AKC Gazette

December 2000




As the number of new Bulldog owners increases, so does the number of needless fatalities and disappearances. Despite the efforts of many reputable breeders to properly educate buyers about responsible ownership, there are countless stories making the rounds about first-time Bulldog owners who are seeking to replace their pets.

Whether through ignorance or neglect, an uncommon number of Bulldog pets are reported dead or missing because the owners have failed to follow simple instructions or were not aware of very real dangers to the health and well being of Bulldogs.

Even families who have owned Bulldogs for years seem oblivious to some of these dangers, which can prematurely deprive them of a beloved companion.

It is hard to say how many Bulldogs drowned in backyard swimming pools, lakes and rivers last summer because many owners are of the mistaken belief that Bulldogs – both puppies and adults – can swim. Of course, there are some rare exceptions, but their risk of drowning is exceptionally high.

Healthy Bulldogs who weigh 50 pounds or more are seldom able to keep their large heads and short noses above water, even in depths of as little as 2 feet! At least 75 percent of their total weight is concentrated in their massive heads, shoulders and torso.

Despite the dire warnings of breeders, new owners continue to allow their Bulldogs easy access to swimming pools, often without supervision. They also take them out on fishing ramps and for a ride in a boat. If a Bulldog happens to fall off the side or jump into the water, the overwhelming odds are that it will sink below the surface in an instant.

Recently, an 8-week-old puppy was found drowned in a private pool enclosed by a fence. The fence was properly installed and certainly strong enough to keep out a much larger dog. Unfortunately, this inquisitive puppy found a way to push open a gate leading to the pool. No one was there to observe what was happening, and the result was fatal.

Dozens of healthy Bulldogs are also lost each year due to heat exhaustion. Left unsupervised in a vehicle on a warm day – not necessarily a hot day – Bulldogs can become easily overheated and expire before they can be cooled down.

Because of the breed’s well-known intolerance of heat, many breeders will not sell Bulldogs to those who do not have air conditioning in their vehicles and homes.

 In warm climates or during hot summer months, many breeders will not risk entering their show dogs in outdoor events held under tents. And when they do enter, elaborate precautions are taken to ensure that tubs of ice, water, fans and adequate shade are available. Furthermore, Bulldog judging is normally scheduled in the morning, when conditions are the coolest.

In addition to these heat and water hazards, the Bulldog has become so expensive, in such great demand and in such short supply, that an alarming number of Bulldogs are being stolen from their families across the nation.

Bulldogs are such obvious and lucrative prey for thieves that pet owners – whether they reside in a large city, a small town or even a remote farmhouse – would be well advised never to allow their dogs outside unless on a lead. Many of these pets and show dogs are probably being sold to experimental laboratories. They are also sold as live bait for fighting dogs. Quite often they prematurely end their lives in a puppy mill. Some are no doubt sold to pet shops or crossbred with other breeds.

Responsible owners are alert to all of these dangers. Are you one of them?

  1. William Andree, 204 S. Beach Dr., Monticello, IN 47960.

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