Just like it sounds, deep-chested dogs have large chests that are usually taller than they are wide. When it comes to deep chested dogs and health issues, there are things you are going to want to be aware of.

These breeds have a narrow, tall rib cage and their chests usually come down to the dog’s elbows on their front legs. 

You may also hear the term barrel chest or read about dogs with round chests. This is different from deep-chested dogs – their chest shape is usually egg or oval. 

Recognizing you have a deep-chested dog is important, as these breeds can be prone to some health issues. 

Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of a deep-chested dog before. We’ll go through everything you need to know about your deep chested dogs and any potential health issues

Which Breeds Have a Deep Chest?

Irish Wolfhound Deep Chested Dogs and Health Issues

Most deep-chested breeds are large or medium-sized dogs, but some smaller breeds have deep chests.

Many of these dogs were bred to work and their deep chest allows for extra lung capacity. This lets them get more oxygen and keep going for longer.

Below is a list of common breeds with a deep chest, but there are many others.

1. Great Dane

Great Danes are gentle giants with a deep ribcage and chest.

2. Irish Wolfhound

Another giant breed, Irish Wolfhounds are powerful, brave, and athletic.

3. Labrador Retriever

One of the most popular dog breeds, Labradors are friendly and energetic.

4. German Shepherd

An excellent all-around worker, these dogs make great additions to an active household.

5. Golden Retriever

Bred as gundogs, Golden Retrievers are athletic and can easily cover long distances.

6. Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are unmistakable with their large chest and short legs.

7. Irish Setter 

Making a wonderful family pet, Irish Setters are sweet-natured and love to exercise.

8. Doberman Pinscher

Intelligent, fearless, and extremely loyal, Doberman Pinschers make great guard dogs.

9. Greyhound

The Greyhound‘s deep chest and ribs are part of their breed standard.

10. Saint Bernard

This giant breed dog has a broad, deep chest and is beautiful to look at.

11. Old English Sheepdog

With their big fluffy coat and friendly face, these dogs are adorable and make fantastic family pets.

12. Standard Poodle

The biggest of the Poodle breeds, the Standard Poodle is athletic and loves all sorts of outdoor activities.

13. Weimaraner

These friendly, high-energy dogs are well loved and with good reason! They’re loving, loyal, and adore being with their humans.

14. Boxer

Fun-loving and affectionate, Boxers make great companions.

15. Rottweiler

A Rottweiler is a sturdy, muscular dog with a deep chest to match.

Common Health Issues in Deep-Chested Dog Breeds

Greyhound deep chested dog

Deep-chested breeds can be prone to some health issues.

It’s important to remember that all breeds have pros and cons. The key is to do your research so you can make a well-informed decision about the right breed for you.

When dog owners are aware of the potential health issues, they can work to prevent them or catch them early. 

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

When it comes to deep chested dogs and health issues, dogs with deep chests have a higher risk of gastric dilatation and volvulus. This is more commonly known as bloat.

Bloat occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas (this is gastric dilatation). It’s a life-threatening condition!

In severe cases, the dog’s stomach twists blocking the entrance and exit of the stomach (this is volvulus).

The bloating can cause pressure on the diaphragm, which leads to difficulty breathing.

Symptoms of bloat include:

  • Swollen abdomen
  • Dry heaving/retching
  • Pacing and restlessness
  • Pale gums
  • Panting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting white foam
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Whining/other signs of pain
  • Collapse

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial you get your dog immediate medical attention.

A vet will give your dog pain relief and help the gas pass through its system.

If your dog’s stomach is twisted, it may need surgery to correct it.

Spontaneous Pneumothorax

Dogs with deep chests are more prone to spontaneous pneumothorax.

This condition causes air to leak from the dog’s lungs or air passages and gather in its chest cavity.

The condition progresses slowly and may take a while to be noticed, often only when the dog experiences problems breathing.

There are several potential causes, including different diseases, foreign bodies, worms, abscesses, and cancers.

Symptoms include:

  • Breathing issues
  • Pale or blue gums
  • Fast heart rate
  • Shock
  • Air trapped under the skin (known as subcutaneous emphysema)

This can be a deadly condition and requires immediate veterinary treatment.

The vet will determine and treat the underlying cause, as well as help your dog to breathe properly.

Can You Prevent Bloat?

As a pet owner, you naturally want the best for your dog.

There are a number of risk factors for bloat and unfortunately, we can’t always prevent it.

However, there are things you can do to reduce the risk including:

  • Feeding two or three smaller meals each day rather than one big one
  • Slowing down your dog’s eating (slow feeders are a great way to do this)
  • If you live in a multi-pet household, feeding your dog separately to reduce stress and competition
  • Don’t let them gulp down lots of water right after eating (provide small amounts a bit at a time)
  • Avoid strenuous exercise right before and after meals

What Should You Do About These Health Issues?

That’s a lot of information and can sound overwhelming, but try not to worry. All breeds have some health risks after all!

Being aware of these conditions helps you to prevent them or seek treatment quickly, so you can keep your furbaby safe. 

It’s a good idea to get quality, comprehensive pet insurance so you’re prepared. Vet treatment can be costly!

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Regularly check your dog’s health and keep an eye out for any of the symptoms we’ve discussed, so you can take them to the vet right away.

Prospective owners of deep-chested breeds should find a responsible breeder or rescue center.

Good dog breeders won’t breed from a dog with bloat in their bloodline.

Deep-chested dogs are beautiful animals and these risks are no reason to avoid owning them. One of these breeds could be the right dog for you!