Purebred Pups

Being “Best in Show” may not be so glamorous!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Smushed faces, funny snorts – pugs are so cute! But like many purebred dog breeds, they have a lot of health problems. These include decreased puppy survival and increased risk of genetic disease. Why is that?

Enter Danika Bannasch and fellow researchers from UC Davis. 

The team collected data on nearly FIFTY thousand dogs spanning over two hundred breeds. Using D-N-A tests, they calculated a number for how inbred each dog breed was. This is called the “inbreeding coefficient.” They also analyzed dog insurance statements to see how frequently different breeds visited the vet on a non- routine basis. 

Results? PAWsitively shocking! The average level of inbreeding throughout a purebred population was equal to nearly twenty-five percent! WOOF! 

The team also found that owners of purebreds took their dogs to the vet more often. 

One solution? Adopting a mixed breed mutt! More genes in the pot is their super power! 

And you just may find one that’s runway-ready! Or at least dog run ready.

Reference: Bannasch, D., Famula, T., Donner, J. et al. The effect of inbreeding, body size and morphology on health in dog breeds. Canine Genet Epidemiol 8, 12 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40575-021-00111-4