Breeds affected by Dry Eye

Dry Eye is very common – 1 in every 22 dogs are affected by this disease. However, in certain breeds, this figure is almost doubled. It is important to be aware that the eyes of some dogs affected by Dry Eye look quite normal, despite severely reduced tear production and destruction of the tear glands. The sooner Dry Eye is diagnosed and the correct treatment started, the better the long term outlook for the dog’s eyes. Dry Eye is also painful (a bit like having grit in your eyes) so prompt treatment will also improve the welfare of the dog.

Predisposed Breeds

All breeds of dogs can develop Dry Eye at any age, but some are more prone to the condition. Breeds of dog particularly susceptible to Dry Eye include:

  • English Cocker spaniel
  • West Highland White terrier
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • Shih-Tzu

Other breeds include the Yorkshire terrier, Bulldog, Pekingese, Pug and Lhasa Apso.

Veterinary specialists in ophthalmology recommend testing susceptible breeds regularly and many owners elect to have their dog tested during a routine appointment, such as for vaccination. This ensures that Dry Eye is picked up early and treatment started before too much tear gland tissue is destroyed.

English Cocker spaniel

This sporting dogs name “Cocker” is derived from the game bird Woodcock which it was orignially used to hunt. “Spaniel” is derived from “Espagnol” and reflects the breeds Spanish ancestry.

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Often referred to as the “Comforter Spaniel” due to its generous nature. The regal name was bestowed upon the breed by King Charles II due his fondness for these dogs.

West Highland White terrier

This terrier was originally bred to hunt Otters, but now enjoys popularity as a family pet. Their thick coats often require the attention of a professional groomer throughout the year.


Now classed by the Kennel Club as a “Utility” dog, these intelligent animals originate in Tibet and were often given as gifts to Chinese Emporers.


A breed which has its heritage in China, where its founders were kept as companions and lap dogs. The Emporer Ling To liked them so much that anyone attempting to steal one of his dogs would be sentenced to death.


This short and stocky breed orginates from a mastiff like dog known as the Bullenbeisser, used for both hunting and as a guard dog. The modern day Bulldog is now popular as a family pet.