We all love our dogs. They serve as companions, hard workers and even protection. With so many dog breeds there is a bevy of chances to find the right breed that fits your lifestyle and personality. While dogs are almost universally loved, certain breeding practices can be detrimental to the overall longevity of a breed. This is why breeding practices are constantly under scrutiny and evolving to be more humane and beneficial the breed health and bot just human aesthetics. There has been news that one of the most revered dog breeds in the United States, might be in danger of disappearing. A recent genetic study has shown that the English Bulldog breed may be in danger in the near future. The English Bulldog is one of the oldest and most revered breeds. It currently ranks number 4 on the list of favorite dogs. English Bulldog owners include, Comedian Adam Sandler, Actor Brad Pitt, Rocker Ozzy Osbourne and Influential World War II British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, among many others. The scientific study cited that the English Bulldog has been left susceptible to danger due to a proliferation of inbreeding. This has in turn left the left the genetic pool with little to no diversity.
English Bulldogs, Selective Breeding and the Dog Dating Site Culture
Especially for competitive dog show owners, selective breeding is important. In fact Americans spend well over 50 billion on their pets each year. In the internet age dog dating sites have made it easier for dog breeders to meet up in order to breed their pure breeds. Unfortunately this culture of dog dating sites for pure bred dogs might be exactly what might be leading to the demise of the English Bulldog. In an assessment of the English Bulldog genome, scientist where able to find that centuries of inbreeding have created several genetic problems for the breed. While the breed has been bred for the desirable characteristics of their stout bodies, strong builds and flat noses, by breeders focusing on these traits they did little to breed out related health issues. Many bulldogs are prone to skin problems as well as breathing complications which can drastically affect their life span. In fact the average lifespan of the average English Bulldog is surprisingly short. If you take into account that a mixed breed dog will usually have a life span between 12 to 15 years, the average of 6 years for an English Bulldog, in good health, seems almost paltry in comparison. For its size the English Bulldog lives for about the same time span as the much larger Great Dane.
Possible Hope For the Future of English Bulldogs
Scientists have also noted that Bulldogs have been having smaller liters also leading to concerns of breed extinction. Historically when breeds have faced problems, dog breeders have cross bred them with similar breeds in order to breed out the genetic problems. A good example of this was with the Basenji. The Basenji is a dog that comes from Africa. Traditionally they were bred as hunting and sporting dogs. In the 1980s, breeders began breeding Basenjis in the United States and they became a fairly popular breed for their unique yodel and their dander-free coat. The breed did have a crisis sometime in the 1990s due to to inbreeding and a genetic liver condition which was significantly reducing their life span. To remedy this breeders expanded the genetic pool by bringing over wild dogs from Africa that were free of the genetic deformity and breeding them with the American reared dogs. Many are attempting to enact a movement for a similar plan that might be able to preserve the genetic and overall health of the English Bulldog.
While some breeders dog breeding sites are using dog dating sites to find other types of dogs to breed with, to different levels of success, there is still a fervent core that insists on keeping the breed pure. The aesthetic vs. utility argument is not a new one especially when talking about dogs and dog breeding traditions, but hopefully the argument is resolved in a way that ensures a continued and healthy bloodline for the English Bulldog.