The reason? Bulldog breeders' reluctance to acknowledge and tackle the breed's many health issues.
Full details have yet to be released, but one imagines that the VDH is only going to permit the breeding of Bulldogs that meet a certain criteria from now on. What these criteria will be remains to be revealed. Hopefully some kind of measure of genuine fitness, not just the passing of the usual health/DNA tests - and hopefully also to include some limits of C-Sections as here in the UK.
In the UK after Pedigree Dogs Exposed the Kennel Club made a number of changes to the Bulldog breed standard, despite core resistance from breeders.
The KC also cites the Bulldog Breed Council here in the UK as evidence that Bulldog breeders are pulling together re health. In fact, the Council runs a Health Testing Scheme which encourages breeders to have their dogs checked by a vet, particularly before breeeding. Some breeders and bulldog puppy ads do now menton that their dogs have been checked under the scheme. What they might be a little slower to volunteer is that there is no pass or fail of this test.
I also see the Council has not changed information I highlighted last time I blogged about Bulldogs. Here are some snippets:
Average life expectancy 8-10 years? This is stretching it a bit given that the KC/BSAVA survey in 2004 found the median age of death to be 6.29 years. There is mention of a further 2006 survey on the Breed Council website but no results published there and there is no current health survey.
What is the average life expectancy?
The average life expectancy is between 8 and 10 years, some live much longer past 14 others unfortunately like any living creature can develop illness and reduce its life expectancy.
I find it astonishing that the KC simply doesn't insist that breeds such as the Bulldog that are on the high-profile list run an ongoing health survey - or otherwise make more effort to gather and collate information on health issues, as does the excellent Dachshund Breed Council.
This is weasel-wording - as well as untrue. The Bulldog's mean hip score is 45 (ie. dreadful) and hip dysplasia is most certainly a "general canine disease that the BVA and the KC routinely require or recommend screening." Of course, according to Bulldog breeders, Bulldog hips are a special case to which the normal rules do not apply - ergo they don't need to be tested and they seem to have convinced the KC of this, too. In fact, only three Bulldogs were hip-scored in 2010 - and only 25 have been tested since the hip scheme began. Last year, the KC registered around 5,000 Bulldogs.Are Bulldogs Healthy?The Breed Council with its responsible Breed Clubs and their members have developed a basic voluntary health examination prior to breeding. It should be noted that despite all the negative publicity given to this breed with regard to health, the bulldog does not normally suffer from any one of the general canine diseases that the BVA and the KC routinely require or recommend screening.
The KC does not require Bulldogs bred under the Assured Breeding Scheme to have undergone any tests at all. The KC merely recommends the Council Health Testing Scheme which, of course, the dogs do not actually have to pass.
This despite this breed being - unquestionably - in the top five unhealthiest breeds.
Well yes, they can sometimes mate naturally. But they very often don't - artificial insemination is really common in this breed and it's done to reduce the stress on both dog and bitch. This - and their unnatural conformation - is also why they are handled when they are mated naturally and it can take three to tango: one to hold/support the dog; one to hold/support the bitch and - and, often, one unsqueamish soul to guide the penis into the vagina.Can Bulldogs mate naturally?Of course they can!! Breeders prefer to handle them during mating, as is the case when most pedigree dogs are mated, to ensure there is total control of the situation avoiding any accidental damage occurring to either of the valuable animals involved. There is a great deal of nonsense being printed about this procedure however no artificial means are necessary.
Here's what one outspoken Bulldog breeder has to say on the matter.
Or see for yourself:
The 2004 KC/BSAVA health survey found that more than 85 per cent of the breed is delivered by C-section; the result of breeding for a dog whose conformation is often incompatible with mating or giving birth naturally.
Can Bulldogs give Birth Naturally?Many bulldogs can self whelp, many do, however conditions such as primary inertia and small litters can cause the need for veterinary intervention, some breeders also prefer to trust in today’s skilled veterinarians and modern advances in surgery to avoid any possible whelping problems and request that bulldog puppies are delivered by Caesarean Section. If you have bred puppies before in any other breed it is quite possible to try to safely self whelp a bulldog bitch as your past experience would identify if you needed to seek help. Whelping a Bulldog as your first breeding experience without experienced help is not recommended for novices
From next year, the KC will no longer register puppies from bitches that have had more than two C-sections. This will, hopefully, encourage the breeding of bitches that can free-whelp and it was good to see some notices on the Bulldog benches at Crufts earlier this year boasting that particular dogs had been born or given birth without veterinary intervention. A small glimmer of hope in a breed that continues to cause great concern.
The German Kennel Club's statement on the Bulldog (in German) can be found here.