This is the "Deafness in dogs" page of the "FAQ: Deaf Animals" guide.
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FAQ: Deaf Animals   Tags: deaf, faq  

This guide briefly discusses the more common incidences of deafness in various species.
Last Updated: Sep 22, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Deafness in dogs Print Page

Dog breeds

Dog breeds with tendency to congenital deafness

Deafness in dogs also has some correlation with whiteness in the dog's coat, but to a much lesser extent than with cats. The particular breed plays a greater role in the chance of a dog's having deafness. There is also a far larger number of distinct dog breeds (78) identified as having consistently higher numbers of congenitally deaf individuals than in other breeds:

  • Akita
  • American-Canadian shepherd
  • American Eskimo
  • American Staffordshire terrier
  • Australian cattle dog
  • Australian shepherd
  • Beagle
  • Bichon frise
  • Border collie
  • Borzoi
  • Boston terrier
  • Boxer
  • Bull terrier
  • Bulldog
  • Cardigan Welsh corgi
  • Catohoula leopard dog
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • Chihuahua
  • Chinese crested
  • Chow chow
  • Cocker spaniel
  • Collie
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Dalmatian
  • Dappled dachshund
  • Doberman pinscher
  • Dogo Argentino
  • English bulldog
  • English cocker spaniel
  • English setter
  • Fox terrier
  • Foxhound
  • French bulldog
  • German shepherd
  • Great Dane
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Havanese
  • Ibizan hound
  • Italian greyhound
  • Jack Russell terrier
  • Kuvasz
  • Labrador retriever
  • Löwchen
  • Maltese
  • Miniature pinscher
  • Miniature poodle
  • Mongrel
  • Norwegian dunkerhound
  • Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever
  • Old English sheepdog
  • Papillon
  • Perro de Carea Leonés
  • Pit bull terrier
  • Pointer
  • Presa Canario
  • Puli
  • Rat terrier
  • Rhodesian ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Saint Bernard
  • Schnauzer
  • Scottish terrier
  • Sealyham terrier
  • Shetland sheepdog
  • Shih tzû
  • Shropshire terrier
  • Siberian husky
  • Soft-coated Wheaten terrier
  • Springer spaniel
  • Sussex spaniel
  • Tibetan spaniel
  • Tibetan terrier
  • Toy fox terrier
  • Toy poodle
  • Walker American foxhound
  • West Highland white terrier
  • Whippet
  • Yorkshire terrier
(After George M. Strain)

Those breeds listed in bold have relatively high prevalences of congenital (hereditary) deafness.

Dalmatians have the highest proven incidence of all, with 8% being born deaf in both ears and up to 22% deaf in one ear. English setters are second, averaging 2.3% bilaterally deaf; third are Australian cattle dogs at 2.1% bilaterally deaf; fourth place is split between bull terriers and English cocker spaniels at 1% each. Each of these breeds also has a higher occurrence of deafness in just one ear.

Jack Russell terriers have tested out with a 10.6% bilaterally deaf rate (plus 8.5% unilaterally deaf), and the Catohoula leopard dog has been tested to have an incredible 41.7% bilaterally deaf rate (plus 27.1% unilaterally deaf). However, it must be pointed out that the numbers tested in each of those two breeds are too low to be statistically significant (less than 50 individuals were tested), and those figures should not be trusted until a larger number of animals in those two breeds can be tested for a better statistical sampling.

Partial bibliography:

  • Becker, Susan Cope, Living with a deaf dog: a book of advice, facts and experiences about canine deafness. Cincinnati, Ohio : S.C. Becker, 1997.
  • Bird, Kay, "Creating a safe haven for deaf dogs", The New Mexican [Santa Fe, NM], March 1994.
  • "The Dalmatian controversy", Deaf life, vol.6 no.12, June 1994, p.10-15, 18-25.
  • Gewirtz, Elaine Waldorf, "Researching deafness in Dalmatians", AKC gazette, January 1991.
  • Haerderle, Michael, "A champion for deaf Dalmatians: teacher finds a spot for them by teaching them to obey sign language", Chicago tribune, January 13, 1994.
  • Mair, I.W.S., "Hereditary deafness in the Dalmatian dog", Archives of oto-rhino-laryngology, vol.212, 1976, p.1-14.
  • Oviatt, Nancy, "Dalmatians: love 'em or let 'em eat the sofa", letter to the editor in Wall street journal, March 1, 1991, sec.A, p.9.
  • Reilly, Linda Collins, "Communicating with 'Rumpus': a full life for deaf Corgi", Dog world, vol.75 no.12, December 1990, p.27, 142, 182-183.
  • The spotter [quarterly journal of the Dalmatian Club of America] has had articles on deaf Dalmatians from time to time, including Wilson (q.v.).
  • Strain, George M., "Congenital deafness in dogs and cats", Compendium on continuing education for the practicing veterinarian, vol.13 no.2, February 1991, p.246.
  • Strain, George M., Deafness in dogs & cats: information on deafness prevalence, causes, & management for owners, breeders, and researchers,
  • Talley, James Norris, An examination of the hearing mechanism of the behavorially deaf Dalmatian. M.A. thesis, University of Illinois, 1965.
  • Wilson, James Norris, "Dalmatian hearing research update", The spotter, vol.23 no.2, Winter 1992/1993.
  • Zutell, Irene, "Amazing pets", Woman's world, June 22, 1993.

Contacts for more information on deaf dogs:

Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (DDEAF)
P.O. Box 2840
Oneco, FL 34264-2840

Santa Fe School for Deaf Dalmatians
P.O. Box 8921
Santa Fe, NM 87504
505/988-5722 voice

Dalmatian Club of America, Inc.


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