The Kennel Club is introducing new standards that will allow dog shows to identify French bulldogs who have flat faces and pose a risk to their health.

In an attempt to combat the problem, the dog welfare organization has updated its guidelines and established strict breeding standards. There is a growing concern that ‘Frenchies are being bred with deformed features in order to make them appear ‘cute.  

The new rules that were adopted yesterday will require the brachycephalic dog to show a You should have a well-defined mouth that can be clearly seen in profile.

The Telegraph reports that The Telegraph has also reported that The Telegraph recommends that dogs’ nostrils be visible.

It comes after researchers found demand for ‘flat-faced’ puppies such as French Bulldogs and Pugs, which have been favoured by celebrities in recent years, had soared during the coronavirus pandemic, with searches for them increasing by 225 per cent during April and May 2020. 

French bulldogs bred with extremely flat faces that risk their health will be marked down in dog shows after new guidance by The Kennel Club

French bulldogs that have very flat faces are at risk of their health. Dog shows will now follow new guidelines from The Kennel Club

Bill Lambert, The Kennel Club’s health and welfare expert, stated that certain health issues in French Bulldogs were caused by the increased popularity. However, we remain concerned about how exaggerations perceived as creating a “cute” look or sound have slowly become normalized, even desirable.

“All breed standards are reviewed regularly, informed by breed-specific data on health, and express that physical exaggerations must be avoided.

Here are some things to consider when selecting a French bulldog.

Ensure that the eyes of your dog are not too wide apart.

– Ask to see if there are any spinal problems or back issues in the puppy’s family

Ensure that your nostrils are visible open 

Ask your breeder about the number of litters she has given the mother. A French Bulldog shouldn’t have more than one litter per year. 

 – Ensure the dog has a well-defined muzzle that can also ‘be clearly viewed in profile 

Ask your vet if you puppy has had a physical exam.

Avoid dogs with a flat, exaggerated muzzle. 

Kennel Clubs states that it is crucial to understand the potential health risks of your breed when purchasing puppies or breeding.

The organisation suggests that breeders employ DNA screening and breeding schemes to address these problems.

“These modifications to the French Bulldog Breed Standard aim to ensure that it is not misinterpreted. Dogs are bred with their welfare and health as their absolute priority.

“Breed standards may not be a standard for all breeds, but they do send the message that it is important to ensure that your puppy does not possess exaggerated characteristics. 

‘We hope that this, alongside our Respiratory Function Grading Scheme for breeders and owners – and the further research into brachycephalic health which we’ve committed to with the University of Cambridge – will help to improve and protect the breed’s health.’

Dr Laura Hamilton is a veterinary surgeon who also serves as the French Bulldog Breed Coordinator. She said: “Many people enjoy owning French Bulldogs. But it’s important that they are well-informed about the complex health issues of this breed and prioritize health over cuteness. It’s essential that breeders make sure that healthy puppies are produced.

“These changes to French Bulldog’s breed standard are significant, but social media has often been influential on how dogs look. We urge potential owners to thoroughly research their breed, talk to experts and to find responsible breeders who screen dogs for health issues before they make any major decisions.

Brachycephalic dogs (also known as “flat-faced” due to the short muzzle) can have a variety of health issues, including eye, spine, and skin problems. 

These dogs might also have trouble breathing because of the soft tissue between their throat and nose.

Celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman, Reese Witherspoon and Reese Witherspoon have been promoting the breed in recent years.  

Brachycephalic Working Group has declared that this is one of most urgent welfare problems for UK dogs. 

The last year Statistics from PDSA released by the BWG showed that Google searches on “buying a dog” increased 175 percent in one month of UK lockdown compared with the average.

In recent years the breed has seen a soaring popularity among celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon (pictured with her dog Pepper)

The breed is gaining popularity with celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, pictured here with Pepper her dog.

Dwayne Johnson

Lady Gaga

Dwayne (left) and Lady Gaga, both famous faces, have posted pictures of their French Bulldogs on social media.

As people stayed at home during the April/May 2020 period, searches for French Bulldog puppies through the Kennel Club’s ‘Find a Puppy’ tool increased by 225 percent.

The Kennel Club’s data showed that registered French Bulldogs have increased by 1,682 percentages since 2010.   

BWG previously advised that the increased demand for puppies with flat faces, fueled by pandemics, could contribute to the existing serious welfare and health crisis facing these breeds. 

The organisation also wrote an open letter in 2017 to advertiser urging them not to promote flat-faced dogs.

The Chair of Brachycephalic Working Group Dan O’Neill commented on recent actions: “The BWG is pleased with the amendments to French Bulldog breed standards. We have worked together to make suggestions that are scientifically sound. 

These changes demonstrate that any breed can and should evolve to correct serious health problems associated with conformation. 

“We urge potential owners to put good health and temperament before human desires in choosing a breed. We also encourage more people to “stop and think” about buying flat-faced dogs ”.’.