“A medium-sized, flat-faced male like a bulldog is three times more likely to live a shorter life than a small-sized, long-faced female," a researcher said
A longer snout on a dog could mean that the animal lives longer.
That’s according to a new study published in Scientific Reports, which examined a dog’s snout length, size and sex in relation to the canine’s lifespan.
The study analyzed nearly 585,000 dogs in the U.K., and found that dogs with medium proportions or long-faced breed dogs — like miniature dachshunds, papillons and shiba inus, which averaged a lifespan of 14 years — tend to live longer than their flat-faced counterparts. Flat-faced breeds like English or French bulldogs or mastiffs averaged a lifespan of around nine years.
The study also found that the breed of dog matters, as purebred dogs lived approximately eight months longer than crossbred dogs with two or more breeds. Additional findings include that smaller dogs tended to live longer than larger ones, and females had a longer median lifespan than males.
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“A medium-sized, flat-faced male like a bulldog is three times more likely to live a shorter life than a small-sized, long-faced female, like a miniature dachshund or an Italian greyhound,” Kirsten McMillan, lead author of the study, told CNN.
This means that owners of the French bulldog — which was named the country's most popular breed last year, ending the Lab's record-breaking, 31-year run as the most popular pup — may need to pay closer attention to their furry companions.
“This new research underlines these major health issues by revealing that flat-faced dogs live 1.5 years shorter lives than typical dogs,” Dan O’Neill, an associate professor at the Royal Veterinary College in London, said in a statement to CNN.
“We urge anyone considering getting a flat-faced breed to ‘stop and think’ and to ensure that they acquire a dog with the best chances of a long and happy life,” he added.
There have been several stories over the past few years of bulldogs having to overcome various health problems including respiratory, skin and joint issues. One bulldog up for adoption last year at Roadogs Rescue in southern California even had "severe congenital spine issues.”
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However, the study isn’t completely comprehensive, as McMillan noted to CNN that it didn’t take into account factors such as the dog’s daily life with its owners and the cause of death, which is often euthanasia.
“I hope this paper is a catalyst to start policymakers, government, vets, owners, everyone asking, ‘Why are these dogs dying?’ ” she told CNN. “It will be very difficult to answer, but every time we answer even a small part of it, we are progressing towards having a much healthier canine population.”
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