Cute but cruel: dog welfare comes first
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