Dog Training

9 Deep-Chested Dogs and Their Potential Health Concerns

Deep-Chested Dogs
Written by Abner

Deep-chested dogs, characterized by their elongated ribcages, are a diverse group of breeds that share both unique physical traits and potential health concerns. 

These breeds, including (according to AKC) Basset Hounds, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Irish Setters, Old English Sheepdogs, Saint Bernards, Standard Poodles, and Weimaraners, exhibit distinct origins and temperaments. 

Up ahead, I’ll jot down their defining features, delve into the individual characteristics of each breed, and discuss the specific health complications they may face. 

Furthermore, I will provide valuable insights into managing and mitigating these health issues to ensure the well-being of these beloved canine companions.

But first, let me give you a brief introduction to what we mean when we say “deep-chested dog”.

What is a Deep Chest in a Dog?

It is a conformational trait where the ribcage is elongated and descends below the elbow joint. 

This distinctive feature is particularly noticeable when a dog is viewed from the side, giving the chest a more pronounced and noticeable appearance. 

9 Dogs with Huge Chests

The breeds mentioned ahead share this common physical trait, contributing to their unique structure.

1. Basset Hounds

Originating from France, Basset Hounds are known for their exceptional sense of smell and distinctive appearance. With their low-set, long bodies, and droopy ears, Basset Hounds have a gentle and affectionate temperament. 

Their deep chests complement their strong scenting abilities, allowing them to trail scents close to the ground efficiently.

2. Doberman Pinschers

Doberman Pinschers, bred in Germany by a tax collector named Louis Dobermann, are renowned for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility. 

They project an image of strength and agility. Despite their imposing appearance, Dobermans are affectionate and protective family dogs, forming strong bonds with their owners.

3. Great Danes

Originating from Germany, Great Danes are one of the largest dog breeds, known for their imposing size and regal presence. 

They have a powerful build, while their friendly and gentle nature contradicts their massive stature. 

Great Danes are often referred to as “gentle giants” and make excellent family companions.

4. Greyhounds

Greyhounds are renowned for their incredible speed and graceful demeanor. Originating in ancient Egypt, they have been prized as both hunting and racing dogs. 

Despite their athletic prowess, Greyhounds are gentle and adaptable pets, making them well-suited for various living environments.

5. Irish Setters

Ireland is the birthplace of the spirited Irish Setter, known for its vibrant red coat and friendly disposition.

This breed is energetic and playful with an outgoing nature makes them great companions for active families and individuals alike.

6. Old English Sheepdogs

Hailing from England, the Old English Sheepdog boasts a distinctive shaggy coat and an amiable temperament. 

Their deep chests are in harmony with their sturdy bodies, reflecting their herding heritage. These intelligent and good-natured dogs make excellent family pets, especially for those with a buzzing lifestyle.

7. Saint Bernards:

The Saint Bernard, originally bred for rescue work in the Swiss Alps, is characterized by its massive size and thick coat. 

They have a high lung capacity for high-altitude rescues. Besides, they are gentle giants who exhibit exceptional patience and kindness. They make devoted family pets, especially in homes with ample space.

8. Standard Poodles:

Standard Poodles, originating in Germany, are known for their intelligence, hypoallergenic coats, and elegant appearance. 

Standard Poodles are versatile dogs excelling in various activities, from obedience competitions to water retrieving.

Their friendly behavior and low-shedding coats make them popular choices for families.

9. Weimaraners:

Hailing from Germany, Weimaraners are distinctive for their striking silver-gray coat and amber-colored eyes. Just like Saint Bernards, their deep chests also enhance their lung capacity, supporting their athleticism and stamina.

Weimaraners are known for their friendly nature and strong bonds with their owners, making them excellent pets for families big and small.

Health Considerations and Mitigation:

These dogs are prone to certain health complications. Some of the common issues include gastric torsion (bloat), hip dysplasia, and respiratory problems.

Gastric Torsion (Bloat): 

Gastric torsion is a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists on itself. 

To mitigate this risk, you can consider feeding smaller, more frequent meals, using elevated food bowls, and avoiding vigorous exercise immediately after meals.

Hip Dysplasia: 

Breeds like Weimaraners and Doberman Pinschers may be prone to hip dysplasia, a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit into the hip socket properly. 

Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and weight management are crucial in minimizing the impact of hip dysplasia. Additionally, joint supplements and veterinary care can aid in managing the condition.

Respiratory Problems: 

These dogs may experience respiratory issues due to their unique chest conformation. 

But you can prevent them by visiting the vet for regular check-ups and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent respiratory complications. 

You should also be cautious during hot weather, as these breeds can be more susceptible to heat-related issues.

Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer):

Great Danes, with their giant frames, are unfortunately more susceptible to osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. 

Keep an eye out for any unusual lumps or changes in behavior can aid in early detection. Consult with your vet about preventive measures and appropriate screenings.


These breeds may be prone to hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland isn’t producing enough hormones. It is characterized by changes in weight, coat condition, and energy levels, so do keep an eye on them. 

You may want to catch this condition earlier, and that’s where vet check-ups come in to prescribe medication that can help manage it effectively.

Vision Issues:

Weimaraners have silver-gray eyes and therefore, may be prone to certain eye conditions. Trying to keep their environment free from potential eye irritants can help maintain their visual health. 

If you notice any signs of redness, discharge, or squinting, consult with your vet promptly.

List of Deep-Chested Dogs – Conclusion

Owning a deep-chested dog is a special treat because they are mostly gentle despite their huge bodies. But as you read, they don’t come without potential health concerns

Each of the mentioned breeds brings its own unique qualities to the table, making them beloved companions for those who appreciate their individual traits. 

By being aware of the specific health risks associated with their unique chest shapes, and taking proactive steps to mitigate them, you can ensure a long and healthy life for them.

About the author


Greetings, I'm Abner, a dog trainer with 7 years of expertise, and I welcome you to PupsGuide, your premier resource for expert tips and knowledge to strengthen the bond with your beloved canine companion.

Leave a Comment