I finally did it. After enjoying from a far, I finally took the plunge and purchased a French Bulldog! As a veterinarian I thought this was somewhat crazy, brachycephalic breeds have a whole host of problems. But from an animal lover’s standpoint, I wanted one of these funny looking, clown-like dogs to share my life! I did my research, asked a lot of pointed questions to a lot of Frenchie breeders and selected one that I thought bred problem free dogs. So I purchased a puppy and got a puppy with - wait for it - brachycephalic syndrome!
What exactly is Brachycephalic Syndrome and what problems are associated with this condition? Brachycephalic means short head. Dogs with short, pushed in faces are brachycephalics. This includes not only all types of bulldogs but Pugs, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Pekingese and Boxers. There are even brachycephalic cats - think Himalayan and Persian. These breeds have been bred so that the lower jaw is normal but the upper jaw is compressed leading to the smushed face appearance. This cosmetic appearance can lead to issues with the respiratory system, eyes and cause dental issues.
History of the breed:
The English Bulldog is typically the most docile of creatures, even though the history of the breed is quite gruesome and dramatic.First mentioned in the literature around 1500, the bulldog was bred to fight bulls in the “sport” of bull baiting. Bull baiting entails setting loose dogs onto a tethered bull and making wagers over which dog could grab the bull by the nose and pin it to the ground. This “sport” is not only cruel to the bull, but many dogs were also severely maimed or killed during the process. Thankfully, bull baiting was made illegal by the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835.