According to a study recently published in Scientific Reports “designer dog breeds featuring shortened snouts” are much more likely to suffer from heatstroke than longer-nosed dogs, IFLScience.com reports. The study, conducted by researchers in dog welfare at Nottingham Trent University and the Royal Veterinary College, analyzed the clinical records of more than 900,000 pet dogs under veterinary care in the United Kingdom in 2016 and out of 900,000 identified 1,222 cases of heat-related illness.
Additional analysis showed that of the nine breeds most likely to suffer heatstroke, five have brachycephalic skulls, which are characterized by a shortened head, flat face, and short nose. The study identified that the following breeds are the most at risk:
- Chow Chow (x17)
- Bulldog (x14)
- French Bulldog (x6)
- Dogue de Bordeaux (x5)
- Greyhound (x4)
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (x3)
- Pug (x3)
- Golden Retriever (x3)
- Springer Spaniel (x3)
“It’s likely that brachycephalic dogs overheat due to their intrinsically ineffective cooling mechanism,” Emily Hall, lead researchers and a veterinary surgeon at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences. “Dogs pant to cool down - without a nose, panting is simply less effective. In fact, brachycephalic dogs may even generate more heat simply gasping to breathe than they lose by panting.”
Body size was also found to be a risk factor, with dogs that are above the average weight for their breed being 1.5 times more likely to suffer heatstroke as those that are small for their breed. Dogs weighing more than 110 pounds were almost 3.5 times more at risk than dogs weighing under 22 pounds.