Originally bred to fight bulls, the British Bulldog has long been adored in Britain and is even considered the national breed. Over the last 15 years, their numbers have quadrupled in the country!Renown for their unusual facial features and stocky bodies, the breed is undeniably distinctive. However, these unique features mean that the British Bulldog is riddled with painful diseases and deformations thanks to centuries of inbreeding.
Source: Dog Breed Selector
Two years ago, research was done on the breed whereupon shocking and controversial information was revealed. According to a report by the BBC, scientists say the breed "could die out if it isn't crossed with other types of dogs to avoid health problems".At the beginning of 2018, British vets launched a national campaign dubbed#breedtobreathe, urging dog lovers to avoid buying flat-faced breeds. It was revealed in a survey that an astounding671 vets found 75% of owners were unaware of the health problems of brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds before they chose their dog.British comedian, actress, and writer, Catherine Tate, commentated on the issue in a video with the BBC in which she spoke with the owner of a British Bulldog crossed with another bulldog breed known as Old Tyme. The dog, named Betsty, had obvious problems with her breathing shown by some rather shocking home footage from her owner. Tate remarked that Betsy even "[sounded] like a monster".Betsy's owner then made the tough but necessary decision for her to have surgery to remove the excess tissue at the back of her throat.
Screenshot of the BBC video showing Betsy the Bulldog cross undergoing surgery. Source: BBC
Tate went on to say that the reason so many British Bulldogs have these problems is because "we're just allowing it to happen". She continued by saying that she "just [doesn't] think there's a level of awareness yet that has infiltrated the public because clearly the dogs are suffering".
Source: Bulldog Area
An vet said to the BBC:
We need to fundamentally change the way the bulldog looks. It's a loved, iconic breed, but in its current form it isn't fit for life, it isn't fit for function, it has too many problems. We need to open up our minds to what a bulldog can look like, we need to reject the extremes, we need to breed with primarily health in mind. We need to not be selfish and prioritise how a dog looks above its long-term health and welfare.
Tate finished on a poignant note saying:
We, as humans, have to start putting the dog's first, and I don't think we are.