What is the Bulldog Club of America's position on breed health?
As guardians of this very noble breed, the recent study pertaining to the breed’s genetic diversity is of great concern to the Bulldog Club of America members. Established in 1890, the Bulldog Club of America (BCA) is the leading authority on Bulldogs in the United States and one of the oldest AKC-affiliated parent clubs. For over 100 years the BCA and its member clubs have focused on maintaining the breed standard by breeding for good health, conformation and temperament, while continuously promote the health and welfare of the breed. They provide education to members, judges, and the public through seminars, publications, videos, participation in “Meet the Breeds,” and via the BCA website. Information on conformation, breeding ethics, and the care, health and training of the Bulldog is readily available on this website.
During this century we have seen significant improvement in the health of Bulldogs. This has occurred due to the diligence of the BCA in providing education regarding good breeding practices and establishing a Breeder Code of Ethics for its members. The BCA sponsors health clinics at several special events around the country. Since 2012, we have more than doubled the number of dogs participating in BCA recommended health testing. The BCA recognizes health testing done by BCA members through awarding the Ambassador of Health Awards to dogs with four levels of recognition based on the number of health tests passed. To find a breeder who strives for healthy Bulldogs, be sure to consider a breeder on our Breeder Referral List or who participates in our Ambassador of Health Program.
Additionally, the BCA has established a BCA Charitable Fund (BCACF) to sponsor research on issues that Bulldog breeders or owners may encounter. BCA Charitable Fund grant money has sponsored many studies including ones on pulmonic stenosis, cystinuria, anasarca, trachea, and hypothyroid disease. This research has led to the development of additional genetic testing opportunities. The organization and its members contribute generously each year to the AKC Canine Health Foundation and other research organizations. In just the past two years, the BCACF has spent $57,000 on health studies.
The Standard of the Breed describes a dog that is healthy and strong, able to move in an unrestrained, free and vigorous manner. Its nose should be large with wide nostrils to ensure its ability to breathe. Bulldogs perform in both conformation and performance activities where they could not compete successfully if they were not a healthy breed. The breed standard was changed to ensure that breeders who produce dogs that do not meet the standards set by the BCA because of health issues assciated with their appearence are excluded from competing in AKC conformation events.
Bulldogs today excel as family companions, having been bred to have a kind and equable disposition with a pacific and dignified demeanor. It is a myth that the Bulldog is inherently unhealthy by virtue of its conformation. When responsible breeders use healthy dogs in their breeding program, the offspring excel in conformation and companion events.
The Bulldog is our breed of choice and it is our honor and obligation to protect it.
Here is one example of healthy bulldogs having fun.
The pages on the submenu will provide more detail on these efforts, information for the dog owner on canine health care and a number of Podcasts from the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. If you are interested in other topics in the series, the Podcasts from the AKC-CHF can be found Here.