Boromir Bull Terriers ~ New Zealand
HEALTH ISSUES - Every breed of dog has some health issues to be aware of - cross breds potentially have a whole raft of them! Pedigree dog breeders who put in a little effort (and ethics) usually have specific knowledge about what is prevalent in their own breed. The major things currently checked for in Bull Terriers in New Zealand are...
UPC levels (by Urinalysis) to check for signs of Bull Terrier Hereditary Nephritis (checked and certified yearly)
Luxating patella (checked and certified yearly)
Heart disease (checked and certified yearly)
The above conditions are primarily checked by a general veterinarian. If problems are noticed at this check, then the next step is to go to a specialist to get more accurate results.
Polycystic kidney disease is a relatively new problem in the breed, but is easily eradicated in one generation by not breeding from affected animals. The ultrasonic scan needed to identify this disease must be performed by a specialised radiographer. This is a once only check.
Deafness has been recognised as a problem in Bull Terriers since the breed was first established. Bull Terrier Clubs around the world instruct members not to breed from deaf or partially deaf dogs. A test is available to check the hearing of dogs and puppies, called a BAER (Brainstem auditory evoked response) test, which needs to be done only once in the dogs lifetime. This became available in New Zealand in 2002 through the Veterinary department at Massey University, and maybe in time it will become a standard test for breeders to perform. The first litter of Bull Terrier pups to be tested in New Zealand was our 2002 litter from Ch Boromir Body Paint ROM, who (to our relief), all passed in both ears.
If we clear our breeding stock of the above diseases on a regular basis (like a car's warrant of fitness), then we are all doing our 'bit' towards creating a healthier (and consequently happier) dog. The two kidney problems described above are thought to be inherited as autosomal dominant genes, which means that we should never see the problem in the offspring of cleared parents. Heart and patella problems are inherited recessively, which means that it can skip generations. We hope that by only breeding from dogs with good hearts and patellae we will lessen the incidence of these problems in their offspring.
FOOD - We all know that eating fresh, unprocessed food is best for us. The same principal can be applied to our animals. They have not evolved to eat processed food, and all kinds of skin and health problems can be attributed to diet. Bull Terriers do very well on raw meaty bones, tripe and raw veges. We follow the principles of the BARF diet with our pups from weaning to old age. We also prefer to use alternative medicine when we can, but always rely on our vet for advice.
Some people are not keen on dealing with raw meat for their dogs, or don't have a lot of freezer space. We recently came across a high quality dry dog food that is very close to the ideal we are aiming for with our raw feeding. Therefore if raw feeding really isn't for you we recommend trying 'Orijen' pet food. Click on the image to visit their webpage.