Thursday, September 23, 2010

How Much is That Bulldog in the Window?

Back in 2006, I wrote of the English Bulldog:

The famed English Bulldog... is mostly Chinese pug -- a show ring creation with legs so deformed it can barely walk, a jaw so undershot it cannot grab a Frisbee, and with a face so bracycephalic it cannot breathe. Add to these problems a deformed intestinal system (a by-product of achondroplasia or dwarfism) which makes the dog constantly fart, and a pig tail prone to infection, and you have a dog that considers its own death a blessed relief.

I have not changed my opinion, but you do not have to listen to me to hear about the congenital defects inherent to the breed.

Listen to what a top AKC show breeder told ABC television's Nightline program in April of 2009:

Why should anyone care that English Bulldogs are genetic and conformation wrecks?

Well for one, because this dog is a Top Ten AKC breed, along with the Golden Retriever, whose health care costs I have previously described.

We are talking about scores of thousands of dogs that will spend a lifetime in misery, struggling for breath even as they sleep.

And this struggle is not some sort of accident or an unintended genetic aberration.

This is perpetual torture by design, and it is common to one of the most abundant dogs to be found in the American Kennel Club.

Then there is the expense of taking care of these dogs. As with Golden Retrievers, the financial costs can be jaw-dropping.

Consider some of the common health care expenses that Embrace Pet Insurance has documented with this breed:

Embrace Pet Insurance pulls no punches in their description of the health of English Bulldogs:

The Bulldog may be perfect in spirit, but in the flesh is a different story. These dogs are intolerant of warm weather, and may die if over-heated. Too much exercise or stress can make it difficult for them to breath. Without exception, Bulldogs must live indoors, and need air conditioning in all but the mildest summer weather.

More than 90 percent of all Bulldogs are born by C-section. Because breeding them is expensive, the puppies are, too. Love is an expensive proposition when you own a Bulldog....

...Bulldogs' hips and spines are often malformed, as are their mouths. They suffer from a long list of respiratory ailments. Their many wrinkles and folds, and tightly curled tails, mean lots of skin infections. Cherry eye, inverted eyelids, cataracts and dry eye are just a few of the eye abnormalities that can affect the Bulldog.

...Many conditions have no screening tests, even though they're known or believed to be genetic. These include seizure disorders, allergies and skin problems, several kinds of bladder stone, a long list of airway defects, birth defects, infertility and cancer, and more. Bulldogs are also at high risk for "bloat and torsion," where the stomach twists on itself, trapping air inside, and requiring immediate emergency surgery.

Of course, more could be said.

Embrace Pet Insurance mentions the high cost of Cesarean births, but they do not mention the rape racks that are used in mating because this dog is so deformed and defective that it can only rarely breed on its own.

Do you still want an English Bulldog?

So you still think they are "oh so cute?"

Are you still reading all-breed books that leave all the important information out?


Karen said...

I never really thought much about bulldogs until a good friend of mine acquired a puppy. The dog has constant skin problems, can't breathe properly and is useless in warm weather.

Recently my friend spent $9,000 on emergency surgery to have bladder stones removed from the dog, which is not uncommon for the breed.

One of your posts about cavalier spaniels inspired me to write my own post about dogs and breed specific genetic issues.

I tried to find health information about bulldogs from club websites. Relevant health info was zero BUT one club did have a little PSA about desirable colours of the dogs. Whatever..

The average lifespan of a bulldog is 6 years with most of them dying of heart failure followed closely by hip dysplasia. And you get all this for the princely sum of 3 to 5,000 dollars.

This will be my friends first and last bulldog.When people come up to him asking about his dog, he is *not* an advocate for the breed.

btw - nice appearance on the video :)

Gina said...

It's even worse than you say: At the recent AVMA conference I sat in on a seminar on respiratory problems in the breed. The presenting veterinarian said that in his opinion, the dogs should have surgery to open their nostrils and shorten their palates at the time of adolescent spay-neuter -- because if they didn't they would have no chance of living a comfortable life, and not much chance of being alive past 2.

Seahorse said...

Another bulldog I see terrible trouble in is the American Bulldog. At Petco this evening there was a 7 month old (owned by the dog trainer there) that looked like a mess to me. His leg conformation looked poor to my eye and he had large areas on his legs that looked like licking granulomas. She explained all ABDs get these as a result of hotter temps, that they were not granulomas and he never touched them. He looked way too heavy to me (he was tall and huge) and she proudly said he "has 90 more pounds to go". I'm not a fan of dogs that pace rather than trot, but this dog could barely pace out of his own way. 90 more pounds? Structural failure or heart attack.