Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content

Disease Prevalence in Aussies

Prevalence of Diseases and Other Hereditary Traits in Aussies

Germany-flagRev. France-flagMarch 2013


The list of genetic issues below was developed from data submitted to the ASHGI Comprehensive Breed Health Survey conducted in 2009-2010.  These issues are known to be inherited.   Items are listed roughly in order of frequency.  Keep in mind that the number of affected individuals for any given item indicates a significantly higher number of individuals that carry genes for it.  Some rarer issues known to occur in the breed are unlisted because they went unreported in the survey.

Extremely Common ( 10% or more of dogs reported)

  • MDR1  (the mutation also is reported to be found in over 50% of Australian   Shepherds by the Veterinary Clinical Pathology Lab at Washington State University )
  • Autoimmune diseases (all types)
  • Moderate to severe allergies  (mild allergies can occur in almost any individual)
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Missing teeth

Very Common  (4-9%)

  • Umbilical hernia
  • Cataract
  • Hemangiosarcoma  
  • Epilepsy
  • Retained testicles
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Spondylosis  (while generally not considered a breed genetic issue, this can be inherited; the frequency of reports make that a possibility.)

Common  (2-3%)

  • Bad bites  (overshot, undershot, wry and anterior crossbite)
  • Distichiasis
  • Demodectic mange
  • Food intolerance     
  • Cruciate ligament rupture (may be acquired or genetically predisposed)
  • Ear infections  (probably related to allergies)
  • Excess white markings
  • Natural-bobtail related defects  (kinked tails, transitional vertebrae, birth defects avoidable by not breeding NBT x NBT)
  • Lymphoma
  • Laryngeal paralysis

Uncommon  (1%)

  • Progressive rod cone degeneration (a form of progressive retinal atrophy)
  • Collie eye anomaly
  • Dilute (dilution of black or liver pigment, does not include “dilution spots”)
  • Osteochondritis desicans of the shoulder
  • Pelger-Huet Anomaly positive
  • Renal dysplasia
  • Urate crystals
  • Iris coloboma
  • Yellow color     

Rare (<1%)

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Persistent pupilary membrane (iris-to-cornea or iris-to-lens only – other forms do not significantly impact vision)
  • Congenital heart vessel defects  (includes patent ductus arteriosus and persistent right aoritic arch)
  • Patellar luxation
  • Muscular dystrophy