English Bulldogs ‘compromised’ by health issues, vets say

Vets are calling on pet lovers to stop buying English Bulldogs, due to ‘major’ health concerns.

The breed, also known as the British Bulldog, is “compromised” by a “high rate of health problems related to extreme body shape” that has been high there, according to the UK. royal veterinary college (RVC).

A new study from the college calls for “urgent action” to reduce the many serious health problems it says are associated with the breed’s “exaggerated characteristics”, such as their flat faces.

Vets hope the study, which finds English Bulldogs are more than twice as likely to develop a range of health conditions, will deter people from breeding and buying dogs bred to look like them.

In a press release posted online, the college said: “The English Bulldog has risen sharply in popularity in the UK over the past decade. However, its distinctive and exaggerated short muzzle, protruding lower jaw, and stocky shape have been linked to several serious health and welfare issues, including respiratory problems, skin diseases, and ear and eye disorders.

“Unfortunately, many of the breed’s problematic characteristics, such as a very flat face, deep skin folds and noisy breathing, are still often seen by many people as ‘normal’ or even ‘desirable’ novelties rather than major welfare issues.”

The RVC’s VetCompass program compared the health of random samples of 2,662 English bulldogs and 22,039 dogs of other breeds. It found that bulldogs were more than twice as likely to have one or more disorders in a single year than other breeds.

Some of the more common health problems included skin fold dermatitis, cherry eye (a prolapsed eyelid gland), protruding lower jaw, and brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome (severe breathing problems related to the shape of the flat face of a dog), which was 19 times more common. than in other dog breeds.

The bulldog was developed centuries ago in England for use in bull fighting. Characteristically powerful and often vicious, the breed nearly died out when dog fighting was banned in 1835. However, enthusiasts saved it by breeding its ferocity.

Vets argue the public should embrace the breed’s more natural look, saying: “In the future, the English Bulldog should be recognized and loved for having a longer face, smaller head and unwrinkled skin. , which represents a more moderate and healthier conformation. .”

Dan O’Neill, lead author of the paper and associate professor of companion animal epidemiology at RVC, said: “Every dog ​​deserves to be born with equal and good innate health by having a natural ability to breathe freely, blink eyes completely, to exercise easily, to have healthy and flat skin, to mate and give birth.

“For breeds such as English Bulldogs where many dogs still have extreme conformations with innately poor health, the public has a huge role to play in demanding dogs with moderate and healthier conformations. Until then, prospective owners should “stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog.”

The study was partially funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. Bill Lambert, manager of health, welfare and breeding services at The Kennel Club, said in the statement: “As this research shows, there are an increasing number of Bulldogs being bred outside of any sphere of influence and in some way because they are perceived as ‘cute’, with little regard for health and well-being A collaborative approach to tackling these issues is crucial, we must continue to work with breeders, veterinarians, and welfare organizations to reduce and ultimately eliminate the health problems faced by brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds, as well as to reduce the mass demand for these dogs.

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