US researchers have concluded the English bulldog is so inbred and unhealthy, and the gene pool so small, its survival may now depend on an infusion of new bloodlines from another breed.

Efforts to return the English bulldog to health by using existing bloodlines alone are said to be "questionable".
Efforts to return the English bulldog to health using existing bloodlines alone are said to be “questionable”.

The University of California, Davies researchers studied the DNA of 102 registered English bulldogs – also known as British bulldogs – and published their results in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology.

Suggested solution

One related breed they suggest could be crossed with the English bulldog is the Olde English bulldogge – a US attempt to recreate the healthier working British bulldog of the 1800s.

In their paper, the researchers said efforts to return the breed to health by using existing bloodlines alone were “questionable”.

The authors concluded: “Breeding of the English bulldog for extremes of brachycephaly, chondrodysplasia, skin folding and child-like appearance and personality has required a level of human-directed positive selection that has made the English bulldog both one of the most popular and unhealthiest of dog breeds.”

‘Lacking in diversity’

The researchers added: “A DNA-based assessment of the breed, along a number of parameters, has confirmed the breed is greatly lacking in genetic diversity, which may preclude or minimise the ability of breeders to recreate healthier phenotypes from existing genetic stock, to eliminate deleterious mutations, and to add in new phenotypic traits.”

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of


related content

Study establishes gun dog breeds, such as retrievers, are straining their locomotor systems by carrying shot game back to their owners.

Latest figures from The Kennel Club show brachycephalic breeds now occupy three of the UK’s top six pedigree registration positions.

West Midlands watering hole becomes 24-hour veterinary clinic in £1.3 million investment.

2 mins

The programme for the 2017 VET Festival has been announced, with more than 100 CPD lectures across 10 streams presented by international speakers.

6 mins

A vet has spoken of her astonishment after an x-ray of a Staffordshire bull terrier puppy revealed an 8in kitchen knife lodged inside its body.

5 mins

The benefits of pet ownership on human health may help the NHS reduce costs by nearly £2.45 billion – and vets should be praised for playing their part by keeping the nation’s animals healthy, according to a report.

5 mins