HEALTH CONCERNS IN BULLDOGS

AKC Gazette

March 2009

AMELIA AVERIL

HEALTH CONCERNS IN BULLDOGS

 

            As more and more Bulldogs are being bred and owned, the responsibilities of Bulldog breeders are obvious. Strict adherence to breeding only those Bulldogs who possess good breed type, good health, and sound temperament should be observed.

We Bulldog people have to admit that we do have our problems. I don’t know if the problems are worse today than they were in the past. Bulldogs are prone to certain ailments and require more care than other breeds. The common problems in Bulldogs have been with us for many years and will probably be with us for years to come unless we take notice of which dogs we use for breeding.

            Bulldogs are prone to skin problems, eye problems, patella problems, and respiratory problems to name a few. The problems can be improved by judicious breeding. Where do we begin?

            For starters, let us discuss respiratory problems in Bulldogs involving defects with the elongated soft palate. If over exercised, some dogs will have heat stroke, froth at the mouth, and even pass out. If you need to have surgery on the soft palate for the health of the dog, it does not help the future of the next generation of Bulldogs if such a dog is used for breeding. We should not use the excuse “It’s in the breed” for breeding affected dogs. It does not do anyone any good.

            The comment often heard from the public is that Bulldogs have trouble breathing and cannot be active. This is a perception that does not have to be true if we are serious about what dogs are being used for breeding.

            Lastly, it is imperative that only dogs with good temperament be bred and shown. A dog with bad temperament is bad for any breed.

            Make no mistake about it – good and bad temperament is inherited. Since temperament plays such an important part in the welfare of any breed, I cannot understand why it isn’t given more serious attention by breeders and judges.

            It is a shame that some people show primarily to win, and if they can get in the ribbons all is justified. Judges should not put up dogs with bad temperament no matter how good their conformation. The judge should look at the whole dog, not only conformation. That is insignificant next to bad temperament.

            Amelia Averil, 8 Willow Brook Rd., Hillsdale, NJ 07612.