Dogs can suffer from a whole host of diseases and other serious health problems. Some of these conditions are inherited, while others are caused by viruses; still others are related to lifestyle and environmental influences.
So you have made the decision to get a dog. Perhaps you had a bad experience once before with a dog who you thought was cute or friendly, but then when you got him home he turned out to be a holy terror, and the whole thing turned into a nightmare. Even if you have never had such a bad experience, the fact remains that choosing a pet is a life-changing decision, and it is one that takes a lot of thought and research.
If you ever owned a dog when you were a child, you can probably recall the joy and exhilaration you felt every day, playing with your best buddy. Once you grew up and (assuming you) started a family, you probably wanted your kid(s) to experience the same things that you did. A loving, loyal, fun-loving animal companion is one of the best things in the world.