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RESPONSE TO PETA’S APPEARANCE ON GOOD MORNING BRITAIN – 3 AUGUST 2023
The Bulldog Breed Council has worked with the Royal Kennel Club and The University of Cambridge to educate breeders on the importance of health testing. The Bulldog Breed Council’s Health Scheme was developed before any of negative media releases in 2003, because the clubs and breeders wanted to improve the health of dogs. The Bulldog Breed Council is continually working with the Royal Kennel Club, we have recently changed our breed standard to emphasise further that no exaggeration will be tolerated. Bulldogs bred to the breed standard should not be exaggerated or unhealthy. The breathing assessment developed by University of Cambridge has already and will continue to improve their health when used by all breeders. We don’t believe stunts from Peta, or calls to ban or ‘cancel’ Bulldogs, will result in any positive change for these popular dogs.
“The reality is that media and celebrity culture sadly drives demand for a particularly exaggerated and non breed standard colours in flat-faced dogs, which can lead to serious health issues such as difficulties breathing, and we, alongside all other members of the Brachycephalic Working Group, meaningfully urge people to ‘stop and think’ before buying a brachycephalic dog from unethical breeders that do not breed to the standard or health test. The Royal Kennel Club provide breeders with evidence-based tools and resources to protect and improve dog health. We believe this, alongside our ongoing research, evidence-based health initiatives and collaboration with vets, the Kennel Club and academics, will continue to achieve further health improvements for future and current generations of these dogs. Demonising the breed and their owners will only worsen the issue.
We, The Bulldog Breed Council would welcome further education for puppy buyers on what to expect from a breeder, where to buy a puppy and why the breed standard should be adhered to.
The information given by PETA on Good Morning Britain was not factual:
1. Bulldog puppies heads are not bigger than any other breed and the widest point of a new born puppy is the chest.
2. Bulldogs can and do mate naturally
3. Bulldogs can and do self whelp their puppies.
The Bulldog Breed Council were asked to provide a spokesperson and a dog for this programme with 19 hours notice, unfortunately the people that have knowledge of the previous discussions on this subject could not travel at such short notice.
The source of the shocking statement about Bulldogs is from a combination of information from Vets practices involved with The Vets Compass Data Collection and Insurance Companies, both of which deal only with sick dogs. No healthy dogs were included in the statistics and no reference is made to the percentage of the sick dogs compared to the mass population of Bulldogs alive in the UK. . We have no confirmation that the dogs used were actually purebred Bulldogs. All Bulldog type breeds come under the umbrella of The Bulldog.
The Bulldog Breed Council Health Scheme is to encourage breeders to carry out the relevant breed-specific health tests including the University of Cambridge/Kennel Club Respiratory Function Grading Scheme .
Over the past 11 years, that the scheme has been running we have seen a marked improvement in the health of Bulldogs bred by responsible and caring breeders who make use of the evidence-based tools available.
Every negative comment that refers to conformation and health can be negated by simply referring to the standard, it does not call for exaggeration in any part. The breed standard was written to help us breed dogs that look like bulldogs, but also to produce healthy dogs.
We acknowledge that there is a large percentage of breeders that are outside of the show population that do not make use of the breeding tools available , to encourage the breeding of healthy , breed type puppies.
The Bulldog Breed Council would like to work with The Kennel Club to find a better means of communication to educate the public away from Social Media Posts advertising ‘so called’ Bulldogs of various types, colours and size that are purposely bred for exaggeration.