From Cockapoos and Labradoodles, to Cavachons and Peekapoos, it can seem as though not a day goes by when a new breed of dog isn't being announced. Pet parents, it would appear, have gone batty for breeding and can't get enough of the gorgeous pups created by the exploration and blending of doggy characteristics. However, such experimentation isn't without its critics, and you're no doubt used to hearing arguments for and against crossbreeding. While some consider it to be harmless or a great way to further the domestic dog's domination of our hearts, others are quick to point out the health defects that mixed breeding can cause and the many homeless "mongrel" dogs out there that haven't benefited from a cuter title.
Regardless of which side of the fence you're on, there's little doubt that crossbreeding is unavoidable in some cases. One dog that could benefit from crossbreeding is the English Bulldog. Experts believe that this particular breed has now become so inbred that their line cannot be returned to full health without being crossbred with new bloodlines. A study published in the Canine Genetics and Epidemiology journal has suggested the Olde English Bulldogge as a likely candidate for crossbreeding.
Niels Pedersen, a professor at the University of California and co-author of the paper, told BBC News: "We tried not to be judgmental in our paper. We just said there's a problem here, and if you are going to decide to do something about it, this is what you've got to work with. If you want to re-build the breed, these are the building blocks you have, but they're very few. So if you're using the same old bricks, you're not going to be able to build a new house."
Considered a low-maintenance breed, and beloved for their gentle temperament and squishy features, the English Bulldog has faced years of selective breeding so that their desired physical traits and attributes could be accentuated. However, this breeding process has left the breed with breathing difficulties, skin allergies, and mobility problems – none of which are attractive or healthy for the dogs. The study conducted by Professor Pedersen and his associates aimed to discover whether such abnormalities could be bred out of the Bulldog, but they now believe only crossbreeding can save the breed.
While the concern surrounding selective and crossbreeding will continue, the task of saving the Bulldog must now go ahead. No one knows yet where this breed is heading, but we hope for a positive outcome.