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“Breed For Health. Not Show”: Breeder Is Reengineering French Bulldogs’ Faces To Make Them Healthier
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“Breed For Health. Not Show”: Breeder Is Reengineering French Bulldogs’ Faces To Make Them Healthier

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In 1873, only 40 dog breeds and varieties were known; now, there are about 450 recognized breeds worldwide. Humans unnaturally developed modern breeds via artificial selection. Most of them were genetically engineered in the last 200 years. This is because, in 1835, dog fighting was banned in England, so people transitioned to another competitive sport of dog showing.

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

A big part of dog shows was about the animal’s appearance, so breeders tried to make the dogs look more appealing to the eye. But sometimes, that meant sacrificing the dogs’ health. That’s what happened when breeding French bulldogs. It led to them having breathing problems, and now people are trying to fix that by reengineering their faces.

One of those people is Chantal van Kruining, who started the Hawbucks French Bulldogs Kennel and is passionate about reducing French bulldogs’ health issues. Her vision is to “Breed for health. Not show” and to change people’s mindsets so they care more about their pets’ health than their appearance.

What is the Biggest Problem With French Bulldogs?

Due to French bulldogs’ anatomy, they suffer from Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). This means that they have difficulty breathing, and they start panting with their tongues sticking out even during a light walk. The syndrome is caused by a skull malformation developed by selective breeding.

The Flat Face and Narrow Tracheas Are the Cause of French Bulldog Health Problems

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

The skull malformation made the nostril openings of the Frenchie bulldog too narrow. The dogs have a long, soft palate and relatively narrow tracheas, which adds to their breathing problems. It can also cause an early death.

These French Bulldog Pictures Highlight Their Flattened Snout

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

This Led to the Vision of “Breed for Health. Not for Show”

Image credits: MattyIce6969

Some people really care about this issue, one of them being veterinary assistant Chantal van Kruining from the Netherlands. She fell in love with the breed, but her heart broke after witnessing her dog’s pain. 

The Bulldog Was Born With a Body Type That Was Designed by Humans Who Didn’t Consider Its Health

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

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That’s why Chantal’s vision is to “Breed for health. Not show.” She wants to change the mindset of dog owners, breeders, and dog show judges to care more about the Frenchie’s life expectancy and health.

The Dog Shouldn’t Suffer Because of the Action of Breeders

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Because Chantal didn’t want to see French bulldogs suffering anymore, she dived right into the world of dog breeding. The sad truth she noticed was that breeders didn’t give that much attention to dogs’ health, and she wanted to change that. She began researching genetics and studied abnormalities that occur in the breed. Even though she doesn’t claim to know it all or be breeding perfect dogs, she feels she is on the right path.

Chantal Wants to See Bulldogs Living a Healthy Life

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Image credits: Krijn de Haas

On her website, Chantal says she would like to see French bulldogs being more athletic and playing and running without being out of breath.

The French Bulldogs Need to Be Bred Better

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Image credits: Krijn de Haas

You may think that the whole problem is in the Frenchie’s short muzzle, but in reality, it’s more complex than this. The Hawbucks French Bulldogs website says that the short muzzle is only for aesthetic purposes. You can’t tell just from the length of it whether a dog will have breathing problems or not. However, it does make the risk higher.

Breeders Need to Learn More About the Dogs’ Health

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Breeders need to learn the facts about French bulldogs’ health and ensure that their trachea and throat cavities are wide enough. Their tongue shouldn’t be too long and thick, and their nostrils should be opened more.

Chantal shares her vision of what kind of dog she and her team hope to evolve from the French bulldog on their website. “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.”

Dog Health Testing Should Be Made Public

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Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Chantal also believes that dog health testing should be transparent. She is frustrated that dog breeding is shrouded in mystery. Breeders hide information about the dog’s health, and some people seem to find these abnormalities in French bulldogs normal. That is why the veterinary assistant is so precise with her tests; all the results are available on her website. Transparency is key. She encourages people to ask questions, which she is prepared to answer.

People on the Internet Said That They Prefer the Longer Muzzle as It Looks Healthier

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Did These French Bulldog Facts Surprise You?

All of these cute bulldog pictures shouldn’t distract you from the fact that Frenchies need to be treated better and deserve to live healthier lives. What do you think of Chantal’s efforts to make the breed healthier? Do you feel that French bulldogs will lose a part of their charm if their muzzles are longer? Tell us how you feel in the comments down below!

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i-piu avatar
Helwin
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm a big fan of the "Breed for health. Not show” quote !

jpmarchetti avatar
jpaul
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

the concept is interesting, but adopt not breed is maybe even more logical (my 2c)

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mhbonal avatar
pelemele
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

this problem unfortunately does not only concern the French bulldog but all breeds victims of hyper type: cocker king charles, german shepherd and many others (ditto for cats). From the moment the animal's health is threatened and or its living conditions become uncomfortable, this should be prohibited.

ava-beganyi avatar
paolamillantrujillo avatar
No one
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Im hoping that they can ACTUALLY BREATHE, unlike the poor pug

ohxrkqra avatar
Kira Okah
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There are "retro pug" groups that are trying to breed out the short noses, pop eyes, and corkscrew tails from pugs for their health.

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i-piu avatar
Helwin
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm a big fan of the "Breed for health. Not show” quote !

jpmarchetti avatar
jpaul
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

the concept is interesting, but adopt not breed is maybe even more logical (my 2c)

Load More Replies...
mhbonal avatar
pelemele
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

this problem unfortunately does not only concern the French bulldog but all breeds victims of hyper type: cocker king charles, german shepherd and many others (ditto for cats). From the moment the animal's health is threatened and or its living conditions become uncomfortable, this should be prohibited.

ava-beganyi avatar
paolamillantrujillo avatar
No one
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Im hoping that they can ACTUALLY BREATHE, unlike the poor pug

ohxrkqra avatar
Kira Okah
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There are "retro pug" groups that are trying to breed out the short noses, pop eyes, and corkscrew tails from pugs for their health.

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
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