5 facts about French bulldogs which will make you think differently
Take a look at the hashtag #frenchielove on Instagram and you will find over 9 million posts - far more than the 1 million posts under #labradorlove. But behind the Instagram posts, did you know that French bulldogs are a breed that can suffer due to the way they look?
Here are 5 facts that might make you think again before looking up "buy a French bulldog puppy".
The cost of a French bulldog - and other popular flat-faced breeds like pugs and British bulldogs - could be far more than you realise. Pet insurance for a flat-faced 'brachycephalic' breed - dogs which have short flat snouts - can be more expensive as they are more likely to suffer from medical issues associated with their breed. The RSPCA has launched its Save Our Breath campaign which highlights concerns that brachycephalic breeds such as French bulldogs, British bulldogs and pugs can suffer from debilitating breathing issues and many dogs cannot live normal lives due to the irresponsible way they've been selectively bred.
2. Shorter lifespan than other breeds
It's really sad to read, but research shows that French bulldogs will have a much shorter life expectancy than other breeds with an estimated 4.5 years. We need to change the general view that these dogs are 'cute' and that the symptoms of their health problems are 'funny' or normal for the breed.
3. Sometimes surgery is the only option
Surgery isn't cheap either. The procedure involves decreasing the thickness of the dog's soft palate, creating a thinner soft palate that significantly opens the airways and allows the dog to breathe more normally. The nostrils may also be widened too.
4. Popularity is rising but so is the number of rescued dogs
French bulldogs were the number one breed advertised for sale in the UK in 2022. Kennel Club registrations have surged in recent years. Worryingly the trend and popularity of these breeds are being reflected in the rescue population - with the RSPCA seeing an increase of 37% in 2022 in the number of brachycephalic breeds coming into its care, compared to 2021. This increase means the extra costs associated with the breeds are falling on charities. If you are keen to have a French bulldog, a British bulldog or a pug, please look at adopting from a rescue instead of buying, as buying from a breeder encourages more over-breeding.
5. It's not just breathing which affects them
Health issues aren't contained just to their breathing but include skin, eye, spinal and dental problems. At the RSPCA, we love all breeds - including brachy dogs - and we campaign on this because we want to save them from more suffering. You can show your support for the campaign by signing an open letter to The Kennel Club asking them to stop showing French bulldogs, pugs and English bulldogs at Crufts on the RSPCA website.