Experts from the U.K.'s Royal Veterinary College are urging animal lovers to stop buying English bulldogs, French bulldogs, and pugs until breeding issues are addressed.
Bulldogs are known for their flat faces, but this trait can cause these dogs lifelong pain and suffering, per a study published in Canine Medicine and Genetics. According to BBC, these findings are why the Royal Veterinary College experts behind the study are asking people to stop buying bulldog breeds. These experts are also dissuading social media users from posting, liking, and promoting photos of bulldogs online.
Bulldog breeds' wrinkled skin, protruding jaw, and squat bodies, also put the dogs' health at risk. Some of the primary health risks caused by a bulldog's distinctive physical traits include eye problems, skin fold infections, and trouble breathing, according to the study.
The study, which compared the health of thousands of pet bulldogs to that of other breeds, found that English bulldogs were twice as likely to develop one or more health disorders in a single year than any other dog breed.
Dr. Dan O'Neill of the Royal Veterinary College, one of the authors of the aforementioned study, understands why animal lovers find bulldogs cute — with their big, bulgy eyes, they remind us of babies, and humans have evolutionarily adapted to see baby-like features as "cute."
"What we deem is cute from the outside, if you're living the life as that dog, is anything but cute," O'Neill told BBC. "It is, in many cases, a lifetime of suffering."
The study found that the bulldog's current body shape, which has evolved from years of selective breeding, has ultimately caused them significant harm that can't be mitigated with responsible pet ownership.
"For breeds such as English bulldogs where many dogs still have extreme conformations (a dog's structure and appearance) with poor innate health, the public has a huge role to play by demanding dogs with moderate and healthier conformations," O'Neill said. "Until then, prospective owners should stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog."