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BREATHING PROBLEMS

French and English Bulldogs are both included in a non-public x-ray screening database project for Tracheal Hypoplasia with the American OFA. In Sweden only English Bulldogs participate in a Trachea x-ray project for normal windpipes in breeding - in cooperation with the English Bulldog Breed Club in Sweden SKEB, the Swedish Kennel Club SKK and the Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences SLU, Dept. of Veterinary Medicine Image Diagnostics.

The French Bulldog Breed Club FBK
has so far not been interested in tracheal x-ray. Both breeds often have malformed and narrow windpipes, just like Pugs and other short nosed breeds. The trachea can sometimes be so thin and narrow, that it can be compared with constantly having to breathe through a drinking straw.

A dog must have a neck long enough to permit the formation of a normally developed windpipe. Compare a Swedish born Nordic Champion from 1975 with today's show winners:


Much would be gained if only Frenchies with normal tracheas were used in breeding and if all breeders had sires and dams windpipe x-rayed before their first mating. Tracheal x-ray is not very complicated and no sedation is necessary, so it is simpler and cheaper compared to Hip Dysplasia x-ray, which is demanded in many other breeds.



The nostrils are often pinched from birth, the nose-wings contract when breathing in, which causes a constantly stuffed nose. Go to acvs.org to see examples of stenotic or pinched nostrils (fig. 3) and normal, open nostrils (fig. 3a) and more.

The breathing tract mucous membranes get swollen and cronically thickened, when a dog constantly must struggle to get enough air down to its lungs. It doesn't help that the soft palate often is too long and closes the throat at each breath. What this looks like is shown on this video published on the web by a German veterinary clinic:


Long soft palate during a breath Tierklinik Kaiserberg

A short nosed dog has the same structures in nose and throat as a dog with a normal length nose - but in a much smaller and crumpled area. This is why the soft palate of a French Bulldog and Pug etc. often is far too long and covers the airway at each breath.
CT-scans performed by the Animal Clinic at the Leipzig University showing the airways of a dog with normal nose length and that of a short faced breed:

A dog must have a nose long enough for a normal length soft palate. It is hardly possible for a very short faced breed to breathe easily and naturally.


Puppy with pinched nostrils

A dog must have wide open nostrils to allow normal breathing through the nose.

Sometimes long soft palates and pinched nostrils are discretely operated on - and there are French Bulldogs, who seem to be able to move around and breathe without problems. A Frenchie who needs surgery in its airways should of course not be used for breeding.
This Frenchie just came back from a long walk with lots of energy left, without being short of breath - operated on or not:

French Bulldogs, like all short faced breeds have especially limited breathing capacity during stress and in hot weather, because few of them can breathe effectively with an open mouth and hanging tongue. In real bad cases the saliva may be whipped into a compact white frog like whipped merengue egg whites by the troubled breathing and the long soft palate - which could provoke suffocation. The whipped saliva can sometimes melt down, by gently sqeezing juice from a plastic lemon down the insides of the dog's cheeks.

IT IS IMPORTANT NEVER TO LET A SHORT FACED DOG GET OVERHEATED AND STRESSED OR OVER ACTIVATED IN HOT WEATHER!
--- Cool it by pouring not too cold water over the entire body if it gets too warm and keep it still in the shade! ---

At the worst a Frenchie or a Pug and other short muzzled breeds can suffer a Heat Stroke or a Tracheal Collapse, which can be immediately life threatening. The windpipe (trachea) looks like an oldfashioned bathroom shower hose and is kept open by thin rings of cartilage - which can break and squeeze together - like used staples - when the strain on them gets too heavy.


Frenchie Louis in Berlin has a tail, a nose and open nostrils.

See yet another original old and sounder type of Frenchie.

No breeder really wants to breed and sell disabled puppies.
All owners would prefer a Frenchie with normal breathing capacity:

- why not turn back somewhat to good old show ideals of old times -
for a better health and function in the future?

A long enough nose and open nostrils provide good breathing
and a good quality of life.



Painting by Carl Reichert, Austria 1874
- Encore Editions

Frances Mabel Hollams "Buzzy" England 1877 -1963


Two modern European types of French Bulldog on Flickr - Photo Sharing! with completely
different muzzle length and nares:

Kennel Club breeders must follow the official breed standard and breed Frenchies, who are awarded prizes at shows.
Puppy buyers can choose the type of French Bulldog they want to own and live together with.

- The responsibility therefore is now up to Breed- and Kennel Clubs and Show Judges

The Swedish Kennel Club SKK Play Summer 2012:
Making Assessments of Dogs' Respiration
- Video Instructions to Show Judges -

The extreme breeding in many breeds could not continue without an ever more advanced animal health care, where the arising problems are left to the puppy buyers and their veterinary surgeons and insurance companies.

On Pug breathing problems

 
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