Celebrate National Dog Day by spreading awareness of “The Truth About Purebred Dogs.”
Okay, I get it. You love your purebred bulldog! Who could resist that loose skin, those stubby legs, and that adorable underbite? Well, I hate to break it to you, but that lovable little freak — along with almost every other breed of dog — was created by Victorian eugenicists less than one hundred years ago. What’s more, the breeds they created are now getting so inbred that most of them are sicker than … well, dogs! Check it out: Adam breaks down the awful truth for you in the newest episode of Adam Ruins Everything.
For more information, watch the BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed
, or check out the following sources:
The English Bulldog is my all-time least favorite breed of dog for the following deformities I see in almost every one of them (I have not found one yet that has zero deformities or disease states):
- Brachycephalic airway disease: narrow nostrils, extraneous soft palate tissue that catches in the back of their throats, weak cartilage in their small tracheas, and extraneous vocal folds all combine to produce a potentially fatal respiratory collapse. A bulldog on a hot day or a bulldog stressed out in any way, shape or form is a ticking time bomb for suffocation. Every vet has heard at least a few stories of a bulldog dying on a 75 degree day or during a routine nail trim because the dog was restrained normally and simply stressed itself to death. I have seen bulldogs turn blue from overexcitement.
- Entropion, where eyelids roll toward the surface of the eye, leading to eyelashes rubbing on the cornea; over time this can produce ulceration, chronic eye irritation, and loss of vision.
- Hip dysplasia
- A propensity for luxating patellas and/or cranial cruciate ligament rupture in their knees
- Ingrown tail resulting in orthopedic pain and/or disgusting skin infections under the folds of the tail
- Facial fold yeast and bacterial infections (sometimes MRSA)
- Ear infections, and they are usually not the mild yeast infections that are easily treated but deeply entrenched bacterial infections that may require bacterial cultures, flushing the ears under anesthesia, and months of medication
- Skin allergies resulting in miserable itching and scratching and a bright red, patchily haired, smelly, uncomfortable bulldog
- Rotated teeth and a massive underbite (funnily enough, I never see really awful dental disease in bulldogs because they DON’T LIVE LONG ENOUGH)
- Inability to give birth without Cesarean
Basically, every time I see an English bulldog the client spends $400-$500 because there are SO MANY THINGS WRONG. What is this money spent on? Allergy medications. Antibiotics for skin infections. Topical sprays and shampoos for skin disease. Medicated wipes for the face and tail. Supplements like fish oils for the skin. Pain medications for joint disease. Eye medications for eyelid infections or ulcers. Bloodwork to make sure none of the above medications that are keeping the bulldog somewhat comfortable are damaging to the liver or kidneys.
I would so much rather that money be spent on a dog that will be fairly healthy and happy with minimal maintenance from the client, because believe it or not, it is immensely frustrating as a vet to see a pet come back with the same problems time and time again. We want to fix your pet! We like seeing your pet only for well visits! Doing damage control on an animal that has so many profound defects is disheartening and depressing. Plus there’s the frightening thought, “Is this the time a bulldog dies from a nail trim?” whenever you have to restrain one of them.
If you own a bulldog, expect to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on maintenance over its short lifespan - compared to a few hundred a year for a healthy animal. If all you need to pay for is an annual exam, vaccines, parasite prevention, and routine parasite/blood screening, it’s a lot easier to maintain a pet than if you’ve got an animal that’s in every month or two for an issue, and also needs basic care.
I can’t speak passionately enough about the anger I feel on this topic. The most frustrating thing of all is that most bulldogs I have met have sweet, clownish personalities and are nice dogs. That’s why it’s so upsetting to get a call from a client that their 4-year-old bulldog died on air-conditioned car ride, or that their bulldog had to go to the specialist to get airway surgery to open the nostrils and remove excess soft palate, or else die. It’s not fair to them.
On of the saddest things I saw in vet school was a young English bulldog, less than a year old, who came in for airway surgery so it could breed like a semi-normal dog.
Normal post-surgical swelling ended up putting it on the ventilator because what any other dog could handle was deadly for this dog. It never came off of the ventilator. It died because its airway was so messed up that even expert surgery couldn’t fix it.
Shameful, what breeding has done to dogs. Less than a year old and dead because of the excess flesh in its throat.