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02nd May 2022

‘Flat-faced’ dogs’ life expectancies three times shorter than other breeds

Ellen Fitzpatrick

losing a pet

They suffer more issues than other dogs.

New research has shown that dog breeds with flattened or “squashed” faces have life expectancies that are up to three times shorter than any other breeds.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports and stated that French Bulldogs as the worst affected breed out of them all.

Lead author Dr Kendy Tzu-yun Teng, of the National Taiwan University, said: “The dog life tables offer new insights and ways of looking at the life expectancy in pet dogs.

“They are also strong evidence of compromised health and welfare in short, flat-faced breeds, such as French Bulldogs and Bulldogs.”

The research found that French Bulldogs are only expected to live for around four and a half years, while English Bulldogs reach an average age of 7.4 years. Pugs live an average of 7.7 years while American Bulldogs are 7.8 years.

The squished faces these breeds have more often than none cause them to need surgery as they they are brachycephalic, meaning they suffer serious respiratory problems due to their short noses.

While they do have shorter airways and narrower nasal slits, they have the same amount of internal soft tissue that needs to be removed as any other dog breed.

The deep wrinkles on their faces are also prone to a lot of infection as the skin folds and leaves it vulnerable for germs to get trapped. Their eyes also stick out more which means they have less protection from scratches and disease.

There has also been research that links their short noses to brain cancer.

This research was conducted on 30,563 dogs that died between January 1, 2016 and July 31, 2020, and included 18 different breeds and cross-breeds.

Bill Lambert, Health, of The Kennel Club, told “This new tool, funded in part by The Kennel Club Charitable Trust VetCompass grant, helps us understand and determine more accurately a dog’s life expectancy given different factors throughout their lives, instead of just based on historic breed estimates.

“This new approach helps us and others to identify particular conditions or events that can happen early on in life that may have an impact on a dog’s life expectancy, and we hope this will play a part in supporting owners to understand their dog, make responsible decisions and provide good care, and help would-be owners to select the right breed for them.

“Whilst some of these breeds have only recently become popular, and so we might not have such a full picture of their overall longevity as of yet, using information and research to create new tools like this is invaluable in our work to make a difference to the lives of such dogs and their owners.”