Over the years at Riverdog, I’ve seen the English Bulldog breed deteriorate. I’ve seen dogs who can hardly walk and breathe, let alone run and jump. Legs too short, faces so wrinkled and concave that breathing was prohibitive, girths and barrels so wide that any movement at all was disfunctional.

These dogs often came to us with behavior problems which were directly related to these health issues. I’ve seen many Bulldogs who could not pay attention to their owners, not because they were stubborn, but because they were so uncomfortable. I’ve seen dogs who did not have the stamina to endure even a 10 minute training session.

You can argue that breeders created these problems in the first place, but I’d rather focus on the good news of today: breeders can also fix problems. They can look critically at the dogs they are creating, observe function and form, compare their dogs to a healthy standard, and then adjust by carefully select breeding pairs to improve function, health, and temperament.

Watch this video of Rudy the Bulldog at the recent Westminster Kennel Club Agility Trial. As you well know, Bulldogs aren’t revered for their delicate, nifty feet, compared to those, say, of the Border Collie. So you don’t see a high number of Bulldogs in agility competitions. Yet Rudy shines and steals the show at this event. This is what Bulldogs are supposed to look like and the athletic ability they are supposed to have: Rudy at Westminster

I love this video because it represents how good dog breeders can bring a breed back from the brink. I am thankful to see breeders restoring Bulldogs to their intended ability, conformation, and health. I pray this for all breeds, and hope you join me.

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