Bulldogs and pugs, popular for their flat faces but notorious for their health problems, are the most likely breeds of dogs to struggle to reach old age, new research suggests.
Researchers at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) analyzed data from nearly a million dogs in the UK and rated the number of times a dog was euthanized.
A total of 18 breeds were included in the study and all were compared to a Labrador. The study, published in Scientific Reports, found that Rottweilers are 76 percent more likely to be euthanized than a laboratory.
However, the likelihood of a bulldog or pug being euthanized is one-third and half that of a Labrador.
“We have put forward some ideas and theories about it, but it’s difficult to be conclusive,” said Dr. Camilla Peygrem, RVC pet epidemiologist and lead study author, told The Telegraph.
One possible explanation, however, is that the small, snorting lap dogs known as brachycephalic breeds form particularly strong bonds with their owners, which can make it difficult for them to fall asleep.
This is made worse, according to experts, by the fact that any debilitating health problems are easier for owners to overcome than with a larger dog.
“When you have a large dog, it is much more difficult as an owner than when you have a Chihuahua,” Dr. Daniella Dos Santos, senior vice president of the British Veterinary Association and a veterinarian for small and exotic animals, who was not involved in the research, told The Telegraph.
“Rottweilers were high on the chart for the risk of death, but that’s not because it’s a Rotty, it’s because it’s a bigger dog and it’s harder for owners to deal with as they get older.