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First litter of hairless French bulldogs in UK sparks ‘extreme breeding’ concerns | Dogs

A litter of hairless French bulldogs has been called a worrying example of “extreme breeding” by the British Veterinary Association, which has expressed concern that some owners are prioritizing novelty over their pet’s health.

The dogs are believed to have been bred in Scotland and are the result of crosses between French Bulldogs, Pugs and Chinese Crested Dogs. They are believed to be the first litter of hairless French bulldogs in the UK.

But the UK’s national body of veterinary surgeons has warned that while the puppies may be healthy, they could end up with myriad problems, including susceptibility to sunburn and heat stress, as well as breathing difficulties.

“Just because people like things to look a certain way shouldn’t justify people being able to do things to these dogs that we know are going to cause harm and potential suffering and welfare issues,” said Justine Shotton, President of British Veterinary. Association.

“I’m really disappointed when I see things like this and I wish we could make potential owners understand how much this extreme breeding really affects the daily well-being of these dogs,” she added.

It’s not the first time hairless French bulldogs have been produced: one such dog made headlines when it entered the US after apparently being purchased from China. At the time of the report, vets described the animal as a “monster” and raised concerns that it could be at increased risk of painful acne, dermatitis and skin cancer.

Shotton said the latest litter is just one example of extreme breeding, and adding the novelty factor, “cuteness” or the ability to get social media likes may be one of the motivations for breeding and buying crosses. unusual.

“We believe that many of these types of dogs that are marketed as very rare or particularly unique are just bred as a kind of popularity to attract people to these dogs, because they are almost a status symbol. instead of thinking about the welfare of the dogs themselves,” he said.

Shotton added that while crossbreeds have sometimes been thought to be healthier than pedigree dogs, that’s not necessarily the case, noting that crossing breeds that have particular health problems can mean that offspring get the worst of both. worlds.

“Unfortunately, in some of the crosses, [vets are] seeing a multiplication of problems,” he said.

Hairless dogs can find it difficult to stay warm and are at increased risk of sunburn and other skin problems, while flat-faced or brachycephalic dogs are known to be at increased risk of breathing difficulties, as well to be prone to heat stroke. eye ulcers, spinal problems and skin disorders.

A study published in the journal Plos One by researchers at the Royal Veterinary College found that flat-faced dogs are nearly seven times more likely to have nictitating membrane gland prolapse, or “cherry eye,” compared to dogs with flat faces. they have a head of medium proportions. , with high levels of this disorder also seen in “designer” crosses like Puggles.

If left untreated, the authors warn that the condition can lead to chronic problems, such as inflammation or infection, which can cause discomfort or pain.

Study co-author Dr. Dan O’Neill said the development of new flat-faced breeds with even more extreme features, such as hairless French bulldogs, runs counter to the task force’s position on brachycephalics from the UK who has described such breeding as “unacceptable”.

A spokesman for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) said the crossings of certain dogs were a concern, adding that the organization has a confidential helpline for anyone with concerns about low welfare breeding.

“The Scottish SPCA is extremely concerned about the rise of unscrupulous breeders who are breeding dogs with exaggerated features and attempting specialist medical procedures without training. We are leading a working group to look at these issues specifically,” they said.

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