As a Bulldog Breeder I am writing to you to let you know my feelings towards the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals and the impact it will have on our breed should our government sign. As you are aware over 100 breeds are listed to be altered or banned, the bulldog is to be either “redesigned” or banned completely.
This carries with it several worries as a bulldog breeder. Firstly, the redesign of the Bulldogs Head. This is something that cannot be achieved without outbreeding, therefore the Bulldog will no longer be pure bred, this will lose over 100 years of history for a dog that is shaped as he is because he needed to be that shape to be able to carry out his original role in society; namely bull baiting. Every part of our bulldog was bred in deliberately over 100 years ago, the teeth were positioned to allow the dog to grip, the nose short so he could still breathe whilst doing so, the wrinkles to take the bulls blood away from the dogs eyes, the heavy front and short front legs to give him the strength to hold the bull and the shallow joints to allow him to jump from a standing position.
Thankfully the so called “sport” of bull baiting is long gone, but the breed remains with us and is a part of this Countries heritage. The bulldog was never meant to be agile, he was never meant to be able to walk for miles, he was designed for his strength and stamina. The question of course is what do we outbreed to? And what guarantees to we have that we do not re-introduce the aggression of the original bulldogs? The aggression is the only part of the bulldog that has been lost over time making him one of the most gentle dog breeds known to man. I’m sure you will agree that if it was possible to produce bulldogs that could be guaranteed not to suffer from soft palate related problems and didn’t carry too heavy wrinkles our rings would be full of such specimens. As it stands the ring does not always show us perfect bulldogs and there are certainly specimens that never make the ring for various reasons, but then many of these bulldogs are based on breeding lines where although the breeders did the best they could they didn’t have the technology that we have available to us today.
I feel there is a far greater understanding of genetics today, that breeders are far more aware of what their dogs can produce just by understanding how the genes are passed from one dog to another, as a direct result breeders are subsequently far more careful as to which dogs enter breeding programmes. Besides we now have the use of DNA profiling available to us and it isn’t going to be many more years before we will have the technology available to us where we can pinpoint carriers of particular faults and diseases and as a direct result all breeds are going to improve without the need for Europe intervention
There are many breeders of this noble breed who would rather see their bitches die virgins rather than out breed the history, besides I can see many breeders continuing as they are and the result will be bulldogs without papers, this will have a direct knock on effect to the Kennel Club as their registrations fall further. There is currently so much bad press on this breed that the general public are being led to believe that all bulldogs can’t breath, that all bulldogs have skin problems and that all bulldogs are genetic disasters which is far from the truth.
The European Convention is being sold to the public under the heading of “tail docking” and because many of the general public are opposed to tail docking they are assuming that this can only be a good thing for our dogs. What they are not being told is that there are many many other breeds on the hit list for reasons other than tails and dew claws, of which the bulldog is one. There is currently an Internet petition running which can be found at http://www.btinternet.com/~detour/petition.htm
Once again we have to fight for our national breed.
Regards Tania Holmes/Shaloney Bulldogs