Vet reveals the five dog breeds he would never choose

Adorable dachshund. Pugs with funny faces. Cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. They may be loved by their human families, but they all made a list of the top five dog breeds a UK vet says he’d never own.

Ben Simpson-Vernon, a small veterinarian in Chigwell, England, runs the Ben the Vet TikTok account. His September 22 post has been viewed more than 6 million times in just four days, and that’s no surprise. It comes down to a controversial issue involving dog breeds that many people own and love. Simpson-Vernon talks about the five dog breeds he would never choose as a vet – and some very popular breeds are on his list.

“Remember, it’s ultimately my opinion,” he warns before starting. “You may have different opinions.” 5 dog breeds I would/could never own as a vet #dogsoftiktok#learnontiktok#veterinary#benthevet♬ Waiting For Heartache – BLVKSHP

chow chow

The fluffy, burly chow chow, a long-time favorite of Martha Stewart, makes the list. Simpson-Vernon says he’s sure there are some beautiful specimens of the breed, but he often finds that they “do not have a very nice temperament, they can be very aloof, and they are often very aggressive towards the vet.” Eye problems are often a problem with this dog, he says.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Don’t tell the new King of England, but the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel made the list. Simpson-Vernon admits that “they make the most beautiful dogs” and he would probably get one himself if it weren’t for all the health issues. A heart condition called mitral valve disease is common and complicates their final days as they have trouble breathing.


Dachshunds are “really lovable dogs,” says Simpson-Vernon, but “one in four of them will develop back problems in their lifetime.” These range from pain to paralysis, often requiring spinal surgery.

Shar Pei

The wrinkly Shar-Pei breed even has a disease named after them – Shar-Pei fever. And their signature wrinkles also cause health problems, as Simpson-Vernon notes that some of them have to have their eyelids “pinned” to keep the hair from rubbing against their eyes. They also often have skin problems, and Simpson-Vernon says they often “try to bite the (vet) staff’s faces off.”

Pugs, French Bulldogs, Bulldogs

The #1 dog on the list isn’t just a breed, it’s basically “any flat-faced or brachycephalic dog breed,” like a French bulldog, bulldog, or pug. (Singer Lady Gaga owns two French bulldogs, which were caught and returned unharmed in 2021.) “They are so prone to so many problems,” he says, mentioning spinal problems, skin problems, and eye problems. More than half of these dogs require a cesarean section to give birth because the pup’s head and shoulders are too large for the mother to give birth otherwise. Simpson-Vernon has also written about canine brachycephalic conditions on his website Vet Reality Check.

I reached out to Simpson-Vernon to ask what type of dog breeds he recommends. Although I haven’t heard of it, a post on his blog gives some insight. He writes that his own parents asked him to recommend a breed of dog and ended up getting a mixed breed puppy or mutt.

“[The]longer I’ve been a vet, the more I’ve realized that a pedigree dog is inherently a less healthy one,” he writes. “I’m not saying that a dog without a fixed breed will never get sick. Nor am I saying that every pedigree dog will lead a life of ill health. But unfortunately many do. I know that because I treat her every day.”

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