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If you have a dog, you love your dog. And sometimes you love a particular dog breed. Some people love a specific dog breed so much that it's the only dog breed they'll own! Sadly though, this might not be possible for bulldog lovers much longer.
English Bulldogs, which are loved for their distinct face and loving attitude, might be a breed in risk. Recently, researchers from the University of California Davis conducted a genetic study that analyzed English Bulldogs.
So, how are they in risk? The study showed that bulldogs don't have the diversity that most dogs do in their gene pool. This is due to too much inbreeding amongst the breed, and in turn, results in health problems. Because of the inbreeding, the health problems tend to get worse with each new generation of pups.
The researchers found these results by analyzing the genetic diversity of the breed using doggy DNA. Big, important parts of the bulldog genome have been altered so much because of inbreeding that it has changed the way bulldogs look and their health. That's why the English bulldogs of today look so much shorter and stockier than generations of bulldogs a couple years back.
The inbreeding causes health problems anywhere from the dog's facial structure to breathing troubles to the furrows in their skin, which actually can get infected because of built-up moisture.
Many bulldogs have misshapen skeletons, too, which causes hip and elbow dysplasia and spine ruptures.
All of these problems end up preventing bulldogs from giving birth natural, most bulldog pups now being delivered via C section.
While most dogs leave 13 - 15 years, the bulldog's lifespan is a measley 6 years overall.
Veterinarians suggest that it's time to start breeding bulldogs with other dogs in order to improve their health, but many breeders argue that it'll ruin the English bulldog breed.
Either way, I think we can all agree that we want happy and healthy dogs! Let's hope that English Bulldogs find a way to prevail - and healthily!