Veterinarians are asking pet lovers to stop buying English bulldogs, due to “big” health concerns.
According to the UK’s Royal Veterinary College (RVC), the breed, also known as the British Bulldog, is “compromised” by a “high rate of health problems related to extreme fitness” that has been bred in them.
A new college study calls for “urgent action” to reduce the many serious health problems that are said to be associated with the breed’s “exaggerated characteristics”, such as flat faces.
Vets hope that the study, which reveals that English bulldogs are more than twice as likely to develop a range of health ailments, will dissuade people from breeding and buying dogs designed to look this way.
In a press release posted online, the college said: “The English Bulldog has grown dramatically in popularity in the UK over the past decade. However, its distinctive and exaggerated short muzzle, protruding lower jaw and stocky body shape are. been linked to several serious health and wellness problems, including breathing problems, skin and ear diseases, and eye disorders.
“Unfortunately, many of the breed’s problematic features, such as very flat face, deep facial skin folds and noisy breathing, are still often perceived by many people as ‘normal’ or even ‘desirable’ novelties rather than major problems. of well-being “.
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 ailments 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 obstructive airway syndrome (severe breathing problems related to a dog’s flat face shape), which was 19 times more common than in other dog breeds.
The bulldog was developed centuries ago in England for use in fighting bulls. Characteristically powerful and often vicious, the breed nearly disappeared when dog fighting was banned in 1835. However, enthusiasts saved it by reproducing its ferocity.
Veterinarians say 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 wrinkle-free skin, which represent a more moderate and healthier conformation. ”
Dan O’Neill, lead author of the article and associate professor of companion animal epidemiology at the RVC, said, “Every dog deserves to be born with equal and innate good health by having a natural ability to breathe freely, blink. fully, exercise easily, have healthy flat skin, mate and give birth.
“For breeds like the English Bulldogs, where many dogs still have extreme conformations with poor innate health, the public has a huge role to play in requiring dogs with moderate and healthier conformations. Until then, potential owners should “stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog.”
The study was funded in part by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. Bill Lambert, Kennel Club Health, Welfare and Breeding Services Executive, said in the statement, “As this research shows, there are an increasing number of Bulldogs bred outside of any sphere of influence and in a certain way because it is perceived. as ‘cute’, with little regard for health and well-being. A collaborative approach to addressing these problems is essential; we must continue to work together with breeders, veterinarians and welfare organizations to reduce and ultimately eliminate the health problems faced by brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds, as well as reduce the mass demand for these dogs. ”