A new study from the college requires “urgent action” to reduce the many serious health problems that, it says, are associated with the breed’s “exaggerated characteristics”, such as their flat faces.
Veterinarians hope the study, which reveals that English bulldogs are more than twice as likely to develop a range of health conditions, will deter people from breeding and buying dogs designed to look that way.
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 excessively short muzzle, protruding lower jaw and tight-fitting body shape have been linked to several serious health and welfare issues. including breathing problems, skin and ear diseases and eye diseases.
“Unfortunately, many of the breed’s problematic characteristics such as a very flat face, deep skin folds in the face and noisy breathing are still often perceived by many people as ‘normal’ or even ‘desirable’ news instead of major welfare problems.”
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 most common health problems include skin fold eczema, cherry eye (a prolapsed eyelid gland), protruding lower jaw and brachycephalic obstructive airways syndrome (severe breathing problems related to a dog’s flat face shape), which were 19 times more common. than in other dog breeds.
The bulldog was developed centuries ago in England for use in the control of bulls. Characteristically powerful and often vicious, the breed almost disappeared when dogfighting was banned in 1835. Enthusiasts, however, saved it by breeding out its ferocity.
Veterinarians argue that the public should embrace the breed’s more natural appearance and say: “In the future, the English Bulldog should be recognized and loved for having a longer face, smaller head and non-wrinkled skin, which represents a more moderate and healthier conformation. “
Dan O’Neill, lead author of the paper and associate professor of pet 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 fully, exercise easily., Have healthy flat skin, mate and give birth.
“For breeds such as English Bulldogs where many dogs still have extreme conformation with poor congenital health, the public has a big role to play by demanding dogs with moderate and healthier conformation. Until then, potential owners” should stop and think before buying an apartment -dog with face ».
The study was partially funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. Bill Lambert, head of health, welfare and breeding services at the Kennel Club, said in the statement: “As this research shows, there is an increasing number of bulldogs bred outside any sphere of influence and in a certain way because it is perceived as ‘cute’, with little health and welfare considerations. 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 of brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds, as well as reduce the mass demand for these dogs. “