The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has issued a statement following the victory of a French Bulldog named Elton at Crufts last week. Elton, hailing from Birmingham, secured Best in Breed and the Utility Group titles at the prestigious dog show.

However, despite scoring 0 on the Kennel Club and University of Cambridge Respiratory Function Grading Scheme, concerns have arisen regarding the dog’s extreme conformation, notably its severely pinched nostrils and ill-defined muzzle.

BVA President, Anna Judson, expressed concern over the recognition given to a French bulldog with such pronounced facial features. Highlighting the breed’s susceptibility to health and welfare issues, including respiratory difficulties, eye problems, and birthing complications, Judson stressed the responsibility of high-profile dog shows like Crufts in promoting the healthiest examples of any breed.

Judson emphasised that the showcasing of dogs with extreme features in such prestigious events can inadvertently fuel demand for these characteristics among prospective owners. This surge in popularity may occur without due consideration for the associated health risks, leading to increased insurance premiums and additional care expenses for flat-faced breeds.

BVA’s #BreedToBreathe Campaign

Amidst these concerns, BVA urges prospective pet owners to prioritise health over aesthetics or social media appeal when selecting a breed. The association advocates seeking guidance from local veterinarians to ensure informed decision-making and stresses the importance of using resources like the free online Puppy Contract to procure puppies from reputable breeders.

BVA’s ongoing #BreedToBreathe campaign seeks collaborative efforts from dog owners, breeders, the show sector, and veterinarians to enhance the health and welfare of brachycephalic breeds like French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, and Pugs. Through initiatives like the UK Brachycephalic Working Group, BVA aims to address population-based health issues within these breeds and promote responsible ownership practices.