Bulldogs are extremely cute, and extremely susceptible to health problems.

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Bulldogs are extremely cute, and extremely susceptible to health problems.

English bulldogs and French bulldogs are increasing in popularity, despite prominent severe health problems.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 43 thousand households in the United States have dogs, and the total number of dogs as pets across America is almost 70 thousand. The American Kennel Club recognizes 192 different dog breeds, and they list the top dog breeds each year. In March 2019, the American Kennel Club reported that French bulldogs are the fourth most breed dogs, while English bulldogs are the fifth.

English bulldogs are short and stocky dogs. They might look ferocious, but they are courageous, stubborn, and incredibly loving to their owners. Initially developed for bullfighting, bulldogs were later bred as companion dogs. Unfortunately, they are plagued with many health concerns. Breeders focused on the shape of the dog, and breeding it for a cute flat face lead to the breed suffering from breathing and other health issues.

This breed is exceptionally vulnerable to humidity and heat. Panting is difficult, thanks to their ultra-short noses, and they overheat with alarming ease. Their short legs and broad chests make these dogs terrible swimmers, who should not be left unattended near bodies of water. The English bulldog is vulnerable to many types of breathing issues, overheating, skin allergies, eczema, acne, dry skin, arthritis, degenerative spine disease, cherry eye (a disorder of a membrane in a dog’s eye), hip dysplasia, joint and ligament issues, head tremors, infections in their skin folds, heart disease, and elbow dysplasia. And sadly, the English bulldog also has the highest rate of cancer of any breed.

The English Bull Dog's health problems are so widespread and significant that a veterinarian featured on the National Geographic documentary "And Man Created Dog" declared that these dogs should not be allowed to procreate.

The French Bulldog–or Frenchie–is a small pup that was specifically bred to be a companion, making them one of the best cuddle buddies. They started out as a toy version of the English bulldog in the 1800s, and were later crossed with some other breeds to give them their characteristic “bat ears.” This adorable breed is known for being friendly and goofy, but tires easily, and doesn’t tolerate heat well. Behind these distinctive traits, there is a multitude of health problems as well.

Many of this breed’s health concerns are thanks to its ultra-short nose. Generations of breeding for cuteness has flattened their faces even more than English bulldogs, so these dogs are prone to breathing issues that make it dangerous for them to swim, exercise, or even exist in hot and humid temperatures. They are also prone to cherry eye, cataracts, allergies, and other eye issues. And vulnerable to hip, knee, dermatological, and heart issues.

A new study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College in London revealed several unexpected facts about the popular breed—most notably that these dogs are susceptible to a myriad of health problems. 72.4% of the French bulldogs studied had at least one recorded disorder. Gender also seems to play an essential role in the susceptibility of French bulldogs to developing health problems. Males were more likely to be diagnosed with 8 of the 26 most common breed-associated conditions. In contrast, no issues were more common in females. 

Yes, the English and French bulldogs are great companions. Still, we cannot continue to excuse the plethora of health issues bulldogs endure during their lives. Besides from this, owning these breeds is pretty time-consuming and can be very expensive. Another problem is the way they are being bred. “There has been an unprecedented surge in popularity of the French Bulldog, as well as irresponsible breeders, who want to make a quick profit, are cashing in on this trend by churning out puppies with no regard for their health, temperament or welfare,” Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said. “The paper shows that many of the health problems seen in the breed can be caused by low welfare standards, often seen on puppy farms."

If you are considering to buy a bulldog, at least inform yourself as much as possible. Ask your breeder to see proof of hip, knee, eye, and heart exams before bringing home a puppy. Consider the location and weather of where you live, make sure you provide your dog with a healthy diet, and that your dog gets the correct amount of exercise needed. Also, look into having pet insurance. Your dog will most likely have health problems that will require a lot of responsibility from you, and that will be very expensive to treat.

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