For the study, the researchers analysed rehoming adverts placed on the websites of 16 Dogs Trust and RSPCA centres in 2015 and 2018. Data was collected on 1793 dogs across the 16 centres.
The percentage of dogs classified as 'extreme brachycephalic' using the Kennel Club definition increased from 2.76% (n=24) in 2015 to 5.19% (n=48) in 2018.The researchers speculate that owners may be passing on the financial burden of caring for and treating chronic health issues in brachycephalic dogs to the rehoming charities.
Dr Anne Carter, Senior Lecturer in Animal Science at Nottingham Trent University said: "The increasing numbers and rising popularity of brachycephalic breeds is already influencing the demographic spread in rescue centres. This pattern that is likely to continue, particularly as these dogs reach 3–4 years old, which we have found is the most common age for dogs being relinquished.
"Differing breeds require highly contrasting intensities of care, housing, and particularly veterinary care. Owners may often choose brachycephalic dogs with limited consideration for their potential health conditions. These dogs then enter rescue centres, placing additional strain on resources due to cost of treatment and additional length of stay for recovery.”
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