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The health and wellbeing of our Bulldogs is top on the list of priorities as a breeder, and the whole reason we believe so strongly in the Leavitt Bulldog and what it represents. Alongside stable, good temperaments, we are committed to ensuring each dog we bring into our breeding program is of the best health possible.
This not just to ensure the future of the breed and the wellbeing of the dogs, but also to try our best to have a hand in creating dogs that will live a long, healthly and happy life along with their families.
We understand 1st hand the heartbreak involved when it comes to living with a dog with health problems, and do our best to avoid this happening again. We passionatly belive it is always the breeders role to only breed from the healthiest dogs possible, regardless of breed, and to fully utilise the tools and knowledge around them to do so. That begins with structured health screening. This can never garentee perfectly healthy dogs, that unfortuanly is impossible, but its morally the correct and ethical way to breed dogs.
We thoroughly health screen all our Bulldogs for a number of conditions that are easy to test and screen for and should be done as standard by all breeders aswell as the standard testing we are constantly on the lookout for new kinds of health screening and testing we can add to our breeding program.
In order for us to gain breeding approval from the Leavitt Bulldog Association (L.B.A) and for our dogs’ offspring to be registered with the L.B.A we must have the dogs elbow and hip joints x-rayed and independently assessed by independent radiologist who spent 15 years as an OFA (Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals) evaluator. The results are graded and either given approval, or not and excluded from being part of the Leavitt Bulldog future breeding program. We work very closely with other breeders and communicate and share results of this testing, this helps us not only work to improve our own dogs health but give us a clearer idea of the overall picture of the breeds health.
To understand the importance of why breeders should be testing for these serious issues I have explained below how this effects a dogs quality of life and the genetic factors contributing to the condition.
The key to this is not just to test the dogs for health problems but to screen those tests - Have a high standard and stick to that.
Hip dysplasia in Dogs is a disease of the hip in which the ball and socket joint is malformed. This malformation means that the ball portion and its socket don’t properly meet one another, resulting in a joint that rubs and grinds instead of sliding smoothly. It causes pain and discomfort often resulting in lameness and ultimately loss of use of the hip joint.
The hip joint is composed of the ball and the socket. The development of hip dysplasia is determined by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors, though there is a complicated pattern of inheritance for this disorder, with multiple genes involved.
It is clear that hip dysplasia is an inherited, polygenic disorder, meaning that more than one gene
influences the development and transmission of the disease. It is not yet clear however which
genes are responsible, and this is the subject of intense, ongoing research. Both genes and
environment have significant effects on the expression of hip dysplasia. The disease has a
heritability of between 0.25 and 0.48. This means that 25 to 48 percent of the variability in hip
dysplasia development is due to additive genetic factors. We may interpret this to mean that both
genetic and environmental influences impact the progression of the disease.
The knowledge that hip dysplasia has a genetic basis allows us to make decisions about breeding.
Dogs that are known to be dysplastic should not be bred. The mating of two affected dogs
produces an incidence of 75 % in offspring – in other words, 3 out of 4 puppies produced by two
dysplastic dogs will themselves develop hip dysplasia. In contrast, on average only a possible
25 % of offspring of a mating between two healthy dogs will develop hip dysplasia.
By limiting the breeding population to only those dogs with healthy hips, we can lower the
number of new cases of hip dysplasia that will appear in the coming generations.
Elbow dysplasia is a common and often debilitating joint disease affecting many dogs. Affected dogs have a genetic tendency to develop the disease but the severity of the disease can be influenced by other factors such as injury. There is an the elbow dysplasia scoring scheme to identify affected dogs at an early stage so that they could be prevented from breeding and passing the condition to their puppies.
Elbow dysplasia is the collective name for a group of developmental orthopaedic conditions
affecting young dogs of medium and large breeds.
The common conditions of the developing elbow joint are:
- Osteochondrosis of the humeral condyle (OC)
- Fragmentation of the medial coronoid process of the ulna (FCP).
- Ununited anconeal process of the ulna (UAP)
The most usual early sign of elbow dysplasia is lameness in one or both of the front legs. As well as causing elbow pain in their own right, dogs with elbow dysplasia often develop arthritis which may cause severe lameness and stiffness in later life. In many cases the underlying lesion goes undetected either because there are no signs, or because the condition affects both front legs and therefore the lameness is unrecognised by the owner. Elbow dysplasia is easily screened for and all our dogs are screened and never bred from if they score highly and are affected by elbow dysplasia.
Now we rarely get a problem with elbows in the breed.
We are under no false illusions and fully understand that it’s just not possible to breed perfectly healthy dogs all the time, we cannot guarantee perfect specimens its just not possible, and anyone who tell you it is very misleading.
No matter what lengths we go to be sure our breeding stock has all the relevant tests, genetics is just simply impossible to predict accurately as we would like to think. The fact is that there still maybe health issues that we are not prepared for or even necessarily aware of BUT we are ready to face it straight on and prepared to deal with anything that comes our way. Most importantly we keep in contact with our owners and offer unlimited support with anything; That includes any possible health concerns. We will help our owners though any issues they have, and will work with them to get the best help available and give our absolute support.
As breeders all all we can do is to ensure that the Bulldogs we breed are the healthiest we can produce and breed to the best of our abilities and knowledge, and work to improve every time we breed.
We work very closely with our Vet and she has been extremely supportive of our choices and decisions. We offer the opportunity for anyone interested in our Bulldogs to talk directly to our Vet and in fact recommend this if they are researching the breed.
We welcome enquiries and questions regarding the testing and screening we do, please go to the contact page and drop us an email alternatively call us for a chat we will be happy to answer any further questions.
We try very hard not to avoid mention or criticise how other breeders choose to breed, but on a page giving information about canine health it’s very hard not to raise awareness to some of our concerns. These concerns have only come from the large amounts of emails and phone calls we receive on a weekly basis from disgruntled owners that have been ‘caught out’ in the nicest term by many of these Alternative/olde time type breeders.
The main problem that has been bought to our attention is that it seems many of these breeders ‘market and sell’ their dogs as Healthier Alternatives to show bulldogs, and fully vet checked or being bred from healthy parents, this is not always as it seems.....
Because a dog is less exaggerated this doesn’t mean they are healthier. This is because as many of the serious health problems that dogs suffer with are not even visible, but can only be avoided though through testing and x-rays and a structure breeding plan. The fact is that unless you see health tests and results and see relevant paper work for these dogs do not take breeders word for it. The Alternative bulldog ‘market’ is unregulated and un monitored – These dogs are bred with no correct standard or registry to help encourage health and structure so do your research toughly. Do not get caught out buy uneducated and unscrupulous breeders.
If you have any concerns please call, we are always happy to offer advice and guidance.
We do not just screen for health issues to gain breeding aproval from our breed club - Leavitt Bulldog Association there is a strict PASS and FAIL .
If a dog deos not meet a minimum standard for health they are not able to bred under the Leavitt Bulldog name - The dogs offsping can not be registered.
This way the health is not only screened but strictly regulated before breeding; The ensures only the dogs PROVEN to be the best, healthiest examples of the breed go on to breed in the hope the offspring they produce have less chance of genetic health problems
I have taken the explaination below directly from the L.B.A website and it explains how the hips and elbows are graded and the ‘cut off’ grade for breeding approval.
I have also shown a conversion chart that explains how the OFA grade compares to the B.V. A (British Veterinary Association) scoring system.
HIP AND ELBOW EVALUATIONS
We provide OFA evaluation grades.
We will continue to list the hip and elbow grades of your dog's ancestors on our pedigrees. We will list them in number form because of space limitations. The numbers will correspond to the following grade.
HD 0 - Excellent
HD 1 - Good
HD 2 - Fair
HD 3 - Borderline
HD 4 - Mild
HD 5 - Moderate
HD 6 - Severe
Borderline is the worst hip score that will be approved for breeding.
Mild is the threshold where hip dysplasia is present. Dogs with a Borderline rating MUST be bred to a dog with Excellent, Good or Fair hips.
ED 0 - Normal
ED 1 - Mild
ED 2 - Moderate
ED 3 - Severe
Mild is the worst elbow score that will be approved for breeding.
Dogs with a Mild rating MUST be bred to a dog with Good elbows.
We also X-ray and have our dogs spines screened for any abnormalities to gain breeding aproval - Its important that all joints we can possibly screen we do.
The KC bulldog suffers with spine issues so its important we monitor this in our breed. So far our screening is proving very successful and its rarely if at all a problem within the breed. But its still important we continue to ensure the dogs we breed have perfect spines.