I think there is no other way to describe the sudden popularity of the bulldog than as one of the greatest tragedies in modern dogs.
A bulldog is an unfortunate beast that is a medley of genetic disorders and physical deformities masquerading as both toughness and cuteness. Such animals can only be celebrated by a culture that has become totally alienated from what a dog actually is.
We live in a world that wants laid-back dogs, and nothing can be more laid-back than a dog that easily overheats and cannot oxygenate itself fully.
Just as the Chinese empress expressed a desire for her pekes to have bent legs to prevent them from wandering off, we created a “tough working dog” that can be easily kept in an apartment.
If this is the future for dogs in this country, then I weep for it.
We’ve modified the ancient wolf to fit our needs, but now we’re pushing it to the limit. We no longer want the actual dog. We just want the caricature, not the real thing.
And you’d think the English bulldog would be the only dog like this, but you can also see the rise of the “exotic bully” from the general pit bull/AmStaff lineage as another attempt to create the same thing.
The professional bulldog world is full of denial. The official talking point is that the only unhealthy bulldogs are bred by puppy millers, but this is a pretty hard dog to puppy mill on a large scale. It is very hard to get bulldogs to mate naturally, and virtually every bulldog that has been born has been delivered via cesarean.
This is not to say that there are no bulldog mills; it’s just they are very uncommon.
And certainly aren’t the main cause of this breed’s problems.
The main cause of this breed’s problem is that to be a good quality bulldog, it has to be deformed in so many ways. The breed standard celebrates deformity over soundness. The only way for them to be sound is for the bulldog fancy to redefine what soundness means!
I see these people in their little groups harping on about the animal rights activists as being the source for all criticism of their breed. The truth is the animal rights activists are always looking for things to pounce on, and most of what they find is bogus.
But every once in a while, a blind pig finds an acorn.
When bulldog fanciers blame all their problems on animal rights activists and refuse to acknowledge simple facts about their dogs, they are feeding the fires of animal rights stupidity even more.
Currently, there are dozen of breeds of “original” or “working” bulldog, most of which are attempts to create dogs that look like those in paintings from a certain time period. It’s a noble effort, but in the end, the majority of the world’s bulldogs will be in this breed.
I don’t think it’s ever going to be fixed, but its popularity is likely to be fleeting. Most people can’t afford the vet bills or the anguish that comes from losing a dog that dies before the age of 5 or 6.
And the dog will remain owned only by the true believers, who sound less and less rational as time moves on.
So the bulldog will go on and on, a creature with no purpose other than what its looks symbolize. To be sure, it is a monstrosity, but one that exists solely because we wish to keep it this way.
This is a breed that should have been removed from the multi-breed registries ages ago. It was the first breed to be utterly deformed through show ring fads. It was one of the first breeds to be shown in 1870’s in the new dog fancy system, and by the 1890’s, there were already complaints about how poorly the animal moved and how hard it was to breed.
Those complaints, like this one, will fall on deaf ears. The keepers of the bulldog know it all already.
They will continue down their well-worn path. It is a path that doesn’t lead to better dogs.
It leads to tragedy.