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15th Jun 2022

Vets ask people to ‘stop and think’ before buying an English bulldog or flat-faced breed

Danny Jones

Vets warn of English bulldogs health problems

It’s a concern many have pointing toward for years

Vets are urging Brits and pet owners across the globe to “stop and think” before buying and breeding English bulldogs and other flat-faced dog breeds over growing concerns around their health issues.

Following research conducted by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), experts have found that bulldogs and breeds with similar head shapes and builds are notably less healthy than other dogs due to their extremely distorted body shapes.

Publishing their findings in the Canine Medicine and Genetics journal on Wednesday, the RVC said that bulldogs’ “distinctive and exaggerated short muzzle, protruding lower jaw and stocky body shape” has been linked to a range of serious health concerns, including “breathing problems, eye disorders, skin and ear diseases.”

X-ray of bulldog skull@JemimaHarrisonBig Think Pinterest

Moreover, the issue is these fundamentally “problematic characteristics such as a very flat face, deep facial skin folds and noisy breathing” are still being seen as “normal or even desirable” rather than major risks to their health and quality of life.

For instance, according to the Scotsman, French bulldogs are the second most desired dogs in the UK, regular English bulldogs the second and pugs the tenth – all of which fall under the umbrella of those whose breeding has led to serious welfare issues.

With that in mind, people who already own bulldogs and similarly affected breeds are being encouraged to monitor them carefully, be proactive and seek advice immediately if they become concerned about any symptoms.

The lead author of the paper, Dr Dan O’Neill, went on to state: “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”, adding that “the public have a huge role to play by demanding dogs with moderate and healthier conformations.”

He concluded by imploring that “until then, prospective owners should stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog.”

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