According to a new genetic analysis, the English bulldog is considered to be one of the unhealthiest dog breeds in the world.
In the last two centuries, the breeding started to eat up from the genome of the person, and the most famous features of the dog are also those that make it more vulnerable to diseases.
Lack of Genetic Diversity
The scientists discovered that the wrinkly dogs lack the genetic diversity that would be necessary to improve the breed. Moreover, the current status of their health is not good, and it will not get better in time.
The study shows that the English bulldog is genetically constrained to a limited diversity. The breeders will not be able to create new versions of the genetic stock.
The species has a small genetic base, as they have derived from only six individuals and started as back as 1835. The intensive inbreeding and the fact that the breeders always looked into specific and extreme physical traits did not help the species at all.
The breed already has serious health problems, as they don t live beyond six years, and they have a series of diseases such as respiratory issues, cancer, hip dysplasia, interdigital cysts, inner eyelid issues, and allergies.
Moreover, the folds on their faces can make them prone to infections and their small nasal cavities make them difficult to cool off, which involves the risk of hyperthermia and overheating.
English Bulldog Breed
Most of the health issues result from the breeding efforts. To obtain morphological changes, the breeders altered vast areas of the genome, with impacts on the immune functions.
As there is no possibility to manipulate the genome again, diversity can be obtained by mixing with other breeds.
Eliminating the mutations will only reduce genetic diversity even more. Introducing rare coat colors, adding more wrinkles or making the body smaller will aid much the situation.
The study compared two groups of English Bulldogs, a healthy one and the other with serious health issues. The researchers wanted to know if the genetic problems were the result of commercial breeding or puppy mills. However, the analysis showed that the cause of the problem was placed directly in the genome, and it was all due to the way the species had been created in the first place.
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