In just one month, London-based animal welfare charity, Mayhew, has had seven French Bulldogs brought in to its rescue.

Each of the dogs was handed into the organisation separately and are aged between one and a half and four-years-old. All the dogs had been used for breeding and had a multitude of health problems including chronic ear infections, skin conditions, dental problems and an inverted tail. Many will have suffered from chronic pain and discomfort and need surgery and treatment.

They are just some of the many brachycephalic pets abandoned either due to ill health or being bred to sell. Flat-faced breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years and more are being bred to buy. The French Bulldog was even named as London’s favourite breed of dog in 2017, according to The Kennel Club.

Animal Welfare Officer, Paul Grimes, with one of the French Bulldogs. Credit: Mayhew

Unfortunately, their popular appearance has led to irresponsible breeders focusing on appearance over health and potential owners don’t always understand the health problems that the breeds suffer.

Mayhew’s Head of Animal Welfare, Zoe Edwards, said, “In the past year, five per cent of the 162 individual breeds Mayhew has dealt with have been brachycephalic. We’ve had more than five times as many brachycephalic breeds brought into us compared to the previous year. This goes to show the popularity and increase of brachycephalic pets that have been bred. The trend for dogs with specific facial features has seen breeders increasingly focused on appearance over health.

“Unfortunately potential owners don’t always understand or are aware of the health problems that brachycephalic breeds often experience.”

Four of the Seven French Bulldogs that were recently brought into Mayhew. Credit: Mayhew

Mayhew’s Head Vet, Dr. Ursula Goetz, said, “Brachycephalic breeds are animals that are bred to have a flat face, which causes their muzzle and nasal aspect to be short, creating a perceived appearance of cuteness. Unfortunately a high percentage of them will have health problems throughout their lives, including eye problems, breathing problems, skin diseases, neurological and dental problems. This can result in a poorer quality of life and will often require veterinary intervention.

“They have exposed eyes that are prone to injury, skin folds on their face that can become inflamed, infected and sometimes cause trauma to their eyes. These animals can also have a variety of breathing problems such as narrow nostrils and relatively large tongues.

“If you are thinking of getting a dog that belongs to a breed that is brachycephalic, it is very important to do your research first, because these are breeds with a special physiology that you should be aware of. At Mayhew we are here to assist and give you advice on the best course of action for your pet.”

The French Bulldogs will be put up for adoption once the vet team is satisfied with their health and wellbeing.

The charity also supports Vet Emma Milne’s ‘Vets Against Brachycephalism‘ campaign, which strives for better animal welfare and is of the opinion that breeding of extremely brachycephalic animals is fundamentally wrong and should be stopped.


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