French Bulldogs are one of the most sought-after dog breeds, and they seem to keep increasing in popularity. However, most Frenchies are purposely bred with appearance as a priority, which leads to many of them suffering from severe health problems. But luckily, not every French Bulldog breeder is willing to sacrifice health for money.
Chantal Wageveld-van Kruining is a French Bulldog lover who lives in the Netherlands. She has two Frenchies of her own, but when she grew interested in breeding Frenchies, she was disturbed by how other breeders went about it. So, she came up with a solution to make the breed healthier.
The Problem with Frenchies
Over the years, many people have decided that flat faces on dogs are cute. These dogs are known as “brachycephalic dogs,” and their flat faces come at a cost. Of course, these dogs are cute just like every other dog, but their flat faces and short, broad skulls make it harder for them to breathe. Some breeds that fall into this category are Frenchies, Pugs, and Pekingese.
Sadly, these short-faced features are praised in dog shows. Most dog shows focus on the appearance of dogs, regardless of how that appearance affects their health. One example is an AKC show Frenchie named Arnie. His nose is so flat that it’s barely longer than the rest of his face. He struggled to breathe regularly but still won awards in dog shows, encouraging other people to buy flat-faced dogs.
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A popular Reddit post showed Arnie’s profile next to the profile of a Frenchie named Flint. Flint has a significantly longer nose than Arnie, but he’s still an adorable French Bulldog. Flint was bred by Hawbucks French Bulldogs in the Netherlands, which Chantal started.
“Reengineering” the Breed
When Chantal entered the dog breeding world, she was shocked to see that many breeders didn’t care about the dogs’ health if it meant they would look “cuter.” So, she began researching the breed’s health problems to find out how she could breed Frenchies while avoiding those concerns.
To make Frenchies healthier, the little dogs need wide tracheal and throat cavities, open nostrils, and a tongue that isn’t too long or thick. Breeding dogs that have those healthier traits increases the chances of the puppies developing those healthy qualities too. Chantal has successfully bred several litters of Frenchies that have a new look, resulting in them being healthier overall. She always keeps their health testing public.
“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,” Chantal said.
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Hopefully, other Frenchie breeders will see Chantal’s efforts and choose to make a change for the better. But for now, new dog owners must be careful where they get their dogs. Be wary of breeders with a surplus of dogs available, especially if those dogs have extremely flat faces. And remember that even popular breeds like Frenchies end up in rescues and shelters, so please consider adopting a rescue dog.
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