21 Dog Breeds Most Frequently Affected by Food Allergies

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21 Dog Breeds Most Frequently Affected by Food Allergies

A food allergy is an adverse response by the immune system, commonly associated with a protein in the diet.

It is significant to remember that dog food allergies are not typically linked with a sudden diet change.

Approximately 70 % of affected dogs develop allergies to food ingredients that they have been fed for a long time.

It takes more than one contact with the problematic ingredient to produce an allergic reaction.

dog breeds: food allergies

It habitually takes some detective work to find out what ingredient is initiating the allergic reaction.

A dog’s body requires learning to respond to allergens.

It is a learned phenomenon of the immune system that is genetically encoded and passed from generation to generation in numerous breeds.

Negligent breeders repeatedly breed dogs who have this predisposition.

Thus poor breeding may be responsible for a genetic predisposition to allergies in dogs.

There are some breeds that look to be particularly prone to food allergies. Among these are:

  • Terriers (Jack Russell, Boston Terrier, Cairn Terrier)
  • Bulldogs (French Bulldog, English Bulldog)
  • Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever
  • Boxer
  • Schnauzer
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Irish Setter
  • Dalmatian
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Poodles
  • Shih Tzu
  • Collie
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Bichon Frise
  • German Shepherd

Other predisposing factors:

No sex-predisposition is found between male and female dogs. Also no variance is found whether the dog is neutered or intact.

Age of beginning of allergy symptoms is very variable ranging from 5 months to 12 years of age.

Many dogs that present food-induced allergy are also allergic to other allergens (inhalant or contact allergies).

It seems their immune system is in “fight” mode and is then likely to react excessively to different kinds of allergens.

Some adverse food reactions are mediated by the immune system (true allergy) whereas others are not (food intolerance).

Food intolerance and true allergy cannot be reliably distinguished on a clinical basis, but they are different clinical scenarios that require a different therapeutic plan.

In conclusion, little is acknowledged about the precise predisposing factors in dog food allergies.

Research studies aren’t at all times conclusive but so far it seems certain breeds are actually susceptible to develop allergies in general, including dog food-induced allergies.

You can find some dog food reviews appropriate to dogs presenting a food allergy in our Dog Food Selector:


About the Author:

Hi! I'm Dora Mancha, DVM. I am graduated for the Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Lisbon (2009). My degree is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). I completed my degree in Veterinary Medicine in July, 2009. Over the first years as a veterinarian my work was closely related to the animal health field. I have gained some average experience having worked in Barcelona University (UAB) Equine Hospital and by working with veterinarians in Portugal. In addition, in 2009 - 2010 I was in Madrid at the University Alfonso X el Sábio doing an internship in the equine service. I am also very interested in small animal medicine and surgery. In fact I worked in several small animals clinics in Portugal improving my knowledge about small animal behavior and health. Dogs always have been present in my life, since I was a child. At the present moment I have four dogs a Labrador, a Epagnheul Breton, a Whippet and a mixed breed dog.


  1. eileen charnas October 3, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Is there anything that can keep him more comfortable as he scratches his ears and eats his feet. At one time he was having Prednisolone injections and tablets but he hadn’t had for a long time. Two days ago because his one foot was raw he had a small injection. I have 2 other dogs – a Russian Wolfhound who is on Royal Canin Maxi Adult with no problem and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who is on Hill Metabolic because she is overweight. At one time the two big dogs were both on Maxi Adult. I have been mixing a little chicken with the food – but now Blue (allergic boy only has the Hills Duck and Rice. The do not have any bones any more! I would appreciate hearing from you if you have the time. We live in Durban South Africa where it can get humid. Blue also swims in the pool when he gets hot!! With best wishes. Eileen Charnas!!. xxx

    • Dora Mancha October 4, 2015 at 10:44 am - Reply

      Food allergies are caused by an adverse reaction to a particular ingredient. Dogs are allergic to specific ingredients, not to brands or types of food. An elimination diet feeding trial advised by your veterinarian is an efficient and consistent method that can help confirm the diagnosis. It requires commitment and time, but if your dog gets well it worth the effort and can help you find the appropriate dog food for your dog’s allergies. Scratching is a result of the immune reaction due to the allergy, so my advice is to treat the cause and not the symptom. Of course Prednisolone will help your dog to feel better, but it will not eliminate the disease. For additional information you can read our articles about this issue and search for dog foods by health condition (food allergies).
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