The English Bulldog is the most difficult breed to relocate. International pet relocation requires strict adherence to two unique rule sets: those of the airline and those of the destination country. While English Bulldogs are not typically considered a “dangerous dog breed” by destination countries, they are banned for transport by many major airlines such as Delta & United (United does allow English Bulldogs that are under both 6 mos. & 20 lbs.). This means that even domestic pet relocations involving English Bulldogs often require a ground transport. What is it about the English Bulldog that causes airlines to place embargos on their transportation?
A Brief History
The Old English Bulldog (an extinct breed) was the culmination of various bull-baiting breeds in 19th century England. Most of these dogs resembled slightly smaller versions of the modern American Bulldog. Being bred for both temperament and physical attributes, these bulldogs were expected to ground a bull by grasping its nose and pinning it to the ground. Their shortened muzzles that were developed through selective breeding helped them accomplish this task.
The modern English Bulldog breed was initially bred by a man named Bill George in the mid 1800s. Having gained experience dealing with various bulldogs of the day, Mr. George ultimately miniaturized the original Old English Bulldog to create a smaller, more family friendly companion dog. While the body of the English Bulldog became smaller, shorter, and stouter, the breed kept its large head and shortened muzzle.
English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Pugs are just a few breeds that are considered to be brachycephalic dogs. By definition, brachycephalic dogs have wide, short nasal cavities, with the width of the muzzle being 80% or more than the muzzle’s length. Because dogs rely on panting and their paw pads to cool off in lieu of sweating, brachycephalic breeds are much more susceptible to overheating and breathing problems while travelling by air. During takeoff, when pets might have elevated anxiety, intense breathing involving shortened nasal cavities can be a recipe for disaster. In fact, from 2005 to 2010, 1 in 5 dogs that experienced harm while travelling by air were English Bulldogs. One out of every two dogs that experienced airline related harm in the same five year period was a brachycephalic breed.
Premier Pet Relocation has never had a pet lost or harmed during their travel. Part of this stems from our attention to detail by ensuring that all documentation and instructions are included with the pet. We always advise that crates are zip tied even on domestic trips, so that airline employees are discouraged from violating their own rules by letting pets out of their crates.
But a major reason we have not suffered any pet related injuries on our watch is that we educate owners of brachycephalic breeds about the dangers of air travel for their dogs. We advise that owners of English Bulldogs reconsider their pet’s relocation altogether or schedule a custom ground transport with one of our professional relocation specialists. While some brachycephalic breeds can relocate safely on a case by case basis when tarmac temperatures are low, an adult English Bulldog should never travel by air.