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Popularity of morphological traits of dogs in Australia

K. T. Teng, P. D. McGreevy, J-A. L. M. L. Toribio, N. K. Dhand

SOME diseases in dogs are related to certain physical characteristics. For example, larger breeds have a higher risk of hip dysplasia, while breeds with wider and shorter heads, such as the pug and the French bulldog, are more likely to experience breathing problems and dystocia. By studying the popularity of dog morphology, the potential for future disease pervasiveness can be predicted. This study aimed to investigate trends in height, dog size and head shape in Australian purebred dogs.

For each year from 1986 to 2013, the numbers of dogs registered for 181 breeds were drawn from the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) registration report. Height and weight references of breeds were obtained from the ANKC studbook or the Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. Cephalic index for both sexes was drawn from the literature and calculated for each breed. A larger cephalic index indicates the head shape of the breed is more brachycephalic, whereas breeds with smaller values have a more dolichocephalic shape of head. Descriptive statistics were then generated for the overall trends in the number of registrations and each morphological trait observed.

There was a gradual decrease in the total number of …

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