From December 2021, The Kennel Club UK is introducing new rules on breeding standards as an effort to tackle the growing problem of "Frenchies" being bred with 'deformed' features so they can appear cute. Instead of just marking down French bulldogs whose faces are extremely flat - the attribute which could pose health risks for them over time if passed on through genetic coding (genetics)- the UK-based organization has now updated its guidance and made three key points about what constitutes a healthy-looking breed:
- Bat-shaped ears
- Round eyes, set wide apart
- Visibly-opened nostrils on a well-defined muzzle
Thanks to this decision, the breeding of French bulldogs will hopefully get back to the old track. Unfortunately, untrusted breeders were the main ones responsible for this trend. People thought that Frenchies with extremely flat muzzles look cuter, so this craze became popular with many owners. The new rules are targeting the French bulldog’s muzzle that should be well-defined with a profile that can clearly be seen and with open nostrils--just like Frenchies looked like in the past.
We've seen a huge increase in demand for 'flat-faced’ puppies, such as French bulldogs and Pugs during April and May 2020. Their popularity grew by about 200 %, and they’ve been favorited by many celebrities due to their compact size and good-tempered personalities.
Why did the Kennel Club UK change the rules?
French Bulldogs take first place in homes of the UK, and fourth place in homes of the USA. Therefore, we need to be aware that some health problems have increased due to their rise in popularity. Their health problems have increased due to people’s thinking that exaggerating certain features of a dog breed is normal or desirable for them (eg. Too flat muzzle, narrow nostrils).
The main goal of the UK Kennel Club is to send a strong message about the importance of buying a healthy dog. Unfortunately, French bulldogs became prone to many health issues over time thanks to inappropriate breeding. The huge increase in popularity of French bulldogs has caused an imbalance of health problems to develop, and we're extremely concerned about how people perceive exaggerations that create a "cute" look or sound.
Many people love owning a French bulldog, but the public must know about these dogs' complex health concerns. Breeds like this one should prioritize their well-being over what may appear cute to some person or other and breeders will do anything they can for healthy puppies!
In the last few years, social media became influential in how dogs are bred and looked at. Therefore, we urge any future owner to do their research before buying a French bulldog puppy. The best thing to do would be to write a list of questions to ask a breeder:
- Who are the puppy’s parents? Can you see them?
- Ask about the puppy’s health history
- Have the puppies been socialized?
- How many puppies are in the litter?
- Have vaccines been administered to the puppies?
- Does a breeder give you any health guarantee or lifetime support?
- What are you currently feeding the puppies?
Do not buy Frenchies for a small amount of money because they’re often the ’products’ of cruel puppy mills. Such puppies are in poor health and will be prone to different health issues in the future. Therefore, if you’re a responsible person who wants their dog to live for many years, make sure you pay attention to the following:
- Look at the dog’s nostrils. Are they wide opened and the dog breathes normally? Even though Frenchies have brachycephalic skulls, their nostrils should look like in any other dogs with standard muzzles.
- Does a puppy you want to buy breathe noisily even while sleeping or lying?
- Does a Frenchie have an extremely flat muzzle? A properly bred French bulldog should have a well-defined muzzle with nostrils opened.
- Pay attention to the dog’s coat. Does it look shiny and smooth? The coat reveals a lot about the dog’s overall health, care, and nutrition.
- The eyes on a healthy and well-breed Frenchie should be set quite far apart. Prominent eyes are not allowed.
It’s the ultimate time to stop the cruel trend of producing deformed French bulldogs. Thanks to the new rules of the Kennel Club UK, we hope that future owners will be encouraged to place good health, temperament, and quality breeding over a trend for owning a social media desirable flat-faced Frenchie.