French Bulldogs may look adorable on Instagram but the realities of caring for this pet have led to a rapid rise in the number being abandoned in the UK between 2015 and 2018. When considering the statistics, it may be time to reconsider the breed.
The French Bulldog is a very popular breed among celebrities - Holly Willoughby, The Rock, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Russell Tovey, Millie Mackintosh and Reese Witherspoon have all had pet Frenchies. And there's no denying that they're very cute with their squashed up faces and endearing waddles.
But this cuteness comes at a high price. French Bulldogs suffer from a lot of health problems because of their flat, foreshortened faces. Breathing is a real struggle for them and they often require surgery to clear their airways - which could set owners back around £1700. They're also prone to skin, ear and eye problems which can cost another £5000 a year to treat. Whilst that might be a mere snip for Chelsea-dwellers and movie stars, it's a pretty hefty price for the rest of us.
More and more pups without homes
Battersea Dogs Home has reported that they took in 29 unwanted French Bulldogs between January and August of 2017, compared to 11 in the same period last year and seven in 2015 - and this number seems to be climbing even more. It seems many people are rushing to buy these fashionable dogs to copy their favourite celebs and only realising later that they don't have the means to pay for their expensive upkeep.
And it's not just the cost that should be considered but also the suffering these poor pooches go through. Discussing the plight of French Bulldogs, head vet Shaun Opperman said, "Every breath is an effort. That means continual suffering. Half of these dogs have sleep apnoea. And when the temperature gets above 19 or 20 degrees they start to suffer exponentially, because their mouth swells. They also have a shorter life span.”
All of this raises the question - is it responsible to breed French Bulldogs in the first place?