NEWS AND COMMENT: The labrador retriever is no longer America’s best friend because the French bulldog is now the most popular dog breed surpassing the labrador retriever which held the record for 31 years. And it seems to me that Americans and the Brits in the UK are bewitched by the appearance of this small flat-faced dog with the big, bat ears to the extent that they have failed to recognise the simple fact that the French bulldog can suffer from 21 different genetically inherited diseases compared to the four that can affect the labrador.
And it is a known fact that people choose a dog breed for their appearance and not their health or character. Or let’s put that another way. Of the three categories: appearance, character and health, the first is the most important and the third is the least important in that list.
The same applies to domestic cats by the way and I’m sure the same applies to most other countries on the planet. I’ve simply chosen America because today, it is reported in The Times that the American Kennel Club has told us that 108,000 bat-eared, squashy-faced French bulldogs were newly registered in 2022 beating labradors by more than 21,000.
Patty Sosa, of the French Bull Dog Club of America said: “They are comical, friendly, loving little dogs.”
She added that they were ideal for city living and required little exercise or grooming.
About 25 years ago French bulldogs weren’t on the radar. They were not even in the top 75 most-owned dog breeds in the US and now they account for one in every seven registrations.
They were the most popular dog breed in the UK towards the end of the Covid pandemic because of the long lockdowns and people desiring to adopt a dog and they chose this dog breed above all others. The dachshund came second in that list by the way.
And I am sure that the popularity of this dog breed has been enhanced by celebrity owners such as Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon, Meghan Three Stallion and the US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show a French bulldog named Winston claimed second place. This is a prestigious dog show apparently in the US.
The French Bulldog has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. You may recall robbers stealing Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs when they were with a dog walker who survived the shooting in 2021. The singer offered a $500,000 reward for their return. It proved successful and she was reunited with her pets Koji and Gustav.
Dr. Carrie Stephaniak, a Wisconsin-based vet who is on the French All Dog Club of America’s health committee said they could be very fit and active. Unfortunately, this woman appears to have allowed their member dog breeders to create a companion animal that is inherently unhealthy. And there is a lot of controversy over this and in respect of flat-based cat breeds which are similarly inherently unhealthy.