“Breed For Health. Not Show” – How One Breeder Is Trying To Establish A Healthier Template For French Bulldogs
Chantal van Kruining, a veterinary assistant in Rockanje, the Netherlands, is working to reengineer French bulldogs with her vision “Breed For Health. Not Show” to improve the health of this breed. French bulldogs have become the second (behind Labradors) most popular dog breed in America. But what makes this particular breed more special than other canine breeds? While Frenchies are affectionate pets that are adaptable to any home, many people seemed to be more fascinated with their unique appearance than with their personality. Their flat, smushed in face and wrinkled skin around their face are considered their most desirable physical traits.
For some reason, many pet owners believe that a dog with a flat face is more beautiful than a dog with a longer muzzle. As a matter of fact, pooches with unusually-flat faces are more likely to win in dog show competitions due to their ‘desirable’ appearance. While their squished faces are a part of their charm, the cuteness of French bulldogs actually comes at a steep cost. The breed itself was designed to produce the perfect pet – a unique-looking dog with small body to easily adapt to tiny homes and a feeble physique that doesn’t require much exercise. Hence, Frenchies are commonly bred for their appearance with little regard to their health.
This Veterinary Assistant Breeds Healthier French Bulldogs With A Vision ‘Breed For Health. Not Show’
The distinctive physical characteristics of French bulldogs are the results of selective breeding or artificial selection. In selective breeding, breeders purposely breed dogs to create a particular result based on human preferences.
Unfortunately, selectively bred animals are born unhealthy and disease-ridden due to the lack of genetic variation. Genetically altered to have a flat face and a shorter physique, French bulldogs are often plagued with health problems and disabilities such as breathing difficulties, hip dysplasia, and spinal disorders.
Since Frenchies are bred to have short noses and high domed foreheads, their skull malformation causes airflow obstruction in the upper airways. This explains why flat-faced dogs such as bulldogs and pugs often breathe through their mouths with their tongues sticking out even during a light walk.
They are panting too hard not because they are exhausted but it’s because they could hardly breathe due to their abnormally narrow trachea and nostril openings. This lifelong disorder affects the dog’s ability to exercise, eat, sleep, and engage in normal behaviors. In most cases, breathing difficulty may become severe enough to lead to death.
In order to save these poor dogs from the cruel way of creating the cutest pets, Chantal decided to fix the breed by putting the dog’s health before anything else. Her vision “Breed For Health. Not Show” says it all. And she will stop at nothing to realize this vision. She continues to strive to create healthier French bulldogs that will carry the name Hawkbucks. Furthermore, she also encourages every pet owner to consider their pet’s health and well-being above anything else.
“We strive for a French bulldog that is built a little more athletic. A French bulldog how they were meant in the beginning of the development of the breed. A dog that can run and play for several hours without trouble, a Frenchie that does not make a sound when breathing, under any circumstance.”, Chantal says.
To show the result of Chantal’s endeavor, one Reddit user shared a side-by-side photo of a selectively bred Frenchie and a Hawbuck bred by Chantal herself. On the photos you can see the huge difference in the shape of their muzzles and their facial expression says it all. Apparently, the Frenchie with the longer muzzle looked healthier and more confident than the other.
Here’s what people have to say about the comparison