Thursday, 4 August 2016

English bulldogs now so inbred their appalling health problems will not improve


'The English bulldog has reached the point where popularity can no longer excuse the health problems that the average bulldog endures in its often brief lifetime'

Ian Johnston Science Correspondent 

The unnatural wrinkles on this dog's face – breed into them by humans – are prone to infection unless regularly cleaned

The English bulldog is now so inbred that there is little chance of improving its notoriously poor health, geneticists have concluded.

The lead researcher of a study condemned dog breeders and owners, saying more people appeared to be “enamoured with its appearance than concerned about its health”.

English bulldogs suffer from a range of horrendous health problems.

Its excessive wrinkles are prone to infection unless they are regularly cleaned. The dog also has breathing problems due to its narrow nostrils and a number of eye conditions that cause chronic irritation and pain. Its deformed spinal bones that can also lead to incontinence and the loss of the use of its back legs.

Attempts have been made by some breeders to improve the animal's’ health.

However, a study published in the journal of Canine Genetics and Epidemiology found this would be difficult to do from the existing gene pool because it has been inbred to an extreme degree.

The lead author of the paper, Professor Niels Pedersen, said: “The English bulldog has reached the point where popularity can no longer excuse the health problems that the average bulldog endures in its often brief lifetime. 

“More people seemed to be enamoured with its appearance than concerned about its health.
“Improving health through genetic manipulations presumes that enough diversity still exists to improve the breed from within, and if not, to add diversity by outcrossing to other breeds. 

“We found that little genetic 'wiggle room' still exists in the breed to make additional genetic changes.”



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