What I am about to suggest is something rather extreme.
I wouldn’t have deliberately plagiarized Lenin in the title if I were to write something somewhat milquetoast and banal.
But right now, there is a major welfare problem in the world of dogs that I don’t think can be solved with gentle suggestions and politically correct language.
One must be blunt and clear about the problems and the solution.
Right now, I would argue the biggest welfare problem facing domestic dogs in the West can be found in a single breed of dog. I choose to take on this breed not because other breeds are without problems. I choose it because there is no breed with as many problems occurring at once, and in the United States, it is sadly becoming even more popular, despite it being well-known that these dogs have very real issues.
And the problem is even further exacerbated when one discovers that well over 90 percent of the breed’s fanciers have their heads shoved squarely up their arses. They live in a fantasy world in which deformities are actually assets, where they live in the delusion that their dog is tougher than all the rest, when it is indeed perhaps the most fragile.
The breed I’m talking about is the bulldog.
The bulldog is the old baiting and butcher’s dog of yore. A creature much ballyhooed for its legendary courage, which eventually made it a symbol of the British Empire. It is the canine John Bull, and one sort of gets the impression that much of the breed’s current phenotype is really nothing more than attempt to turn much more lithe old bulldog into a caricature of that patriotic figure.
This breed has a lot of health problems and not a single one of them is new. This breed was messed up within twenty years of becoming part of the “dog fancy,” and as it became more and more extreme, there was actually a robust debate about bulldog health even back then. Perhaps most famously, there was a bulldog “walking race” in which the very “typy” dog wound up positively knackered within a mile.
These dogs have problems breathing and cooling themselves efficiently– which tells you they couldn’t possibly be used to bring down an animal the size of a bull! They problems with infections resulting from their inverted tails. The dogs are so top-heavy that they cannot mate without people holding them or the use of a breeding rack, and in the US, many are produced through AI. Almost all bulldog puppies are delivered through C-section, and the breed has the highest percentage of dysplastic hips, according to OFA hips.
And those are but a handful of the problems this breed faces.
And they’ve been going on and on for a century without any degree of improvement.
But there is now another problem that is coming to the fore: This breed is now among the AKC’s most popular.
They have been popularized on “reality television,” and every young idiot who watches too much TV wants one. They are so cute!
This is such a difficult dog to breed that the puppy mills have had a field day with them. They can charge much higher prices for these dogs than all the other mass-produced breeds and crosses. They will sometimes add a bit of boxer to their bulldogs to make them easier whelpers and then dock the puppies’ tails to make them look pure.
So we have a breed that is utterly screwed by its own fanciers and then is getting it double from the really ugly underbelly of the pet market.
Both of these systemic problems mean that it is going to be very hard to help this breed.
It is simply madness and stupidity all around.
This is not to say that there aren’t some good bulldog fanciers out there who are trying to moderate the breed, and there are dozens of breeding programs out there that are trying to produce an “old-fashioned” bulldog.
But these people are fighting an uphill battled against an entrenched idiocracy.
With so many things going against this breed, how can it be saved?
The thing is, I don’t think it can be– not unless there is a very strong cultural revolution against the powers that be.
We must stigmatize anyone who buys this breed as a pet. We must not be nice about it. If you buy a bulldog, you are participating in the deformation of a dog. You are encouraging people to breed unhealthy freaks. You are encouraging the misery of living things, and these living thing suffer every breath they take. In this way, the breeders of the extreme bulldog are worse than dog fighters. Dogs that are bred for fighting suffer. It’s certainly true. However, they don’t spend their entire lives struggling to oxygenate themselves or keep themselves cool.
If you are breeding bulldogs as they currently are, you are worse than Michael Vick.
If you measure the amount of suffering each type of cruelty, the bulldog breeder is encouraging far more than the dog fighter.
And what’s more, there is nothing illegal about what the bulldog breeder does. Indeed, what a bulldog breeder does is celebrated!
It is evil that is not seen as evil, and to steal from Hannah Arendt, it is evil that is banal.
People accept the suffering that bulldogs undergo because it is institutionalized and legitimate.
And it is this legitimacy that we must attack at its core.
The dogs deserve so much more.
The radical step is to say that this breed must stop. If it cannot be put on the road to healthier phenotype, then the breed must be stopped.
I would hate to see it go this far, but it may wind up that all bulldogs will be required by law to be spayed or neutered unless put into a breeding program designed to select for a healthier phenotype.
I wouldn’t want to see this happen, but it seems to me that there is very little that be done to stop the madness.
But at some point, this is where this breed is headed.
And in the end, all dog people of conscience have to say stop.