With their flattened face and short-legged profile, the English bulldog is a favorite of purebred dog admirers, but the reason for this success is tied to an increased risk of health hazards, according to British scientists.
If the rooster is Gallic, the bulldog is English. Molossians were originally bred to fight bulls and became a pet in Victorian England in the 19th century, recalls a study published in Canine Medicine and Genetics on Wednesday.
Breeders then exaggerated by crossing their ancestors’ distinctive traits to obtain a shorter face with a broad lower jaw, thicker constitution, and arched legs.
The animal is now among the most popular in Britain. He was fourth in the 2020 ranking of dog registrations in the Kennel Club’s major UK association.
But the study, conducted by Dan G. O’Neill of the Royal Veterinary College, sets the price for that success. According to the statistical study conducted in 2016 on a sample of more than 24,000 dogs, including more than 2,000 English bulldogs, passed by a cabinet veterinarian, the English bulldog is twice as likely to be affected by a disease than any other dog.
Its pretty, pleated coat promotes dermatitis. As for his watery eye, it’s a reaction to what the British call a cherry eye, cherry eye, due to inflammation of the tissue. Its flattened face is the cause of respiratory syndromes that, for example, limit its resistance to exertion. And the excess weight of his muscles is the cause of cysts between his fingers. Not to mention the radical change in the animal’s morphology, which makes it difficult for females to give birth and requires the use of caesarean sections.
These problems are nothing new, and their prevalence in this breed has been documented for decades. But this is the first time scientists have quantified them: “Many of the predispositions to pathologies reported in this study are closely related to the extreme physique of the English bulldog” to breed criteria.
The authors of the study are therefore urging breeders to change these criteria “to prevent the UK from being included in the growing list of countries where breeding English bulldogs is banned”.
In a clear ruling, the Oslo court has banned the breeding of the English Bulldog and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in Norway on the grounds that it would cause them suffering incompatible with the Animal Welfare Act.