olde english bulldogges

doctorrichardstrand  asked:

similar to your analysis of the pug crisis: is there anything that can be done to more ethically breed english bulldogs? obviously crossbreeding is the best option, but is there a risk for those puppies to have some of the same major health issues as well?

There has been quite a lot of different attempts to make a healthier version of English Bulldogs, aka British bulldogs. They vary in how successful they have been, and are likely to be in the future, at eliminating the major concerns in this breed. Bulldogs have had more external pressure applied to the breed than pugs have, at least since Pedigree Dogs Exposed.

The white British Bulldog above is a fairly typical example, not the most extreme. A few things to take note of:

  • Stenotic nares visible from outside. Most likely has other components of brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Broad front and broad base stance
  • Skin folds on face of this individual are not too extreme as far as the breed goes
  • You can’t see what condition its skin is in
  • You can’t assess it’s gait, heart or metabolism from a picture.
  • This example is a fairly moderate one. Compare to the dog of the same breed below.

Please, please don’t think the structure of this brown and white dog is desirable in any way.

Now, multiple groups have made an attempt to ‘fix’ the breed or make a new, healthier version, with varying degrees of success.

Aussie Bulldogs are in my view the least successful. I have quite a lot of experience with this breed, and know about some of the dodgy practices that went into breeding them, like claiming the hip scores of the female don’t matter so long as the male has good hips, for example. The breed club also wants vets to fill out a certificate saying the dog is in good health at the time of breeding, but the certificate is so wishy washy and non-standardised that it stands for nothing. It asks for a subjective opinion and so far I haven’t met one that I would have considered ‘healthy’ for breeding. Not to mention the certificate gives dogs a pass for major issues that should be addressed, like stenotic nares and allergies. They are often nice dogs, but I couldn’t call them a significant improvement.

American Bulldogs are an old breed that trace their heritage back to bulldog types. It is larger and generally fitter, but not completely free of the problems of the British Bulldog. They are generally speaking more functional and athletic, and are often mistaken for a pit bull rather than a bulldog.

The Olde English Bulldogge is a promising breed, but still has a long way to go. They are more in line with historical bulldog types, and generally have a less extreme body. They still visibly suffer from stenotic nares, but their form is generally less extreme. This will be an interesting breed to watch in the future, and as far as I can tell breed clubs seem pro-active and pro-science when it comes to the health of the dogs. They’re not very common down here though.

We don’t see British Bulldog crosses very often, because this breed typically needs to procreate via artificial insemination and caesarian section. Crossbred puppies are absolutely at risk of the same conditions as the parent breeds, but because many of the bulldog’s concerns are directly linked to the extremeness of anatomy, if pups are more moderate in form the severity of those conditions would be expected, on average, to be less.


Some English Bulldogs that have actual legs, some decent muzzles, a spine, can probably actually work, breathe and actually procreate naturally.

(I believe this English Bulldog is actually called the Olde English Bulldogge, it’s basically a version bred to represent what the real breed looked like over 100 years ago and doesn’t come crippled and gasping).

I quite like it. This is a breath of fresh air!