Roman Empire may have been the birthplace of Brachycephalic breeds, study suggests

Just one other brachycephalic breed had ever been discovered from the Roman Empire, and that was among the Pompeii ruins.
Nergis Firtina
Flat-faced pug.
Flat-faced pug.


Early Romans bred dogs with flat faces, according to a team of osteoarchaeologists, archaeologists, and veterinarian scientists from Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa, Atatürk University, University of Environmental and Life Sciences, ul. Kouchowska.

Published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, they examined the remains of a dog found in a tomb in what was once a city called Tralleis in what is now modern Turkey.

Flat-faced dog remains were found at an excavation site in Aydın in 2007. In 2021, the team studied the bones, as per Phys.

Roman Empire may have been the birthplace of Brachycephalic breeds, study suggests
Flat-faced dog bones.

Despite the specimen's incompleteness, the research team recognized it as a well-cared-for canine. Throughout the Roman era, dogs were primarily kept as working animals and not in high shape.

The dog was brachycephalic

The scientists determined that the dog belonged to the brachycephalic breed, which includes dogs with flat faces like boxers, pugs, and chow chows. The discovery was exceptional because only one other brachycephalic species had ever been discovered from the Roman Empire among the Pompeii ruins. Additionally, it is the oldest brachycephalic dog ever discovered, raising the possibility that Romans were the first to breed dogs with flat faces.

The research team estimated the dog's general size and discovered that it was smaller than they had anticipated. Its age was determined by carbon dating to be between 1,942 and 2,118 years ago.

The examination of its teeth also revealed that it had only just reached adulthood before passing away. The scientists also looked at the skull about many contemporary dog breeds and concluded that it primarily resembled a French bulldog.

The researchers noted that the dog was buried close to a person, who was probably its owner. They go on to say that this suggests that the dog was probably slaughtered and interred with its owner in order for the two to be buried together.

Study abstract:

This study examined a skull of a dog from the Roman period. The skull, obtained during the 2007 excavations, could only be examined in 2021. The skull was visually of a brachycephalic type. Its craniometric measurements were compared with data from modern brachycephalic breeds of Boxer, French Bulldog, and Pekingese. The comparison revealed that the Tralleis dog craniometric measurements fell between those of the French Bulldog and Pekingese dogs. As a result, the skull in question is currently the only example of such as Roman dog in Asia Minor in the west.

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