“Breed For Health. Not Show”: Breeder Is Reengineering French Bulldogs’ Faces To Make Them Healthier


In 1873, only 40 breeds and varieties were known and now there are about 450 recognized dog breeds in the world. The modern breeds were developed unnaturally by humans via artificial selection. Most of them were developed in the last 200 years, because in 1835 dog fighting was banned in England so people transitioned to another competitive sport of dog showing.

A big part in dog shows is the animal’s appearance, so dog breeders were trying to make the dogs look more appealing to the eye. But sometimes that meant sacrificing the dogs’ health. That’s what happened with French bulldogs, who have breathing problems and now people are trying to fix that by reengineering their faces.

One of those people is Chantal van Kruining, who is a veterinary assistant and is passionate about French bulldogs. Her vision is to “Breed for health. Not show” and change the mindset of people so that they care more about their pets’ health instead of their appearance.

More info: Hawbucks

Due to French bulldogs’ anatomy, they suffer from BOAS and a veterinary assistant from the Netherlands is trying to genetically change the breed

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

French Bulldogs have the Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which means that they have difficulty breathing and they start panting with their tongues sticking out even during a light walk. The syndrome is caused by a skull malformation which developed because of selective breeding.

That skull malformation made the nostril openings too narrow. The dogs also have a long soft palate and fairly narrow tracheas, which adds to the breathing problems. It’s serious enough to lead to death.

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

But there are people who really care about this issue, one of them being a veterinary assistant named Chantal van Kruining from the Netherlands. She fell in love with the breed, but her heart was broken seeing all the pain her dogs were in because they were born with a body type that was designed by humans not taking their health into consideration.

French bulldogs have narrow tracheas and nostril openings, which makes them pant even after a simple walk

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Chantal’s vision is “Breed for health. Not show” and to change dog owners’, breeders’ and dog show judges’ mindset to be more caring about Frenchies’ health

Image credits: MattyIce6969

You may think that the whole problem is in the Frenchie’s short muzzle, but in reality, it’s more complex than this. On Chantal’s website Hawbucks French bulldogs, it is said that the short muzzle is there only for aesthetic purposes, but you can’t tell just from the length of it whether a dog will have breathing problems or not. However, it does make the risk higher.

What would make matters better is if the breeders would ensure that the trachea and throat cavities are wide enough, that the tongue is not too long and thick and that the nostrils are open.

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Because Chantal didn’t want to see French bulldogs suffering anymore she dived right into the breeding world. The sad truth she saw was that breeders didn’t give that much attention to dogs’ health and for Chantal it was so important to change that.

This woman researched genetics, studied abnormalities that occur in the breed, and even though she doesn’t claim to know it all or to be breeding perfect dogs, she feels that she is on the right path.

On her website Chantal says she would like to see French bulldogs more athletic and that can play and run without being out of breath

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Chantal shares her vision of what kind of dog she and her team is hoping to evolve from the French bulldog on Hawbucks French Bulldogs: “We strive for a French bulldog that is built a little more athletic. A French bulldog how they were meant in the beginning of the development of the breed. A dog that can run and play for several hours without trouble. A Frenchie that does not make a sound when breathing, under any circumstance.”

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Another important thing to Chantal is to be transparent, so she makes sure to keep her dog health testing public

Image credits: Krijn de Haas

Chantal is frustrated that dog breeding is surrounded with so much mystery and the breeders hide information about the breed’s health and that it seems some people find these abnormalities in French bulldogs to be normal. That is why the veterinary assistant is so precise with her tests and all the results are available on her website. Transparency is key and she encourages people to ask questions to which she is prepared to answer.

What do you think of Chantal’s efforts to make the breed healthier? Do you feel that French bulldogs will lose a part of their charm if their muzzles are longer? Tell how you feel in the comments down below!

People on the internet were saying that they actually prefer the longer muzzle as it looks healthier

The post “Breed For Health. Not Show”: Breeder Is Reengineering French Bulldogs’ Faces To Make Them Healthier first appeared on Bored Panda.


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