Don’t buy a bulldog until the breed has changed shape, vets advise

English bulldog

Flat faces bred in bulldogs can cause a “lifetime of suffering” and vets urge people not to buy one.

The bulldog has twice the health risks of other dogs, according to a study.

Urgent action is needed to reshape the breed and prevent the UK from joining the list of countries where the dog is banned, say experts at the Royal Veterinary College.

They want people to stop buying English bulldogs and two other popular breeds, the French bulldog and the pug, until the breeding issues are resolved.

They are also asking the public to stop “promoting” the dog on social media by posting and liking the pictures.

The bulldog has skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade.

The breed, also known as the English or British bulldog, earned comparisons to Winston Churchill for its jovial face, and was historically seen as a symbol of courage and endurance.

The fashion for increasingly extreme features such as a flat face, wrinkled skin, and stocky body has made the breed prone to health problems, leading to welfare concerns.

With their large bulging eyes and flat face, the dogs are undeniably “pretty,” said Dr. Dan O’Neill of the Royal Veterinary College, one of the study’s authors, but their extreme body shape after years of breeding Selective has become their downfall.

English bulldog

Many bulldogs have a protruding lower jaw.

“For breeds like English bulldogs, where many dogs still have extreme conformations (the build and appearance of a dog) with innate poor health, the public has a very important role to play in demanding dogs with moderate and healthier conformations,” said.

“Until then, prospective owners should stop and think before purchasing a flat-faced dog.”

The English bulldog was once a muscular and athletic breed, but over the years it has become a popular pet, with a tendency toward a short skull, prominent jaw, fur folds, and stocky build.

The public has an important role to play in driving change by not posting photos of the dogs on social media or liking posts, thus “inadvertently advertising them,” Dr. O’Neill said.

But he admitted that the bulldog’s “phenomenal” popularity is understandable, given the psychological effect they have on us. With their large heads, large eyes, and docile temperaments, they remind us of babies and trigger our nurturing instincts.


Bulldogs are also more prone to heat stroke than other dogs.

“We take this to mean that dogs are cute, and this is totally understandable and, in fact, very difficult to combat as a human,” he said.

“What we consider cute from the outside, if you’re living life like that dog, it’s anything but cute. It’s, in many cases, a life of suffering.”

Bulldog breeding is already banned in several countries and according to a working group of experts from vets and welfare groups including the Royal Veterinary College, the same could happen here if nothing is done.

Owners who already have one should be on the lookout for health issues such as eye problems, difficulty breathing and infections in the skin folds, and seek veterinary advice if they are concerned, they say.

Veterinary historian Dr Alison Skipper of King’s College London said breeders have known about many diseases related to body shape for more than a century. Responsible breeding, prioritizing health, could “improve the well-being of this popular and iconic breed,” she said.

And The Kennel Club said a ban risked driving the problem underground.

“We urgently want to see people choose dogs not just because they like the way they look, which is often driven by celebrities and social media, and instead find breeders who use the health tools available and breed a dog not exaggerated, where health comes”. first, as described in the breed standard,” spokesman Bill Lambert said.

The study, published in the journal Canine Medicine and Genetics, compared the health of thousands of English bulldogs kept as pets with that of other dog breeds. It found that English bulldogs were twice as likely to have one or more disorders in a single year than other dogs.

The most common health problems were skin fold infections (38 times more likely than in other dogs), an eye disorder known as cherry eye (26 times more likely), lower jaw protrusion (24 times more likely ) and respiratory problems (19 times more likely).

A recent study by the same team found that pugs were also at high risk for health problems.

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