The flat face, or brachycephalic skull, is one of the most distinctive features of bulldogs. Some would say their faces and flat noses are one of the main reasons behind their cuteness and popularity, but how did they end up with these flat noses?
Bulldogs have flat noses due to selective breeding. Bulldogs were originally bred for bull baiting, a blood sport in which a bull was tethered to a post, and a dog was released to attack it. The best dogs at this task were those with strong jaws and a compact, powerful build. To enhance these traits, breeders selected for dogs with shorter muzzles, which resulted in flat noses.
So, all the way from bull baiting to today’s selective breeding, bulldogs ended up with these flat noses are characteristic of bulldogs today. The breed has since been refined to be a companion animal, and the short muzzle is now considered a breed standard. However, the short muzzle can also cause health problems in bulldogs, such as difficulty breathing and overheating.
In short, these flat noses and squished faces can make your dog’s life a lot harder and riddled with health problems, and in this article, I’m going to try and discuss some of the ways in which you can try to make your bulldog’s life easier, so stick around.
From Bull Baiting to Selective Breeding – How Bulldogs Got Flat Noses
Both French and English Bulldogs have flat noses because of selective breeding for certain physical characteristics.
In the past, bulldogs were bred for the sport of bullbaiting, in which a bulldog would grab the nose of a bull and hold on until the bull was subdued. This is also how dogs like the Bulldog and Pit Bull got their names.
The breed was selected for traits such as a strong jaw, a large head, and a broad, flat nose that could withstand the force of a bull’s horns. These physical traits became characteristic of the breed and were passed down through successive generations.
Today, bulldogs are no longer used for bullbaiting, but their flat noses remain a distinctive feature of the breed and an important part of the Bulldog’s breed standard in most kennel clubs, including the AKC.
Some breeders have attempted to breed bulldogs with longer noses in an effort to improve their respiratory health, but these efforts have not been universally accepted within the breeding community.
The Problems with Bulldog’s Flat Noses (and Faces)
The short muzzle and flat nose of bulldogs can cause a number of health problems, including:
- Breathing difficulties: Bulldogs can have difficulty breathing because of the shape of their head and the position of their nostrils. This can make it harder for them to cool themselves off and can lead to overheating, especially in hot or humid weather.
- Eye problems: Bulldogs are prone to eye problems because of the shape of their eyes and the way they are set in their head. Their eyes can be prone to irritation, infection, and injury, and they may need special care to prevent these issues.
- Skin problems: Bulldogs are prone to skin problems because of their short, thick coats and the folds of skin on their face. These folds trap dirt and moisture, leading to infections and other skin issues.
- Dental problems: Bulldogs can have dental problems because of their jaws’ shape and their teeth’ position. They may have trouble chewing and may be more prone to tooth loss and gum disease.
- Dry Noses: Dogs with flat noses, such as bulldogs, are more prone to dry noses because of the shape of their head and the position of their nostrils. Thanks to their shorter muzzles and smaller nostrils, it is harder for air to flow through their nasal passages. This can lead to dryness and irritation in the nose. A dry nose is not always a cause for concern in dogs. A dog’s nose can naturally become dry or crusty from time to time, especially if they are in a dry or low-humidity environment.
So, yeah, there are a lot of problems that can be caused by their flat noses. The good news is that there are things you can do that can fix some of these issues, or at least makes them a bit better, and in doing so improve your bulldog’s life quite significantly.
Fixes for Bulldogs’ flat faces and noses
It is possible for bulldogs to undergo surgery to correct some of the problems caused by their flat noses.
One type of surgery that may be performed is called rhinoplasty, which involves reshaping the nose to improve breathing and reduce the risk of respiratory problems. This surgery is typically performed by a veterinarian who specializes in plastic surgery and can be a complex and expensive procedure.
Other types of surgery that may be performed on bulldogs to address health problems related to their flat noses include:
- Eyelid surgery: Bulldogs may need surgery to correct problems with their eyelids, such as entropion (inward-turning eyelids) or ectropion (outward-turning eyelids). These problems can cause irritation and discomfort and may lead to eye infections if left untreated.
- Skin surgery: Bulldogs may need surgery to remove excess skin folds or to address skin infections or other skin problems.
- Dental surgery: Bulldogs may need surgery to remove infected or damaged teeth or to address other dental issues.
Of course, these types of surgeries are not always necessary for bulldogs, and the decision to undergo surgery should be made on a case-by-case basis after consultation with a veterinarian.
It is also important to understand that any surgery carries risks and that it may not be possible to completely eliminate all the health problems associated with a bulldog’s flat nose.
In conclusion, bulldogs’ flat faces may cause health issues such as breathing, eye, skin, and dental problems. It is important for bulldog owners to be aware of these potential problems and to work with a veterinarian to address them. While surgery may be an option for some bulldogs, it is not a cure-all and should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Overall, it is important to consider bulldogs’ individual needs and characteristics when caring for them.
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