Talking about breed standards it is important to note that these standards have been created hundreds of years ago and Clubs like the American Kennel Club and United Kennel club do claim to preserve the breed standards of bulldog but these standards are old and outdated.
The purpose of breed standards a according to them is to
1. Give and educate breeders on a specific set of guidelines to adopt while breeding to enable them maintain quality
2. To enable judges during dog shows trace faults
3. To enable breeders avoid detrimental traits in the health and welfare of the dog.
Before we take a look at the standards lets look at a brief history.
The British bulldog was bred for bull-baiting which was officially banned in England the year 1835. After the cruel sports was banned the bulldog started to evolve and became shorter and thicker. These dogs have lots of wrinkles, muzzle and they are of the Mastiff origin. Originally these dog were first breed to make easy the work of butchers. These dogs pinned down bulls while the butcher would slaughter them. They had a lot of weight and energy to carry out these tasks. After that they started using them for bull baiting sports which was cruel. Sometimes later they started using these dogs for fighting competition with other animals including dogs and their fellow Bulldogs. Right now these cruel sports are outlawed and they are used as companions because of their loving, calm and obedient temperament. They are also used in shows.
These dogs have a long association with British culture and they're them as a national icon. They symbolise determination.
In the US they are the fourth most popular dog breed. The Labrador Retriever is number one. They are hefty and muscular with a very wrinkled face and their nose are pushed in which is an obvious fault.
The AkC and Ukc oversee breeding records of these dogs as earlier mentioned.
They live for about 8-12 years.
The males weigh 50–55 lb (23–25 kg) while the females weigh 40–50 lb (18–23 kg)
They come in Brindle, solid white, red, fawn or yellow colours and their litter size ranges from 3-7 years.
What are their physical Traits?
These dogs are medium sized dogs with a very thick body and short coat. Their body is thick and heavy. They are lager around the shoulders than the hind regions. This is one standard that makes most males unable to mount the females during breeding and they end up doing Artificial Insemination. These attributes also make them unable to whelp and end up in C Section.
When you view them from above they have a pear shape.
Their heads is very large and not proportionate to their body. This is also a factor that make them unable to whelp naturally because the head cannot fit into the birth canal of the bitch. They are powerful, athletic and stable in nature.
The physical characteristics is a little bit different for the females when compared to the males. Judges take note of that during shows.
These dogs are kind, calm, confident, courageous and resolute.
Breed standard of the head
These dogs have a very massive head that is not proportionate to their body.
The head is broad and squared. The head appears high and moderately short from the occiput to the point of the nose. The forehead is flat, never rounded or domed; and never too prominent nor overhanging the face. Thus flat head makes these dogs have breathing issue. Among all breeds the British bulldog have the highest number of death while in flight
They have a well-defined temple (frontal bones) are broad, square and high, causing a deep furrow that extends from the stop to the middle of the skull. The stop is a deep, wide indentation between the eyes. They have well-rounded cheeks that protrude sideways and outward beyond the eyes.
Breed standard of the Skull
The skull is large in circumference, and appears high from the corner of the lower jaw to the apex of the skull.
They have a short face and is measured from the front of the cheekbone to the tip of the nose. The muzzle is turned slightly upward and is very deep from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth. Tbia short fave makes them have breathing issues just like Pugs, Lhasa Apso etc
They have a very broad jaw that's also squared.
A serious fault they have in the face is the wry mouth and short face.
Breed standard of the Teeth.
Their teeth's are large strong and white as you would expect. They have a serious fault in their teeth which needs to be eliminated. Their teeth and tongues are showing even when their mouth is closed.
Breed standard of the eyes
They have a very dark eyes which are round and moderate in size.
When they look forward directly directly, the lids cover the white of the eyeball.
When viewed from the front, the eyes are situated low down in the skull well away from the ears. They are set in the front of the head and are wide apart but with their outer corners within the outline of the cheek, when viewed from the front. The eyes and the stop are set in the same straight line. Their is a visible haw white part of the eyes that shows and the excessive amount of loosed skin around the eyes needs to be eliminated as it can cause infection
Breed standard of the nose.
They have a large nose that's broad and black. Its tip is set back deeply between the eyes. The wide, large nostrils are open. Nose roll does not protrude over the nostrils, constricting breathing. These nose structure is a serious fault that needs to be eliminated. It prevents them from breathing properly.
Breed standard of the ears.
The front inner edge of each ear joins the outline of the skull at the top back corner of the skull, placing them wide apart and well away from the eyes.
Breed standard of the neck
They have a short thick neck that is deep, strong, and well-arched. The skin is moderately loose, thick and wrinkled, forming a dewlap on each side from the lower jaw to the chest.
Breed standard of the forequarters
The shoulders are very broad and muscular. They are widespread providing stability and great power.
Breed standard of the body
The body should be moderately short and well knit, with stout limbs, well-muscled, and in hard condition, with no tendency toward obesity. The brisket and body are very capacious, and the chest is very deep and well let down between the front legs. Forechest is prominent. The body is well ribbed up behind the forelegs, and the ribs are well rounded. The back is short and strong, wide behind the shoulders and comparatively narrower at the loin. The topline is a distinguishing characteristic of this breed.
There is a slight fall off behind the shoulders to the beginning of the back, which is the lowest part of the entire topline. It then rises to the loin, which is higher than the shoulders. The croup then curves downward to the set on of the tail, creating the arch that is distinctive to the breed. The belly is tucked up. When viewed from above, the English Bulldog’s outline should resemble a pear shape.
Breed standard of the tail
The short tail is set low, and has a thick root, a decided downward carriage and a fine tip. It may be straight or "screwed," but never curved or curly. A straight tail is cylindrical and is tapered uniformly. A screw tail has well-defined bends or kinks that may be abrupt or even knotty, but no portion of the tail may be elevated above the base or root. Absent, inverted or extremely tight tails should be heavily penalized.
Bulldogs have very small nasal cavities which make them have great difficulty keeping their bodies cool or regulating their body temperature.
They are sensitive to heat and cannot strive in temperate regions.
They need a lot of shade and water, and must be kept out of standing heat or direct sunlight.
Their houses needs to be air conditioned and well ventilated.
The breed standard of these dogs makes them obviously deformed and its appealing that the clubs in charge of these dogs have not done anything to change some of the outdated standard or requirements
Bulldogs are brachycephalic and all of them suffer of this situation. Its health problem caused by the abnormally short face which is unfortunately required of the breed.
Most times they can't even run around without gasping for breath. Many struggle to breathe in hot or humid weather and needs to be kept in air conditioned houses
English Bulldogs are also deformed orthopedically. Their abnormal build is a structural defect called chondrodysplasia, which stunts their leg growth and lengthens their back, which predisposes them to bone and joint problems. And like i said earlier this physical defects makes the males unable to mount the female and they end up in Artificial insemination.
The English Bulldog has the highest incidence of hip dysplasia (72%) of all breeds. Elbow dysplasia is nearly as bad, with 35% dysplastic. Luxating patella (loose knees) occurs at a 4% rate. And intervertebral disk disease.
Bulldogs are prone to chronic allergies that cause itchy skin and scratching that can lead to skin infections (hot spots). The folds and wrinkles in their skin trap dirt and moisture, leading to bacterial and yeast infections. As an owner you have to regularly clean the folds so they wont contact infections.
Hereditary heart diseases is common with these dogs, multiple eye diseases, urinary diseases, thyroid disease, tumors and cancers.
Unfortunately, health testing doesn't change the underlying abnormal structure of the breed, which is what causes so many of the health problems in bulldogs.
These health problems can be prevented if these outdated breed standards can be changed.
Do the English Bulldogs and other breeds deserve these health challenges as a result of these outdated breed standard that was created over a hundred years ago? The answer is No
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