A Genetic Tragedy
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English bulldogs are considered an icon in the United Kingdom.
Known for their wrinkly, gruff face and short stature, the BBC has described the animal as a symbol of “pluck and determination.”
But despite their importance to British culture, the canine species are an unhealthy bunch and more prone to developing a myriad of health problems than other breeds, according to Gizmodo.
A research team recently analyzed medical data from more than 2,600 English bulldogs and compared them with the records of 22,000 non-bulldogs.
For their study, the team looked for the presence of more than 40 common disorders and found that overall, English bulldogs were twice as likely to be diagnosed with at least one of these disorders annually than non-bulldogs.
For example, bulldogs were about 38 times more likely to develop skin fold dermatitis, which is the inflammation in the pockets of a dog’s wrinkles that often leads to infection.
Researchers added that these conditions were shortening the lifespan of the dog species.
Previous findings have also highlighted the creature’s poor health, while other studies have also discovered a greater prevalence of problems for brachycephalic breeds, which include English and French bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers.
The authors noted that their study aims to raise more awareness about changing the breeding practices of brachycephalic dogs and breed them more responsibly.
“The power to ensure in the future that we can have dogs that we call English Bulldogs while these dogs still have good welfare lies heavily in the hands of the public,” said lead author Dan O’Neill.