Small dogs with long snouts, such as the whippet greyhound and the miniature dachshund, live longer than large, flat-faced breeds like the English bulldog, according to a study released Thursday.
Researchers analyzed data collected on more than half a million dogs across the United Kingdom, in order to guide future owners in their acquisitions.
It’s the first study to examine variations in life expectancy based on such a wide range of factors, including race, height, facial shape and gender, says author Kirsten McMillan main part of the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
“A medium-sized, flat-faced male like an English bulldog is nearly three times more likely to live a shorter life than a small, elongated-snouted female like a miniature dachshund or small Italian greyhound.“, explains this data manager at the British charity Dogs Trust to AFP.
According to the study, of more than 150 breeds and crossbreeds across the UK, the median life expectancy of all dogs was 12.5 years. It dropped to 9.8 years for the French bulldog, ranked last year as the most popular breed in the United States by the American Kennel Club.
Studies have recently shown that the short noses of flat-faced dogs, known as brachycephalic dogs, make them look more like human babies, making them particularly cute.
But this anatomical feature has been proven to cause significant respiratory problems (by obstructing the airways), and animal welfare organizations have campaigned for people to reconsider their purchases.
The study findings highlight a real “health and welfare crisis” in brachycephalic dogs, commented Dan O’Neill, chairman of the campaign organization Brachycephalic Working Group who was not involved in the works.
“It is crucial that the public prioritizes the health of the animal rather than what they find +cute+” he said in a statement.
The dogs with the longest life expectancy are Lancashire Heeler (15.4 years) followed by Tibetan Spaniels (15.2 years) and Miniature Dachshunds (14 years), according to the study.
Females tend to live slightly longer than males, with a life expectancy of 12.7 years compared to 12.4 years.