A new campaign spearheaded by veterinarians warns potential dog owners that so-called “squashed-face” breeds have a number of health problems as a result of their breeding.
“In the past ten years there has been a rapid rise in the number of brachycephalic breeds in the UK. BVA is concerned that this rise in numbers is leading to a population-based increase of ill health and compromised welfare in these breed types,” noted the British Veterinary Association, or BVA, in a campaign statement.
The dogs are also increasingly popular in the United States—the American Kennel Club notes that Bulldogs and French Bulldogs were the 4th and 6th most popular breeds in the country in 2016.
“Soaring demand for these breeds, fuelled by their prominence in advertising and marketing campaigns, is creating a health and welfare crisis,” noted the Kennel Club.
The number of French Bulldogs registered in the U.K., for instance, has increased over 3,000 percent in the last decade.
“Puppies can be churned out with little or no regard for their health and welfare, solely for profit, because they are so easy to sell due to their looks. The use of these breeds to advertise products or services only perpetuates their appeal,” the club said in a press statement.
“It is widely believed by those with an interest in dog welfare, that ethical advertisers and companies have an important role to play in reducing the demand for breeds that can suffer from health problems.”
Health problems include skin infections, dental problems, and eye disease.
Vets should warn potential dog owners of the health issues, according to the BVA. In addition, breeders shouldn’t breed a dog suffering from certain health defects.
I adore my flat faced boy, but this is worth a read if you're a lover of brachycephalic breeds. Breeders need to take far more responsible, no one wants an unhealthy dog. https://t.co/d1DKn6OMAC
— Lucy Pinder (@LPinderOfficial) January 5, 2018
“We find that our veterinary surgeons are finding increasing numbers of flat-faced dogs are coming into their practices with problems which are related to the way these animals are made,” John Fishwick, president of the BVA, told the Guardian.
“One of the things that is causing this increase that we have seen over the last few years appears to be celebrity endorsements and their use in advertising.”
People who want the breeds (primarily French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Bulldogs) should consider other options.
“We really want to make sure people understand this [health crisis] and encourage them to think about either going for another breed or a healthier version of these breeds— ones which have been bred to have a longer snout … or possibly even crossbreeds.”