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Dogs with flat noses live shorter lives

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Feb3,2024

The French bulldog and the rottweiler are among the breeds with the shortest lifespan.

Dogs with flat noses live shorter lives

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A French bulldog

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They are beautiful and distinguished and their affectionate characters bring joy to their favorite humans. But dogs of the brachycephalic breed, which have a skull that is wider than it is long, a flat face and bulging eyes, live less long than those of the dolichocephalic breed, which have an elongated skull and a long muzzle.

This is the observation reached by veterinarian Kirsten McMillan and her colleagues from the Royal Veterinary College associated with the University of London, who have just drawn up the most precise global portrait of canine longevity to date. To do this, they studied 18 databases – including medical records – covering almost 585,000 dogs in the UK from more than 155 purebreds or classified as crossbreeds.

For Professor David William Silversides of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Montreal, this portrait confirms what we already knew, but in unprecedented detail until now.

Results from similar British studies conducted in 1999 with 3,000 dogs and in 2010 with 16,000 dogs point in the same direction. But the strength of these, with more than half a million dogs, is in the number of sightings. This is becoming more and more solid as a finding, notes Professor Silversides, who was not involved in this study published in the journal Scientific Reports (New window) (in English). p>

In the study, race, gender, date of birth and date of death (if applicable) were taken into consideration. Purebred dogs were categorized by size (small, medium or large) and head shape (short-nosed, medium-nosed and long-nosed).

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Longevity was then calculated for each of the breeds and for the crossbreed group, then for each combination of sex, size and head shape.

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The Caucasian Shepherd lives on average only 5.4 years.

Purebred dogs with flat noses therefore live shorter lives than those with moderately long noses, such as spaniels. Professor Silversides explains that brachycephalic breeds are prone to several health problems, including breathing difficulties and skin problems.

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The Tibetan Spaniel has a median lifespan of 15.2 years.

Additionally, among the 12 most popular breeds (representing more than 50% of all purebreds registered in the database), Labradors live an average of 13.1 years and Jack Russell Terriers have a life expectancy median life of 13.3 years.

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The Labrador lives on average 13.1 years.

The authors of the work hope that future analyzes will take into account designer breed dogs (like doodles), which are currently very popular.

A designer dog is a first generation crossbreed dog, explains Professor Silversides.

One argument is that the genetic diversity of this animal reduces the risk of genetic problems, especially simple genetic diseases, compared to purebred dogs. Which can increase the life expectancy of the animal.

A quote from David William Silversides, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Montreal

But this argument only works for the first generation of designer dogs, according to the professor. For subsequent generations, designer dogs become other animals in the process of becoming purebreds, with inbreeding and associated genetic problems.

In addition, the authors of the work point out that the data does not take into account how the dogs died. They hope that further studies will take into account other factors that could influence longevity, such as environmental factors such as diet, exercise and training. p>

Can this data collected in the United Kingdom be transposed to North America? It's a good question! I think that broadly speaking, the results in North America must be going in the same direction, says Professor David William Silversides.

Unfortunately, there is no such precise data in North America. Europeans, and particularly the British, are very interested in the issue.

A quote from David William Silversides, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Montreal

We must also consider that England is a somewhat closed island and that they are very little open to the importation of dogs due to the fight against rabies, he explains. . We can therefore think that there is some variation between North American and European portraits.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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