Can Dogs have Down Syndrome? (September 2023)

Dog With Down Syndrome

Regarding health issues, many overlaps can be found between dogs & humans. Both can be seen struggling with anxiety, diabetes, seizure disorders, cancer, etc. Let’s dig into the topic: dogs with Down syndrome. But before that, it is important to know about Down syndrome.

What is Down Syndrome?

It is a genetic disorder caused if an abnormal cell divides into an additional full or partial copy of chromosome 21. Because of the extra genetic material, one can experience developmental changes & symptoms of Down syndrome. Slanting eyes, flattened faces, etc., are some physical features that categorize Down syndrome.

What is Down Syndrome?

Do Dogs Get Down Syndrome?

No direct answer is available for this question. Several people have thought that animals like dogs, tigers, apes, etc., can have clusters of genetic defects appearing as Down syndrome.

According to some vets, dogs experience this syndrome. If this is the case, then it is clear that Down syndrome is not the same for humans & dogs. Dogs have a different number of chromosomes than humans.

While dogs have 39 sets of chromosomes, humans have 23. And compared to the 21st chromosome pair in a human, the 21st pair in dogs doesn’t have the same information. Therefore, trisomy 21 in dogs is unable to cause Down syndrome.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms

You need to notice closely if your dog experiences Down syndrome. For instance, sick dogs can have dry noses, whereas healthy dogs have moist noses. Hence, you should check out these symptoms to confirm if your dog is experiencing the same issue.

1. Poor Eyesight

Because of the poor development of dogs with Down syndrome, they can have poor eyesight. They are even likely to develop cataracts in at least one of their eyes. For cloudiness, you need to check your dog’s eyes. Once you see this, you can ensure that it is the formation of a cataract.

2. Unusual Facial or Physical Features

Dogs are likely to have deformed and dwarf-like facial features. They can experience abnormalities like a short neck, flat-like face, small head, upwardly slanting eyes, etc. A dog with Down syndrome has a dry nose. As well as it can have deformed legs, abnormal skin patches, etc.

3. Hearing Problems

This symptom is hard to notice. Besides, you can see that dogs facing the syndrome react slowly.

4. Random Pain

Generally, this disorder affects the entire body of dogs. Therefore, they can come with abnormally-developed internal organs, resulting in the dogs suffering from pain.

5. Discharge

They can suffer from other diseases, because of which blood can be discharged from their rectum. It can be seen in the latter stages of the disorder.

6. Skin Problems

Several dogs suffer from skin problems like having abnormal or missing patches & heavy shedding. It causes dogs to develop allergies & other problems related to health.

7. Thyroid Issues

Dogs can face thyroid issues, causing them troubles with metabolism and temperature. Down syndrome-affected dogs have a lower temperature than normal ones.

How to Take Care of Your Dog

Have you taken help from a vet to diagnose your dog for special needs? Then, you should take steps to provide the best care to keep your dog safe.

  • Schedule regular visits with your vet: If your dog requires special needs, remember that it is essential for your dog to have more frequent check-ups to ensure that they are healthy. Ensure that your vet follows through daily with important treatments, tests, etc.
  • Safeguard environment: Keep the environment safe if you notice that your dog is facing intellectual or developmental delays. Ensure that your dog’s space is simple to move around in. If necessary, you can use gates to prevent your dog from falling.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Dogs Have Down Syndrome?

The answer can be no but dogs can have conditions that look similar to it.

2. What is the Most Common Disorder in Dogs?

Oral infection is the most common disorder in dogs. It can tend to become an issue after the age of three.

3. What Causes Down Syndrome in Animals?

An extra copy of the genetic material on chromosome 21 can be the primary cause of Down syndrome in animals.


A dog with Down syndrome can have warm or dry eyes. So, it is essential to feed them with the right diet to keep them protected from having poor eyesight, thyroid problems, skin issues, random pain, etc.

Hope you find the right information in the article above. If so, do check out other similar informative articles on our website.

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