A study published in the journal of Canine Medicine and Genetics proves what common sense has dictated for years: French Bulldogs, a brachycephalic (short-nosed) breed, are at increased risk for health problems.
The study took a random sampling of French Bulldogs and non-French Bulldogs under primary veterinary care during 2016 within the VetCompass Programme in the UK. It compared 2,781 French Bulldogs and 21,850 non-French Bulldogs.
Friench bulldogs were found to be more predisposed to non-French Bulldog breeds to the following conditions:
Stenotic nares: Pinched or narrow nostrils, making it more difficult for the animal to breathe. This results in increased mouth breathing and panting and can often require surgery to correct
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome: The effects caused by the shortened head/short nose on the passage of air and oxygen in the upper respiratory system. Can lead to heat stroke under certain conditions.
Aural Discharge: Ear discharge may be waxy yellow or reddish brown that may indicate an ear or fungal infection
Skin Fold Dermatitis: An inflammation and/or microbial (fungal) overgrowth of closely apposed skin surfaces. Requires frequent cleaning and drying of skin folds
Dystocia: Difficult birth caused by fetuses that are too large for a narrowed birth canal. Often requires a cesarean section.
What the study didn't mention, but that is a very important consideration, is that Frenchies rarely breed naturally. The same can be said for English bulldogs. Both breeds normally are artificially inseminated. The process of AI requires the stud dog to be sexually aroused. It is achieved by placing a female dog in heat near, or with the male. Once aroused, the male will attempt to mount the female. Before he can insert his penis into her vagina, the penis is places in a semen collection receptacle. The penis must then be massaged to simulate the constriction of the vagina that occurs during mating. In other words, the male must be masturbated. The collected semen is then gathered in a pipette and inserted into the vaginal canal of the female.
The conclusions of this study and the need for unnatural breeding practices to propagate, should cause us to question the wisdom in breeding French bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds.
As Dan O’Neill, lead researcher and senior lecturer in companion animal epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) said: “Especially in the lead-up to Christmas, we should give dogs a special present by putting the needs of the dog before the desires of the human. Stop and think before buying a flat-face dog.”