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What makes French bulldogs so cute also increases health risks

A new study from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has revealed some of the most common health issues found in French bulldogs, which have recently one of the most popular breeds of dog. The researchers are reporting that these pets commonly suffer from breathing problems, ear infections, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, and skin issues.

“French Bulldogs are a relatively new arrival to the list of common UK breeds so there is very little current research on them in the UK,” explained lead author Dr. Dan O’Neill.

The study was based on health records of French Bulldogs from hundreds of veterinary clinics in the UK.

“It provides owners with information on the issues that they could expect and should look out for in French Bulldogs,” said Dr. O’Neill. “It may also help potential new owners to decide if a French Bulldog really is for them.”

The experts found that females are typically healthier than males.

“Males were more likely to get 8 of the 26 most common health problems while there were no issues that females were more likely to get than males,” said Dr. O’Neill.

The study authors theorized that the attractive appearance of French Bulldogs is what makes them so popular, with their short muzzles and prominent eyes. These features, however, may increase the risk of some illnesses among the dogs.

Breathing issues, which were found in 12.7 percent of the individuals analyzed for this study, are common in dogs with short noses and flat faces. Skin problems, which were found to be the most common issue among the French Bulldogs evaluated, may be caused by the deep skin folds characteristic of this breed.

“This study also documents the dramatic rise in popularity of the French Bulldog, from 0.02% of puppies born in 2003 to 1.46% of puppies born in 2013,” said Dr. O’Neill.

“This level of population growth in a single dog breed is unprecedented. There is a worry that increased demand for the French Bulldog is damaging to these dogs’ welfare because of the health risks associated with their extreme physical features.”

The study study is published in the journal Canine Genetics and Epidemiology.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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