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Increase of French Bulldog abandonments by 7000 percent

Issue: 22/03/2024

Abandonments of French bulldogs have increased by a staggering 7,000% in the last three years.
The statistics have been released by the RSPCA, amid concerns that the cost-of-living crisis - and the increased costs associated with the breed - are behind the rise.
In 2020, eight dumped French bulldogs were reported to the RSPCA - but in 2021 this increased to 216. The numbers rose again to 422 in 2022, and by 2023 they increased to 582, marking a rise of 7,175% in just three years.
Registrations of French bulldogs by the KC climbed from 9,670 in 2014 to 54,074 in 2021. While registration figures declined to 26,704 in 2023, the French bulldog remained second only to the Labrador.
The RSPCA is urging political parties, as part of its General Election manifesto, to consider a better deal for dogs with legislation prioritising their health and welfare in England - calling on the next Government to tackle changes to dog breeding.
Esme Wheeler, dog expert at the RSPCA, said: “Sadly - and what people may not realise - French bulldogs are prone to health conditions because they are a flat-faced ‘brachycephalic’ breed. This means that they may struggle to breathe because they have small airways, and as a result can need more expensive vet treatment. Many pet-owners may not realise these potentially huge extra costs when they first get their dog.”
The breed can suffer from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) - a lifelong, progressive obstructive airway disease caused by the excess of soft tissues that essentially have nowhere to go since the skeleton has been reduced.


Esme said: “The cost-of-living crisis is one of the biggest barriers to animal welfare and is making it harder for people to be kind to animals. Many pet owners are struggling, even more than last year, which is likely impacting these shocking figures.
“The huge rise in reports of French bulldogs being abandoned could suggest that, after their popularity soared, owners saw the costs stacking up as health problems left them with rising vets fees. Sadly, instead of asking for help, some may have chosen to dump their dog.
“While owners love their pets and want the best for them, we want people to realise this sort of ‘cuteness’ comes with a cost. It is time we say no to designer breeding and prioritise health above looks.” 
Bill Lambert, the health, welfare and breeder services executive at the Kennel Club, said: “The increase in dog abandonments for all breeds is a sad reflection of the changes to post-lockdown lifestyles, ill-considered buying decisions and the lack of training and socialisation that dogs received at that time.”
He expressed surprise that the overall proportion of French bulldogs that had been abandoned was far lower than for the other breeds for which data was shared by RSPCA, at about 2% of the overall registered population size.
Lambert said: “This is unusual – and we suspect the numbers across all rescue centres must be higher – because breeds such as the French bulldog, which rapidly increased in popularity driven by celebrity and social trends, [are] potentially vulnerable to higher abandonment, as irresponsible breeders are quick to fill the demand for puppies from sometimes ill-informed buyers.”

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