Study Suggests Owners Prefer Shorter, Wider Dogs

First Posted: Jun 02, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

Man's best friend, a dog, specifically the smaller pedigree with wider and shorter head, has been preferred by pet lovers in Australia for the past 28 years. In a study published in the journal Canine Genetics and Epidermiology, the popularity of dogs that have these features, was found to predict the presence of diseases commonly linked to this head shape like the bulldog and the pug. In addition, it could also provide help to veterinary profession in preparing for the future caseloads.

180 breeds of man's best friend were investigated by the Australian National Kennel Council registration statistics beginning from 1986 up to 2013 to look at trends in the need for Australian purebred dogs of different size, head shape and height. In total, there were information on 62 medium breeds; 54 small breeds; 22 giant breeds and; 42 large breeds that are registered over that period. Over the span of the study, registration of medium and small breeds increased by 4.2 percent and 5.3 percent in proportion to large breeds, and by around 11.0 percent and 12.1 percent than the giant breeds.

According to lead researcher Kendy Teng of the University Of Sydney, Australia, the people prefer brachycephalic breeds or dogs with wider and shorter and heads, like as the French bulldog and the Pug, more than the ones with thinner and longer heads. Looking at data covering 28 years, the researchers discovered that the need for smaller dogs has increased each year from 1986, Eurek Alert reported.

The researchers note that the change in preferences may represent the shifts in human lifestyle, with dogs now chosen specifically for companionship, instead of being chosen to fulfil certain roles, like guarding or hunting, for which some owners would usually choose bigger dogs. The change may also be due to limited living space. From 1995 to 2010, majority of the first-time buyers in the country purchased apartments instead of houses, according to STL Today.

The authors of the study about the  man's best friend stated that the findings are true for dogs registered with ANKC, and may not be reflective of either the general or purebred dog population in Australia.

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