Fact Sheet Dog Breed French Bulldog

Species: Dog
Breed: French Bulldog
QUEN-Fact Sheet Nr. 23-EN
Status: 02.01.2024
Species: Dog
Breed: French Bulldog
QUEN-Fact Sheet Nr. 23-EN
Status: 02.01.2024

1. Description of the animals

FCI breed standard* Nr. 101


External appearance and critical characteristics required by the standard:

According to the FCI breed standard, the French Bulldog should be a small-sized Molossian with a strong, short and stocky build, a snub-nosed face and prick ears. A „natural short tail“ is mentioned. Furthermore it should be a lively, alert, very muscular dog. 

Already many characteristics demanded in the breed standard cause relevant animal welfare issues like the body shape, the length of the nose, which should be proportionally about 1/6 of the total length of the head and the missing, much too short or crippled tail (see below Robinow-like syndrome).

The breed is bred in various smaller and larger breeding associations, within and outside the large umbrella associations.

  • In Germany the TierSchG and the TierSchHuV are legally binding for the assessment of the individual animal.

2.1 Picture 1

French Bulldog.
Picture: QUEN-Archiv

2.1 Picture 2

French Bulldog
Picture: QUEN-Archiv

More pictures can be found here (click on picture):

 3. Problems/syndromes that may be present in the breed

From several problems occurring in this breed and possible diseases, the most important ones are described here. It should be noted: Up to now there is no official data on the frequency of diseases that actually occur.

The following problems/health disorders and dispositions are known to occur frequently in the French Bulldog breed:

(Please also refer to the already existing leaflets on defects of individual body parts such as in particular brachycephaly, tail, BOAS*, ectropion*, entropion).

* in process.

  • Brachycephaly: nasal length below ⅓ of the skull length (see traffic light system NL).
  • Obstruction of the lacrimal duct – visible lacrimal duct.
  • Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) and BOAS-associated pressure-induced reflux gastritis/esophagitis problems and resulting gastrointestinal inflammation.
  • Constricted nostrils: Respiratory distress, impaired thermoregulation.
  • Tumor diseases: Primary brain tumors, lymphoma and others
  • Pulmonary stenosis
  • Ventricular septal defects
  • Malocclusion of the jaws and teeth
  • Stenosis of the external auditory canal and middle ear with or without otitis media
  • Diseases of the eyes: e.g. ectropion, entropion, cherry eye, exophthalmos, strabismus, conjunctivitis,
  • Arachnoid cysts
  • Defects in the skeletal and muscular system: 

             Robinow-like syndrome with defects of the head, spine and tail,
             Spine (vertebral body malformations: wedge, block and butterfly vertebrae,
             intervertebral disc damage (IVDD),
             Scoliosis, lordosis, kyphosis („carp back“),
             Pelvic deformities,
             Hip dysplasia (30-40%, depending on the source ),
             Elbow dysplasia,
             Bone fractures (forelimbs),
             Patellar luxation 

  • Nasal parakeratosis
  • Dystocia, more frequent cesarean births due to feto-pelvic disproportion
  • Skin: intertrigo, atopic dermatitis, skin diseases, demodicosis
  • Anal sac inflammation
  • Carriers of risk genes e.g. degenerative myelopathy in over 20% of the animals, cystinuria type 3

Of several problems and possible diseases occurring in this breed, the most important ones are described here.

4.  Other breeds or animal species that may be affected

Other dog breeds

  • Shortening of the facial skull (brachycephalic phenotype):
    Pug, Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Boxer, Shih-Tzu, English Bulldog, Maltese, Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, Griffon Bruxellois, Affenpinscher and others.
  • Limited thermoregulation due to respiratory problems: Pug, English Bulldog ( see under BOAS).
  • Ectropion: Pug, Boxer, Great Dane, Mastiff, Basset Hound, Newfoundland, Mastino Napoletano, Saint Bernard and others.
  • Entropion: Bloodhound, English Bulldog, Chow Chow, Rottweiler, Shar Pei, many Retrievers.
  • Vertebral body malformations
  • Wedge, butterfly, and block vertebrae: Pug, English Bulldog, Pekingese, Boston    Terrier, and others.
  • Shortened or corkscrew tail: Boston Terrier, English Bulldog
  • Robinow-like syndrome: Besides the French and English Bulldogs and the Boston Terrier, the DVL2 variant in homozygous or heterozygous state could also be found in the following breeds: American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Shih Tzu, American Staffordshire Terrier, Dogue de Bordeaux, Olde English Bulldog, and American Bulldog. In these breeds, the variant also appears to be associated with the brachycephalic phenotype as well as the malformations of the caudal vertebrae. However, unlike the corkscrew tail breeds, the absolute number of vertebrae is not reduced and the tail is not completely malformed.
  • More frequent cesarean births: Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Mastiff, Scottish    Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, German Wirehaired, Clumber Spaniel, Pekingese, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Saint Bernard.
  • Skin fold dermatitis: E.g., Pekingese, English Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Pug, Shar-Pei.

Other animal species

  • Shortening of the facial skull: Persian and Exotic Shorthair cats, Lionhead rabbits.
  • Vertebral body malformations
  • Wedge, butterfly and block vertebrae: Cat
  • Shortened or corkscrew tail: Cat
  • More frequent cesarean births: Cat

5. Clinical signs and disease value of the typical defects mentioned above: Significance/impact on the physical/psychological well-being (burden) of the defect in the individual animal and classification in a burden category *

*The individual breeding-related defects are assigned to different burden categories (BC) depending on their degree of severity. The overall burden category is based on the most severe defect found on the individual animal. The BC system as a further development based on the Swiss model is currently still being developed, so the BC values given here are to be regarded as provisional.

Gough et al (2018) state numerous predispositions to disease for the French Bulldog:

Tumor diseases

Common cause of death in the French Bulldog are tumors of the nervous system (brain tumors), followed by seizures and neurological signs and Cauda Equina symptomatology. 

Physical: Primary brain tumors. Usually these are not operated in dogs.

Psychological: Tumor diseases are sooner or later always associated with pain and suffering, which increasingly affect the animal’s well-being.

Burden category: 3

Shortening of the facial skull (brachycephalic phenotype) 

Physical: Affected animals have massive problems breathing due to the deformation of the nose/mouth/throat area, they fight against a much higher breathing resistance than healthy animals. Due to the thickening of the soft palate, swallowing difficulties and often simultaneous vomiting of just ingested food, as well as choking attacks occur. Disturbances of the sleeping behavior due to respiratory distress while lying down.

A fold running across the bridge of the nose impairs the action of the Mm. levator nasolabialis, pars labialis and M. levator labii superioris and thus hinders breathing.

Psychological: A physiological and species-appropriate life is no longer possible, as affected animals are exposed to the lifelong threat of suffocating. This is evident in the multiple compensatory mechanisms such dogs have adopted to survive. Lying flat on cool surfaces to cool the entire body and hyperextending the neck while sleeping are just two of these signs. Even if affected animals adjust their behavior to the situation (get used to it), it remains a limitation to the quality of life.

Affected dogs are extremely limited in their communication with conspecifics and also in their personal hygiene due to the corresponding vocalizations (rattling, coughing, heavy breathing), which are often misinterpreted as growling by other dogs, as well as due to the physiological conditions (bulging eyes, wrinkled face, missing tail, short back).

Burden category: 3

Obstruction of the lacrimal duct

Physical: Very often the nasolacrimal duct is malformed and deviated in its course due to the breed-related alteration of the facial skull. The length of the nasolacrimal duct is often considerably reduced (by up to 57% compared to normocephalic breeds) and it may show a pronounced slope. This leads to a partial or complete obstruction of the canal, so that tear fluid runs off to the outside. An indication of this defect is a „lacrimal street“ with brownish discolouration of the coat, which, if it also runs in a fold, not infrequently leads to dermatitis. In many cases, the nasolacrimal ducts of affected animals have an additional opening through which the fluid drains into the posterior part of the brain.

Psychological: Depending on the degree of severity, the constant lacrimation causes chronic recurrent inflammation of the skin folds, which can be painful and not insignificantly affect the well-being of the affected animal. In these cases, lifelong intensive care measures and, if necessary, veterinary treatment are required.

Burden category: 2, in connection with brachycephaly: 3

Heart disease

Physical: Pulmonary stenosis. Pulmonary stenosis is a narrowing (stenosis) of the heart valve between the right ventricle and the pulmonary circulation. As a result, the right ventricle must apply more pressure to keep blood flowing into the pulmonary artery. In severe cases, this leads to shortness of breath.

Psychological: Reduction in quality of life due to reduced exercise capacity and shortness of breath.

Burden category: 3

Impaired thermoregulation

Physical: Dogs that are limited in normal respiratory function due to shortening of the facial skull have massive problems with thermoregulation. The physiological process for the generation of evaporative cooling and thus cooling of the dog’s body (respiratory air flows through mucosal surface, lateral nasal gland produces secretion that drips onto the surface of the ventral conch and is distributed by the inhaled air – evaporation due to strong airflow) is no longer present due to drastic reduction of nasal respiration. Therefore, during great excitement or higher external temperature, these animals pant unsuccessfully and cannot regulate their internal body temperature. Collapse and death from overheating may result.

Psychological: The increase of the internal body temperature is noticed by the dog. However, since the dog cannot avert this – subjectively life-threatening – condition, it experiences severe anxiety. In addition, it cannot follow its natural needs (sniffing, exploring, pronounced urge to move), but tries to find effective methods to counteract the life-threatening overheating by lying flat on its belly.

Burden category: 3

Ear disease

Physical: Alteration of the external auditory canal and middle ear that can lead to tympanic cavity effusion as well as secondary infections. The tympanic cavity effusion is usually caused by a markedly thickened bulla tympanica and often occurs bilaterally. Affected dogs often suffer from significantly impaired hearing. Examination by a veterinarian while awake is nearly impossible because affected dogs have a highly constricted ear canal.

Psychological: Reduced hearing restricts the dog in its sensory performance and in its reception of stimuli from the environment as well as in communication with the human bonding partner and conspecifics and can lead to insecurity. In addition, the dog must compensate for this deficiency in other ways.

Burden category: 2-3

Ectropion or medial entropion 

Physical: Both forms occur in the French Bulldog and are mainly caused by a wide palpebral fissure and bulging eyes.

The eyelids often cannot be closed completely and there are moistening disorders of the cornea, which often have to be treated for life with tear gel or even permanently with medication. 

Psychological: The constantly affected conjunctiva and corneal surface (because it is too dry or irritated by the inward rolled eyelid) causes chronic pain in the dog, which leads to a permanent impairment of well-being and pain.

Burden category: 2-3

Vertebral body malformations and tail deformities

Physical: Affected dogs exhibit wedge, butterfly, or block vertebrae, most of which are related to the shortened tail or corkscrew tail, but also to the shortening of the facial skull. Especially high-grade tail deformations correlate highly significantly with preceding wedge vertebrae, affected dogs often also suffer from neurological deficits. Vertebral malformations do not only lead to a non-physiological movement and lameness, but also mean pain for the affected animal, partly due to a complex curvature of the spine, so-called carp back, tendency to disc herniations or neurological deficits as well as ataxia and muscle atrophy. Wording in the breed standard, which can be problematic even without exaggerations of the pedigree characteristics, such as the tolerance of a so-called „corkscrew tail“ : „TAIL: …A kinked, knotted, broken or relatively long tail that does not reach beyond the point of the hocks, is admitted.“ arise from a complete lack of understanding of the situation: corkscrew tails (due to Robinow-like syndrome, caused by a genetic variant in the gene DVL2) are associated with malformations of the spine and favor the development of inflammation of the skin in the skin folds around the tail-base.


Spine: Disc disease and deformities of the spine are usually accompanied by pain and possibly neurological deficits and paralysis, which significantly affect well-being and quality of life. A short back also interferes with grooming and a normal birth process. 

Tail: The dogs are no longer able to reach body orifices (anus and especially the female genitals) or to cover them with the tail and thus protect them or to raise the tail sufficiently when defecating. Even as a means of expression of the natural and species-appropriate behavioral repertoire, a corkscrew tail or a tail missing except for a few vertebrae can hardly or not at all be used.

One of the ways dogs communicate visually with other individuals is by changing the position of various body parts. Control by voluntary muscles allows dogs to display a wide range of postures and positions of body parts that convey different information about the internal state and intentions of the signaler.
Humans have caused changes in the anatomy and morphology of dogs through artificial selection over many years that have reduced the ability of several breeds to give social signals. For example, brachycephalic dogs have lost the flexibility to show different facial expressions and dogs with permanently erect ears or very short tails cannot show part of their behavioral repertoire.

The lack of ability to exercise an instinctive behavioral repertoire is generally subsumed under the term suffering.

Burden category: 3

Skin fold dermatitis

Physical: Inflammation of the skin due to massive skin wrinkling on the face/neck, but also in the tail area especially in corkscrew tails. There is painful redness and inflammation due to bacterial colonization in a warm, moist environment. Severe cases may require surgical correction. The inflamed areas are painful and affected dogs suffer from itching.

Psychological: Affected animals suffer from itching and pain, and the signs often require monitoring and lifelong treatment. Regular veterinary intervention is usually required for this and causes additional stress to the dog.

Burden category: 1-2

Nasal Parakeratosis

Physical: Nasal parakeratosis/hyperkeratosis is a genetic defect that causes the dog’s nose to dry out. A dry, barky layer of skin forms, especially on the upper side (dorsal nasal surface), which cannot be detached. Cracks can form, resulting in infections caused by bacteria. A depigmentation of the originally dark nose leather can also be observed.

First signs appear between 6 months and one year of age. Symptomatic treatment with petroleum jelly, products containing propylene glycol or salicylic acid may help resolve the dry skin. In each case, these are necessary lifelong treatment measures. Although it can be considered a cosmetic condition, it may be complicated by secondary infections and painful, bleeding fissures.

Psychological: Idiopathic nasal para/hyperkeratosis is extremely uncomfortable to painful for dogs whose most sensitive organ is the nose.

Burden category: 2

6. Heredity, genetics, known gene tests, if applicable, average coefficient of inbreeding for the breed (COI), if applicable, Generic Illness Severity Index

Shortening of the facial skull and associated problems with thermoregulation, ear disease, meat-in-the-box syndrome, etc:

Shortening of the facial skull is due to massive selection in breeding practices, thus it is genetic and consists of several components. 

Robinow-like syndrome: 

A genetic variant of the DVL2 gene has been identified that is fixed in French Bulldog, English Bulldog and Boston Terriers and is associated with the breed phenotype. This variant correlates with thoracic and caudal vertebral malformations and, together with previously known variants in the SMCO2 and BMP3 genes, contributes to the brachycephalic phenotype. In this regard, the variant appears to follow an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance, showing incomplete penetrance with respect to thoracic vertebral malformations that differs from purebred individual to purebred individual. However, evidence that the DVL2 variant may also be linked to other health problems, such as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) or congenital heart defects, is still the subject of ongoing research.

Genetic testing: A variant in the DVL2 gene has been identified in French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers (dogs of these three breeds are homozygous for the DVL2/DVL2 variant). A genetic test is available.

Other genetic tests available for the breed:

Chondrodysplasia (CDPA) and -dystrophy (CDDY) (IVDD risk),
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM exon2),
Canine multifocal retinopathy (CMR1),
Congenital Hypothyroidism (CHG),
Hereditary Cataract (HSF4)

Average inbreeding coefficient (COI) of the breed: > 25-30%:

The average degree of inbreeding in French Bulldogs is almost 30%. A sibling cross produces an inbreeding of 25%. Thus, these data show that the average breeding is the genetic equivalent of a full sibling cross. 

A population producing mostly healthy animals would have an inbreeding level of about 5% or less. It is expected that genetic disease and loss of health will occur if the degree of inbreeding is greater than about 10%.

Generic Illness Severity Index/ used here synonymously with burden category:

The Severity of Illness Index as a severity adjustment to diagnosis-related groups:

A severity index was developed by a team of researchers, physicians, and nurses at Johns Hopkins University. It was designed as a medically meaningful generic classification system that can differentiate the severity of illness of hospital inpatients. Both the burden category system from Switzerland and the Generic Illness Severity Index system (Asher et al., 2009) have been based on this.

To determine the severity of illness for an individual case, an evaluator classifies each occurring condition into one of four levels of increasing severity (burden categories) by scoring the animal’s examination findings. Definitions for each of the four levels are provided, and evaluators must be able to distinguish the rationale for selecting the level. The rater then assigns an overall severity score to the animal on a four-point scale by implicitly integrating the scores of the individual defects found on the animal.

In some breeds, such as the French Bulldog, the initial breed-related values already result in an overall category of 3 on a rating scale of 0-3.

7. Diagnosis – Necessary examinations before breeding or exhibition

a. Diagnosis

Shortening of the facial skull and related problems with thermoregulation, ear disease, meat-in-the-box syndrome, etc:

Owners* mostly turn to veterinarian/clinic due to massive breathing problems or problems with food intake. By means of endoscopy, stenoses, constrictions in the nasal vestibule, overlength, thickening of the soft palate, changes in the trachea, as well as excessive tissue in the nose/throat/mouth area can be detected. In addition to the changes in head shape, nostrils, and jaws that can already be detected by inspection, a multidimensional imaging procedure (skull CT) provides clarity.

Genetic test: Robinow-like syndrome.

In severe cases, complex surgical interventions are necessary to relieve the dog of acute respiratory distress. The defects are not curable.

Ear disease:

Often rather an incidental finding, since ear canals are often so narrowed that the eardrum can hardly be visualized. An examination is usually only possible under anesthesia.

Heart disease (pulmonary stenosis, ventricular septal defects):

Heart murmurs can be detected by the veterinarian (especially also in connection with heat intolerance), further examination by means of cardiac ultrasound is necessary.

Patellar luxation: veterinary examination.

Eye diseases (ectropion/entropion, corneal ulcers, cherry eye):

Visible externally and thus easily diagnosed by the vet. Surgery may be necessary depending on severity.

Obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct:

Blockage of the duct system leads to a visible backlog of lacrimal fluid and maceration of the surrounding tissue. On this basis, bacteria or fungi can settle, leading to infection of the surrounding tissue.

Neurologic conditions (primary brain tumors) and skeletal defects such as vertebral body malformations, intervertebral disc damage (IVDD), shortened or corkscrew tail, elbow and hip dysplasia:

Tail visible and palpable from the outside, thus easy to diagnose. Since a malformed tail occurs in a high percentage in conjunction with vertebral body malformations, a skeletal examination under anesthesia using multidimensional imaging techniques is necessary for simultaneous imaging of the elbows, hips and pelvis.

Skin diseases: (Nasal hyperkeratosis, atopy and skin fold dermatitis):

Veterinary diagnostics. In massive cases, removal of excessive skin folds may be necessary.

b. Necessary examinations before breeding or exhibition

Inspection of the individual animal: optical appearance gives first indication of possible underlying defects, e.g. brachycephaly (nose length below ⅓ of the total skull length), missing or strongly shortened (not completely covering the genitals) or crippled tail. These and animals with audible breathing sounds of any severity (BOAS), are to be excluded from breeding and exhibition.

Examination before breeding and exhibition:

  • Respiratory: certified stress test. Frequency: yearly from 24 months of age.
  • Head: dentition, jaws, eyes, ears, skull, brain (CT). Frequency: once from 12 months of age.
  • Skeleton: neck, spine, tail, elbow, hip, pelvis (CT). Frequency one time from 12 months of age.
  • Eyes: opthalmology by veterinary examination. Frequency: yearly.
  • Skin: Adspection by veterinary examination. Frequency: annually.
  • Genetic test: Robinow-like syndrome, genetic inbreeding coefficient. Frequency once before breeding and/or exhibition.

8. Necessary or possible orders from a veterinary point of view

Decisions about breeding or showing bans should be made in connection with the burden category (BC). Depending on the severity and findings, the most severe finding, i.e. the finding that affects the animal the most, and its classification into one of the burden categories (BC) can be decisive for a breeding ban, or the assessment of the context if there are many individual breeding-related defects. If necessary, the individual coefficient of inbreeding of an animal should also be taken into account.

a) necessary orders

Breeding ban for animals in the presence of defects/characteristics of stress category 2 or 3


Breeding ban according to §11b TierSchG for animals with hereditary/breeding defects, especially

  • with alterations of the skeletal system: head, spine, hips, pelvis, elbows.
  • with brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome of any severity (BOAS.)
  • positive genetic test for Robinow-like syndrome. The genotype for DVL2 must be evaluated in conjunction with the clinical picture.
  • with extremely shortened upper jaw, malocclusion of teeth (especially visible teeth with closed mouth) or malocclusion, absence or transverse position of several molars.
  • without a tail of sufficient length (covering the genitalia), free of kinks and free to move, completely suitable for communication with the species.

Limited breeding ban in the presence of defects/traits of burden category 1 and genetic inbreeding coefficient above 20%.

Prohibition of exhibition for all animals with defects of the burden category 2 or 3. With animals, which carry defects/characteristics, which are to be assigned according to the Swiss model to the burden level 2 or 3, neither may be bred, nor may these animals be exhibited. The exhibition of these animals is to be forbidden according to §10 TierSchHuV – in particular in the light of article 20a GG, (possibly in connection with § 16a Abs.1 S.1 TierSchG).

b) possible orders

Order for permanent infertility (sterilization/castration) according to 11b (2)

c) possible orders if above described defects are not present

  • e.g. calculation of the individual COI of the breeding partners
  • Conditions: breeding permit with additional conditions

Please note:

Measures by the competent authority must be recognizably suitable for averting future damage to the affected animal and/or its offspring. With regard to the type and depth of processing of orders and breeding bans, decisions are always made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the competent authority, taking into account the findings on the animal found on site and other circumstances.

9. General assessment of animal welfare law

a) From a veterinary point of view, dogs with the defects/syndromes described above are to be classified as Qualzucht (torture bred breed) in Germany according to §11b TierSchG.

It should be noted that a breeding ban does not only apply if animals are used for breeding which themselves have characteristics relevant to torture breeding (trait carriers), but also if it is known or must be known that an animal used for breeding passes on traits that can lead to one of the disadvantageous changes in the offspring (carriers; in particular animals that have already produced damaged offspring; cf. Binder § 5 ÖTSchG to Z 1).

 – An important indication of a hereditary defect is that a disease or behavioral deviation occurs more frequently in related animals than in the overall population. The fact that the breed or population has proven to be viable over a long period of time does not speak against damage (cf. Lorz/Metzger § 11b paragraph 12).

  – The breeding ban applies irrespective of the subjective factual side, i.e. irrespective of whether the breeder himself recognized or should have recognized the possibility of the damaging consequences (Lorz/Metzger § 11b no. 4). Because of this objective standard of care, he cannot plead lack of subjective knowledge or experience, if the respective knowledge and experience can be expected from a careful breeder of the respective animal species. 

– Hereditary changes in the offspring are also foreseeable even if it is uncertain whether they will only occur in later generations after a generation gap (cf. Goetschel in Kluge § 11b marginal no. 14).

Justification: Findings indicate that, as a result of breeding, the offspring or progeny may, among other things.

  • due to hereditary reasons parts of the body or organs for the use of the species are missing or unsuitable or reshaped and pain, suffering or damage occur as a result (§ 11b para. 1 No. 1 Animal Protection Act). In this case, a functional tail is usually missing and the facial skull (brachycephaly ) is reshaped in such a way that further damage occurs, e.g. to the jaw, dentition, nasolacrimal duct, ears, eyes, soft palate, etc.
  • due to hereditary reasons behavioral disorders associated with suffering occur (§ 11b para. 1 no. 2 a) TierSchG) e.g. inability to exercise innate behavioral repertoire.
  •  husbandry is only possible with pain or avoidable suffering or leads to damage (§ 11b para. 1 no. 2 c) TierSchG) e.g. BOAS syndrome.

The breeding of animals with one or more of the above described defects thus fulfills the facts of torture breeding.

b) In Austria, dogs with the above described defects/syndromes are classified as Qualzucht (torture breeding) according to §5 TSchG.

In particular, it is a violation of § 5 of the Austrian ChG if „breeding is carried out in which it is foreseeable that it will be associated with pain, suffering, damage or fear for the animal or its offspring (Qualzüchtungen), so that as a result, in connection with genetic abnormalities, in particular one or more of the following clinical signs appear in the offspring not only temporarily with significant effects on their health or significantly impair physiological life courses or cause an increased risk of injury“.

Shortening of the facial skull: breeding with dogs suffering from a massive shortening of the facial skull and the problems associated with it, or genetically predisposed to it, is to be qualified as torture breeding, since the following symptom enumerated in § 5 is realized: respiratory distress, malformation of the dentition.

Alteration of the external auditory canal and the middle ear: breeding with dogs suffering from severely stenotic auditory canals or genetically predisposed is to be qualified as torture breeding, since the following signs enumerated in § 5 are realized: Deafness, neurological signs.

Ectropion or entropion: breeding with dogs that suffer from pathological changes of the eyes or are genetically predisposed is to be qualified as torture breeding, because the following signs listed in § 5 are realized: Inflammation of the conjunctiva and/or cornea, blindness.

Vertebral malformations and shortened tail: breeding with dogs suffering from alterations of the tail and spine or are genetically predisposed accordingly is to be qualified as torture breeding, since the following signs enumerated in § 5 are realized: Movement abnormalities.

Skin fold dermatitis: breeding with dogs suffering from skin fold dermatitis or are genetically predisposed accordingly is to be qualified as torture breeding, since the following signs enumerated in § 5 are realized: Inflammation of the skin.

Severe births/caesarean sections: The breeding of French Bulldogs is to be qualified as torture breeding already due to the fact that „it must be assumed with high probability that natural births are not possible“ (Austria. TSchG, 2022).

Detailed legal assessments and/or expert opinions, if already available, can be provided to veterinary offices for official use upon request.

10. Relevant jurisdiction

  1. Germany: OVG Lüneburg, Beschluss v. 25.10.2022, 11 ME 221722
  2. Austria: Not yet.
  3. Switzerland:Not yet.
  4. The Netherlands: Not yet.

11. Order example available?

Yes, several. Are sent to veterinary offices on request or contact is made with the issuing authority.

Examples of orders will be made available to veterinary offices for official use only upon request.

12.  Bibliography/ References/ Links

At this point, only a selection of the defects described above and, if applicable, general literature on breed-related defects in dogs is given. Extensive literature lists on the scientific background will be sent exclusively to veterinary authorities on request.

Note: The description of health problems associated with the defects, for which there is not yet sufficient scientific knowledge, is made against the background of the corresponding experiences of experts from veterinary practice and/or university institutions, as well as publicly freely accessible databases or publications by animal insurances and therefore come from different evidence classes.

Since breeding and exhibitions are international these days, the information usually does not only refer to the prevalence of defects or traits in individual associations, clubs or countries.


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Beaucamp, E.; Beaucamp, S. (2021): Erlaubnistatbestände und -verfahren in der tierschutzrechtlichen Praxis. Nach § 11 Tierschutzgesetz. 1. Auflage. Stuttgart: Verlag W. Kohlhammer (Rechtswissenschaften und Verwaltung Handbücher). 

Binder, R. (2019): Das österreichische Tierschutzrecht. Tierschutzgesetz und Tierversuchsgesetz 2012 mit ausführlicher Kommentierung. 4. Auflage. Wien: Edition Juridica in der MANZ’schen Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung GmbH (Juridica Praxiskommentar).

Gough, A.; Thomas, A.; O’Neill, D. (Hg.) (2018): Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats, 3rd Edition | Wiley

Heissl K. (2017) Klassifikation von kongenitalen Brustwirbelkörpermissbildungen bei Französischen Bulldoggen anhand röntgenologischer und computertomographischer Darstellung und ihr Zusammenhang mit neurologischen Defiziten: Dissertation. Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover.  https://elib.tiho-hannover.de/receive/etd_mods_00000117

Hirt, A.; Maisack, C.; Moritz, J. (2023): Tierschutzgesetz. Kommentar. Mit TierSchHundeV, TierSchNutztV, TierSchVersV, TierSchTrV, EU-Tiertransport-VO, TierSchlV, EU-Tierschlacht-VO : Kommentar. 4. Auflage. München: Verlag Franz Vahlen. 

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