A few years ago you'd have to look far and wide to find a French Bulldog, and most people wouldn't even recognize the breed.
They're not historically popular dogs, but recent celebrity trends are changing that. Lady Gaga, Dwayne Johnson, Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Jackman - the list of celebrities who enjoy sharing pictures of their Frenchies is never-ending.
Celebrities loving their dogs isn't a problem; however, animal shelters around the country are feeling the strain caused by the new fad.
While Frenchies and other related breeds like English Bulldogs and Pugs are being toted around in designer handbags, they're turning into a status symbol. People see one celebrity after another buy into the snub-nosed breeds, and they catch on to the craze. But unlike copying a celebrity's hairstyle or outfit, Frenchie Fever is having unexpected consequences.
Battersea Dog Home in London reported taking in 29 surrendered French Bulldogs in 2017. That's compared to 11 in 2016 and seven in 2015. The sudden surge of abandoned dogs is at least partly due to people not knowing what they're getting themselves into when they copy their favorite celebrity.
While their big eyes, squishy faces, and happy personalities make them adorable pets, French Bulldogs and other breeds with short noses aren't easy to care for. They're part of a category of dog scientifically called brachycephalic breeds. Their flat faces cause numerous health issues, and excessive breeding has lead to other medical issues.
Bulldogs suffer from breathing difficulties all their lives. Some dogs end up needing corrective surgery to open their restricted airways and prevent them from suffocating. They are known for developing eye ulcers, skin diseases, spinal abnormalities, and allergies. It's also common for them to be unable to give birth naturally.
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In general, they're not a healthy breed. Their medical issues lead to emergency visits to the vet, life-saving surgery, and expensive vet bills. The celebrities that buy snub-nosed breeds have the funds to cover these issues. Their fans, however, often end up with a difficult decision to make. When they can't afford the continued costs of keeping their dogs healthy, animal shelters are forced to pick up where they left off.
Shelters in the U.S. and U.K. are taking in abandoned Frenchies, Bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih Tzus at a higher-than-average rate. The ones lucky enough to belong to millionaire actors, singers, and CEOs enjoy cushy lives complete with their own sponsors and social media accounts. All the others, however, face uncertain futures and the possibility of spending life at a shelter.
Shelter representatives ask everyone to research the breed and consider potential costs before following in their favorite celebrity's footsteps.
Do you think celebrities are contributing to the rise of abandoned Bulldogs? Let us know in the comments.
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