English bulldog, Pig, sitting on the grass

We’re calling for Crufts to stop showing pugs, bulldogs and French bulldogs

For years, we’ve been increasingly concerned about the normalisation of selective breeding for extreme features in some dog breeds. This has been perpetuated by events like Crufts.

Together with RSPCA, we’re asking Crufts to reconsider showing the most prolific brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds – pugs, bulldogs and French bulldogs – at Crufts.

You can help by signing an open letter to tell The Kennel Club to take a stand against flat-faced, unhealthy breeds.

Sign the open letter

Why Crufts matters?

We’ve been campaigning to improve the breeding of brachycephalic breeds – including pugs, bulldogs and French bulldogs – for years now.

In 2021, we launched our End The Trend campaign, which called for the UK’s leading brands to commit to phasing out the use of any brachycephalic pets in their advertisements. With hundreds of thousands of visitors to Crufts each year and millions more watching from home, Blue Cross believes Crufts contributes to the promotion of the extreme features exhibited by these breeds.

Crufts and The Kennel Club have an opportunity to use the show’s undeniable influence and reach to help change breeding standards rather than endorse the extreme conformations often seen in these dogs.

Without change within the canine community, we won’t reduce the suffering these pets are experiencing.

We know that the world famous show is enjoyed by many, uniting dog lovers globally. Crufts should be a celebration of the dogs that you and we hold dear yet. Sadly, by showing these breeds, it continues to promote extreme physical features and worrying breeding practices, compromising the welfare of these animals.

Sign up in a few easy clicks

We’re asking you to join us and RSPCA in telling Crufts and The Kennel Club to end the cruelty and call for an end to showing pugs, bulldogs and French bulldogs at Crufts.

We want to do everything we can to support the people who love these breeds, but we also know that breeders must improve the welfare of future generations of dogs so that they no longer suffer.

Sign the open letter to The Kennel Club

Pig, the English bulldog walking on the grass

English bulldog, Pig

When our team rescued Pig from the stable he called home, they thought he was dead. Sadly, he had a multitude of breed-related problems and had to be put to sleep.

Our concerns with brachycephalic breeds

While we know that not all brachycephalic dogs will suffer from health problems relating to breeding, too many do. And as a charity we’re seeing many of these pets who need lifesaving treatment.

Common health issues include:

  • breathing problems, including Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
  • heart problems
  • teeth problems
  • skin and ear problems
  • spinal deformities
  • eye problems
  • mating and giving birth issues and complications
  • neurological (brain) problems

Shockingly, some brachycephalic breeds have a significantly shorter lifespan than others. A 2022 study in Scientific Reports revealed that French bulldogs have the shortest estimated life expectancy of a heartbreaking 4.5 years.

In a poll conducted by Savanta and the RSPCA, 78 per cent of people agree that brachycephalic animals should receive mandatory health testing in order to be bred and to compete at Crufts, rising to 82 per cent of those respondents who are familiar with Crufts. Almost three in five 3 in 5 (58 per cent) think that breeds such as bulldogs, French bulldogs and pugs should not be allowed to compete at Crufts.

More on health issues associated with some brachycephalic breeds.

Leonard's legacy

No dog should ever have to fight for breath, let alone chose between letting food or air into their body.

But that’s exactly what poor, sweet Leonard endured every day – all because he was bred to conform to society’s increasing and unknowingly cruel demand for flat-faced dogs.

Read Leonard's full story

— Page last updated 07/03/2023