Wednesday, 30 October 2013

French Bulldogs removed from the KC's high profile list


According to the French Bulldog Club, Frenchies are to be removed from the KC's high-profile breed list  (see here). This means the breed will no longer be subject to vet checks at KC champ shows.

The move is intended as a reward to a breed club that has, under the health stewardship of Penny Rankine-Parsons, embraced that there are problems in the breed and the need for research/health surveys.

The problem is that there's no evidence that any of the breed club's initiatives have actually improved the health of the breed.

There is certainly little evidence that Frenchie breeders are willing to give up on a conformation that in the past 100 years has tilted this breed from moderate to extreme brachycephalism... the same health-compromising, dim-witted direction that affects so many of the brachycephalic breeds.  

The Frenchie breed standard in fact calls for a "well-defined" muzzle, but in profile the breed now has practically no muzzle - a far cry from some of the dogs of old. 

Left: BOB French Bulldog 2011. Right:French Bulldog 1917

As the English Club's own advice on health spells out: "Being a brachycephalic breed that is fairly short and compact with a screw tail, the 'Frenchie' is prone to the associated problems these conformational characteristics will bring."

Of course. It's immutable. Set in stone. 

Have a look at the dogs being exhibited by current top winning kennel, Glenlee - including the Crufts 2013 winner, Renuar New War Bonnet. You can see their current showteam here; it boasts a veritable smorgasbord of stenotic nares.

The 2004 KC/BSAVA survey found that 53% of French Bulldogs suffer one or more health conditions and that the median age of death is 9 years old (only two thirds of the "lifespan of around 12-14 years on average" claimed by the French Bulldog Club of England).

Additionally, many can't mate naturally, over 80 per cent of the breed is delivered by C-section (ref here) and there is a neonatal puppy mortality rate of around 30 per cent.

Yep, this breed doesn't want to mate, doesn't want to be born and does its level best to die if forced into it.

Have a look at this American breeder's site for some eye-watering honesty about French Bulldogs.


It also states, as if it's bad thing: "Bargain-priced French Bulldog pups are bred for from large, long-backed, small-headed, out-at-the-nose French Bulldogs who can breed naturally because of their longer backs and legs. Puppy mills prefer them like this because the small-headed pups they produce can free-whelp without need of a costly cesarian making them more profit."

And just so we can tell the difference, there's a helpful illustration comparing the dreadful small-head, longer-nosed, free-mating, free-whelping ones and the desirable huge-headed, flat-faced, artificially-inseminated, c-sectioned ones.

Apparently, you're supposed to want the one on the right.

Despite all this dysfunction, only one winning Frenchie in the UK has failed a vet check since the KC introduced them in 2012.  But don't be surprised -  the vet checks are pretty much rubbish,  sufficient to pick up lameness or an obvious eye or skin problem, but useless at picking up anything more fundamental, including exercise intolerance due to underlying brachycephalic obstructed airway syndrome. The vets are not allowed to put a stethoscope on the dogs and the dogs only have to trot up and down a few yards. Winning dogs are also often carried/wheeled from the ring to the vet-check to give them the best chance of a pass.

So, if the vet checks are mostly a PR exercise, does it matter that the breed is now exempt?

Yes it does because removing Frenchies from the high profile breed list sends out a strong message that the breed is OK when it isn't - and at a time when KC registrations of this breed are soaring. And it also sends out a dangerous message to others on the high profile breed list - i.e. looking like you're doing something to tackle health problems is good enough.

Even more infuriating is that this morning the Dog Advisory Council - the independent body set up to monitor and find ways to improve dog health post Pedigree Dogs Exposed - has congratulated the breed club for being relieved of what it calls the "stigma" of being on the high profile breed list, as if somehow the Frenchie didn't deserve such a label.

This makes no sense at all. The Dog Advisory Council has stated clearly that it thinks the vet checks are "flimsy" and should be replaced with something much more robust. Why then should removal from such a meaningless test warrant any congratulations? And why would it see being a high profile breed a "stigma" rather than, say, an opportunity?

The answer? I suspect it's that the Council's David Sargan is working closely with the breed club's health rep, Penny Rankine-Parsons, on a Cambridge Vet School initiative to find a way to measure respiratory function in brachycepahlic breeds. (For more info see here.) It is a commendable project - and the French Bulldog breed club has been much better than the Pug Club in offering support.

All good stuff.

But this doesn't take away the fact that the French Bulldog is a fundamentally unhealthy breed.

I've had an exchange of views about this today on the DACs Facebook page. David Sargan has admonished me for being ungracious in not recognising all the wonderful work the breed club is doing. He also suggests that the most extreme health problems may reside in the swathe of imported puppies from Eastern Europe - something that could be true but for which there is no supporting data.

I have accused Sargan of drinking the breed club Kool-Aid; his perspective shot by the close contact with a handful of people in the breed who are making the right noises (something I've seen so many times). That's not to say that I am dismissive of the measures the breed club is taking to improve breed health. I'm not. It's just that there is no evidence that any of them have been effective as yet (after all, how could they, when most of them are so new?)

And, anyway, the measures don't go far enough.

Frenchie breeders need to give this breed back some muzzle. The club also needs to state emphatically that dogs that have had surgery to correct breathing problems should never be bred from - instead of its current advice that they can be used as long as mated to a more sound dog.

Stenotic nares need to be severely penalised.

The breed standard should also (as does the FCI standard) call for taillessness, or too short a tail, to be a disqualifying fault and an effort made to breed for a longer back. All Frenchies used to have a tail. But in the pursuit of a shorter body/spine, it has been largely lost, leading to several health problems (see here).

1899 French Bulldog -  described as being "first-rate in skull and body properties"
(Picture courtesy:Pietoro's Dog Breed Historical Pictures)
2013 - top-winning Eastonite Hurricane
It's quite a difference, isn't it? And I can't see a single change here that is functionally beneficial to the dog. Earlier dogs had a smaller head, wider nostrils, longer muzzle, longer legs, longer spine and tail. And they whelped naturally because routine C-sections for dogs are an entirely modern phenomenon.

After all, if you were a dog, which would you prefer to be... This one, from 1925?

 Or this one?

Crufts 2011

58 comments:

  1. Why? I keep asking myself "why". Why can't the breeders and clubs see what they are doing and change?

    It can't be that they don't understand, surely the clubs have all heard and seen the truth for years now. Is it that they just don't care?

    Is it that most dog owners love their dogs but something stops working correctly in the head or heart of the dog owner when they start to show their dogs?

    Or was something gravely wrong with the breeder in the first place that they were attacted to breeding dogs for shows?

    Or is it some obcession which the person got hooked on, addicted to, like a gambling fixation?

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  2. Great to see Frenchies getting critical attention.
    They are sweet little dogs. But their health profile is awful. They make pugs look healthy by comparison.
    Their overall life expectancy in the Finnish KC database is only 5 yr 5 mo, and according to that source more than 2/3 of the Frenchies x-rayed had C, D, or E grade hips. Mortality data show 13% dying of spinal conditions, on average, at 4 yrs 4 mo of age. Cancer rates are relatively low because so few live to the age brackets where cancer mortality is high. The UK Kennel Club data (2004) gives them one of the lowest life expectancies of any of the small or toy companion dogs (http://users.pullman.com/lostriver/breeddata.htm).
    I like Frenchies, but I sure don't think they should be off the hook for critical review of health problems. And with the breed's very high popularity (pups are fetching high prices everywhere) the number of indiscriminate breeders is sure to increase.

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  3. It's still sad to hear that Pugs, Bulldogs, and Frenchies are not improving health wise. I am really at my wits end with this. It’s great to hear that the Frenchie club is more productive in improving the breed’s health, sadly I can’t say for the bulldog and pug club. I can’t see any hope for pugs or bulldogs, unless if the clubs pull their heads out of their nasty bums, and actually care about their dogs.

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  4. My goodness, I didn't know that about the Finnish Frenchies' lifespan. That's really awful.

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    Replies
    1. Do you know anything about the Frenchie from 1917?

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    2. Yes, it's a dog that worked the trenches on the Western Front during the first world war. The pic is a grab from this video:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhbxwWTZavw

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    3. What a dog. So heroic, and with a happy ending. He was fortunate.


      “'Mutt' a "trench runner' Frenchie delivered cigarettes and comfort to the soldiers. He was wounded twice and spent most of WW1 boosting moral of the 11th Engineers, shown here carrying cartons of cigarettes for the troops.”


      “With the wars end the mascots were usually left behind but Mutt was fortunately smuggled on board.”


      “When he was discovered and under threat of being thrown overboard, his saviour said they'd have to throw him overboard also. Mutt returned safely to New York.”

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  5. I realize that these dogs must have winsome personalities and be perfect companions, but how can you not look at the pictures of the 2013 and 2011 Frenchies and see a gross deformity? Furthermore, as you argue, there is no function to these changes. I'm just baffled.

    I happen to own three basenjis, two of them rescue, and I'm PROUD at the work that is being done in the basenji community to enlarge the breeding pool via African imports and eradicate Fanconi syndrome, the most frequent genetic health problem to plague basenjis. Those in the basenji community--at least on the Basenji Rescue & Transport FB page--are vociferous in supporting accredited breeders and warning potential adopters away from backyard breeders / puppy mills.

    I'm just puzzled that other breed lovers can't do the same. Because you love a breed does not mean you have to support breeding practices that make your beloved dogs live shorter, more painful, and more unhealthy lives. Thoughts?

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  6. Hi Anon 0135,

    The problem with French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Pugs, and Peeks has very little to do with the issue of competition from backyard breeders or puppy mills.

    In these breeds it is the show winning dogs which have the problem - and ALL types of breeders who breed for show type.

    The original dogs of these breeds, the common dogs, were not so affected.

    It is the show breeders which have produced a cute caricature of their breed. And it is the modern show type of these breeds which are having problems because they are what the standard asks for; of course, loads of other breeders now breed the show type too, so the original type, like in the photos above, are hard to find.

    In Basenjis the fault is not so much in show standards (maybe the tail), but in an internal, not visible, health mutation. In America, the Basenji club is one of the few who are importing healthy dogs to cross with show dogs to improve health. Very good of them. Health and temperament are what people want in a family dog.

    In breeds where the problem is visible, no genetic test is needed - you can look at the dog, or listen to it breathe, and know the problem exists.

    In Basenjis the problem is like people trying to build a bridge, but one of their suppliers is selling them week steel. So they did the right thing and imported better steel from a different source.

    In Pugs, Pekes, English Bulldogs, and some French Bulldogs, the problem is where people build a bridge but it falls down. So they build it again, and again it falls down.

    So they look about for a cause (blame backyard breeders and puppy farms), and build the bridge a third time. It falls down again.

    Then engineers point out that the fault isn't in the steel or the workers. The blueprints (show standards) are faulty.

    But the bridge builders don't want to use new better blueprints. They have plenty of experience building to the old blue prints (Hey hey have already built the same bridge 3 times!). So they insist on using the old blue prints over and over.

    Now breeders can advertise that they have been breeding to their standards for 40 years. But would you rather hire (buy a puppy from) somone who has 40 years experience building defective bridges or someome with 3 years experience using blueprints that are strong and don't fall down?

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    Replies
    1. You make a great point.

      I should have been clearer. I recognize that the situation with the basenjis is not analogous to the plight facing physically deformed brachycephalic breed. My point is that (at least in my experience with the basenji community) you can love a breed and be perfectly willing to recognize its faults AND take measures to stamp out those faults. It doesn't mean you love your breed less. In fact, I think it means you love your breed more.

      I've read innumerable comments on this website in defense of certain breeds that Jemima has discussed in various blog entries, and they're always so damn vitriolic and defensive. "How could you know anything about this breed? Have you ever owned / bred / met one?" Etc., etc. No, but science and studies are enough to convince me that the stock is fundamentally ill and that steps should be taken to breed out unhealthy traits like squashed muzzles, narrow pelvises, and so forth. Not only that, but Jemima has helpfully provided examples of how this can be achieved.

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  7. Annie Macfarlane31 October 2013 at 10:26

    It concerns me that an "independent" organisation, set up for the benefit of dogs, is congratulating a breed club on a breed's removal from the high profile breed list when there is no evidence that the health of the breed has improved. It concerns me even more that anybody that comments on this has been hit with the same waffle we get from breeders etc.,

    The breed club for the Frenchie has always been proactive in health matters by offering 3 levels of tests for the breed. This was happening before they were placed on the high profile breed list.

    I thought the DAC was formed to be a voice for the dogs and nothing else. If it's not then it needs to be disbanded IMO.

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  8. When I bought my house I took over the care of the prior owner's cat. He was a rumpy riser Manx. That poor, sweet cat had megacolon, which in my opinion is correctly nicknamed Manx Syndrome. Breeders obviously argue the point, but after seeing him strain, bleed and scream trying to go to the bathroom and then have no control over his bowels while my vet and I were working to correct the issue, I would have no tolerance for any breeder who would dismiss or diminish the real problems created by intentionally breeding for a deformed spine that is known to cause health issues.

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  9. There you can see that there is no honest effort to change something! It´s a shame!

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  10. Thankfully most of the Frenchies who visit our practice are the 'awful' old fashioned type! Loads of character and able to run, jump and breathe...and live to ripe old ages!

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  11. Link not working:
    "You can see their current showteam here;" can you have a look please

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  12. Does anyone know of Frenchie breeders working with a more moderate and healthy body and face type? Iv always wanted a Frenchie, but couldnt stomach giving my hard earned money over for a puppy with a laundry list of issues inherent in its shape.

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    Replies
    1. Chances you will find one in a rescue, or, you do research on the accredited breeders scheme. But even that does not guarantee you will find them. Moderated pugs, bulldogs and frenchies are hard to find. If I were you, I'd go to a rescue. Unless if rescues are not your thing.

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  13. And here I thought the tail was docked! I'm no fan of chopping off bits of dogs to get a certain look, but spinal defects are even scarier.

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  14. Lots of Boston terriers fit the bill for a more moderate French bulldog, especially the ones bred in the US. Of course, there are freaks in that breed, too.

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  15. My, the projection and anthropomorphism in that breed ad is enough to make me vomit!

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  16. Something I don't understand about Frenchies. The COI given by the KC is relatively low (<5), yet many sources refer to them as a relatively rare and inbred breed. Can anyone explain breed history as relating to genetic diversity? Is this a breed that offers enough diversity to make it possible to bring it back to health?

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    Replies
    1. Surely it depends on the number of generations used for the COI calculations. There is an article on the web called "As the Toller Burns" which explained how COI can be "adjusted".

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    2. I have frequently directed people to Christopher's excellent articles. I prefer the link:
      http://www.border-wars.com/2011/10/coi-how-many-generations-are-enough.html
      That was really my question (stated from a different perspective). Is there some bottleneck back nine to 12 generations ago that undermines what appears to be a low COI as reported.

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  17. The remarkable thing about Frenchies is the frankness of some (many) breeders about the many health problems of the breed. This site is amazing

    http://www.bullmarketfrogs.com/french-bulldog-articles/french-bulldog-health-and-genetic-conditions-part-1/

    (parts 2 through 4 available using links to right side of page)

    Where there is recognition of problems, there is hope.

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    Replies
    1. Try reading the section, 'Should I breed my French Bulldog?' There is something badly wrong with this breed... I've met a couple of these little dogs, and they have lovely, friendly, jolly natures, but the breed is clearly in a cul-de-sac, and it will take a lot of commitment to breed these dogs out of it and onto the open road again.

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    2. That 'should I breed my XXX' section could be written for many breeds.

      There may be a way. There's a breeder (BYB) in our local paper selling her Frenchie breeding stock because she has been committed to a nursing home and can't keep her dogs. The bitch has had one litter. Naturally mated. She free whelped nine pups. The pictures look more like regular dogs than show stock...longer backs, longer noses. Of course the pedigree papers won't be in line and the AKC would hold their upturned noses. These particular dogs may not be the answer, but the point is, with the Frenchie, as with many other exaggerated, unhealthy breeds, there may be dogs out there who have dropped out of the registries who continue to have the healthier traits shown by the breed in decades gone by.

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  18. They also suffer from syringomyelia.

    any chance of an article on westies , the list of issues they suffer from is a disgrace ( vet who scanned my dogs had also scanned a westie with Siringo.yet one more issue on their list)

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    Replies
    1. I agree, as a Vet nurse, the number of Westies that I've seen over the years with other genetic disorders is shocking. That goes for most breeds though. In our practices, we will often see a dog, and without scanning it be able to hazard a guess as to what it's problem is, just by looking at it's breed.

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    2. check out their review on embrace pet insurance. they have a list of conditions as long as your arm.
      Though i've always thought white animals had more issues.

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  19. I don't see how a breed can improve so much in two years that it can be taken off the HPB list.

    Any breed club can say it takes health seriously, but if they're not bringing about the desired results, then it's all just a PR exercise.

    Cavalier breeders dutifully took their dogs off to be heart tested, but as they ignored the cardiologist's advice of not to breed from dogs under 5, it didn't make any difference.

    I find the Frenchie incredibly ugly, especially in profile.

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  20. "They also suffer from syringomyelia."

    Citations, please. I've conducted or been part of at least four health studies, and have never seen a single reported instance of syringomyelia.

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    1. Most breeds with "apple shaped" heads have had cases of syringomyelia, though to a lesser extent than the Cavalier. When I was lectured on it, the first breeds mentioned after Cavalier were French bulldog and Chihuahua. Here is a quick reference, for you, if you look lower down on the page she lists the other breeds that have had SM cases.
      http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/diagnosing/diagnosing/infosheet.html

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    2. The only case I've ever seen was in a Chihuahua - French Bulldog cross. I've examined data on almost 4,000 French Bulldogs world wide, so I'm not sure that makes it statistically significant as a condition.

      Part of this may be due to the fact that French Bulldogs are specifically NOT meant to be apple headed - the standard specifies a skull that is broad and flat across the head, and not domed.

      Not that we don't have our fair share of conditions to be concerned with, but at least we've been spared syringomyelia.

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    3. when I had my dog MRI scanned the vet mentioned he had recently scanned two frenchies from the same owner with SM in their entire spinal cord.

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    4. carol cavaliers are not supposed to be domed either. They still have SM. Some doming may actually help as a small skull has less room for the brain.

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  21. French Bulldogs CAN both compete, and live long and healthy lives. But, as a breeder you have to pick your priority and stick to it.

    Longer muzzles, open nares and a more athletic body type might well mean you get less ribbons, but if they also mean your dogs live long lives, then I don't know how anyone can't see that they are to be your only goal as a breeder.

    I've had BIS and BISS winning dogs, yet mine live regularly to well into their teens, with three dogs of my breeding making it to just under 17 years of age. The key is test, test, test and use common sense.

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    1. but with people willing to pay $2000+ for a puppy from untested stock, there are going to be a lot of unhealthy pups out there

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    2. Well, as breeders we can only clean up our own backyards, and spread the word, as openly as possible, about health conditions within the breed.

      I will say that there is FAR more support for and active participation in health testing and screening today than there was when I first became involved in French Bulldogs. Then, the idea of health tested was laughed at - you were considered an extremist if you mentioned it, or talked about issues your dogs had had.

      Now, it's very rare to see a breeder who does not list health clearances, and breeders asking for clearances on a dog they are going to use at stud, or purchase, is just par for the course.

      Destigmatizing health conditions is a HUGE part of encouraging breeders to be more open to health testing, and more proactive about ensuring their own dogs are clear.

      If you make 'health cleared dogs' a mandatory benchmark for how you can judge and evaluate a breeder, then it offers the public the option of purchasing healthier dogs.

      The issue, at least in part, still falls on the shoulders of the public who would rather purchase the cheapest dog possible, damn the consequences. These dogs then end up being held up as examples of how 'screwed up' our breed is. As someone who does rescue, I can tell you that the dogs we encounter who suffer most from genetic conditions have either been mixed breeds, or dogs from cheap online sales sites. I'm sure that partially this is because good breeders take care of their own puppies who fall ill, but still - a LOT of it illustrates the principle that to get healthy dogs, you need to only breed from or to healthy dogs.

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    3. 'Mixed breeds suffer MOST from genetic conditions??'

      Hmm....evidence suggests that mixed breeds live on average 1.8 years longer than most pedigree dogs.....(no citation to hand BUT quoted in 'Pukka's Promise' by Ted Kerasote which has peer reviewed literature sources). Doesn't mean to say that mutts don't suffer from single gene or genetically predisposed disorders of course, but mutts WILL be more genetically diverse by their very nature which would generally stand them in better stead than a line bred dog with regard to recessive disorders. That's a gamble of course, but better a gamble with a mutt than a pedigree dog where you know that they have been genetically wrecked.

      And I'd rather have a mutt than a French Bulldog anyday! They look just look horribly inbred. The pic from 1925 looks much better. I agree with Fran - they just look ugly and un-dog like.

      With regard to the comment that the general public would rather have the cheapest dog possible and damn the consequences. Really?
      The reason I went for an adopted 'cheap' mutt was not because she was cheap, but because I have no faith in pedigree dog breeders charging hundreds of pounds for breeding dogs that are, in some cases, essentially dropping to bits...

      Until I'm reassured that things are improving for the health and welfare of the dogs, I'll vote with my feet.

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    4. Carol,
      What tests would you consider essential? If you look at the Finnish KC database, you find that only a few percent of registered Frenchies are tested for hips or elbows or spinal arthritis, while around one and five are eye tested or elbow tested. Maybe it's better elsewhere.

      See http://jalostus.kennelliitto.fi/frmTerveystilastot.aspx?R=101&Lang=en

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  22. Annie Macfarlane9 November 2013 at 21:33

    Carol, I really take my hat off to you for your common sense approach to dog breeding. I wish more breeders in other breeds would be as open minded and sensible. I have always promoted only buying puppies from breeders who health screen their breeding stock and only breed from dogs with good results. I can't tell you the number of times I have spent time speaking with people on the phone, advising them of the importance of only buying from breeders who carry out the appropriate screening, only to discover they purchase from breeders who scrimp on full screening but portray health as being of utmost importance. When I ask why, they tell me they only want a pet! Surely when you pay so much money for a puppy you want a member of your family that is going to be healthy and not require constant visits to the vet? That really perplexes me..and until the purchasing public realise that things won't change until they start to purchase carefully.

    I'd like to see tv advertising campaigns promoting good breeders and showing the public how to buy a puppy....because their buying habits are the only things that will change the lives of dogs being bred purely for profit.

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  23. Many in the dog world are sceptical about how this breed was removed from the HPB list maybe having the KC rep co opted onto the breed club committee helped or Mrs Parsons is better at spin than the government spin doctors

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  24. I have a 13 -14 year old longdog, most likely saluki x greyhound cross (precise cross and age not known as he came from a pound, but it can be narrowed down to that age range). During the last year he has begun to display symptoms of larygeal paralysis:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laryngeal_paralysis
    A fairly common problem of older dogs of many larger breeds, not really something typical for his supposed parent breeds.

    Some of the symptoms as well as part of the management of this disease are similar to what dogs with Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome go through, because in both diseases soft tissue gets in the way of free breathing.

    The BIG difference is that my dog got it at a ripe old age of about 12-13 yrs and the symptoms are still mild even now: He has a rough inspiratory noise when panting and can`t bark anymore. He`s only panting when it`s really hot outside and he`s moving.
    No problems in colder weather, no problems when he`s resting or just walking around normally instead of walking briskly or trotting.

    But during the hottest weeks this summer, he was visibly out of it. Very weak, panting a lot even when resting in the shade. Not getting cyanotic or fainting, but labored breathing with his thorax and abdomen moving heavily and occasionally yakking up foamy mucus that had accumulated at the vocal folds.
    His symptoms are laughable in comparison to what several pugs and frenchies in my direct circle of acquaintances go through. And yet I had a hard time watching him in this comparably mild distress this summer. I found this seriously heart-wrenching.

    Many brachy dogs go through this or similar every day of their lifes. The pugs and frenchies I know personally are NOT extremely exaggerated, they are, from what I see at shows and on walks/at the dog park, somewhere in the middle range of awfulness you can find in this breeds. They have squishy faces and stenotic nares, but not as bad as some examples on this blog.
    Every one of them has worse breathing than my old dog has now that he has a diagnosed disease. The owners don`t see a problem with that. They don`t see ANY problem at all.
    What`s painful for me to watch, because I knew my dog in his normal, healthy state, is business as usual for them.
    There`s a massive cognitive dissonance going on with fanciers of breeds with extreme brachycephalic conformation, a shift in the borders of "normal" and "pathological".

    Same goes for vet visits and vet bills. Not every dog of every breed can be perfectly health all its life until it dies peacefully of old age. There will always be more and less fortunate dogs. Even in relatively healty breeds some just draw the short straw. That`s life.
    But, monthly (or even more frequent) vet visits because of this problem or that and bills over several thousands over the years aren`t "normal" or average or to be expected. I would stay the hell away from every breed where that`s the case!

    My dogs (greyhounds, salukis, said crossbred) usually don`t see the vet for years, save for maybe vaccinations.
    If I had a dog that needed frequent vet care of course I would see to it that it gets whatever is necessary. But I would try everything in my might to not get a dog with these problems ever again, including not buying the same breed a second time if the problems were typical for the breed.

    Continued below...

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  25. Continued from above...

    But apparently, not everyone is seeing it that way. I know plenty of people who happily get the second or third pug, even if the last on cost them a s***load of money and tears because of expectable problems. I know people who get one Irish Wolfhound after the next, even though they keep dying on them closer to five than to ten years, hoping with every new puppy that THIS time around it will be different, that it was really only the feeding or the exercise or the vaccinations... and failing again and again.
    I know people who own a scottish fold (cat breed, also with conformation induced health problems), a Basset Hound and a Dogue de Bordeaux, ALL of them with health issues typical of their breeds. They already visit the vet 2-3 times a week, at least on of the pets is always sick, they have medicine cabinet for the animals that could double as a backup pharmacy in case of a national emergency. And now they want to get an English Bulldog because... I don`t understand, that`s because.

    What is wrong with such people? Are they masochists or something? Honestly, it boogles my mind

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  26. I love this article. We bred or frenchie for the first time and had a great experience, she did not need a C-section and she had 3 beautiful daughters, no losses. When it came time to sell, we got slammed because one of them had a long, straight, tapering tail. Turns out it's nothing but a sign of good spinal health but no one wanted her and we reduced the price due to this "malformity". It really put me off the from "breeding" crowd.

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  28. This is an excellent article. The KC does little to improve the health of breeds IMO and mostly their efforts appear to be publicity stunts. We bought a KC registered pure bred French bulldog 10 years ago and his breathing is atrocious. At the time he was deemed closer to the standard than his brother, due to his extremely short muzzle. Aged only six months he needed an urgent operation to reduce the length of his soft palate and cut out laryngeal saccules. A second operation was required at three years of age. His wind pipe was tiny and during exercise became clogged with phlegm generated by the shortened salivary glands. He could only ever manage very short walks in cool weather and aged only six years had to stop walks completely. Amazingly he is still with us and is now aged ten, but that is probably because he lives a very easy indoor life and just ventures into the garden. It is true that constitutionally he seems tough, but that means little when he can't breathe properly. I tried dog showing many years ago and have never met a stranger bunch of people in my life - it is all about winning at any cost.

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    1. Here, here!!! I am disabled & I am 1 tough SOB!!! Yet I would gladly choose to be a tough SOB who isn't disabled... or even a cowardly/weak SOB or whatever & YES, NOT be disabled... Frankly if I could be healthy, I would take just about any "drawback"... Barring a choice to be healthy, I will take being dead & no longer suffering needlessly (especially for another's sick preferences, profits, ribbons in show rings, pseudo ideal or worse their pleasure in my suffering!!!)

      I have always wondered why people choose such breeds & nearest I can see, it's represents a very disturbed pathology of all that matters is my own petty desires above all else... After all how would they feel if I crushed their noses into their faces &/or deformed any part of their body?

      Maybe you will listen to it coming from a person that suffers similar medical issues... IT IS GOD AWFUL!!! YOU ARE SENTENCING YOUR BELOVED'S TO NOTHING LESS THAN A LIFETIME OF TORTURE!!! Let's be very clear here... You have no right to have any sort of dog you want at the expense of the dogs suffering!!!

      To the poster who mentioned watching his dog suffer a milder form of suffering compared to those deformed pure breds; 1st I am sorry you went through that but you hit the nail on the head re: difference between acceptable vs unacceptable, it was after many good years, wasn't as extreme & you acknowledge your role in protecting your future animals from such suffering... Congrats, you are a decent human being; unfortunately the same can't be said for your circle of friends.

      Seriously folks, how much more evidence do you need that the system is woefully inadequate & corrupted??? How much more proof will you demand before you stop demanding proof & start demanding change??? Enough is enough!!!

      Adam Bartlett of the "Radical Canadian Reform" party

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  29. It is about the marketing and the MONEY so breeders create an aura of snob appeal resulting in higher prices in my opinion. It is not about the love, empathy and caring for the dog and wanting it to be healthy. People fall for the marketing and pay huge prices for deformed dogs so breeders breed them. They criticize backyard breeders with the healthier Frenchies because they do not want to lose MONEY to them.

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  30. I have a Frenchie we bought as pet quality. Ironically, she looks a lot like the one from 1925. Our breeder was originally from England and bought her stock from there. I am happy to say our Sadie is 11 years old and healthy!

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  31. we bought our little frenchie in Bulgaria, while living there, home raised from a really great family. He has a long back, out at the nose, all that that. But he can run, jump, play and out breathe any dog and especially any frenchie at the dog park. We're really happy with our counterfeit frenchie :)

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  32. I own a Frenchie and we got her because we had fallen in love with a French Bulldog that lived next door to my mother-in-law. I had no idea at the time about the bracheo-cephalic problems. Boy, do I now! Luci is unable to take a regular walk with us, because she gets out of breath so easily, and then she heats up, and then the cycle is started. The more hotter she gets, the harder it is to breathe, which causes her to be anxious, thus causing more heat and panting that is so loud it breaks your heart. I have to mindful and keep the air cool in the house for her at all times, so she can breathe properly. Luci has the typical smashed nose, short back and short legs, with huge ears. She came from Europe....we had her flown over to the US. (another terrible story)!

    I blame myself because I was clueless at the time when we got her. I didn't take the time to educate myself about dog breeds and especially the French Bulldog. We take very good care of her, but she has had quite a few medical problems and the vet bills are very costly. I can't say that I did wrong in getting her. I love her more than anything. She is 10 now and just had surgery for mammary tumor removal.

    I would just advise anyone getting a French Bulldog to please research, and get a Rescue Frenchie.....we need to stop putting our money out there to keep the short muzzle breed going. It is heartbreaking to see these dogs suffer. Know ahead of time that your Frenchie needs regular vet check-ups. Get your Frenchie spayed or neutered. Stop breeding the short muzzled breed. Getting a female fixed before her first heat cycle will greatly reduce the chances of mammary cancer and other female related cancers later on. And above all, love your puppy like she is a part of your family!

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  33. Anyone have any stats in regards to the average COI in this breed? Perhaps a large part of their problem with uterine inertia, early death, etc.. can be attributed to inbreeding depression as well as their insanely exaggerated conformation.

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  34. In my opinion, this is how a french bulldog should look:
    http://www.von-imekenthorp.com/hunde/lilly/

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  35. i think frenchbulldogs are too linebred - especialy in the usa. europian showfrenchies are realy extensive gaited in the rings. they are
    not extremely shortbacked as usa frenchies - i prefer their type. i have 8 year olds without high vetbills.

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  36. We bought a French Bulldog pup...so cute, but as it has grown it has a longer nose and is so active, doesn't snore, doesn't drool, etc. we previously owned on who did all of the above. we thought the new one must have been crossed with a ? Boxer or something in the past but having read about Mutt the bulldog runner, I can now see that our little one is better bred although not of show quality.

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    1. It is the same with us.We have now a frenchy without pedegree and he has a tail, longer legs and spine then the usual, the nose is not flat too. He is 15 months now , he znores ,but not much, but is a perpeto-mobile - so active. I am glad he doesn;t meet the so called standards.

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