How many times have you heard people criticizing others for having bred a Frenchie with some undesirable conformational feature?
And yet the people doing the criticizing might have bred dogs with terrible allergies, or bad temperaments, worst still with various congenital defects.
Assuming that there is no such thing as a “Perfect” French Bulldog, a breeder must make informed and sensible choices, and despite best intentions these choices sometimes turn out to have been the wrong ones.
The trick is to learn from them and not repeat bad choices.
Many health problems in Frenchies are "constitutional", being unwanted side effects of the breed's basic short-faced, chondrodystrophic dwarf structure.
Others are either polygenic or are developmental defects with no significant genetic component.
These are the things that make breeding decisions difficult, and probably the wisest course in breeding is to avoid breeding animals who have or carry known genetic problems that are painful, disabling, lethal, or costly in vet bills; and only with considerable forethought and soul-searching. to breed dogs with less serious conditions but only to individuals who do not have those problems.
We (the owners and breeders), the veterinary profession and the KC want healthier dogs and in breeds with some single-gene recessive diseases, DNA tests are available that will identify normal 'carriers' of the undesirable gene, allowing a breeder to screen potential breeding stock.
But there are only two DNA tests for our Frenchies the DNA HC HSF4 test for Hereditary Cataracts and the DNA test for Degenerative Myelopathy ( DM)
This is where the French Bulldog Health Scheme becomes a valuable tool, as one of the goals of the scheme is to enable breeders to make more informed choices in their selection of breeding stock from the results and knowledge obtained from the tests.
The responsibility remains with the individual to test or not ,as participation in the scheme remains voluntary at the present time.
The majority of Frenchies currently live without any illness which is detrimental to their quality of life.
We should aim to ensure to the best of our ability that every single Frenchie has the opportunity of a healthy life.
We should be actively involved to promote Healthier French Bulldogs but the Scheme need yours support and participation to make a difference to the health of our breed.
KC Breed Health Co-ordinator.