A dog's color provides information about its lifespan and health problems

A dog's color provides information about its lifespan and health problems

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Relationship between a dog's coat color and its life expectancy discovered

Australian researchers have found that a dog's color suggests life expectancy and health problems. The scientists also have an explanation for the relationship between coat color and diseases.

Chocolate-colored labradors don't live that long

A new study conducted by the University of Sydney has shown that a dog's coat color suggests its life expectancy and health problems. According to this, chocolate-colored labradors have a lower life expectancy than those with a different color, the Australian-New Zealand University Association / Ranke-Heinemann Institute reports.

More ear infections and skin diseases

The study, published in the journal Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, showed that the life expectancy of chocolate-colored labradors is significantly lower than that of their black and light counterparts.

The study examined more than 33,000 Labradors of every color in the UK.

It was shown that there are more incidents of ear infections and skin diseases in chocolate-colored labradors.

One of the most popular dog breeds

The British study, which is part of the University’s VetCompass program, which evaluates and analyzes electronic data from four-legged patients, was replicated in Australia. Labradors are among the most popular dog breeds there.

According to the information, the average life expectancy of non-chocolate colored labradors in the UK is 12.1 years.

That is more than ten percent more than the chocolate-colored labradors. Ear infections (otitis externa) were twice as common in chocolate-colored labradors.

They are also four times more likely to suffer from a skin disease (pyotraumatic dermatitis).

Explanation of the relationship between coat color and diseases

The head of the study, Professor Paul McGreevy from the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney, said that the relationship between coat color and disease came as a surprise to the researchers.

He explained that the findings of the study in the UK may not apply to Australian labradors, but it is worth investigating.

"The relationship between coat color and disease can be an unintended consequence of growing certain pigmentations," said Professor McGreevy in a statement.

“Because the brown color is recessive in dogs, the gene for this coloring must be present in both parents. This is the only way to create a chocolate-colored puppy, ”said the study director.

"Breeders who are aiming for this coloring can now tend to use only Labradors that carry this gene," explained Professor McGreevy.

"This can result in a reduced gene pool, which in turn contains an increased number of genes that are responsible for ear and skin infections."

Castrated males are rather overweight

Looking at the total Labradore population, obesity, ear infections and joint inflammation are the most common health problems.

“We showed that 8.8 percent of the UK's labs are overweight or obese. This is one of the highest percentages of all dog breeds recorded on the VetCompass, ”said Professor McGreevy.

The prevalence of overweight was highest among the males that had been neutered. (ad)

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