Does dog down syndrome exist?

It is a contentious topic that is often met with debate and emotion: does dog down syndrome exist? Some will tell you that it does, while others may argue the opposite. Ultimately, research into this phenomenon has been inconclusive, and opinions vary greatly. In this blog post we’ll look at what we definitively know about canine down syndrome – from symptoms to treatments – so you can make an informed decision if confronted with this genetic disorder in your own pet.

1. What is Down Syndrome disorder?And what it does?

A girl with down syndrome disorder

Down syndrome is a chromosomal genetic condition, suggesting that it is present at birth. This problem is caused by an extra duplicate of chromosome 21, which affects cognitive and physical development. People with Down syndrome are also at increased risk of developing other health and wellness problems, such as cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.

2. Did you know that there are three subtypes of Down syndrome?

There's three subtypes of down syndrome

They are called trisomy 21, translocation, and mosaicism. However, before we dive into the different types of Down syndrome and their reasons, let’s look at how chromosomes work.


Chromosomes condense our DNA molecules so they can fit inside our cells. Our chromosomes set everything from physical appearance to personality to create certain diseases. Human beings have 23 sets of chromosomes. Usually, we acquire one copy of each chromosome from our parents. People with Down syndrome have a complete or partial third duplicate of chromosome 21.


People with the trisomy 21 variant of Down syndrome, one of the most common, acquire two duplicates of chromosome 21 from their parents. This happens when the two types do not separate within the egg or sperm before or during conception. Existing studies suggest that this error occurs most often in the ovum.


Translocation occurs when the extra copy of chromosome 21 is attached to an extra chromosome. Interestingly, this chromosome is usually chromosome 14. Translocation makes up about 4% of Down syndrome cases.


The rarest type of Down Syndrome is called mosaicism. It occurs when the added duplicate of chromosome 21 does not reproduce in all cells. Therefore, some cells have 46 chromosomes, while others have 47. Individuals with this type of Down Disorder may not show the same clinical indications as those with trisomy 21.

3. So Can dog get Down Syndrome?

Can dog get down syndrome?

Since you understand how Down Syndrome appears in people, you might be asking, “Do dog down syndrome exist? Can dogs have Down Syndrome?”


Clearly, the answer is no. Some sources claim that the answer is not simple; however, there is no clinical evidence to show that Down Syndrome, as we know it in humans, also exists in dogs.


However, some health and wellness problems in dogs can mimic Down Syndrome. These consist of the following:


Pituitary dwarfism: This autosomal disorder is caused by a shortage of developmental hormones, in addition to small physical stature, domestic dogs with pituitary dwarfism struggle with some health conditions, including kidney failure. This condition frequently occurs in German Shepherds and certain types of wolf mixes.


Congenital heart disease: The reasons for this unusual disease differ; genes and ecological variables may play a role. Signs and symptoms vary depending on the problem.
Hypothyroidism. Although rare, domestic dogs can acquire this disease from their parents. The signs and symptoms can mimic those of Down Syndrome, especially concerning the development and function of the body’s organs and the metabolic rate.
Finally, it is necessary to consider veterinary genetics is an advancing field. Although veterinary geneticists have extensively examined the canine genome and have discovered more than 300 genetic diseases, we still need to recognize canine genes as widely as we understand the human genome.

4. To what extent is Down Syndrome in dogs and comparable people?
To what extent is Down Syndrome in dogs and comparable people

Canines can establish chromosomal conditions very similar to those of humans, and several indicators of those problems are identical to those of Down’s Disorder. Some of these consist of the following:


Face and head smaller than normal

Delayed muscle development and also cognitive advancement

Poor vision and hearing

Physical defects, such as short legs

5. How is Down's disorder different in dogs and people?
How is Down's disorder different in dogs and people?

For starters, dogs have 38 pairs of chromosomes. This means that, in canines, chromosome 21 has different functions and also carries different genetics. Chromosomal problems are also thought to be rarer in companion dogs.

Humans with Down syndrome often enjoy a superior quality of life. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for dogs suffering from chromosomal irregularities. Unfortunately, many dogs with these conditions die before or shortly after birth. Those who survive often suffer from the discomfort associated with deformed organs and the signs and symptoms mentioned above. Some pets with chromosome problems may not be able to eat.

6. How are chromosomal problems like Down Syndrome in dogs detected and treated?
How are chromosomal problems like Down Syndrome in dogs detected and treated?

Since genetic tests are usually only available in specialized centers, it will be difficult to confirm if your pet has a chromosomal irregularity.


Since chromosomal abnormalities are genetic, unfortunately, there is no remedy. Your vet will perform a physical exam to identify if your dog has particular pathologies. Be sure to alert your vet to any signs he has observed and to follow his guidelines carefully. Frequently the therapy will undoubtedly be palliative, or done to alleviate the dog’s discomfort and push his lifestyle as high as possible rather than treat the condition.

So do you still believing in dog down syndrome? 


Dogs can get a variety of health problems that may make them look or act like they have Down Syndrome. However, there is no evidence that Dog Down Syndrome exists as the same way it does in humans. While some chromosomal abnormalities can be treated, there is no cure for Dog Down Syndrome.

© 2022 Copyright