Nationwide® Veterinary Analytics

To reach Nationwide’s veterinary analytics team with questions, comments or media requests, contact Nationwide’s Corporate Communications team at

Information available as of March 1, 2022.


Some high, some low: Canine cancer rates you need to know

To download the white paper as a pdf, click here.

To download the methodology for the white paper, click here.

Are mixed-breed dogs less prone to cancer than purebreds? Are some breeds of purebred dogs more—or less—likely to have cancer than the average across all breeds and mixes? Do some kinds of cancer hit some breeds worse than others? Every practicing veterinarian has an opinion based on many difficult diagnoses, but what does a biostatistical analysis of millions of pet-health insurance claims show? Nationwide’s veterinary analytics team looked at the cancer claims of 1.61 million dogs from 2015 to 2021 and found the following:

Purebred dogs as a group have a higher risk for cancer claims than do crossbred and mixed-breed dogs, at 1.9 times the relative risk.

The relative risk for cancer claims in purebred dogs varies significantly:

By breed and size. While some breeds show up as very high risk, other breeds are below the relative risk for all dogs.

By breed and affected body system. The literature has long-established that some purebreds are over-represented in specific cancer types. Nationwide’s data allow us to not just quantify those values, but also identify which other breeds and body systems may be at greatest risk.

Relative risk image

Risk by breed

Risk by breed chart

Boxers, Beagles and Golden Retrievers have the highest relative risk for a cancer claim in the Top 25 breeds by popularity, while Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs have the lowest. Toy and small dogs of all kinds consistently had lower relative risk for a cancer claim, a finding that will be explored in greater detail in the next paper of this series.

To see the full list of relative risk among the top 25 most popular breeds, as well as the average age at which they are first affected, visit the link to the white paper above.

Risk by body system

While not surprising to see Boxers over-represented in skin cancers, Goldens in splenic tumors and Beagles in bladder neoplasms, data from more than 1.6 million Nationwide policies allowed us to quantify those relative risks as well as uncover novel insights into other breed and body system data. To see how high the relative risk for bone cancer is in Rottweilers, or in which other cancer body systems Golden Retrievers are overrepresented, see the link to the full white paper above.

Risk by body system chart

Nationwide has been protecting pets for 40 years, and in 2021 the company reached the landmark of actively protecting more than a million companion animals in the United States. This analysis is the second of a series in 2022 and beyond on pet health and the finances of veterinary care. With these studies, Nationwide draws on decades of policy and claims data and vast veterinary expertise, providing insights to drive positive change in pet health care. Nationwide is committed to advancing the evolution of pet protection through leadership in pet health data and to pioneering positive change in veterinary health care.