Standards for breed altered

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The British Kennel Club plans to change the look of the bulldog -- the University of Georgia's iconic mascot -- for a newer, sleeker and healthier breed.

Uga VII, Georgia's iconic mascot, comes from a long line of English bulldogs.  File/Staff
File/Staff
Uga VII, Georgia's iconic mascot, comes from a long line of English bulldogs.

But the decree across the Atlantic cuts no ice with the owners of the Uga line of bulldogs revered by Georgia fans across the sea.

"I don't care what the British do," said Sonny Seiler, owner of the bulldog line that has become the most celebrated sports mascot in the United States.

Critics in England and in the United States, however, said breeders have transformed bulldogs and some other dog breeds into genetic monstrosities prone to chronic disease and sometimes early death.

A BBC documentary in August detailed the illnesses that victimize bulldogs and other breeds because of the way they've been bred to look. The kennel club subsequently announced it would review breed standards.

On Monday, the kennel club unveiled new standards for more than 200 dog breeds -- including the bulldog, which will have longer legs, a trimmer torso, a smoother face and fewer skin folds.

Bulldogs have unique health problems. Like other dog breeds with short faces, bulldogs can have trouble getting air in and out of their lungs because of the structure of their upper respiratory tract, said Chad Schmiedt, a small-animal surgeon at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

The condition makes the dogs' breathing noisy, makes them prone to snoring and restricts their ability to get around, Schmiedt said.

"They're not going to be athletes," he said of the breed that, at Georgia, serves as an on-the-field mascot.

Because bulldogs' heads are so big, their puppies have to be delivered by Cesarean section. And like other breeds with wrinkly skin, bulldogs are often prey to skin infections, he said.

Animal rights groups in the United States praised the British Kennel Club's adoption of healthier animal standards and said the American Kennel Club should follow suit.

"The English bulldog is the poster child for breeding gone awry," said Adam Goldfarb of the Humane Society of the United States.

Seiler's daughter, Swann, who read a Times of London article about the new bulldog appearance standards, said she agreed with one quote from a British opponent of the changes.

"If they start changing the standards, a bulldog will no longer look like a bulldog, as far as I'm concerned, and we think Uga looks great just the way he is. Uga's not a show dog. He's just a good old-fashioned English bulldog who's really a Georgia Bulldog," she said.

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SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/17/09 - 03:45 am
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Next thing you know they'll

Next thing you know they'll be banning what nature does naturally --- Like those Scottish Fold cats; let alone the Manx cats. It's evolution, and in truth what nature does is 10x better than humans messing with breeding and THEIR standards. End line to evolution is making the hardiest breed, and that doesn't come overnight from some lab. Don't like animal breeding, as in their zest to make that perfect show animal, they often kill (yes outright kill) animals they deem as inferior just because of appearances. The result are weaker blood lines that's more disease prone, all for show. The same can be said of human breeding, which will "correct" for appearances what nature does normally -- in his vanity, man will kill our next evolution line, dooming us eventually.

hollyjensen
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hollyjensen 01/17/09 - 03:51 am
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Mr. Seiler should mention

Mr. Seiler should mention that his bulldog that just died only had one descended testicle and that it is considered unethical to breed a dog with such a deformity. Go ahead and change the standards. I really do not think that Sonny is going to change his breeding habits of his overly inbreed "champion" bloodline. What are they teaching at that vet school?

atomicdawg06
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atomicdawg06 01/17/09 - 09:18 am
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You guys should look at

You guys should look at bulldogs from the past... they look nothing like the last few Uga's.... I for one believe we should lean the breed a little. No reason for a fat out of shape dog. Uga should look more muscular and defined. Uga Vi looking deformed. 7 looks like a poster child for dog inbreeding. I am a lofe long UGA supporter and love Uga, but they are making an un healthy dog >>PERIOD!

chkyplod
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chkyplod 01/17/09 - 10:31 am
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cute mascot or not...fact is,

cute mascot or not...fact is, those bulldogs would not survive on their own if not for almost 100 percent human intervention...that dog has been changed through genetics into a deformed mess...something needs to be done.

actuarydawg
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actuarydawg 01/17/09 - 10:49 am
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There is an AKC recognized

There is an AKC recognized breed called an Olde English BullDogge. Google it, and you will see that it looks much more like UGA I. It's got longer legs, it's more athletic, slightly longer snout, more weather tolerant, and a much healthier, tougher dog. The breeder who started the line saw some old pictures of Bulldogs and realized that today's English Bulldogs look nothing like they did 100 years ago, so he set out to create a breed with the looks and health of Bulldogs from the past, but the temperment of today's Bulldogs. I have one of these and it is very healthy breed.

rbubp
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rbubp 01/17/09 - 11:24 am
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The Seilers' attitude towards

The Seilers' attitude towards this is disgusting. If they actually CARED about the dogs they breed, they would be leading the charge for proper breeding practices and health improvements.

I am sickened by their lack of concern for the animals they claim to love.

--UGA grad '93

mable8
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mable8 01/17/09 - 11:59 am
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Is changing the breed really

Is changing the breed really necessary? Quite frankly, Mr Shearer, I think your article is disgusting because you cannot accept what nature intended. Eventually, concepts like yours begin to zero in on humans--do you propose to attempt to breed humans so they have a life span of 50 years because they develop wrinkles, sagging jowls, and loss of hair texture due to aging? If you are upset with the bulldog's current appearance, then either find a new animal to represent UGA or accept the dog as it is. Far as I'm concerned, you're just another junk scientist!

rbubp
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rbubp 01/17/09 - 02:03 pm
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Mable8, if you knew anything

Mable8, if you knew anything dog breeding, genetics, or reading (try this article) you could have figured out that nature is being modified in current practice, i.e., what the Seilers and all other breeders are doing right now. How do you think all the dogs end up white? Because white dogs are attracted to other white dogs? Are bulldogs only attracted to other bulldogs? Has it occurred to you that "standards" for a breed are a human invention? (Or did you think the dogs did it on their own?)

Sheesh. Gettin' your 'tard on in a BIG way.

mable8
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mable8 01/17/09 - 08:57 pm
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As I said rbubp, if the

As I said rbubp, if the writer doen't like the looks of the mascot now, get another breed. And your reply is as asinine as you are! Guess you got "your 'tard on in a BIC way," because nothing you said makes sense.

rbubp
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rbubp 01/17/09 - 09:23 pm
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Mable, where did the writer

Mable, where did the writer say he doesn't like the looks of the dog? Do you know what dog breeding is and how it is done? Can you actually read?
If you think the writer is expressing an opinion in this piece, and that nothing I said at 1:03 makes sense, I have to guess not.

The state of reading comprehension in this country...Wow. Just...Wow.

SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 01/21/09 - 09:10 pm
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There should be standards for

There should be standards for breeding generational welfare children. They should be more eager to embrace well spoken english and education.

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