A study reveals that the head structure of French bulldogs causes challenges when it comes to sleeping.

Researchers say that dogs with flat faces, such as French bulldogs, have longer phases of Rem sleep, indicating that their sleep patterns resemble those of puppies. A recent study conducted in Hungary found that these breeds have trouble sleeping due to their unique head shape.

Specifically, French bulldogs experience increased sleepiness during the day, likely due to insufficient sleep at night. This is attributed to brachycephaly, a condition where the ratio of skull length to width is lower than normal, which is commonly observed in flat-faced dogs like pugs, English bulldogs, and Boston terriers.

French bulldogs have gained popularity in recent years due to their cute appearance, with their big round heads, high foreheads, big eyes, and short noses. However, their distinct features and compact size come with various health issues.

In a study involving 92 dogs and their owners, researchers analyzed the sleep patterns of flat-faced breeds. They discovered that these dogs experience longer periods of Rem sleep, which is known for vivid dreaming and active brain activity while the body remains motionless. This sleep pattern is similar to that of puppies. Flat-faced dogs also have shorter night-time sleep and are more prone to snoring.

According to Dan O’Neill, an associate professor at the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, sleep deprivation is a significant problem for dogs with extreme brachycephaly. The study utilized electroencephalogram (EEG) tests to monitor brain activity during sleep and observed an increase in sleep spindles in flat-faced dogs. In humans, these spindles have been associated with memory impairment, while in dogs, they may affect learning and training abilities.

Kari Ekenstedt, an assistant professor specializing in genetics at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, finds the correlation between sleep parameters and skull anatomy intriguing. She mentioned that flat-faced dogs often sleep with toys in their mouths to keep their airways open.

Owning flat-faced breeds comes with concerns regarding selective breeding and health issues. These dogs tend to have a shorter lifespan compared to other breeds, with french bulldogs and pugs living on average three to four years less. Enikő Kubinyi, an ethologist and biologist studying dog behavior and cognition, emphasizes the need to address the reasons why people desire dogs that resemble children and require constant care in terms of finances and emotions.

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