimulation can lead to behavioural issues for the dog.
Rescue street dogs
Rather than a breed, next Ben warned viewers about the risks of trying to take on a stray dog as a pet, even though it can seem like a nice, and hassle-free way to have a new member of the family.
He said: ‘I meet a lot of pet owners that have rescued street dogs form Eastern European countries like Romania and whilst this can seem like a really nice thing to do, many of these dogs are not suited to life as pets.
‘Many, many of them are extremely anxious and have serious behavioural problems.
‘Much of the time this is simply because they haven’t been socialised with humans – this has to happen before the age of three to four months if a dog is not going to be scared of people.’
READ MORE: I’m a vet – here are the five dog breeds I wouldn’t buy and why
Third was the cockapoo, which he said owners often see as an easy breed to own given its smaller size.
‘Don’t get me wrong,’ Ben said, ‘I think they make fantastic family pets but they are frequently underestimated.
‘They’re a cross between a poodle – which is highly intelligent – and a highly energetic cocker spaniel, so they’re definitely not lap dogs.’
He also debunked a ‘common misconception’ that these dogs are hypoallergenic – meaning they are safer than other breeds for people with god allergies.
‘There’s very little evidence to back this up,’ he added.
You would expect people should know what they are getting with a German Shepherd with it being a bigger dog which will need more exercise.
But this is not the issue that Ben pointed out about this species.
He said that many owners of the breed are not aware of what level of ‘a long list of health problems’ which German shepherds are genetically predisposed to.
Many of them cannot be tested for, with hip and elbow dysplasia two of the ones that can be screened for.
This proneness to health problems could be one reason why German shepherds were the second most regularly abandoned dog breed in the UK.
According to research by dog harness company Barkridges, only Staffordshire bull terriers are more frequently put up for adoption than German shepherds.
‘So if you’re going to get one, maker sure both parents have been screened for these problems,’ he advised.
Ben also highlighted the need to socialise big breeds like German shepherds early in their life, citing his personal experience of them becoming boisterous and aggressive around vets.
A 2021 Royal Veterinary College study argued that French bulldogs can no longer be considered a ‘typical dog’ as a result of their likelihood of suffering from health issues
Like the German shepherd, French bulldogs can incur unexpectedly extortionate vet fees due to their predisposition to a range of health problems.
A 2021 Royal Veterinary College study found that their flat faces, large heads, skin folds and shortened tails were all associated with worse health – ultimately placing them at a significantly higher risk from 20 common disorders compared to other breeds.
The study’s ultimate massage was that the breed can no longer be considered a typical dog’.
Ben said: ‘The chances are that your vet bills over your dog’s lifespan are going to be significantly higher than average.
‘Having a dog that is never fully well, and may have a shortened life expectancy, can also have a massive emotional strain on pet owners of these dogs, who absolutely love them.’
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