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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Are Bulldogs The New "Poster Dog" For Irresponsible Breeding?

We'll leave the answer up to you-after you read this week's New York Times Magazine cover story titled, "Can the Bulldog Be Saved?" The above picture, courtesy of The New York Times, depicts what the bulldog looks like today (L) and what a healthier breed of bulldog might look like, based on information submitted by concerned veterinarians (R).

We don't think this article overtly take sides, but simply presents the facts: there are a lot of veterinarians and legitimate bulldog breeders who think that the changes to this breed's standard over the years have made the current bulldog a (barely) walking encyclopedia of canine health problems who tend to die many years younger than most other dog breeds-and these health problems are a direct consequence of the current breed standards. The only response from the Bulldog Club of America (BCA) and many longtime breeders interviewed for this article is: "If you change the look of this dog, it's not going to look like a bulldog."
Bulldog on the cover of The New York Times Magazine-with his various ailments listed.

The article's author takes the University of Georgia's mascot bulldog as an example and personally "interviews" two of their mascots, Uga VII and UGA VIII. These same Ugas' both died in the last two years: from a heart attack at age four and cancer at age two, respectively. And that's just the beginning. The slide show that accompanies the online article is shocking. It shows the startling difference between the bulldog from the mid-1800's and now. Their current massive head, way undershot jaw, pushed-up, compressed nose, too short legs, no tail, and easily infected face rolls have turned these poor creatures into a caricature of a dog-any dog.

Interestingly enough, the Humane Society of the United States held its first-ever conference last spring on the topic of purebred-dog health and welfare, and although "a number of breeds were discussed at the conference...the bulldog stole the show." According to Wayne Pacelle, the Humane Society's CEO, "It is the most extreme example of genetic manipulation in the dog breeding world that results in congenital and hereditary problems."

To those who say that the bulldog retains his happy-go-lucky outgoing personality, this article interviews James Serpell, director for the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society, who counters that assertion: "But a dog can love its owner and be happy at times, but that doesn't mean his life isn't needlessly compromised...they are severely handicapped because of what we have done to them, but they still have these amazing personalities that shine through despite it all."

Although we certainly were aware of the health problems of particular breeds, and that sometimes the physical appearance of breeds as dictated by its "breed standards" interfered with the overall health and well-being of a particular breed, we were horrified by what we learned from this article. We can't wait to hear what you think.


Two French Bulldogs said...

Please don't screw around with our faces.... You already messed with the Boston Terriers. We vote, please no
Benny & Lily

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

I have been hearing about this fur about a year. I say... bad breeding is a BAD THINGY.

Renee DeMartin and Mugs said...

Bulldog breeders have done a huge disservice to the breed they supposedly love. As the Times article states, it's not just irresponsible, backyard breeders, but the supposedly reputable ones that have created a caricature
out of this once healthy animal. Anytime the HEALTH and WELL BEING of a domestic animal is compromised by breeding for anatomical extremes based on human created artificial "standards" whether in dogs and cats or factory farmed chickens and turkeys, it is totally WRONG.

yuki and rocket said...

Very interesting!! I was shocked one day when I was watching a story about them and how short their life span can be in comparison to other dogs. Very sad!

Sagira said...

We have a bulldog that lives next door and he tries to eat us each time we are all out together. He hates us and he actually did bite Samick one time. Not saying all BD are that way, just the one next door isn't very nice.

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