Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds around the world. Their tender appearance, coupled with their generally friendly and docile character, make them a favorite of many. However, this breed of dog often has recurring health problems that are related to the way they have been selectively bred over the years.
The reality is that in order to achieve the adorable appearance that bulldogs have and the physical characteristics that distinguish them, dog breeders have favored certain crosses. That is to say, although it is particular to brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs to have a broad and flattened head, this characteristic has been taken to the extreme of creating generations of dogs with respiratory problems.
In addition, breeds such as the French bulldog have an average life expectancy of about five years, compared to other breeds with longer lives. A study revealed that French bulldogs have the shortest life expectancy compared to other breeds. For example, Jack Russells average thirteen years of age.
Health problems of bulldogs
Some of the reasons that generate health problems in this type of dogs are the following:
- Brachycephaly: Bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds (with a broad head and short muzzle) have difficulty breathing properly due to narrow, collapsible airways. This can lead to respiratory problems, such as brachycephalic syncope, where the dog may faint due to lack of oxygen.
- Elongated soft palate: Also related to brachycephaly, the soft palate may be too long and partially cover the airway, making breathing even more difficult.
- Facial skin and folds: Wrinkled skin and folds on the bulldog’s face can trap moisture and dirt, increasing the risk of skin infections.
- Bulging eyes: Some bulldogs have bulging, prominent eyes, making them more susceptible to eye injury and dry eye syndrome.
- Orthopedic problems: Their compact body and short limbs can lead to joint problems, such as hip dysplasia or patellar luxation.
- Body temperature: Bulldogs have difficulty regulating their body temperature due to their physical characteristics, which makes them more vulnerable to overheating and heat stroke.
- Reproductive problems: Bulldog anatomy often requires assistance in whelping due to the large head of the puppies relative to the size of the mother.
It is important to note that not all bulldogs will have health problems, but the breed in general has a greater predisposition to these problems due to selection for specific physical traits over time. To avoid some of these problems, it is essential that responsible breeders work to breed bulldogs with healthier conformation and that owners provide proper care, including regular veterinary visits and a lifestyle that takes into account their special needs.
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