French bulldogs are more susceptible than other dog breeds to be diagnosed with 20 common diseases.
A new study published today in the journal Canine Medicine and Genetics suggests that French Bulldogs had much higher probabilities of being diagnosed with 20 prevalent illnesses than other dog breeds.
To mitigate the dangers of breathing issues linked with the French Bulldog’s characteristic short muzzle and flat head, the authors advise a shift in breeding toward more moderate traits.
The investigators from the Royal Veterinary College (Hertfordshire, England) analyzed VetCompass data from 2016 to identify 2,781 French Bulldogs and 21,850 additional dog breeds.
Dan O’Neill and colleagues analyzed diagnoses for 43 distinct diseases in French Bulldogs to those in other dog breeds. The study found that French bulldogs were much more likely than other breeds to have restricted nostrils (42.14 times greater risk), obstructive airways syndrome (30.89 times greater risk), ear discharge (14.40 times greater risk), and skin dermatitis (14.40 times greater risk) (11.18 times greater risk).
The scientists discovered that 1,764 (63.4 percent) of the French Bulldogs included in the study were diagnosed with one or more disorders, compared to 14,442 (66.1 percent) of other dog breeds. This shows that French Bulldogs may have a somewhat lower risk of being diagnosed with a problem than other dog breeds, but it could also imply that owners are more adept at recognizing health difficulties in other dog breeds.
Despite a higher risk of getting 20 common illnesses, French Bulldogs had a decreased likelihood of being diagnosed with 11 of the 43 common disorders, including undesirable behavior, lameness, and obesity, when compared to other dogs. This demonstrates the breed’s ability to improve its health profile. The authors indicate that selective breeding away from extreme high-risk physical characteristics of French Bulldogs, such as shorter muzzles and skin folds, could improve the breed’s overall health.
“Achieving meaningful changes to the typical look of French Bulldogs over time requires buy in from breeders and kennel clubs who publish breeding standards, but the biggest responsibility lies with owners who ultimately can demand dogs with more moderate features,” said Dan O’Neill, senior lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College and co-author.
“The Kennel Club have recently updated the breed standard for the French Bulldog to move further away from elements of extreme conformation with evidence of health ill-effects. This is a very positive step to prioritise the health of dogs over human desires for how these dogs look and we must now continue this evolution of the breed towards a more moderate conformation.”
The authors emphasize that their findings are based on reports from veterinary practices and may not accurately reflect the duration or severity of each dog’s condition. Additionally, they caution owners who may not recognize snoring in French Bulldogs as a sign of a breathing condition and hence fail to take their dog to the veterinarian.
The authors suggest that kennel clubs, breeders, and the general public must collaborate to promote breeding and ownership of French Bulldogs with fewer extreme characteristics associated with bad health.
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