Flat faces raised in bulldogs can cause a “lifetime of suffering” and vets are urging 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 pictures.
The bulldog has skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade.
The breed, also known as the English or British Bulldog, has earned comparisons to Winston Churchill for its chinned face and was historically seen as a symbol of courage and endurance.
A fad for increasingly extreme features such as a flattened face, wrinkled skin and stocky body has made the breed prone to ill health, heightening welfare concerns.
With their big bulging eyes and flattened face, the dogs are undeniably “cute,” said Dr. fall.
“For breeds like English bulldogs, where many dogs still have extreme conformations (a dog’s structure and appearance) with poor innate health, the public has a huge role to play in demanding dogs with moderate, healthy conformations,” he said.
“Until then, potential owners should stop and think before buying a flat-nosed dog.”
The English Bulldog was once a muscular, athletic breed, but over the years it has become a popular pet, with a tendency towards a short skull, protruding jaw, skin folds, and a stocky build.
The public has an important role to play in driving change by not posting pictures of the dogs on social media or liking posts, thus “inadvertently advertising them,” O’Neill said.
But he conceded that the bulldog’s “phenomenal” popularity is understandable, given the psychological effect they have on us. With their big heads, big eyes and docile temperaments, they remind us of babies, triggering our nurturing instincts.
“We interpret this as the dogs being cute, and that’s totally understandable and, in fact, very difficult to combat as a human,” he said.
“What we consider cute on the outside, if you’re living life like that dog, is anything but cute. It’s, in many cases, a lifetime of suffering.”
Bulldog breeding is already banned in several countries and, according to a specialist working group of veterinarians and welfare groups, including the Royal Veterinary College, the same could happen here if nothing is done.
Owners who already have one should look 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, from King’s College London, said that many of the diseases linked to body shape have been known to breeders 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 taking the problem underground.
“We urgently want to see people choosing 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 to them and raise a non-exaggerated dog where the health comes. first as outlined in the breed standard,” said spokesman Bill Lambert.
The study, published in the journal Canine Medicine and Genetics, compared the health of thousands of English Bulldogs kept as pets to that of other dog breeds. He 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 complaints were infections in the skin folds (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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