Star the bulldog won Best in Show at the 2022 American Kennel Club’s (AKC) National Championship Dog Show, but the flat face, large head, and narrow hips she was bred to have will likely cause her a lifetime of suffering.
English bulldogs like Star, boxers, pugs, and Cavalier King Charles spaniels are breathing-impaired breeds (BIB). They typically suffer from brachycephalic syndrome, which leaves many of them struggling just to breathe while they engage in normal activities. Going for a walk, chasing a ball, running, and playing—the things that make dogs’ lives joyful and fulfilling—are impossible for many BIB dogs. Breeding dogs to look a certain way and endure a lifetime of suffering is nothing to celebrate.
Despite their known health issues, BIBs are sold for thousands of dollars by breeders and pet stores. In footage captured by a PETA investigator, even shops that sell them for a profit know not to offer a “lifetime warranty” on them due to the breathing-impaired dogs’ health issues.
Worker Explains Why Pet Store Doesn’t Guarantee Bulldog and Other BIBs’ Health
At My Next Puppy in Chantilly, Virginia, a PETA investigator asked a store employee why a 6-month-old English bulldog being sold for $9,750 (marked down from $15,000 due to his age) didn’t come with a “lifetime warranty” like some of the other dogs for sale. The answer? Because of the “known sinus issues” of flat-faced dogs. He said that it’s “not if, it’s more of a when and how often are they gonna have problems with their sinuses.” According to the employee, the store had previously sold English bulldogs for as much as $20,000 since it often costs $6,000 “just to breed” them.
Humans have bred bulldogs to have unnaturally narrow hips and large heads, and as a result, they’re unable to mate or give birth naturally—an obvious clue that we must stop breeding these chronically ailing dogs. An estimated 80% of bulldogs are bred via artificial insemination (humans insert semen that was masturbated from a male dog into a female dog themselves), and bulldog puppies must be delivered via Cesarean section. If the mother dog were to go into labor naturally, the puppies’ heads would be too large to pass through her birth canal. But putting these dogs under anesthesia for C-sections puts their lives at risk, too, as BIB dogs face higher mortality rates during surgery because of their distorted airways.
BREAKING: A pregnant French bulldog was killed during a botched C-section caught on TikTok.
Breeders obsess over profit & dangerous “purebred” traits that plague dogs with permanent health problems.
There’s no such thing as a
responsible breeder. https://t.co/83lvQSqeLz
— PETA (@peta) February 23, 2021
Even with medical intervention, one in every five bulldog puppies will die within their first week of life. Those who survive to adulthood will likely suffer from an array of distressing and painful symptoms, including labored breathing, snorting, snoring, coughing, gagging, retching, vomiting, tiring easily, collapsing, and fainting.
Most pet stores that sell puppies obtain them from puppy mills, hellish mass-breeding facilities where dogs are typically forced to live in cramped, squalid conditions with minimal—if any— veterinary care and human interaction.
BIB Dog’s AKC National Championship Win Is Nothing to Celebrate
In light of all the suffering caused by breeding dogs to have flat faces, why do breeders keep doing it? Because people keep buying them—and because events like dog shows entice breeders to produce litter after litter in the hope of having a prizewinning dog they can then profit from by breeding and selling the dog’s puppies. The breeding industry is big business, and as long as there is money to be made by selling, showing, and breeding dogs, greedy breeders will continue to produce more—regardless of how much they cause dogs to suffer in the process.
The solution is simple: Stop breeding and buying bulldogs, other BIB dogs, and any other dogs. All “purebreds” (flat-faced or not) suffer from congenital and often painful conditions. If you have the time, money, patience, and love to care for an animal for life (which could be for more than 15 years), please adopt one from a shelter. If you already have a BIB dog, please commit to making his or her life as fulfilling, healthy, and comfortable as you can—but pledge never to buy another one.