I was watching a program one evening about the history of various dog breeds, including the Standard Poodle (naturally). One of the spotlighted breeds that I knew little about was the French Bulldog. I learned that through selective breeding of smaller dogs with a more smushed-in face, the modern Frenchie lives a short life complicated with respiratory and heart problems, some even pass out from physical exertion. In fact they are so debilitated that they cannot procreate naturally. They MUST be artificially inseminated and the puppies are delivered by cesarean section because the female hindquarters are too small to deliver naturally.
I don’t know about you, but I was stunned by this information. Why would you continue breeding an animal with severe health problems, doomed to a life of discomfort, if not outright suffering, that cannot even procreate without assistance? I have heard of other breeds that are so allergic to grass that they must live on concrete. How have breeders gotten so off track that they believe it is good practice to continue this way? Isn’t the whole point of selective breeding to improve the breed?
Of course a huge part of the problem is consumers who do not educate themselves and purchase debilitated animals. When you think about it, that’s extremely shortsighted. Who wants to end up with a pet they adore that runs up vet bills (so high they have to remortgage their house), and then dies at an early age anyway? When you bring a pet into your family don’t you want that pet to live a long, robust, life and create lasting, precious memories?
When you take a step back and look at the big picture, French Bulldogs are an abject lesson in Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection. Left to their own devices they would never have evolved in this manner and if they had, they would be extinct.
Please do your part to encourage higher standards in breeding. Research the breed you want. Then deal with reputable breeders who do health and temperament testing. Find out whether they are involved in improving the breed or catering to silly whims such as those that produced the poor French Bulldog.
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