Is it unethical to get an English Bulldog?

(62 Posts)
JazzyCardi Tue 04-Mar-14 03:36:50

We have wanted a dog for years and years but have never had the space for one.

We recently moved into a ground floor flat with gardens and expect to be here for at least the next 5 years.

Our dream has always been a boxer but one wouldn't suit our circumstances - mobility limited DP, space restriction, unsecured garden.

Next up is the English Bulldog. As I understand it, they cope well in flats, don't need unsupervised access to a garden, don't require hours of exercise, are good companion dogs and could be a deterrent to intruders - everything we want in a dog!

My initial research left my appalled at the problems the average bulldog is likely to face - breathing issues, cs births required and inability to mate. One source said their life expectancy is only 5 - 8 years!

I started to search for 'healthy bulldogs' and came across 2 different types of results. 1) those that showed images of bulldogs jumping and running and claiming they are perfectly healthy, and 2) Olde English Bulldogges or cross breeds that (to me) looked more aggressive than I'd be comfortable with.

We've considered Staffys but we don't want a dog that might intimidate our neighbours.

Is it unethical to get a bulldog, and if so, does anyone have a suggestion for a breed that might suit our lifestyle?

This will be our first dog btw.

HannahG315 Wed 05-Mar-14 03:02:19

Just found a boxer x that is good with kids apparently on a rescue site if interested?

Might be worth going to the shelter and saying you'd like a puppy, they nearly always get them but they've got waiting lists because they're more likely to be adopted.

I've vowed, the next dog I get will be the biggest, stinkiest, ugliest dog in the shelter to make sure he/ she gets a home- went to a shelter the other day and cried SO much. They did have a ton of teeny cute fuzzy puppies too, but I was scared what was going to happen to the older doggies!!

Unfortunately with a newborn on the way it's going to be years til I can do that, so I understand why you'd want a pup as opposed to a dog that you don't feel you 100% know...

Gosh I've got a lot to say, pregnancy insomnia and a love of dogs I'm afraid.

Let us know what you decide! I do love doggies smilesmilesmile

JazzyCardi Wed 05-Mar-14 03:08:38

Hi Zee. Is there a difference in breeding standards between US and UK EBs?

I didn't know there was an anti-bulldog lobby. I was aware that there were concerns over the health of the breed but I thought activism was geared more towards improving health than stopping breeding altogether. Having said that though I suppose the only way to improve health is to cross breed with another pedigree. The examples I've seen are EB x Staffordshire and I definitely don't want that.

I think I would rather choose a different breed or get a cross-breed from a rescue centre.

I agree with you about the EB character though. All the ones I've known have been fantastic - loyal, funny, gentle, loving companions. They've all been horrendous snorers and farters though and I didn't know before reading some of the sites suggested above that that was caused by their flat faces.

JazzyCardi Wed 05-Mar-14 03:09:51

Wow, sorry about all the cross posts. I took ages typing that because I'm watching TV at the same time. I didn't think anyone else would be up at this time.

I'll have a read now.

TheZeeTeam Wed 05-Mar-14 03:37:38

I actually don't know the difference between the UK and US bulldogs. Whichever, the key to good breeding is not crossing with a Staffie, but taking a good Bulldog, with a longer nose and good breathing tubes, and crossing it with another good bulldog with wide breathing tubes. If you're buying a puppy, look through their nostrils. If the tubes thin out, that's as much as the dog can breathe.

My dog is 40lbs. He is very low to the floor and highly muscular. He can outrun a hare if there is a big enough incentive. Particularly first dibs at the sofa!!!

JazzyCardi Wed 05-Mar-14 03:47:41

Jesse out of interest, how would breeders be able to revert to the original look of the EB? I've read the history and as I understand it they were 'saved' by breeding with pugs in order to remove their working, fierce form and character into a companionable pet. Apologies if I've misunderstood that?

Would breeders have to cross-breed them or would they just use offspring that had the less pronounced features instead of the breed standard competition winners? If so, is the problem being exacerbated by the KC and competition organisers? I'm not excusing the breeders here but asking if KC et al have some responsibility here?

Hannah your mum's pugapoos sounds adorable. I googled some photos but they all look pretty different. Some have taken on the pug coat and the longer legs of the poodle and others are completely the opposite, being fluffy little pugs. All lovely though smile

I'm not sure if a boxer-cross would suit us. DP is obsessed with boxers but I think it's the perfect form that attracts him rather than the character. Sadly the character would be completely unsuitable for our circumstances, hence us deciding against them. Thank you though.

Just to reassure anyone, there's no way we would get a dog without doing thorough research. We have a couple of relatives who have treated pets like tat from a Christmas cracker and it appalls us. One relative has disposed of 2 dogs that had behaviour issues, after 'rescuing' them from backyard breeders, and a cat that one of them developed an allergy to (weirdly they went on to get another cat afterwards) and a bird that was allowed to fly away. Another relative has recently bought 2 dogs and a cat to live with her in her 1 bedroom top floor flat despite there being no lift, no garden and a landlord with a no pet policy. She's a single woman and works full time. It is very unfair.

JazzyCardi Wed 05-Mar-14 03:49:22

Zee he sounds great. Thanks for the info on breeding. Once again I had cross-posted with you.

JazzyCardi Wed 05-Mar-14 04:01:02

I've just seen this Bulldog Rescue South-East.

Am I right in thinking that this is totally ethical. I'd be rescuing a dog, assuming it would fit in with our circs, love it and give it a good home, without contributing to any bad breeding practices?

I won't lie and say that I wouldn't prefer a puppy. I would love a puppy, but this could be better for us because of the benefit of an experienced person's opinion on a dog that has the right temperament for us. (?)

HannahG315 Wed 05-Mar-14 04:14:34

You sound like any dog you meet you'll love so I'd just get out there and meet one! smile

I think it's ethical to get a rescue bull dog as long as you don't then breed. And preach to everyone this message of course wink

Bear in mind if you do get the bulldog, even if it us rescued, you may end up paying the vets bills that accompany the breed, and pet insurance us higher for certain breeds- another reason we were happy to discover our lab was actually a x

HannahG315 Wed 05-Mar-14 04:15:59

*twice I said us meaning is.

JazzyCardi Wed 05-Mar-14 04:26:26

Thanks Hannah. Actually almost all of the dogs available for adoption in my area have an established health condition - arthritis, dermatitis and cleft palette so far.

I would get a quote from an insurance company before going ahead. One thing in these dogs favour is they are so much cheaper than buying from a breeder so the cost of vets/special diets/treatments/insurance could be somewhat off-set. I would investigate thoroughly beforehand though as our funds are limited what with DP being retired.

I will be discussing all of this with DP and DS tomorrow to see what they think. I won't be showing DS any images of the rescue bulldogs though because he loves them and won't let us look at anything else after.

Squirrelsmum Wed 05-Mar-14 05:56:08

Have you looked at an American Bulldog OP?
The story goes that when they were shrinking the EBs down there were strains of the original full sized EBs that had been taken to the US when people were settling there and hence where the American Bulldog came from, and it is as close to the original bulldog as there is. I have found some stuff while googling to support this, the JD Johnson website has more info.
Anyway getting back to the dogs, they are gorgeous creatures, I have had two previous to the boy I have now, if you want a dog that will follow you around and just love you these guys are it. I have found they have always been "my" dog as opposed to the other dogs we have that love all members in the family equally, the ABs just love me and they tolerate the husband and kids. The one I have now is a braccy breather, previous two weren't, but I find that if we keep his exercise to walking and I have a cooling pad that he sleeps on when the weather gets too hot, over 38C type hot. But the best thing for him to do is lie on his back and I drizzle cool water over him. He loves water and all the simple things in life, farting and snoring being the main two, oh and food.
I am seeing an increasing number of ABs on pound and rescue websites now which is sad and I want to bring them all home with me.

JazzyCardi Wed 05-Mar-14 06:36:00

Unfortunately they're just too big Squirrel. They do look an awful lot like the original EB, I agree, so it doesn't surprise me that they are related.

If we get a dog it would have to be one that not only fits in with our circumstances/lifestyle but also would be acceptable to our neighbours. We share the grounds with 10 other households and I would like our dog to fit in - any breed with a bad reputation or intimidating looks would cause me a lot of hassle.

As well as that, it has to be good with cats. We don't have one but next door neighbour has 2 and they like to wander (and poo in my flower beds angry). There's also a little dog upstairs so no dog aggression.

I think my best bet is a rescue dog. I can tell them our needs and see if they can match us.

I've just watched the Pedigree Dogs Exposed documentary and it has really put me off getting any pedigree now. I can barely believe what I've just seen; CKCs with skulls that are too small for their brains' suffering so much they are screaming in agony, Rhodedisian (sp) ridgebacks being culled as healthy puppies because they were born ridge less (even though the ridge is a deformity), a boxer fitting very badly, a repulsive looking (to my tastes) pekinese that won Crufts despite it having to sit on an ice pack to have it's photos taken. It absolutely stinks and I don't want anything to do with it. The in-breeding that's taking place is very questionable. One CKC had sired 34 litters, 22 of them after being diagnosed with the inherited skull deformity. That dog went on to win a prestigious award. It's a disgrace.

I am not ranting at you Squirrels. Just ranting in general about the state of this situation.

Squirrelsmum Wed 05-Mar-14 09:27:01

They are a big dog, and yes I totally agree with you regarding the deformities and generally fucked up breeding that is going on.
I have a wolfhound that I found through rescue, I knew when I seen her she was meant to be with us, she's a gem. I hope you find your "gem"

CMOTDibbler Wed 05-Mar-14 10:13:15

How about a whippet or small lurcher? They have very low exercise needs, but equally happy to do lots, snore companionably, and alas theres lots of lurchers that need new homes, often as older puppies when they are found not to hare course.
Mine is v friendly to other dogs, and is cat safe. He's most happy going out for dh to chuck balls for him on our shared green space so he can run round loopily

JazzyCardi Wed 05-Mar-14 10:20:16

Thanks Squirrel

I would be interested in either of those dogs CMOT.

I've had a quick chat with DP this morning and told him about the documentary I watched last night. We've agreed to abandon any ideas about a pedigree pup. He would prefer a rescue pedigree to a cross-breed pup, but would consider an older cross if that's what's available.

boobyooby Wed 05-Mar-14 10:20:44

Most breeds of dog have a UK Club and their secretary and will be able to help you source a reputable breeder. This would be your first information point and they also usually have to deal with rescue side of things too so may be able to find you a rescue dog if you decide you don't want a puppy. Good luck smile

CMOTDibbler Wed 05-Mar-14 21:31:05

A lovely whippet x lurcher boy has just come into EGLR if you look on their FB page...

HRHsherlockssextoy Wed 05-Mar-14 21:40:09

I had a bulldog.

He was the loveliest dog. He lived until 11, which was the same age as my westie.

He was very loveable, other dogs don't like them, neither do vets, loved going for walks, was active.

I researched him, went to shows, meet breeders, so I got myself a lovely puppy. The only issue I ever had with monty, was he'd jar his leg when getting off the settee occasionally. But I was careful never to walk him when it was hot.

I think they are lovely dogs. Have you thought about a rescue bully?

ADishBestEatenCold Wed 05-Mar-14 23:39:40

Nothing special to add re breeds, JazzyCardi, just posting because I wanted to say well done!!

It is great to see someone putting so much time, thought and research into making sure that they chose not only a dog that is right for them, their family, home and lifestyle, but also a dog that is 'ethical' in terms of health, breeding and needs.

I think you'll make a great dog owner! thanks

HannahG315 Thu 06-Mar-14 00:17:13

Completely agree with adishbestservedcold. smile

Can I just add to this?

(I'm not a dog person )

Interesting that you say about the Staffie and not wanting to intimidate the NDN. My DD (now 11.6) spent the first 10+ years of her life terrified of dogs. The only dog she was vaguely comfortable with was a Staffie !

She knew them as The Nanny Dog. Sje got very excited by "Chunky Brindle Staffies" (not excited enough to go and chat to them though)

There are so many 'build' types. Yes I know the papers (yes Daily Mail, I mean you ) always show the huge. tooth filled face of a Staffordshire. But we've seen more that are smaller, daintier, but still reassuringly chubby.
There will be 1000s in Rescue, alot of them family pets.
Worth considering wink

JumpingJackSprat Thu 06-Mar-14 07:51:50

You've written off staffs because of what your neighbours might think but actually they could be a perfect dog for you and there's so many languishing in rescue its ridiculous. Also as someone said upthread greyhounds might be with considering. A relative of mine has two and they are complete couch potatos but will happily go for long walks. Very laid back dogs. I wouldn't underestimate the sheer relentlessness of having a puppy around -my mum got one and I said after that I would never ever get a puppy myself. They need a huge amount of careful socialisation and training to make them into good citizens. Most reputable rescues will work hard on basic training and socialising of their dogs.

MothershipG Thu 06-Mar-14 08:15:45

May I suggest an Affenpinscher, they have monkey like faces but a enough length of nose that they don't suffer from breathing issues. They are small but cobby, not at all delicate. They are happy to walk for miles and just as happy with a stroll around the park. They can be a bit vocal, but if you only have one (very hard wink) that is manageable.

I have 2, I think they are great and mine come from a fantastic ethical, health conscious breeder that I can highly recommend.

Pics!

My boys!

kilmuir Thu 06-Mar-14 08:18:33

Greyhound

ClaimedByMe Thu 06-Mar-14 08:31:23

I was going to post about Staffies but I see 70 and JumpingJack have covered it! my staffie is about 6 (rescue) and I have 2 children 8 & 11 we have had her 18 months, she hasn't destroyed anything, she is just lazy and loyal.

Go meet a few before you decide they are not the dog for you!

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