Skull shape risk factors could help in welfare of toy dog breeds

New research has identified two significant associated with painful neurological diseases in the of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS). The findings in tackling these conditions in and could be used in breeding guidelines.

The study conducted by undergraduate student, Thomas Mitchell, from the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences, and supervised by Dr Clare Rusbridge, is published online in the journal Canine Genetics and Epidemiology.

Syringomyelia (SM) is a painful condition in and is more common in breeds. It involves the formation of fluid-filled cavities, known as syrinxes, in the spinal cord. This condition affects many popular breeds, including the CKCS and Chihuahua. In these toy breeds, SM is usually secondary to a specific malformation of the skull called Chiari-like Malformation, CM for short.

There has been debate as to whether head shape of these dogs is related to CM/SM, especially as some humans have similar characteristic facial and skull shapes, and what this may be. Identifying a head shape in dogs that is associated with these diseases would allow for selection away from these conditions and could be used to further breeding guidelines. Dogs were measured in several countries using a standardised “bony landmark” measuring system and photo analysis by trained researchers.

The researchers found two significant factors associated with CM/SM in the skull shape of the CKCS. These were the extent of the broadness of the top of skull relative to its length, also known as brachycephaly, and the distribution of doming of the skull. The study suggests that brachycephaly, with resulting doming towards the front of the head, is associated with CM/SM.

Thomas Mitchell said: “Dog breeders are very experienced at selecting for a certain conformation or appearance in dogs. Our findings may allow breeders to select away from the condition over fewer generations by choosing appropriate matings and offspring to continue breeding programmes. The identification of an appearance that might protect against developing the disease is a significant step forward in tackling this painful condition.

“The study also provides guidance to breed clubs, breeders and judges that have a responsibility to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be harmful in any way to the health, or soundness of the breed. It will also provide vets with verified advice to provide to breeders outside the show ring and to occasional hobbyists.”

A video highlighting some of the changes is available on YouTube at .

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    • LmfaorozMinecraft
    • August 8, 2014

    5:09 what kind of dog is that ? 😀 i want one!

    • Gary Basil Grant
    • August 8, 2014

    nice how the dogs are taking good care of the babies like
    automation…kowabunga baby…

    • annabelle7123
    • August 8, 2014

    It looks like the dogs know how to play with the babies and the babies are
    really having fun with the dog! And the dogs are really gentile with them

    • Diana Terzyan
    • August 8, 2014

    i cringe everytime i see the babies pulling on the dogs faces. ugh even tho
    cute vid

    • Stevie James
    • August 8, 2014

    4:48 what breed of the white dog ?

    • Ernie Rodoli
    • August 8, 2014

    I eat bullets for breakfast and even I think this is cute.. Ama go buy a
    puppy and rent a baby so I can watch them play… Then go back to chewing

    • Maxie Lua
    • August 8, 2014

    Honestly I felt so sorry for some of these dogs. Especially the one laying
    on the blanket when the baby started crying. Can you imagine, with a dogs
    hearing capability, what that must have sounded like. Poor thing =(

    • Boyalı Kuş
    • August 8, 2014

    What’s the name of this song 10:20?

    • Kelo60
    • August 8, 2014

    I hope these baby’s grow up having such fond memory’s of these dogs when
    they become older. My first dog was a German Shepard I miss her so much.
    Got her as a puppy when I was around 3 months old and she lived till I was
    12. Wish dogs had longer lifes then they do. :*(

    • Michael Willian ONITAICHI
    • August 8, 2014

    4:50 its type dog? ?? 

    • Gloriousturtlechan
    • August 8, 2014

    boxers are just the sweetest of dogs

    • CrazyPsychoBunni
    • August 8, 2014

    The two first English Pitbull clips are my favorite! So Funny!

    • Dawid Dymczyk
    • August 8, 2014

    whats be that dog in the 4:40?

    • C Mac
    • August 8, 2014

    this just goes to show just how smart and caring dogs really are. Some may
    snarl and bark at parents, but surely people must realise this is instinct?
    Protective maternal instinct?

    • Mondoman561
    • August 8, 2014

    The kid at 3:15 is actually dead. That’s a gunshot wound above his left

    • John Franklin
    • August 8, 2014

    2:30, that min collie looks like he was having as much fun as the baby :)

    • Rebekah Connolly
    • August 8, 2014

    wow that white Samoyed is gentle with that baby and very
    submissive too, he even nudged the toy towards the baby then turned away .
    so caring 

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