French Bulldogs aren’t bred to be healthy, scientists warn

Avatar By Lliane Hunter | 3 years ago

French Bulldogs are the fourth most popular dog in the United States, and the second most commonly registered pedigree breed in the United Kingdom. In a paper for the journal Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, scientists report that the genetics we force on these bulldogs have become too unwieldy. As Sarah Sloat reports for Inverse, the research reveals that French Bulldogs are predisposed towards several medical maladies, with the characteristics that make them aesthetically desirable driving some of those health risks.

“There is worry that increased demand for the French Bulldog is damaging to these dogs’ welfare because of the health risks associated with their extreme physical features,” said lead author Dan O’Neill, Ph.D., in a statement. The scientists studied data collected on 2,228 French Bulldogs who received veterinary care in the United Kingdom in 2013, and found that they commonly experienced ear infections, diarrhea, and conjunctivitis. Approximately 12.7 percent of the dogs in the study sample had severe breathing issues connected to the breed’s short noses and flat faces.

“The English bulldog has reached the point where popularity can no longer excuse the health problems that the average bulldog endures in its often brief lifetime,” cautions study lead and University of California, Davis veterinarian Niels Pederson, Ph.D. Researchers hope that this study, the first on French Bulldogs, will educate owners on the issues they should expect, and possibly decrease the demand for the pup altogether.