Cute but cruel: dog wel­fare comes first

Country Life Every Week - - Letters To The Editor -

IAM a vet­eri­nary sur­geon writ­ing to you about your re­cent ar­ti­cle ‘Vive le bull­dog français!’ (March 22). I un­der­stand it was writ­ten to em­pha­sise the fact that the French bull­dog is set to over­take the labrador as the UK’S num­ber-one pet dog, a fact that I’m not deny­ing. How­ever, I do worry that it only briefly men­tioned brachy­cephal­ics, a term used to de­scribe an animal with an ab­nor­mally short­ened face.

Sounds like snor­ing, snort­ing and sniff­ing are now con­sid­ered nor­mal or even cute, but they’re ac­tu­ally signs of res­pi­ra­tory com­pro­mise, which can lead to prob­lems ex­er­cis­ing and sleep ap­noea. These dogs are also less heat tol­er­ant.

We vets aren’t call­ing for a ban on these breeds, but we want the public to un­der­stand the wel­fare im­pli­ca­tions and that these ‘cute’ fea­tures are, in fact, caus­ing the dogs to suf­fer. We want peo­ple to ask the right ques­tions and make a move to­wards de­mand­ing a longer muz­zle and open nos­trils when pur­chas­ing their French­bull­dog puppy. Dr Kate Wil­liams, Jer­sey

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