Last Updated on January 22, 2022 by Griselda M.
As we now know, Bulldogs are susceptible to many orthopedic problems, but are there Bulldogs with underbites? This state, however rare amongst canines, is definitely troublesome for a dog. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the presence of underbite amongst dogs, especially among Bulldogs, as well as some other orthopedic malformations.
Do Bulldogs Have An Underbite?
Most English and French Bulldogs have an underbite, unfortunately. If you’re wondering why do Bulldogs have an underbite, know that the reason for this is their brachycephalic skull! All Bulldogs, including the American Bulldog, are brachycephalic – meaning that their face is pushed in. Because of this, their upper jaw is a bit shorter than their lower jaw, causing an underbite.
This, however, isn’t the same with all dogs! Depending from Bulldog to Bulldog, that underbite can be obvious and long, while another Bulldog might have a minimal underbite or no underbite at all! American Bulldogs, for example, have less of an underbite than their English and French cousins.
Out of all the Bulldogs, the English one is usually the most susceptible to developing an underbite. This is a genetic trait that’s been inherited by every generation of the breed. Out of all three Bulldog breeds, English Bulldogs have the flattest face. Even though some owners find this cute, vets often have to remind us that it’s everything but!
An underbite is completely useless for a dog, and it can only be harmful – as it very often is. For example, most dogs with underbites have trouble eating. In their ignorance, breeders have decided long ago that this is actually a prominent and sought-after feature of a dog’s face, which is why English Bulldogs nowadays have brachycephalic skulls and problems eating and breathing.
What’s even odder is that even today, with all the knowledge we have, this is still an important characteristic for a Bulldog! Bulldogs with underbites usually get higher scores in dog shows and are more expensive!
Treatment for Bulldog underbite
Unfortunately, there still isn’t a solution for the underbite of a Bulldog. This is a genetic trait, meaning that they develop this form of the skull while they’re still in the womb. The underbite is now a breed standard, which is why breeders most likely won’t be trying to change it any time soon.
If you think that your pup is experiencing health problems because of its underbite, take it to the vet. In most cases, the underbite only causes trouble with eating and drinking (they make a mess). Breathing issues are apparent in the rarest of cases.
Other Bulldog Health Issues
An English Bulldog with underbite actually isn’t having it half-bad if you consider all the health issues these dogs suffer. Unfortunately, Bulldogs are some of the most health problem-ridden dogs in the world! Their problems start when they’re very young, right at birth. The mother usually can’t deliver without a caesarian section for two reasons.
Firstly, these dogs are usually in terrible shape, and giving birth is extremely tiring for them. Secondly, even if the mother could give birth naturally, the skull of the puppy is too large to pass. Because of this, breeders usually have veterinarians deliver the puppy via a caesarian section.
Read more about English Bulldog Paw Problems Symptoms and Treatments.
The size and the shape of their skull is, once again, a direct consequence of their brachycephalic state. Their heads are broad, almost square-like. The issues of a brachycephalic dog usually expand on more than just the shape of their head, though. Brachycephalic dogs usually can’t breathe properly because their airways don’t function well.
This leads to many, many different and serious problems. Firstly, they overheat incredibly easily and they can’t cool down! Most English and French Bulldogs will overheat during the summer without any activity! This puts them at terribly high risk of cardiac arrest, as well as other forms of heart failure.
Their snouts are very short, so they’re usually unable to pant to cool down like other dogs. Their soft palate is usually enlarged in comparison to the soft palate of any other dog, while their oropharynx is much narrower.
The inability to cool down makes them a fairly inactive breed. Since you can’t exercise them (virtually at all), they’re prone to obesity! Obesity, in return, makes it even easier for them to overheat – leading to the development of a vicious cycle. This also puts a lot of stress on their skeletal system, increasing the chances of arthritis.
Believe it or not, their brachycephalic skull also causes dermatological issues! The wrinkling of the skin on their faces can cause a buildup of dirt which can easily get infected. Because of this, most Bulldog owners often wash their dogs’ faces. These skin infections are common because the wrinkles on the face of your dog make the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria usually secrete different compounds that affect your dog’s skin.
Hip dysplasia is another common problem with these pups. Out of all the breeds of dogs in the world, the English Bulldog has the highest rate of hip dysplasia. This is a genetic trait, similar to many other genetic traits, and it lowers the quality of life for these dogs.
Because of these and some other health issues, vets don’t expect Bulldogs to live past 8 years of age. Sadly, these dogs would probably live for longer than that if breeders didn’t continually breed so many harmful genetic traits through generations.
To Sum Up
A French Bulldog with an underbite, or an English Bulldog with one, is a common occurrence. This trait is completely genetic and there isn’t anything you can do about it. A Bulldog jaw forming in this shape isn’t that harmful, though. Usually, it just makes it difficult for them to eat and drink. Sometimes, if the degree of the underbite is too high, it can cause trouble breathing.
The underbite is usually a direct consequence of the brachycephalic condition these dogs are usually in and there’s little you can do about it.
Read more about When Do American Bulldogs Stop Growing?.