British Bulldog (High Risk Brachycephalic Breed)
British bulldogs are amongst the more popular breeds in Australia. Bulldogs originated originally from a Mastiff type Breed the Olde English bulldog which was commonly used in the sport of Bull-Baiting until it was outlawed in 1835.
However Bulldogs are also in the top three worst affected brachycephalic breeds for BOAS and have a significant number of other hereditary problems. The UK Bulldog Breed Council website lists the average life span of the breed as 8–10 years but many pass away younger due to hereditary conditions and a 2004 UK survey of 180 Bulldog deaths puts the median age at death at 6 years 3 months.
Bulldogs are even tempered and affectionate but can also readily suffer from anxiety, including separation anxiety, which can quickly become a deadly combination even in moderately affected BOAS dogs during transport.
All Bulldogs are Brachycephalic and all have BOAS to some degree. BOAS is believed be clinically significant in 45% of them and it is known that signs of BOAS are now commonly evident from 5-6 months of age. It is recommended that Bulldogs are tested early and where required have corrective surgery at around 10-12 months of age. In a small number of cases, particularly in British Bulldogs, surgery will be recommended as early as 4 months of age, specifically due to the condition hypoplastic trachea.
Health issues common to Bulldogs are:
- Brachycephalic obstructed Airways Syndrome including:
- Stenotic nares
- Long soft palates (extending unnaturally into the larynx)
- Swollen laryngeal saccules (further occluding the windpipe)
- Swollen tonsils (restricting the room for these dogs to breathe)
- Thickened palates (restricting the room for these dogs to breathe)
- Hypertrophic intranasal and caudal aberrant Turbinates
- Hypoplastic tracheas
- Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) (associated with a corkscrew tail)
- Environmental, such as Pollen & Mould
- Foods, wheat, corn, soy
- Eye Issues (A variety of issues and more susceptible to Eye injury)
- Skin fold Dermatitis and Skin Infections
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia & Arthritis
- Heart Conditions (multiple types)
- Head shakes (Associated with Low blood sugar & stress)
- Ear Infections and Deafness
- Brain Disorders (Associated with skull shape)
- Birthing Difficulties
As a transporter our priority is the safety of your dog while it is with us. Bulldogs are at the top of the list of high risk dogs due to BOAS. But even for those with lower BOAS risk, in any situation where they become anxious or are stressed for any reason, including due to any other unrelated health issue even mild BOAS will cause more difficulty breathing and could lead to low oxygenation and increased body temperature which will dangerously exacerbate every problem.
Additionally as Bulldogs age or if they are overweight they tend to be less tolerant of heat and may have a range of chronic health issues.
We have no restrictions on the transport of puppies under 4 months of age but all Bulldogs above that age will only be booked for transport with proof that your Pet is fit to travel and following completion of our “Brachycephalic Information & Consent Form – High Risk Breeds” and a conversation with our Customer Service consultants regarding the risks for your particular pet. We will make transport decisions as best we can based on the information provided by the owners but in many cases we will not be prepared to transport Bulldogs on our more common express services.
Please visit our Brachycephalic Breed Policy page for full details
Our Premium services, while more expensive, are better suited to the transport of higher risk dogs as the driver always has less animals (Max 8 at a time) to care for, time for more frequent stops, and all animals are in the van where the driver can hear their breathing, and talk to them at all times.