The average size of a dog is shrinking because owners prefer smaller pets as companions, researchers have found.
Scientists analysed nearly three decades of registrations to the Kennel Club, a UK based dog welfare organisation.
They found human preferences for breeds such as Chihuahuas were altering the course of evolution.
Dog lovers are also increasingly opting for bulldogs and pugs because of their short, wide heads, the Times reported.
The popularity is said to be driven partly by their big eyes and chubby cheeks that trigger the same “caretaking behavioural responses” that adults have towards babies.
Writing in the journal Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, researchers said the average height of a dog in 2010 was 47.7cm.
Ten years earlier a typical mutt stood at 50.2cm.
Tzu-Yun Kendy Teng, the doctoral student at the University of Sydney who led the research, said: “Looking at data spanning 28 years, we found that the demand for smaller dogs has increased every year from 1986.”
Article Source: Evening Standard