Rottweilers with Down Syndrome

Last Updated on January 13, 2022 by Griselda M.

Syndrome Down is a chromosomal condition usually found in people, but many Rottie owners wonder if there are Rottweilers with Down syndrome. This condition usually displays through physical and cognitive characteristics, as well as issues with health. However, can dogs even get Down syndrome? If not, what are some conditions that dogs can have?

Can Dogs Have Down Syndrome?

Unlike the human 23 sets of chromosomes, dogs have 39. Unlike humans, dogs seemingly can’t have Down syndrome, or at least there is no documented case to this day. For this to occur, chromosome 21 would have to duplicate. Even if that happened, Down syndrome isn’t guaranteed, as we can’t possibly know how would that have an effect on dogs.

Vets explain that there are several reasons why Down syndrome isn’t possible with dogs. Firstly, dogs aren’t as resistant as humans. This means that if the syndrome would occur, the animal would die very early.

Secondly, we aren’t exactly testing dogs genetically in order to identify Down syndrome in dogs. The last presumption, which still isn’t completely proven but it’s highly regarded as true, is that Down syndrome simply isn’t a possibility with dogs.

So, a Down syndrome dog, or a Down syndrome Rottweiler for that matter, simply isn’t possible.

Read more about Symptoms Of Rottweiler Hip Dysplasia.

Genetic Disorders In Dogs

down syndrome dog

Just because dogs can’t have Down syndrome doesn’t mean that they’re completely immune to genetic disorders! Below, you’ll find some of the most common genetic disorders in dogs.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common condition with dogs, mainly affecting their orthopedic state. However, it is a condition that you, as an owner, can help with.

This condition basically ensures that your dog’s hips don’t function properly. The cause for this is the ball not fitting in the socket. This, besides causing pain, results in the degeneration of bone and cartilage. It can also kickstart early onset arthritis. However, you can spot this condition pretty early as the symptoms aren’t difficult to spot.

If your dog develops hip dysplasia, it’s going to display trouble laying down and getting up, as well as moving uphill and downhill. It will also have trouble jumping, as well as walking and running in general. Some dogs suffer from hip dysplasia that’s more advanced, while some conditions aren’t as advanced. That’s why some dogs only need medication and physical therapy, while more serious conditions need surgery.

If you notice any of the symptoms, make sure you contact your vet!

BOAS – Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome

This very serious condition is a syndrome that mostly affects the respiratory system. Even though it’s most common with Bulldogs (all breeds) and Pugs, it can also occur in Rottweilers! Essentially it means that the anatomy of the respiratory system isn’t properly developed, causing these dogs to have trouble breathing.

Even though it may not sound that troublesome at first, it really is a huge problem. Dogs that suffer from BOAS often have trouble breathing as they’re literally suffocating most of the time, they can’t sleep properly, they can’t hold their heads up so they can’t swim. They also can’t cool down when it’s hot outside, because of this they can’t exercise and avoid movement in general. This often leads to arthritis, obesity, problems with the spine, etc.

This condition isn’t that common with Rottweilers, but it can occur. What’s really disappointing is that dogs can actually die of respiratory failure because of this.

This condition is a direct result of selective breeding. Humans decided to breed dogs to make their heads more square and their faces flatter. Without thinking about the consequences, we, unfortunately, created several breeds of dogs that can’t live their lives normally.

Even though it’s unlikely to happen, if you notice your Rottweiler suffocating, breathing heavily, wheezing, and panting too much, you should check it out with the vet!


Unfortunately, cancer is possible with dogs, just like with humans. Experts believe that some cancers happen because of predisposing genetics. Dogs usually suffer from lymphoma and lymphosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma.

There is some research that is currently supporting the idea that genetic markers for cancer are more present with dogs that have been diagnosed with cancer at some point. However, it’s still unclear whether cancer can somehow be rooted out in dogs.


Lastly, we have cardiomyopathy. This condition essentially weakens the heart over time, making it more difficult for your dog to participate in regular activities, while it also makes it possible for the heart to simply give out at one point.

Unfortunately, you can’t exactly do a predictive test for this condition. It can, however, be identified genetically. This means that if you’re buying your dog from a reputable breeder – they should know exactly what genetic predispositions their dogs have.

How Worried Should You Be?

down syndrome rottweiler

It’s completely reasonable to worry about your dog’s health, and you’d be crazy not to. This is why it’s best to buy your dog from a reputable breeder. Breeders will usually root out dogs that have dangerous genetic conditions, so the puppies they sell are usually completely healthy.

It’s not a common occurrence for a reputable breeder to sell a dog with a genetic condition. However, if you do suspect that something is up, you should definitely take your dog to see the vet. Dogs with disorders, especially if they’re cognitive, won’t behave normally. The best thing to do is have a checkup with the vet and determine the following course of action.

In summation, Rottweilers can’t suffer from Down syndrome, just like no other dog can. The disorder simply isn’t possible with dogs, and if it is, then it’s extremely rare and is yet to be documented. However, there are other disorders to be on the lookout for.

Many of these disorders will start displaying very early, with some only displaying later in life. The best way to avoid them is to buy your dog from a reputable breeder. Moreover, if you suspect that your dog has a disorder, you should take it up with the vet for testing.

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