British Bulldog Breeding priorities.
British Bulldogs have a striking appearance and are often mentioned when health issues in purebred dogs related to their appearance are discussed. The MDBA and our breeders are committed to breeding healthier British Bulldogs and to overcoming these health issues. After much research the MDBA has developed a new breeding strategy for our British Bulldog breeders. This strategy presents advice to breeders on how to make visible progress over the coming five year period by focusing on the main health issues associated with the breed.
Over the years the health situation of British Bulldogs has been monitored, yet few improvements in the breed's overall health situation have been visible. There has been much discussion worldwide conducted with health surveys and various solutions to the problems have been proposed. One such possible solution in some countries was focusing on evaluation of the trachea by radiological examinations. Unfortunately this project resulted in the finding that the method used was unreliable for screening purposes (Ingman et al. 2014).
In 2012 the MDBA set about finding out facts about the current situation of registered purebred dogs of this breed worldwide. A MDBA health survey was conducted over a period of 3 years which collected health information about registered dogs bred by breeders from recognised registries as a separate group to those bred by others. These results combined with much data collected worldwide has helped us to see the true situation.
When all the collected data was analysed the MDBA concluded that breathing problems must be the primary issues to be addressed in our breeding strategy.
The prevalence of breathing problems of various degrees is strikingly high and the impact of this problem on the dog’s wellbeing, and quality of life, needs to be addressed.
Breeding for several goals at a time results in much slower progress rates on those goals and the MDBA feels that a primary focus on improvements in breathing and the regulation of body temperature is the most appropriate strategy even if this means breeding away from current interpretations of the breed standard. This does not mean that other health issues present in the breed should be ignored but if breeders target each concern in an agreed order of priority quicker and more successful results will be made in the health of the British Bulldog.
In addition to the MDBA’S recommendations connected to breathing and temperature control our breeding strategy for the breed proposes actions to limit several other health issues occurring in the breed, for example skin fold dermatitis and eye problems. The British Bulldog breed is facing a great challenge and we have no doubt that health issues now must be the main focus for all British Bulldog breeders if the breed is to survive.
Our absolute expectation is that our breeder members will place this strategy as their main priority in their breeding programs. The population of the breed shows high registration figures in many countries worldwide and in some countries the movement toward breeding for better health is being well managed, however in Australia it is not. There are good possibilities with respect to genetic diversity and choices of selection for health for a successful result if the recommendations presented in the MDBA breeding strategy are followed, especially as we gather members from more countries involved in the breeding of this breed.
The MDBA will monitor the results of breeders using this strategy and the health information entered into our Stud Registry and re assess the improvement in health problems related to breathing in 5 years from June 2016.
We will also gather as much data as possible relating to our member’s dogs and those they breed, by providing all puppy buyers who purchase a dog from an MDBA member [even those who purchased puppies prior to the breeder becoming an MDBA member] with the ability to inform us of any health problems which will then be entered onto that dogs pedigree.
There are other projects focusing on British Bulldog health worldwide. The main goals are similar, yet the means to achieve those goals differ between countries. The MDBA believes that there are many ways to improve the health of the breed, some will be more effective and quicker than others, and we will monitor results with extreme interest. However, we are most interested in being able to identify dogs bred by our members and the progress they make toward breeding healthier dogs.
Master Dog Breeders and Associates Recommended Health Breeding Priority Strategies for MDBA Breeder Members breeding British Bulldogs.
Health issues must be the primary focus of every breeding decision.
Problem free breathing is top priority.
Order of Priority for British Bulldog breeding programs.
It is expected that our breeders only breed with dogs that are healthy and sound and whose close relatives are healthy and sound. The overall impression is always the most important feature. If you have doubts about a dog’s soundness or general health status that dog should not be used for breeding!
Our breeders will breed towards having dogs that (in order of priority):
1. Breathe without effort after exercise and in warm weather and that have a length of muzzle/upper jaw with margin exceeds the minimum measure desired in the standards.
2. Have sufficient length of neck and a well-developed chest with respect to depth and length.
3. Show sound movement and have no clinical signs associated with the musculoskeletal system.
4. Have sound and healthy skin without excessive folds or wrinkles.
5. Originate from breeding lines where natural births are markedly more prevalent than the average for the breed.
6. Are cleared of current recessive diseases known to occur in the breed via DNA testing.
7. Have completed the British Bulldog Health Assessment. Form available from the MDBA.
Exclusion of dogs from a breeding program (in order of priority) if they:
1. Have breathing problems, narrow airways, for instance constrictions of the trachea or throat or dogs that have audible laboured breathing, hyperventilates and/or shows other signs of strained breathing when they have not been subjected to extreme exercise and/or extreme heat. Dogs showing the described problems must not be used for breeding.
2. Have been subjected to surgery of the soft palate, nose or throat. Dogs that have had surgery in the described areas must not be used for breeding.
3. Display anatomical features that may affect breathing stenotic nares , extremely short muzzle etc
4. Show signs of skin problems, for instance itching or infections of the skin. Dogs showing signs of severe skin problems should not to be used in breeding.
5. Have apparent signs of eye problems. Dogs affected by entropion or ectropion should not be used in breeding. Cherry – eye is a common problem in the breed that should be addressed. It is not advisable to mate two dogs with cherry-eye.
6. Have a tight tail or a tail that is growing inwards or have been subjected to surgery of the tail (unless the surgery was due to trauma). Dogs that have a tail that is growing inwards, a tail that covers the anus or have had the tail surgically removed should not be bred.