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On average dachshunds live for 14 years - credit Dogs Trust

On average dachshunds live for 14 years - credit Dogs Trust

Paws For Concern: New Study Confirms Flat Faced Dogs Have 40% Increased Risk Of Shorter Lifespan

4 weeks ago
234 views

Posted
1st February, 2024 22h11

Author
Dogs Trust


New research led by the UK’s largest dog welfare charity Dogs Trust provides further insight into the life expectancy of our beloved canine companions. The study published today (1st February) in Scientific Reports, explores how different factors such as breed, body size, face shape and sex affect how long our pooches live for.

The study used data from over half a million* UK dogs, from over 150 breeds and crossbreeds to highlight those dogs most at risk from an early death. The study showed the median life expectancy of all dogs was 12.5 years, with breeds such as the Lancashire Heeler (15.4 years), Tibetan Spaniel (15.2 years), and Miniature Dachshund (14.0 years), found to live the longest. 

Researchers found brachycephalic dogs, those with flat-faces, like popular French Bulldogs (9.8 years) have a 40% increased risk of living shorter lives than dogs with typical shaped faces e.g., Border Collie (13.1 years). The team also found large-sized breeds have a 20% increased risk of shorter lifespan than small-sized breeds. The data was collected from 18 different UK sources**, including breed registries, vets, pet insurance companies, animal welfare charities, and academic institutions.

The nation’s favourite breeds according to Dogs Trust’s National Dog Survey***, Labradors (13.1 years) and Cocker Spaniels (13.3 years), lived longer than the average age. Researchers also found female dogs had a slightly higher median life expectancy than males (12.7 years compared to 12.4 years). The dog breeds with the lowest median lifespans are the Caucasian Shepherd (5.4 years), Presa Canario (7.7 years) and Cane Corso (8.1 years).

Lead author Dr Kirsten McMillan, Data Manager at Dogs Trust said:We found life expectancy varies between breed, body size, face shape and sex - this is the first study where all of these elements have been compared and contrasted alongside evolutionary history. Many of these factors interact to compound the issue, for example medium sized, flat-faced male dogs are nearly 3 times more likely to live shorter lives than small sized, long-faced females.”

“The findings have important implications for the canine pedigree health debate: although this study does not determine risk factors for early death, it does highlight groups that require further investigation. We hope this study can help breeders, policymakers, funding bodies, and welfare organizations make informed decisions to improve the welfare of companion dogs, as well as helping ownersunderstand the range of factors that influence health and longevity, especially when acquiring a dog.”

Dr Dan O'Neill, Chair of the Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG) which comprises of veterinary, breeder and welfare organisations to tackle the health and welfare issues facing flat-faced breeds, said:

Issues related to their huge popularity and serious health problems have triggered a health and welfare crisis for flat-faced dog breeds such as the French Bulldog, Pug and English Bulldog. This new research underlines these major health issues by revealing that flat-faced dogs live 1.5 years shorter lives than typical dogs. It is crucial that the public prioritises health over what they might think looks ‘cute’ and 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.”

For more advice on getting a dog responsibly, visit the Dogs Trust website.


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