London (CNN) – Vets are asking animal lovers to stop buying English bulldogs, due to “significant” health concerns.
The breed, also known as the British Bulldog, is “at risk” with a “high rate of health issues related to the extreme body shape” in which they were bred, according to the UK’s Royal Veterinary College (RVC). In English).
A new university study calls for “urgent action” to reduce several serious health problems it says are linked to the breed’s exaggerated traits, such as flat faces.
Vets hope that the study, which revealed that English bulldogs are more than twice as likely to develop a number of health disorders, will deter people from breeding and buying dogs designed to look like this.
In a press release posted online, the college stated: “English Bulldogs have increased dramatically in popularity in the UK over the past decade. However, their distinctive short muzzle, prominent lower jaw, and plump body shape have been linked to a number of serious health and wellness problems, including Including respiratory problems, skin and ear diseases, and eye disorders.”
Unfortunately, many of the breed’s problematic characteristics, such as a very flat face, deep facial skin folds and troubled breathing, are still seen by many people as ‘normal’ or even ‘desirable’ traits, rather than as major welfare issues.
RVC’s VetCompass program compared the health of random samples of 2,662 English and 22,039 dogs of other breeds and found that bulldogs were more likely to develop one or more disorders in one year than other breeds.
Some of the most common health problems include dermatitis in the folds of the skin, cherry eye (eyelid drooping), a prominent lower jaw, and humeral airway obstruction syndrome (serious breathing problems related to the flat shape of a dog’s face), which were 19 times more common than other dog breeds. .
Bulldogs were developed centuries ago in England for use in bullfighting. Characteristically strong and often ferocious, the breed nearly became extinct when dog fighting was outlawed in 1835. However, enthusiasts saved them by reducing their ferocity.
Veterinarians say the public should accept the breed’s natural appearance: “In the future, the English bulldog should be recognized and admired for having a longer face, smaller head and non-wrinkled skin, which is a fairer, healthier look.”
Dan O’Neill, lead author of the paper and associate professor of companion animal epidemiology at RVC, said: “Every dog deserves to be born with equal and good innate health by having a natural ability to breathe freely, to blink eyes perfectly, to exercise easily, and to have healthy, flat skin. mating and childbirth.
“In the case of breeds such as the English Bulldog, where many dogs go on to be highly shaped with little innate health, the public plays a large role in the demand for dogs of moderate, healthy fit. Until then, future owners should consider this before purchasing a flat dog. the face “.
The study was funded in part by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. “As this research shows, more and more Bulldogs are being bred outside of any sphere of influence and in a certain way because they are thought of as ‘bonito’, with little regard for health and wellbeing,” Bill Lambert, Executive Director of Health and Welfare Services and Breeder at The Kennel Club said in the statement. A collaborative approach to addressing these issues is critical, we must continue to work with breeders, veterinarians and social welfare organizations to reduce and eventually eliminate the problems faced by brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds, as well as to reduce the huge demand for these dogs.