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THE BULLDOG BIBLE - by Tania Holmes

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Born to Suffer?

Much has been made recently about the Bulldog, French Bulldog, Pug and other brachycaphalic breeds and their ability to breathe. Many vets are now so anti Bulldog it's not unusual for people to take their dog to the vet for the first time and be scared stupid into sending it back, so here's our take on it.

First up, no one is denying that flat faced breeds of dog "can" have breathing problems, over the past half century we've watch it get so bad no one batted an eyelid; to improved to the point that hearing a bad breather came as a shock. Sadly, just at the point when breeders that care about health had finally got things moving in the right direction the breed became popular. As soon as that happens people begin to breed soley on the back of being able to demand 2 grand a pup. As we steadily watched the number of registered litters double, triple and now more than quadruple what it was we also began to see health problems creeping back in. The Breed Council have been amazing - working very closely with the kennel club to bring in many health tests and trying very hard to educate the public on where to find a puppy to buy. But since when did anyone listen to advice? Buying a pup from an advert on GumTree from 2 pet quality parents used to be the only thing we had to worry about - then came the relax in the quarantine laws and suddenly the imports began, then the illegal imports on pups often 2 weeks younger than stated on their paperwork, then someone realised that Black bulldogs were considered undesirable and delcared them rare! Soon after followed Blue, Lilac and Merle - Merle being the only colour the KC refused to register (see below). The registered litters are now only the tip of the iceburg and with the lack of knowledge and need to make money off of fad colours and pet quality pups the health began to suffer.

Does that mean the dog is suffering though? Is there a difference between a noisy breather? and a dog that actually cannot breathe at all? Well we think there is. Many vets will have you beleive that the snoring is a sign of suffering - well my husband snores does that mean he should be banned? I've seen hundreds of bulldogs, some make a noise, most don't, nearly all of them snore BUT I've seen dogs who's throats don't close up just because they are noisy breathers too. No one wants a living creature to suffer, if the dog cannot be a dog and has a compromised quality of life then of course we should consider the future of that dog - but as a breed?

We are very concerned that because the media are so intent on telling the world all bulldogs can't breath, owners of dogs who really can't breathe have no idea their dog is suffering at all and susbsquently are not getting the medical treatment they need. Others are having expensive and life threatening surgery done on dogs that don't need it simply because it's a bulldog.

If your dog regularly goes blue, makes breath sounds that are more like someone having an asthma attack or regurgitates food - you may well want to look at surgery. If there's a lot of noise but the dog is still able to run about, play, eat and be happy in itself - OK not ideal but certainly not suffering. If your bulldog is more like a whippet on speed - then - well, sorry about that, you probably didn't want a dog with hours worth of energy which is probably why you went for a bulldog in the first place.


Unrecognised colours

Over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of bulldogs classified "unrecognised colours"

Unfortunately it has now become a serious problem in our breed. There are many out there whos will breed for "colour" over everything else and sell the pups for thousands and thousands of pounds (as much as £20,000). These dogs are being exploited on every level, from their poor breeding to their over priced sale to the homes they end up in. These dogs are now making their way into rescues.

This link to the Breed Council leaflet defines what is considered "unrecognised": http://www.bulldogbreedcouncil.co.uk/uploads/1/6/7/9/16793936/colours_not_reconised__2_.pdf

Here's what the Kennel Club have to say on the matter: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/press-releases/2017/july/kennel-club-addresses-issue-of-unrecognised-colour-registrations-in-pedigree-dogs/

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What colour should a Bulldog Be?

The breed standard (see below) recognises the Bulldog colours to be

  • Red
  • Fawn
  • Brindle

with variing degrees of white. Colours such as Black and White, Black, Tan and White, Blue and more recently Lilac are considered "highly undesirable" and have been considered so since the very first breed standard was written in the late 1800s. Dog of undesirable colours were given away as pets, were never allowed into breeding programmes and subsquently were indeed "rare". Until someone realised that the word "rare" meant you could ask for more money and now we are becoming over-run with badly bred bulldogs, who's breeders are only interested in colour over all other aspects of the dog - including temperament and health - which they can then sell for anything upto £20,000 a puppy.


How many types of Bulldog are there?

Depends who you ask? But from our point of view there is only one type of "Bulldog". Sometimes known as the British Bulldog - the Americans call him the "English" bulldog. Over the years, alongside the huge amounts of bad press our breed has suffered; many "crosses" have been introduced in an effort to breed a "healthy" bulldog. To be perfectly honest - all you need to mate in order to acheive a healthy bulldog are two healthy bulldogs. As a result we are still the only breed (with the exception of the French Bulldog) that the UK Kennel Club will recognise. Below of a list of "alternative" Bulldogs - none of which are (in our opinion) true bulldogs:

  • THE AMERICAN BULLDOG
  • THE VICTORIAN BULLDOG
  • THE OLDE TYME BULLDOG
  • THE DORSET OLD TYME BULLDOG
  • THE AYLESTON BULLDOG
  • THE SUSSEX BULLDOG

If you are unsure about which type of bulldog you have please check the pedigree, if the associated Kennel Club is based in Clarges Street, London then you have the true bulldog. All the others are unrecognised and considered "crosses"


Description ©The Kennel Club

 

kcbreedimage.jpgOne of Britain’s oldest indigenous breeds, the Bulldog is known as the National dog of Great Britain and is associated throughout the world with British determination and the legendary John Bull. The Bulldog was first classified as such in the 1630s, though there is earlier mention of similar types referred to as bandogs, a term reserved today for a type of fighting dog. Used originally for bull-baiting, the Bulldog also fought its way through the dog pits, but after 1835 it began to evolve into the shorter-faced, more squat version we know today. It entered the show ring in 1860 and the ensuing years saw a big personality change.

The pugilistic expression of this delightfully ugly dog belies his loving, affectionate nature to family and friends. He has a reputation for tenacity and is very courageous, strong and powerful. Although he is a little bit stubborn by nature, he is good-tempered with children, of whom he is also very protective. The impression he gives of being slow and sluggish is completely contradicted by the great bursts of speed that he can and does produce when the occasion demands. His mood can be dignified, humorous or comical, and he has many endearing ways.

Breed Standard ©The Kennel Club

Last updated November 2010

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website here http://www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/services/public/breeds/watch for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.

General Appearance

Smooth-coated, fairly thick set, rather low in stature, broad, powerful and compact. Head, fairly large in proportion to size but no point so much in excess of others as to destroy the general symmetry, or make the dog appear deformed, or interfere with its powers of motion. Face relatively short, muzzle broad, blunt and inclined upwards although not excessively so. Dogs showing respiratory distress highly undesirable. Body fairly short, well knit, limbs stout, well muscled and in hard condition with no tendency towards obesity. Hindquarters high and strong. Bitches not so grand or well developed as dogs

Characteristics

Conveys impression of determination, strength and activity.

Temperament

Alert, bold, loyal, dependable, courageous, fierce in appearance, but possessed of affectionate nature.

Head and Skull

Skull relatively large in circumference. Viewed from front appears high from corner of lower jaw to apex of skull; also broad and square. Cheeks well rounded and extended sideways beyond eyes. Viewed from side, head appears very high and moderately short from back to point of nose. Forehead flat with skin on and about head slightly loose and finely wrinkled without excess, neither prominent nor overhanging face.  From defined stop, a furrow extending to middle of skull being traceable to apex. Face from front of cheek bone to nose, relatively short, skin may be slightly wrinkled. Muzzle short, broad, turned upwards and deep from corner of eye to corner of mouth. Nose and nostrils large, broad and black, under no circumstances liver colour, red or brown. Distance from inner corner of eye (or from centre of stop between eyes) to extreme tip of nose should not be less than distance from tip of the nose to edge of the underlip. Nostrils large wide and open, with well defined vertical straight line between. Flews (chops) thick, broad and deep, covering lower jaws at sides, but joining underlip in front. Teeth not visible. Jaws broad, strong and square, lower jaw slightly projecting in front of upper with moderate turn up. Over nose wrinkle, if present, whole or broken, must never adversely affect or obscure eyes or nose. Pinched nostrils and heavy over nose roll are unacceptable and should be heavily penalised.  Viewed from front, the various properties of the face must be equally balanced on either side of an imaginary line down centre.

Eyes

Seen from front, situated low down in skull, well away from ears. Eyes and stop in same straight line, at right angles to furrow. Wide apart, but outer corners within the outline of cheeks. Round, of moderate size, neither sunken nor prominent, in colour very dark – almost black – showing no white when looking directly forward. Free from obvious eye problems.

Ears

Set high – i.e. front edge of each ear (as viewed from front) joins outline of skull at top corner of such outline, so as to place them as wide apart, as high and as far from eyes as possible. Small and thin. ’Rose ear‘ correct, i.e. folding inwards back, upper or front inner edge curving outwards and backwards, showing part of inside of burr.

Mouth

Jaws broad and square with six small front teeth between canines in an even row. Canines wide apart. Teeth large and strong, not seen when mouth closed. When viewed from front under jaw directly under upper jaw and parallel.

Neck

Moderate in length, thick, deep and strong. Well arched at back, with some loose, skin about throat, forming slight dewlap on each side.

Forequarters

Shoulders broad, sloping and deep, very powerful and muscular giving appearance of being ’tacked on‘ body. Brisket round and deep. Well let down between forelegs. Ribs not flat-sided, but well rounded. Forelegs very stout and strong, well developed, set wide apart, thick, muscular and straight, bones of legs large and straight, not bandy nor curved and short in proportion to hindlegs, but not so short as to make back appear long, or detract from dog’s activity. Elbows low and standing well away from ribs. Pasterns short, straight and strong.

Body

Chest wide, prominent and deep. Back short, strong, broad at shoulders. Slight fall to back close behind shoulders (lowest part) whence spine should rise to loins (top higher than top of shoulder), curving again more suddenly to tail, forming slight arch – a distinctive characteristic of breed. Body well ribbed up behind with belly tucked up and not pendulous.

Hindquarters

Legs large and muscular, slightly longer in proportion than forelegs. Hocks slightly bent, well let down; legs long and muscular from loins to hock. Stifles turned very slightly outwards away from body.

Feet

Fore, straight and turning very slightly outward; of medium size and moderately round. Hind, round and compact. Toes compact and thick, well split up, making knuckles prominent and high.

Tail

Set on low, jutting out rather straight and then turning downwards. Round, smooth and devoid of fringe or coarse hair. Moderate in length – rather short than long – thick at root, tapering quickly to a fine point. Downward carriage (not having a decided upward curve at end) and never carried above back.

Lack of tail, inverted or extremely tight tails are undesirable.

Gait/Movement

Appearing to walk with short, quick steps on tips of toes, hind feet not lifted high, appearing to skim ground, running with one or other shoulder rather advanced. Soundness of movement of the utmost importance.

Coat

Fine texture, short, close and smooth (hard only from shortness and closeness, not wiry).

Colour

Whole or smut, (i.e. whole colour with black mask or muzzle). Only whole colours (which should be brilliant and pure of their sort) viz., brindles, reds with their various shades, fawns, fallows etc., white and pied (i.e. combination of white with any of the foregoing colours). Dudley, black and black with tan highly undesirable.

Size

Dogs: 25 kgs (55 lbs); bitches: 23 kgs (50 lbs).

Faults

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.

Note

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.