Bulldogs Are Genetic Monstrosities, DNA Study Finds


A bulldog named "Roscoe" who is probably lovely. Image: Flickr/Jim Pennucci
A bulldog named „Roscoe“ who is probably lovely. Image: Flickr/Jim Pennucci
When it comes to dogs, few sights are sadder than a tired bulldog, gasping for precious oxygen. You’ve probably seen one—its watery eyes drooping under folds of skin, while stubby little legs buckle under the weight of its body.

By Sarah Emerson | MOTHERBOARD

Bulldogs are abominations of nature, and it’s definitely our fault.

A new study shows just how deeply we’ve warped this canine’s genetic makeup. Purebred English bulldogs will never be healthy, thanks to generations of calculated inbreeding in pursuit of “ideal” characteristics. The paper’s findings, which were published today in Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, mark the first time the breed’s diversity has ever been investigated on a DNA level, rather than by pedigree.

“Just as it took decades, and maybe centuries, to breed the bulldog to its present form, it may take a very long time to reverse what has been done. English bulldogs have lost so much genetic diversity, and the bad traits have become so universal to the breed, that either such positive traits no longer exist, or that they exist in a very small proportion,” lead author Niels Pedersen, a professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Companion Animal Health, told me.

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