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Long-nosed Dogs Live Longest, While Flat-faced Breeds Have Lowest Life Expectancy, Study Finds

Small, long-nosed breeds have highest life expectancy, while medium-sized flat-faced breeds face health risks

Small, long-nosed dogs – such as whippets – live the longest, reveals new research.

But male dogs from medium-sized flat-faced breeds – such as English Bulldogs – have the lowest life expectancy, according to the findings.

Female dogs (12.7 years) had a slightly higher average life expectancy than males (12.4 years) in the UK, say scientists.

The major study, by the Dogs Trust, found that small long-nosed – or “dolichocephalic”- breeds have the highest life expectancies, but medium-sized flat-faced – or “brachycephalic” – breeds have the lowest.

The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, have been calculated from data on more than 580,000 individual dogs from over 150 different breeds.

Flat-faced breeds such as English Bulldogs have been found to have the lowest life expectancy. PHOTO BY SWNS

Researchers hope it could help to identify those dogs most at risk of an early death.

Dr. Kirsten McMillan, of the Dogs Trust, and her colleagues compiled a database of 584,734 individual dogs using data from 18 different UK sources – including breed registries, vets, pet insurance companies, animal welfare charities, and academic institutions.

Dr. McMillan said: “Dogs were from one of 155 pure breeds or classified as a crossbreed, and 284,734 of the dogs had died before being added to the database.

“Breed, sex, date of birth, and date of death – if applicable – were included for all dogs.

Flat-faced breeds such as English Bulldogs have been found to have the lowest life expectancy. PHOTO BY SWNS

“Purebred dogs were assigned to size – small, medium, or large – and head shape – brachycephalic or short-nosed, mesocephalic or medium-nosed, and dolichocephalic or long-nosed – categories based on Kennel Club literature.

“The median life expectancy was then calculated for all breeds individually and for the crossbreed group, then finally for each combination of sex, size, and head shape.”

Small dolichocephalic breeds of both sexes – such as Miniature Dachshunds and Shetland Sheepdogs – had the highest median life expectancies of 13.3 years, according to the findings.

But medium brachycephalic breeds had the lowest median life expectancies, of 9.1 years for males and 9.6 years for females.

Dr. McMillan added: “Amongst the 12 most popular breeds, which accounted for more than 50 percent of all recorded pure breeds in the database, Labradors had a median life expectancy of 13.1 years, Jack Russell Terriers had a median life expectancy of 13.3 years, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels had a median life expectancy of 11.8 years.

“Pure breeds had a higher median life expectancy than crossbreeds – 12.7 years compared to 12.0 years, whilst female dogs had a slightly higher median life expectancy than males: 12.7 years compared to 12.4 years.”

The research team said that their results are representative for UK dogs only, and that crossbreeds were strictly defined as any dog that was not a Kennel Club purebred breed.

They suggest that future research should investigate ‘designer breeds’ – such as Labradoodles and Cockapoos – separately to account for differing levels of genetic diversity between these dogs and mongrels.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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