An overbite is a condition that causes a dog’s lower jaw to be shorter than its upper jaw. 

This causes the dog’s teeth to be misaligned, so they don’t fit together properly. 

An overbite is medically referred to as mandibular distoclusion, class two malocclusion, or mandibular brachygnathism. 

You might also hear it referred to as ‘parrot mouth’ or as an overjet or overshot jaw. 

It sounds a bit confusing but they all mean the same thing – the dog’s lower jaw is shorter than the upper. 

The condition is genetic, meaning it’s inherited from a dog’s parents.

Dogs with narrow, long snouts are the most likely to have an overbite, although other breeds can also be affected.

Dogs with an overbite are at higher risk for dental issues, which we’ll discuss more later. Don’t panic though – early detection and effective treatment can help your canine friend live their best life.

Which Dog Breeds Have an Overbite? 

The breeds of dogs below are more likely to have an overbite.

However, that doesn’t mean every dog of these breeds will have one. Many will have completely normal teeth and jaw alignment.

1. German Shepherd

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are intelligent, agile, and powerful dogs. They’re often used as working dogs in a variety of roles, including as police dogs!

The breed’s long muzzle means they can be prone to an overbite. 

Unfortunately, having an overbite can affect the breed’s ability to work. 

The misalignment of the teeth impacts how effective their bite is, which is particularly important if they’re in a protective role. 

If their lower canines hit the roof of the mouth, this can cause pain and discomfort. Of course, if a dog is in pain it can’t focus on doing its job!

If you love to keep active, this breed also makes a lovely family member. They’re incredibly loyal and loving towards their owners. 

2. Border Collie 

Border Collie 

The Border Collie is another amazing working breed, used in lots of different roles. 

Their long, narrow nose makes them a risk for an overbite. Like the German Shepherd, this can affect their ability to work. 

These dogs are incredibly intelligent, energetic, and eager to please.  

With the right owners, they make wonderful pets as well as being keen workers. 

Other types of Collies are also at risk of an overbite due to their nose shape. This includes the Rough Collie and Smooth Collie. 

3. Dachshund

Dachshund

One of the small breed dogs on our list, the Dachshund is at high risk for an overshot jaw due to its long snout. 

Their adorable little faces and soulful eyes make them captivating to look at. 

The breed comes in two sizes and three different coat types – smooth, wirehaired, or longhaired. 

Dachshunds were bred to hunt badgers and other burrowing animals. Their distinctive nose helped them to sniff out their prey and dig them out!

You’ll often find that they still love digging and burrowing, even under blankets in your home. How cute!

4. Sheltie

Sheltie

The Shetland Sheepdog, better known as the Sheltie, was bred in Scotland’s Shetland Islands. 

They were originally used as herding dogs, so they’re intelligent, obedient, and energetic. 

Shelties look similar to Rough Collies but smaller. Both breeds have the characteristic long head and noses, making them susceptible to an overbite. 

When it comes to health concerns, Shelties can also have a condition called von Willebrand’s disease. 

This is a genetic condition that causes problems with blood clotting. However, responsible breeders are working to reduce this risk in purebred dogs. 

5. Basset Hound

Basset Hound

With their floppy ears, long face, and long bodies to match, Basset Hounds are undeniably cute to look at. 

They’re very affectionate and loving with their humans. Most Basset Hounds like to be with their owners as much as possible!

These gentle dogs are even good with children, especially when they’re well-trained. 

The breed can struggle with some health issues including dental disease and class two malocclusion. 

It’s crucial to clean and check their teeth regularly to keep them as healthy as possible.

6. Greyhound

Greyhound

Known for their ability to sprint at high speed, the Greyhound‘s body is built to be aerodynamic. They can run as fast as 45 miles per hour!

Their lean figure and long thin face allow them to run at full speed without the air dragging on their body and slowing them down.

Unfortunately, their face shape also puts them at risk for an overbite. 

Additionally, the breed can be prone to heart disease. But with appropriate medical care, they can live full, healthy lives!

These beautiful dogs are sweet by nature and are a joy to spend time with. 

7. Saluki

Saluki

Dignified and beautiful to look at, Salukis are one of the world’s oldest breeds. 

They were bred as hunting companions, so they’re fast, agile, and great workers. 

They also make lovely pets for the right owner. These dogs are independent and have a high prey drive!

Salukis have a similar build to the Greyhound, but they’re actually thinner. 

Like most breeds here, they have a dolichocephalic face, which simply means their head is long and thin. Therefore, overbites are common. 

8. Borzoi

Borzoi

With a famously long snout, the Borzoi has a unique appearance that is well-loved. 

Their long, lean head is even mentioned in the breed standard. 

These beautiful sighthounds were bred in Russia to hunt wolfs. So it’s no surprise they were once known as Russian Wolfhounds! 

These stunning animals are at risk for dental issues, bloat, and degenerative myelopathy which is a disease of the spinal cord. 

Borzois can be amazing companions but they’re also stubborn and independent, so they’re best suited to experienced owners who can train them well. 

9. Whippet

Whippet

Whippets look like smaller versions of Greyhounds, and they have a lot of similar characteristics (including their risk for overbites).

They’re sometimes known as the ‘poor man’s racehorse’. The theory is that they were bred in the north-east of England from small Greyhounds when the miners couldn’t afford to keep full-sized Greyhounds!

Whippets are elegant to look at and a pleasure to live with. They’re gentle, affectionate, and love spending time with their family. 

Like other sighthounds, they have a high prey try so consistent training is vital. 

10. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound

Their long ears and silky coat make the Afghan Hound stand out in a crowd!

The words ‘dignified’ and ‘regal’ are often used to describe them, yet they can be silly and fun-loving too!

These dogs are high maintenance when it comes to grooming, exercise, and even training. But with the right owner, they can make a fantastic pet.

When it comes to their health, the most common issues aside from an overbite include bloat, thyroid problems, and necrotic myelopathy (a spinal cord issue). 

Screening programs can help you to determine the possibility of your pet developing these conditions, so you can deal with them early. 

11. Doberman Pinscher 

Doberman Pinscher 

These powerful, brave dogs are fantastic workers and guard dogs. So much so, that they’re often used by the police and military. 

Dobermans can live happily as a pet with an active owner who focuses on training and plenty of mental stimulation. 

There are some common problems when it comes to the Doberman‘s health. 

As well as an overbite, they can struggle with hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, heart issues, and progressive retinal atrophy (a condition affecting their eyes). 

Like Shelties, they’re also prone to von Willebrand’s disease. In fact, they’re the breed most commonly affected by this inherited disease. 

12. Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

This gentle giant is the tallest of all the dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Bred to hunt wolves as their name suggests, these dogs are brave, strong, and fast! They’ve been used for a range of other jobs over the years.

Like most of the other breeds here, they have a dolichocephalic face. So, they’re at risk for an overbite and the associated dental problems.

At home with their owners, they are loving, calm, and patient. They’re typically wonderful around children.

Of course, living with such a large dog has its challenges. Irish Wolfhounds need a very specific home to live happily.

13. Shih Tzu 

Shih Tzu 

Toy breeds like Shih Tzus are adorable to look at and so much fun to be around. 

The breed is charming, mischievous, and highly affectionate. They just love being with their humans!

Although they don’t have long faces like the other breeds on our list, these small dogs have very small mouths! This causes overcrowding which can lead to a range of dental issues.

Brachycephalic breeds like Shih Tzus are more prone to underbites, but they can have overbites like the other dogs here. 

These breeds are also at risk for Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, which means they can have breathing issues caused by their short, flat face shape. 

Health Issues Caused by an Overbite

When a dog’s upper and lower dental arches don’t line up due to an overbite, it can cause a significant health problem. Of course, this depends on how severe the overbite is. 

Since the lower and upper teeth don’t align, the dog can’t bite properly. This means their bite isn’t ‘functional’, so it can cause issues with eating, as well as other daily activities like playing! 

Over time, the misaligned teeth cause problems with how the jaw grows, leading to more health concerns.

An overbite causes the lower teeth to hit the roof of the mouth, which can be very painful for a dog. Just imagine feeling those sharp teeth hitting your palate all the time!

Dogs with an overbite might struggle with periodontal disease (meaning gum disease), bad breath, tooth decay, gum injury and bruising, and injuries to the soft palate. 

In severe cases, an overbite can cause tooth loss or puncturing of the dog’s palate. If the palate is punctured, it can cause bleeding, infection, and even breathing issues. 

If the dog is in a lot of pain, it might refuse to eat or drink, which can lead to additional problems. 

This all sounds worrying but try not to panic –  if your dog has an overbite there are effective treatment options to correct the problem. 

Can an Overbite be Treated? 

Dogs are born with an overbite, which should be identified early on when they visit a vet. A dental check-up should be done between eight and 12 weeks of age. 

Catching the overbite early is key so it can be treated before the puppy’s jaw is permanently developed at 10 months old. 

In many cases, small overbites won’t require treatment. They will correct themselves as the puppy grows and regular teeth brushing prevents additional problems. 

If the overbite isn’t causing your dog any pain or problems with functioning, there’s no need for intervention. 

Treatment for cosmetic reasons isn’t fair to your dog. Plus, dogs with overbites can look absolutely adorable!

If the overbite is more pronounced, your vet may suggest treatment. 

Just like human babies, puppies have baby teeth! Most of the time the vet will recommend a tooth extraction of the lower baby teeth so the puppy’s jaw can naturally realign before their adult teeth come in. 

In some cases, veterinary dentists will ‘shorten ‘ the dog’s teeth to reduce pain and allow them to have a more normal bite. 

Some dogs will be fitted with spacers or braces to help correct their bite. Yes, you read that right – dogs can have braces! And yes, they are as cute as you might imagine!

Spacers and braces will generally need to be worn for months, or in some cases up to two years. 

If you have an older dog, for example, if you’ve rescued a dog and it has an overbite, there are still treatment options. Your vet may still be able to use orthodontics like braces to correct the issue, or they may need to shorten or remove some of your dog’s teeth to make them comfortable. 

Should You Get a Breed Prone to an Overbite? 

There’s no reason to avoid owning a breed prone to an overbite. After all, all breeds have potential health conditions!

In most cases, overbites are harmless and will correct themselves. If your dog does have a more severe overbite, there are plenty of effective treatments which can help. 

If your dog does has an overshot jaw, you can help by getting your pooch checked by a vet and keeping up with a good oral hygiene routine. 

I know it can be worrying when your furbaby has a health issue, but remember that with good care a dog with an overbite can live a healthy, happy life just like any other pup!