An English bulldog shown in February 2018 at the Westminster Kennel Club, a dog show that takes place every year in New York (AFP/TIMOTHY A. CLARY)
With its flattened face and short-legged profile, the English bulldog is a favorite of purebred dog enthusiasts, but the cause of this success comes at the cost of an increased risk of health risks, according to British scientists.
If the rooster is Gallic, the bulldog is English. Molosser was originally bred to fight bulls, but became a pet in Victorian England in the 1800s, recalls a study published Wednesday in Canine Medicine and Genetics.
The breeders then exaggerated, crossing the distinguishing features of their ancestors, to obtain a shorter face with a wide lower jaw, a thicker constitution and curved legs.
The animal is now one of the most popular in the UK. He came in fourth in the dog registration rankings in the great British Kennel Club in 2020.
But the study by Dan G. O’Neill, of the Royal Veterinary College, pins the price on this success. The English bulldog is twice as likely to be subjected to affection as any other dog, according to a 2016 statistical study conducted on a sample of more than 24,000 dogs, including more than 2,000 English bulldogs, who were treated by a vet from the UK. cabinet have been approved.
His beautiful pleated coat promotes dermatitis. As for his watery eye, it’s a reaction to what the British call a cherry eye, a cherry eye, because of inflammation of the tissues. His flattened face is the cause of respiratory syndromes, which limit, for example, the resistance to exercise. And the excessive weight of his muscles is the cause of cysts between the fingers. Not to mention the radical transformation of the animal’s morphology, making it difficult to give birth to females, and the use of cesarean sections.
These problems are nothing new and their prevalence in this breed has been documented for decades. But this is the first time scientists have quantified them: “Many of the predispositions to pathologies reported in this study are closely linked to the extreme conformation of the English bulldog” according to the breeding criteria.
The authors of the study therefore call on breeders to change these criteria, “to prevent the UK from joining the growing list of countries where the breeding of English bulldogs is prohibited”.
In a resounding ruling, the Oslo court banned the breeding of the English bulldog and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in Norway, on the grounds that the practice would cause them suffering incompatible with animal protection law.