As more and more people are becoming educated about the horrors of puppy mills, we have seen some great changes in the public’s perception of dog breeding. In fact, some cities like Los Angeles are even banning the sale of bred dogs in pet shops. And while these are great victories there are still many people who are turning to breeders to give them “the perfect pet.” But sadly, when we breed dogs to fit our own desires we don’t consider the cost to the animals.
How Breeding Has Harmed the English Bulldog
A prime example is the English Bulldog, a breed that is facing rapidly increasing health issues due to its popularity and overbreeding. In 2015, the English Bulldog was the fourth most popular breed in the United States and as demand for them continued to grow so does more inbreeding.
The way it works is that two dogs are paired in order to maximize the potential to create a dog that has the “desirable” traits for potential customers. In the case of the English Bulldog, it’s those unique skin folds, flat facial structure, and childish personality that people are paying breeders to give them. So the dogs that have very strong traits are bred, producing puppies who are then either sold or also bred, many times within their own families. And while some may find them cute these same traits that people are profiting from are the ones that are creating problems for the dogs themselves.
Many English Bulldogs have difficulty exercising and get overheated because their head structure makes it hard to pant. We may love those floppy folds that Bulldogs are known for, but they can also lead to increases in dermatitis and eye problems. Additionally, their selective gene pool makes them more susceptible to immune system disorders. Is this really fair?
Scientists are beginning to warn that the health of the English Bulldog is in jeopardy due to human interference. Niels Pedersen from Center for Companion Animal Health, University of California, has stated, “The English bulldog has reached the point where popularity can no longer excuse the health problems that the average bulldog endures in its often brief lifetime. More people seemed to be enamored with its appearance than concerned about its health.”
How You Can Help
Let’s help end this and find homes for all of the dogs that are already out there. Every year approximately 3.9 million dogs enter shelters in just the United State alone! That is a staggering number of perfectly healthy, adorable, and lovable potential pets that would love to have a home. You could save a lot of money, help a rescue organization, and find the perfect companion already waiting just by visiting your local rescue shelters.
If you have your heart set on an English Bulldog or any other breed, be sure to search online for rescue organizations that are breed specific such as the Bulldog Rescue Network, a charity that finds homes for bulldogs that have been neglected, abandoned or surrendered. Rather than perpetuate these unhealthy cycles of breeding help put an end to the exploitation of these sweet dogs and set an example for others to follow.
Image source: Rita Kochmarjova/Shutterstock