The Bulldog - Statement of Health of the Breed
The Bulldog is a British icon. That familiar, solid outline representing the country's very character. The exact origins of the Bulldog are obscure, but old books mention this type of dog sometimes described as 'bonddogges' or 'bandogs' in the first part of the 19th century. The Victorian supporters of the breed dedicated themselves to preserving it, breeding selectively to create what we see today - a lovable, gentle but 'determined' looking companion dog.
The Bulldog is a brachycephalic breed - areas seen to be of concern in some include that of:
excessive loose skin on the head which can lead to defects of the eyelids
heavy over-nose wrinkle (or roll) which can lead to skin irritation
tight or inverted(ingrowing) tails
and tendency to be overweight which can affect general health and soundness of movement
Action being taken:
The Breed Council has been actively involved for many years in developing a comprehensive program of health checks, research and education initiatives aimed at ensuring the long term healthy future of the breed. Foremost in these efforts, has been the development of a specific Bulldog Health Assessment, the pilot for which was launched in 2007 and rolled out across the breed the following year. The scheme now has a national network of some 60 vets able to undertake assessments in the form of a thorough, non-invasive health check which is invaluable for breeders, but also, with the results collated by the Breed Council, it forms the basis of benchmarking for the health of the breed. Recognition of the value of this scheme can be measured by the fact that several other breeds have now adapted the Bulldog Assessment for their own breeds. An updated version of the health scheme was launched in April 2014 with BRONZE and SILVER level awards including 'Pass' and 'Fail' results.In March 2016 it was renamed " A Health and Conformation Scheme" and a GOLD level award added.
Other health based activities:
There are now DNA tests for HUU (Urate stones) available through UK laboratories such as Animal Diagnostics, Animal Health Trust and Laboklin, but also an informative, comprehensive health area can be viewed on this website reporting and discussing health issues of concern to Bulldogs. The online health survey - which received 350 responses in 2011 (data from which i,s currently being compared whit the results of 2006) was reported in March 2012. Breeders are encouraged to use the KC Mateselect database when choosing a stud dog so that a dog that will assist in maintaining genetic diversity is selected.Participation in the use of MYKC is also encouraged.
Education is a key part of the overall health programme and initiatives include:
An active programme of judge's education with breed seminars where judges are made fully aware of areas of concern and points that should be rewarded or penalised in the show ring
Bulldog breeders love their breed and are very aware of the responsibility they have to make sure that it has a long future as a healthy, happy,active, companion dog at the heart of the family.