puppies too young for kennels whilst the owners made an important trip abroad, it was to change my life and attitude to breeding Bulldogs, my parents had bred them and my grandparents owned them, I want to breed healthy ones!!
here is a view of Conner from the side he is 5 months old in this photo
Conner resting on Joshua........................
Everyone loved Conner...here's Charlie with him
he was very loving and gentle...........
Update March 2003
Since creating this website I have been very active in health issues in Bulldogs,I have carried on researching this condition personally,I have been told of many cases worldwide , I believe the cross with the pug creating our screw tail may have bought this in to our dogs
[this is not an exclusive condition to bulldogs,other breeds are affected and actually is present in humans and also in cattle ]
I also think that many bulldogs have a hemi -that causes no problems...I believe tight line breeding in certain lines to be a problem...I believe very short backs to be unhealthy , and likely to have these problems . I think Conner had dwarfism too .
I have become involved in Rescue work and this is also a good research medium as I have seen and looked after many more dogs than anyone would own in the normal lifetime ....I do know that no one intends to breed these disasters just as we never intend to have a disabled child ourselves ,I know that its heartbreaking when you love your bulldog only to find out he is less than perfect , but its selfish to create 'Conners' just to win in the show ring
..I recently heard there is another Conner from the same dogs ......
and the worse case I have seen 'Terry 'is no longer alive , he died aged 3 ..
From the USA I had an e mail asking about a 9 weeks puppy who didn't squat to pee or poo just went on the move......diagnosed with hemivertebrae PTS
September 14th 2004
Its still happening, I have been counselling a family ,a poor bullie baby boy Basil he had it at only 5 months and he has been put to sleep ,my deepest sympathy to the poor family who had bought him as a pet
Breeders please be aware,please try to avoid this condition at all costs
Hemivertebrae will never go away unless we work at it,Pugs and French Bulldogs have a screening programme.
This was a first attempt to identify, if and when Hemivertebrae could be seen in 2018 I do not think that this will help .
Whenever you have to have any dogs in your breeding programme under anesthetic do a spinal Xray and be one of the first responsible breeders to take part in the screening for this condition .
This is the start of the condition becoming aknowledged and steps taken to reduce its incidence .
Hemi vertebrae in some breeds is defined as two or more present the dog must not be bred from
At much personal cost to myself, making myself extremly unpopular just by actively seeking to make everyone aware of hemivertebrae .I think that at least now breeders know about this condition.
I myself even being extremley careful produced Mina who although very much alive and a pet living with my James [yes even after Conner my boy was compassionate enough to take on Mina ] She is living a normal life she just walks like John Wayne!
[UPDATE Unfortunately Mina is no longer alive due to her passing in thr recovery of an Operation to Spay her .]
I xrayed her mother at the time of C section and saw she had a very bad placing of hemi in her spine when Mina went off her legs at 11 weeks ,she was Xrayed and I removed her mother from our breeding programme, she lives with a friend and another rescue now, she was young beautiful and a winner in the show ring showing no outwards signs that all was not well with her spine it hurt me very much to part with her but I knew she could produce another Conner.
The Bulldog Breed Council have now a Health Certificate which will try to eliminate a lot of problems caused by doubling up on faults.
It is a start and vets practices are set up to do this from December 2006 in a spread throughout the country .Approved Vets
It has been a massive task to get vets in the Scheme and to agree to charge £35 per testing .but its done and now we will wait to see if alot of people take it up .
We particularly want people who never show a dog to find this Assessment as it may help them onto a healthy track of breeding for Health .
I have not written for a long time and I feel I want to update you in my thoughts on breeding bulldogs .
First of all I have found that the % of completely free bulldogs spines is so very rare as the actual screw tail are hemivertebrae !!! so it is endemic in the breed which means besides being able to be seen its ressessive behind all dogs in this breed ,I feel at great personal cost to myself[ having to fight off and defend myself against a smear campaign ] I have atleast alerted the breeders who have taken onboard what I discovered , several very reputable breeders have had their breeding stock xrayed,
However I now believe that because no mode of inheritance is certain as its recessive I think any of us can produce it, from the back of any pedigree ,however once it has been seen it is unwise to repeat those linebreeds as the % is much more likely to produce one .
The Health of bulldogs is much improved , dogs can breathe silently and run like any other breed,they still can self whelp in the experienced owners hands but many are too short in back to do this and should go for a c section as soon as the bitch is in definate labour .
A good bulldog friendly vet is essential,and worth their weight in gold , young vets straight out of vets school are NOT bulldog friendly at all , they say the bulldog can't breathe can't run and give birth so shouldn't be bred.
IF you come across a vet like this hot foot it to another practice , join the bulldog club for your area and ask the secretary who is a good bulldog vet or to put you in touch with a breeder who can reccomend one.
Bulldogs are no more troubled with herediatry diseases than any other PEDIGREE DOG in fact some breeds have far more known conditions , but the main area of concerns are being dealt with by expeienced breeders and they are working hard at it !!!
Its been a horrendous year for all pedigree dogs ,year last August a film was broadcast which made all dog breeders look like they forfieted their dogs health to win trophies ! this is just not true.........
The incidence of hemivertebrae has not increased and i think that most breeders have heard of it and are aware of the condition almost ten years on from Conner .
Little Conners spirit is still with me,he sits by my side on his little photo but I feel hes never going to completely leave me whilst I go on with the health of bulldogs in my mind .
The Kennel Club have changed the standard but missed a golden opportunity to ask for inverted or absent tails to be heavily penalised ,inverted tails are the spine and are hemi........but at last breeders are self regulating and trying to breed for mobile tails this will directly improve the spines of bulldogs !!!
This breed is lucky to have at last bought awareness of spinal issues to the attention of its breeders !
Another little angel has become a star in the sky,victim of a cruel condition but saved from a fate of living with incontinence and pain by the kind donation of members of the facebook group Bulldog Rescue and Rehoming UK
your kindness interest and support have been brilliant
The KC have agreed with the reccomendation frrom the Bulldog Breed Council and added to the current Standard that the tail must not be inverted , and is highly undesirable , this in itself will make such a difference to the health of the bulldog not only for Hemivertebrae but for comfort and cleanliness of the dog !!
A horrendous experience has occured again with yet another precious bulldog puppy leaving this world far too soon , read all about little Twinkle the new Star in the Sky this Week
March 2014 updated thoughts ...........
Hemivertbrae has not gone away every few months someone writes to me with the dreaded symptoms I now think its in the breed in the same way as any skeletal feature like nose or tail ,I believe close breeding will bring it to the fore ,but equally so I dont think that Xray can reduce it, I produced one from two clear spine dogs ,so I find the idea of becoming free of this more unlikely as the years pass by.[a long forgotten dream of mine to rid the breed of it ]
If you breed a puppy like this its how you deal with it that matters, doubly incontinent and unable to walk but just drag I feel you have no choice, life like that is no life for a dog the soreness and stench of incontinance with the best will in the world is more than most people can cope with, easy when small puppy and not heavy but whole different scenario as an adult Im telling you offers of homing while a cute puppy are many but they more often than not get passed around .
Breeders should deal with this when it crops up bearing in mind the dogs are from 5 to 7 months before its often apparent,its no ones fault ,not the breeder. not the owner ,not the stud dog, .. there is no blame its a very unfortunate happening best to negotiate and reach agreements .
Two cases have been through the small claims court in the last 18 months,one case found against the breeder quite wrongly ,one found for the breeder but avoid courts at all costs because no one wins except the solicitors .negotioate and find someone who will act as mediator thats the best advice I can give you ... Vicky
NEW THOUGHTS ON THIS SUBJECT scroll down
February 1st 2017
Someone asked me can Hemi just appear or it it inherited?
This is a huge question , I used to believe it was inherited and in my early days thought mating clear to clear would eradicate it .Having spent 15 years studying it , xraying my own dogs working with Peter Janes [Vet now deceased ] the mode of inheritance is familial in the same way as I have my dad’s nose ,it’s not a single gene responsible and I believe it’s in the skeleton, in my experience and this comes from my trips to the USA too, I think about 80% of bulldogs have them somewhere , the actual kinks in the tail are caused by hemi.
The significant area that causes massive issues is in the neck area , those 5 vertebrae can cause damage issues including incontinence and sudden paralysis but in other areas no problems seem to be caused , its a massive subject. Thankfully the incidence is small in our breed of affected.
Pug breeders know their breed has a problem with it and have a code that says if they have more than three should not breed from them . I have produced a hemi puppy from two clear spine dogs, I’ve seen them from curly tails and from straight,
I place no value whatsoever on the heat seeking test the frenchies tried but it is to be commended they are trying
I xrayed my own bitches at their first c section so I knew the state of my bitches spines. Only one produced a hemi but I removed her from the breeding plan she went on in my friends home to be 11 years old and had no back trouble at all .
Its a massive can of worms , I don’t believe we can breed it out as its multifactorial and I believe it’s in the make up of the dog [possibly from the pug cross which is badly documented but i think it’s where Crib and Rosas tail became kinked as its believed pugs were added to get bigger eyes.]. But as we know you can’t cherry pick the good parts and not get the bad . It’s no good casting blame , tight breeding made it worse but the KC have stopped that now ,so no I don’t think it’s able to be bred completely out but avoiding tight breeding with affected stock would be helpful .
So yes it can come from nowhere but I believe it’s in all bulldogs so can pop up .I waged a one woman battle to bring awareness and I did that ,but I don’t believe for one minute we could eradicate it . Bet you wish you hadn’t asked!
This Is a 'Journey' , an archive of discovery, a novice breeders thoughts on learning about a health issue , and its stored as a diary and a reminder of how these problems can affect ordinary people I will say the incidence I know of is much lower than it was, fewer calls to ask about it ,and over the years I have changed my original view......a learning curve
February 2018 updated thoughts
On updating my own website this link is now on there and people can find it , but also they can see my own personal journey trying to understand ,help people and dogs.I dont think this should be lost as its a good example how learning more can change ideas and that its very easy when first discovering any problem to think it can be 'bred out' not in every condition and more research is always needed
I dont think that this condition is as rife in 2018 due to awareness and the way we have reduced close breeding to a level that is healthy , close matings , mum to son dad to daughter are no longer registerable , we have a wonderful tool called MYKC which everyone can asess and look up any dogs details if you have the full Kc name
I believe the condition is still there and a percentage will still suffer but I think that awareness has brought into the open and this has reduced its effect considerably breeders who were unaware now know , and most breeders worth their salt will do their best to produce wonderfui puppies and chart their offsprings journey through life .
Buy a puppy from someone who has stood the test of time who will still be around next week AVOID imports there is no such thing as a cheap dog ,the internet is a wonderful research tool use it before you buy your next family member .