The bulldog is the quintessential college mascot. He’s strong, he’s pugnacious, but he’s still cuddly and adorable enough to dress up and take for walks. But according to a recent article published by New York Times Magazine, this perfect breed of mascot is running into some serious trouble.
The story focuses on the practices of breeders of the English bulldog, the breed to which Jack, along with other famous mascots like Yale’s Handsome Dan and UGA’s creatively named Uga, belongs. According to the article, breeders have practiced so much rampant genetic manipulation on English Bulldogs, including inbreeding and targeting “extreme traits,” that English bulldogs as a whole have developed a wide array of health problems. The breed now has a high incidence of respiratory illness, neurological disorders, and difficulties in reproduction and birth, to name a few on the Bulldog’s unusually long list.
The deterioration of the English Bulldog’s health has led some to consider whether continued breeding is ethically sound. And although the article focuses mostly on Uga as its example of a college bulldog, we can’t help but think about the fate of our own poor little Jack. After all, he helps us when we’re stressing about finals, he’s inexplicably gained us street cred as a dangerous school, and he rips apart boxes adorned with opposing teams’ logos like we’ve never seen. We can only hope the poor guy’s health isn’t flailing like those of his relatives.
What the article doesn’t explain, however, is what kind of sick breeding practices led to this. Those are the ones we’d really like to see eradicated.
Photo: Richard J. de la Paz