In our fast-paced, technological world, there are thousands of inventions every day. Some of them are life-changing, but many simply raise the question “Why the hell does this exist?”
Fortunately, society has a system of supply and demand that weed most of them out.
Nature has a similar system: it’s called Survival of the Fittest, or Evolution.
However, every once and a while, something will break through the Laws of Nature and entertain/confuse everyone in the process. In the world of economics, it would be the Snuggie. In the world of dog breeding, we meet the French Bulldog.
A few years ago my mom excitedly told me she was getting a new dog. Then she showed me this picture…
“Um… are you sure that’s a dog?” I asked. It looked like a Goomba from Super Mario.
“Of course it’s a dog! Isn’t she adorable?”
“Uh, yeah. Adorable,” I said while thinking “That’s the ugliest effing dog I’ve ever seen.”
But once I met Magoo, everything changed. She instantly won me over with the sheer ridiculousness of her existence, and now French Bulldogs are my favorite breed.
The more I’ve learned about them, the more amazed I am that they actually exist. They’ve essentially broken every law of Evolution. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll break Evolution down into three basic elements: Reproduction, Survival, and Adaptability.
Quick History: French Bulldogs were bred during the Industrial Revolution to keep workers company while they slaved away at factories. Breeders wanted loyal, highly-protective companion dogs, so the obvious choice was a Bulldog. However, they were too big to fit in the factories, so breeders made them smaller, and Frenchies were born. The side effects of this selective breeding led to problems in the breed today.
Here’s where French Bulldogs really fall short:
There are two basic acts for successful reproduction: having sex and giving birth. French bulldogs can do neither. The males’ legs are too short to mount the females, so most Frenchies are conceived by artificial insemination.
Then, once the female is pregnant, she can’t actually give birth because the puppies’ heads are too wide. Over 80% of French Bulldogs are birthed by C section.
Okay, so assuming that these dogs are conceived and birthed properly, what are their chances of survival?
Apparently, not too great. When a human baby is born, it immediately cries in order to start breathing properly. Let’s go ahead and call breathing the #1 Survival Function. How do French Bulldogs perform in this area? Absolutely terribly!
Since Frenchies are bred to have flat faces, their nostrils don’t work very well. Most of them have to get plastic surgery to widen their nasal cavities in order to breathe.
My mom recently got another French Bulldog, Bunny.
(sidenote: omg she’s soooo cute I’m absolutely in love)
When my mom took Bunny to the veterinarian last week, she joked that when Bunny runs, it looks like her feet don’t even touch the ground.
The vet replied “Yeah, you know, it looks like she’s missing some vertebrae. And she doesn’t have a hip socket.”
So basically these dogs are missing vital body parts, and the ones they do have don’t even work. Is Darwin rolling over in his grave yet?
Once a species has survival down, they need to adapt to their ever-changing environment. Mammals have one huge advantage here: we’re warm-blooded, so we can survive in different temperatures. However, French Bulldogs didn’t quite get that skill. They must be kept between 50 – 70 degrees F, or they’ll die. Yep, they will literally die.
In fact, they’re banned from most commercial airlines because so many have died from overheating on planes.
Let’s create a hypothetical scenario here. Pretend there’s a French Bulldog (we’ll call him Sparky) locked out of his house one day. HIs owners forgot to bring him inside, and didn’t think it would get so hot. It’s 75 degrees, and Sparky starts to pant. He knows he can’t handle the heat, and he’s worried.
Fortunately the house has a swimming pool! The water is cool, and it might save Sparky’s life. Should he jump in the water?
If you said “yes,” then you just killed Sparky. That’s right: Frenchies can’t swim. At all.
Their barrel chests are so heavy that they’d immediately sink to the bottom and drown.
Poor Sparky never had a chance.
They can’t have sex.
They can’t give birth.
They can’t breathe.
They can’t regulate their body temperature.
They can’t swim.
But what can they do?
They can be endlessly entertaining, insanely loving, super adorable, hilarious, ridiculous in the best way, loyal, and just overall amazing dogs.
So I know we’ve screwed them over by breeding them this way, but I’m still super in love and happy that they exist in complete imperfection.