English Bulldogs are wrinkly, adorable dogs full of personality. Their pressed noses make them look eternally grumpy, which only makes them more endearing. Yet, the problem with this distinct look is that it’s the result of selective breeding, which can unfortunately put them at risk for serious health complications.
There’s a good chance that if you own an English Bulldog, you’ve heard them gasping, snoring or panting heavily. Your dog’s health issues may include everything from difficulty breathing to bone defects. It’s essential to be aware of the most common English Bulldog health issues and how to best take care of and prevent them. Your lovable four-legged family member deserves it.
Before diving into common English Bulldog health issues, let’s explore how and why they became a breed in the first place.
Selective breeding is when breeders choose which dogs reproduce based on specific traits. Some select for abilities, others for physical characteristics. Back in the 17th century, bull baiting, a cruel sport where dogs would be sent in one at a time to take down a bull, was one of the most popular events in Europe. Breeders needed a dog that was low to the ground, could bite with immense force, and was stubborn enough never to let go. Thus, breeders selected the Old English Bulldog for this “sport.”
This narrow selective process caused the Old English Bulldog health problems that continue to affect bulldogs today. Breeders have cherished the distinct features that English Bulldogs are known for and emphasized them in excess, unintentionally making them susceptible to illness.
English Bulldog Common Health Problems
The following are 10 English Bulldog common health problems.
#1: Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
Brachycephalic is Latin for smooshed face, and every English Bulldog has Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS) to some degree. BAS is common in animals that have shortened facial features that give them the pushed-in nose. According to the ACVS, bulldogs “have been bred to have relatively short muzzles and noses and, because of this, the throat and breathing passages in these dogs are frequently undersized or flattened.” Their noses are narrow, and the bones on their face are shorter, which causes an array of health risks: