Most dogs love food, but some are downright obsessed with it. These food fanatics will do just about any trick in the book for a treat. Why are some dogs so obsessed with food, whereas others aren’t? It could be in their genes. There are seven notoriously food-obsessed dog breeds, and the reasons they love it so much might surprise you.
1. Labrador Retrievers
Experts agree that the Labrador retriever is the most food-obsessed dog breed out there, but they are a bit of a unique case. Labs have a never-ending appetite thanks to a genetic mutation. This is known as a mutated pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) gene, which most people jokingly call the “greedy gene.” So far, it has only been detected in the lab and the flat-coated retriever.
Up to 25 percent of Labrador retrievers have the POMC gene mutation, which could explain why your lab is always hungry!
Beagles are famous for their food drive, and it’s likely a result of their hunting roots. This breed is originally a rabbit hunter, and positive reinforcement is an important part of their training. Not to mention, as scent hounds, they have a really strong sense of smell. One of the reasons beagles are so widely used in animal testing is the fact that they’re so food motivated.
3. Basset Hounds
Bassets are another hunting breed that absolutely adores food. These long and low dogs never seem to act satiated, which can be a problem. Basset hounds are at high risk of obesity, which can be extremely harmful to their health. Aim to keep your basset at a healthy weight to prevent life-threatening conditions.
Use a combination of diet and exercise to keep your dog at a healthy weight. It can help extend their life!
4. French Bulldogs
French bulldogs are incredibly food motivated, though it might not help with their training. Frenchies are known for being super stubborn, so even though they love food, their tenacity could get in the way. This breed was originally kept as companion dogs, so their fixation on food (and belief that they deserve unlimited treats!) could come from the fact that they've always been pampered.
We can’t say we’ve ever met a bulldog that didn’t love food. Have you? Bulldogs are known for being big eaters who always act like they’re hungry. They’re prone to overeating, so be sure you don’t overfeed your bulldog to keep them from becoming overweight.
Dog-safe vegetables can serve as great low-calorie treats for dogs who are on a diet.
6. Rhodesian Ridgebacks
7. Golden Retrievers
The happy-go-lucky golden retriever is always up for a play session and always up for a treat. The breed was originally used for hunting and retrieving, though they fulfill a bunch of different jobs today. Goldens are frequently used in service work and as rescue dogs, which explains why the food-motivated characteristic is desirable in these dogs.
Why Are Some Dog Breeds Obsessed With Food?
The main reason certain dog breeds are obsessed with food is that this characteristic was bred into them. Being food-motivated makes dogs inherently easier to train. So this trait is especially desirable in dogs who are used for specific jobs, like service work, retrieving, hunting, or animal testing. Breeders will often consider how food-motivated a dog is when making their selection, which reinforces the characteristic generation after generation.
Keep an Eye on Food-Obsessed Dogs
Food-obsessed dogs can be easier to train than those that aren’t motivated by food, but this trait can be a negative thing too. These dogs can easily gorge themselves if they get into the pantry or trash can. Keep an eye on your food-loving dog to keep them out of mischief and make sure to see your vet to rule out any medical or behavioral causes behind their grubbing.