Study: French Bulldogs Prone To Health Problems

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
A new study released by researchers in the United Kingdom suggests that the French Bulldog is vulnerable to a host of health conditions and disorders, and that males are more likely than females to be affected.

The French Bulldog is a fairly new ranking member on the list of common UK dog breeds, and is predicted to soon become the most popular. But researchers from The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) have found that they are prone to a host of health conditions, including ear infections, conjunctivitis and diarrhea.

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Additionally, according to Dr. Dan O’Neill, the study’s main author, male French Bulldogs are more likely to be affected by eight of the 26 most common health problems than are females. Females were not more likely to be affected by any of the 26 conditions they found common in the breed.

The study was published in the Canine Genetics and Epidemiology journal and was the first on the French Bulldogs in the UK. The researchers used anonymous records from hundreds of veterinary clinics in the United Kingdom. Dr. O’Neill believes their compilation and findings will help owners to know what to expect in their French Bulldogs, and help potential French Bulldog owners know what they may be looking at should they decide to bring one into their family.

Dr. O’Neill said that the French Bulldog’s wide eyes and short muzzle are most likely why it’s such a popular breed, but those traits are also what puts them at risk for breathing issues and skin issues, which the researchers believe is due to the skin folds that are a trademark for French Bulldogs.

He also said that the breed’s popularity has risen quite dramatically since 2013, and this growth level can be concerning when demand may exceed the supply of responsibly bred animals. Dr. O’Neill said that there is a threat to the welfare of the dogs in that irresponsible breeding to meet demand may exacerbate physical trait issues.

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The researchers warn that the study may not even be entirely accurate in the numbers of French Bulldogs affected by health conditions in that the anonymous records may only reflect dogs who required vet care, and not all who were affected in general but did not receive vet care. As well, since the French Bulldog has only recently become such a popular breed, the data the researchers used was taken from younger dogs, and doesn’t fully represent older dogs. This could skew results in that health problems often are seen more as dogs mature into adulthood.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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