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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bulldogs get makeover

Bulldogs in Britain will have their exaggerated characteristics weeded out after a few generations, after the (British) Kennel Club made an unprecedented decision to revise the standard for the British Bulldog. Other breed revisions include those for the Chinese Sharpei and the German Shepherd. Please read the full article here.
I do not wish to offend any Bulldog owners and this post is not a reflection on them or their dogs. However, I have been saying for years that the classic characteristics of bulldogs, including a flat face, and short and stubby legs, lead to serious physical constraints. The most important one, in my opinion, is the respiratory tract. The dog's flat face and therefore severely shortened respiratory tract, makes it difficult to breathe. They often have stenotic (barely-open) nostrils, shortened nasal cavities (where air is warmed and is filtered), and an elongated soft-palate. These dogs are walking emergencies. Routine exercise in the heat can be life-threatening.
I am all for it. In the long-term, this means that vets will still be seeing bulldogs and Shar-peis, but perhaps not for the classic health issues that plague the breeds (respiratory and skin/eye issues respectively).
Remember, human beings are solely responsible for the evolution (yes, evolution) of the hundreds of breeds of dogs found on the planet. It is our responsibility to ensure that their physical characteristics do not impair them in any way or cause harm, no matter how cute, pretty, fluffy, flat-faced, bald, tiny, or huge we want them to be.
Kudos to the Kennel Club.

So darn cute, but I'll bet that the revision will demand for a reduction (or absence of) skin folds on the face and body. Yup, you guessed it, they cause health issues.

6 comments:

GoLightly said...

Cool Blog!
Glad I found you.
I'm in Toronto, too.
Why would you come BACK here?
Just kidding.
Mostly.

The kids in fur coats comment, yeah, no kidding.

I own two kelpies, older one with "Grade 4" hip dysplasia and tummy (coprophagia and general dead stuff) issues. She's on cartrophen and Gastro. Younger one is excellent, my first puppy, now two.
They breath very well. They look like dogs. To me, like Good Mutts. I was amazed to read about the problems they have, too. Gotta love that in- , I mean line-breeding.
Why would we breed their faces away?
Oh, right, kids in fur coats again.

Oh, yes, why are their hips disappearing?
Odd question, but one I've wondered about.

Thanks for the great new blog, thanks DogsDeserveFreedom, too!

Mel said...

As much as I love my little frenchie, I have a hard time with the concept of any breed that can't generally give birth naturally. I'd love to see the breed standards addressed here in the US. Not likely to happen anytime soon, though.

dvm2012 said...

Hmm, nothing about the king charles spaniels? there was a BBC documentary on potential guidelines on genetics for the dogs due to their domed head causing hydrocephaly and other problems. Good news for the bull dog though!

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

Fantastic news. I am very pleased to hear this. Hope it extends to New Zealand asap!!!

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

After reading this post, I went looking for the UKC breed standards and the revisions they've been making. I was impressed at the extensive list I found:

Dalmatian
English Toy Spaniel
English Bulldog
French Bulldog
Italian Greyhound
Japanese Chin
Lhasa Apso
Lowchen
Maltese
Miniature Pinscher
Papillon
Pekingese
Pomeranian
Pug
Schipperke
Shih Tzu
Tibetan Spaniel
Tibetan Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier

That's not bad news, eh?

Talk to you soon!

DogsDeserveFreedom

TorontoVet said...

Thanks very much for that list!