Dog Traits That Are Detrimental

Puppies inherit physical and behavior traits from both parents.
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Healthy, calm and intelligent dogs of any breed are typically good to breed from as they pass on these positive characteristics to their offspring. However, dogs can also display detrimental traits that make them unsuitable for breeding. It’s important to make an informed decision about whether to breed your dog.


Aggression comes in many forms and has many causes. In most cases, you can train a dog not to be aggressive by identifying and then neutralizing the cause. However, dogs that are incapable of behaving passively and that are prone to serious bouts of aggressive behavior are not suitable for breeding, because there is a chance they will pass this detrimental trait to their offspring.

Hip Problems

Hip dysplasia is a painful and debilitating condition caused by a loose-fitting hip joint. The condition is hereditary. Responsible breeders always have their dogs’ hips X-rayed before breeding. Once X-rayed, your veterinarian will give your dog a hip score based on the condition of the joints. Each breed has a mean hip score, and if your dog’s score is above the mean for its breed, this is a detrimental trait. Never breed a dog that has a hip score above the mean for its breed.


Although deafness doesn’t necessarily have a drastic impact on your dog’s quality of life, congenital deafness is a detrimental trait nonetheless. Deafness in dogs is typically passed on to offspring, so no dogs that were born deaf or developed deafness as a puppy should be used for breeding. By removing dogs with congenital deafness from the gene pool, you can help eradicate congenital deafness in dogs.

Exaggerated Physical Characteristics

Certain breeds have defining physical characteristics. For example, the shar pei has distinctive wrinkles, the bulldog has an oversized head and undershot jaw, clumber spaniels have adorable droopy eyes. However, if these characteristics are too pronounced, they can cause health problems for the dog. A dog’s health should always come before appearance, so regardless of how cute or unusual your dog looks, if his physical characteristics cause him any discomfort, consider this a detrimental physical trait and do not use him for breeding.


Unless there is an obvious cause for a dog’s epilepsy, such as head trauma or disease, it is most likely a genetic condition. As with all genetic traits, good and bad, there is a strong chance epilepsy can be passed on to the offspring. By considering this a definite detrimental trait and electing not to breed from your epileptic dog, you are helping to reduce the prevalence of genetic epilepsy.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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