Our Gidget was born July 3, 2018 to a breeder, breeding exotic mini-bulldogs.  After being sold and returned for inability to potty train, the breeder was advised by their veterinarian to euthanize her because she had a urinary tract infection. Thankfully, a rescue organization was notified and stepped in to save her life and we adopted her January 31, 2019.  She was born with a form of dwarfism called osteochondrodysplasia, stage three kidney disease, butterfly spine, spina bifida, a fused tail, and skeletal and muscle weakness in her rear legs. All of these congenital defects are a direct result of inbreeding.  Gidget has a long road ahead, but we know her spunky zest for life will serve her well.  Gidget is a great example of why the public should, “Adopt, Don’t  Shop!”.  The demand for the bulldog breed’s “cute but unhealthy” features leads to breeding programs that produce a high number of deformed and unhealthy dogs in the search for sought after traits like green eyes, tri-color coats, smashed faces and miniature stature. The vast majority of these “defective” dogs are euthanized immediately. Don’t participate in a system that ignores the value of a life!

Welcome to Canine Spina Bifida Warrior! This website was created in honor of Buster, our English bulldog with spina bifida.  Our goal is to provide education for prospective pet parents and raise awareness of the general public to dogs with spina bifida through our personal experiences and research.

Most people aren’t aware that spina bifida can occur in dogs, and before Buster – neither was I.  The vast majority of puppies born with this disease are euthanized upon diagnosis, but our hope is that through education, support, and awareness that this grim statistic can start to change. 

We want to inspire breeders to reach out to rescue groups instead of resorting to euthanasia, and t
o practice responsible breeding practices. These dogs are living creatures, not inventory.


We want to educate veterinarians about rescue groups and sanctuaries that take in spina bifida and special needs dogs.

We want to empower rescue organizations to step up and accept dogs with spina bifida or other special needs, and for the public to feel informed and confident in supporting and helping these rescue groups.


We want to encourage the public to seek out adoptions from rescue organizations, humane societies and shelters. "Shelters have many purebred dogs. For those set on buying a registered purebred, visit a breed rescue group or ethical breeder.” http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_breedersandpetshops.php If someone is dead-set on obtaining a dog from a breeder, we encourage research and diligence to ensure the breeder is registered and practicing responsible and ethical breeding practices.   The best way to locate a responsible breeder is to contact a breed specific organization or a local kennel club.

For the betterment, health and well-being of dogs, please DO NOT buy from a backyard breeder, pet shop, or commercial breeders (puppy mills).


“Backyard breeder" is a term used to describe amateur animal breeders whose breeding is considered substandard, with little or misguided effort towards ethical, selective breeding… The term is used in this sense by the Animal Welfare community, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), larger established breeders and breed clubs in contrast to the more positive term, "reputable breeder" that describes operations that use responsible methodology and practices. It implies either or both of home breeding for non-commercial reasons or a for-profit small commercial operation that does not adhere to good breeding, care and sale practices.”


With backyard breeders you'll find:


  • Ignorance of selective breeding goals and techniques, and lack of familiarity with the breed standard of the type of animal being bred.
  • Exclusive focus on the breed standard involving little genetic screening or co-efficient of Inbreeding calculations.
  • Excessive breeding from individual females, to the detriment of their health.
  • Sale of animals with genetic disorders or undisclosed illnesses before they become evident to buyers.
  • Lack of screening of potential owners or the provision of suitable information to prevent buyers from purchasing an animal that may be inappropriate for them or their lifestyle.
  • Breeding of animals for illegitimate reasons, such as for horse slaughter or the usually illegal sports of baiting and dog fighting or to defend venues of criminal activity. Dog fanciers generally believe that such ill-bred dogs are the reason for the bad reputation of some breeds in the public perception, and the resulting breed-specific legislation. The production of "PMU foals" from pregnant mares bred solely for their urine production (used in the making of the drug Premarin) is also widely condemned due to the frequency with which the progeny of such breedings are shipped directly to slaughter.
  • Breeding without concern for the possibility of finding homes, through commercial means or otherwise, for offspring, thus adding to the population of unwanted dogs and to the slaughter of horses for meat. For more, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backyard_breeder


The American Kennel Club offers information for the betterment of all breeds and to not only assist the breeder but the public as well: https://www.akc.org


The American Kennel Club offers breeder programs and services in efforts to validate breeders encouraging them to “Show you are a responsible breeder and that your puppies meet breed standards!” http://www.akc.org/products-services/breeder-programs/.


The AKC offers guidelines for the public regarding responsible breeders and to search for registered puppies. https://www.akc.org/press-center/articles/responsible-breeders/


Finding a reputable breeder isn't difficult if you know what to do:


  • Be selective. Find a breeder who is knowledgeable and make sure you’re comfortable with them.
  • Visit the breeder’s home or kennel and ask to see at least one of the puppy’s parents. Get an idea of what the future holds for your dog in terms of temperament and appearance.
  • Observe the premises. Is the house/kennel clean? Odor-free? Dogs and puppies should be clean, well fed, lively and friendly. Look for signs of malnutrition such as protruding rib cages or illness such as runny nose/eyes, coughing, lethargy and skin sores.
  • Pay attention to how the dogs and puppies interact with their breeder. Does the breeder appear to genuinely care for the puppies and their adult dogs? Both dogs and puppies should not shy away from the breeder and should be outgoing with strangers.
  • Find out about the health of your puppy and its parents. Breeders should be honest about the breed’s strengths and weaknesses and knowledgeable about the genetic diseases that can affect their breed – including what’s being done to avoid them. Breeders should be willing to share proof of health screenings such as OFA and CERF certificates with potential buyers.
  • Establish a good rapport with the breeder. He/she will be an excellent resource and breed mentor for you throughout the life of your puppy. You should be encouraged to call the breeder if your dog has a crisis at any stage of its life.
  • A responsible breeder may ask you to sign a contract indicating that if specified conditions of care are not met or you become unable to keep the puppy, he/she will reclaim it.
  • Don’t expect to bring home the puppy until its eight to 12 weeks of age. Puppies need ample time to mature and socialize with its mother and littermates.
  • Breeders should be willing to answer any questions you have and should ask many of you as well. Breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.
  • Don’t leave the premises without the appropriate documentation of the dog’s pedigree, a.k.a. “papers.” The words “American Kennel Club” as well as the AKC logo should be clearly visible. You’ll need to send in this application form to register your dog with the AKC. Be wary of a breeder who refuses/hesitates to give you papers, wants to charge you more for AKC papers, offers papers from a registry other than the AKC, or tells you he/she will mail them to you at a later date.


"While the AKC does not have penal or regulatory authority, AKC conducts thousands of its own inspections each year. Breeders who have major kennel deficiencies may lose AKC privileges (ability to register dogs or compete in events). In some cases, fines will be imposed, AKC privileges may be suspended indefinitely and appropriate law enforcement authorities are contacted. If you would like to ensure that the breeder you are dealing with is in good standing with the AKC, contact AKC Customer Service at 919-233-9767 or Info@akc.org."

In addition to the AKC:


The American Canine Association, Inc. ( ACA) is the world's largest health tracking dog registry.          https://www.acainfo.com/
Pure bred dog registries: https://www.purebredpups.org/breeds/breed_registry_list.aspx
American Pet Registry:  https://www.aprpets.org/breeders/

Including a code of ethics for breeders: https://www.aprpets.org/breeders/code-of-ethics/

In regards to the bulldog there are several registries:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Bulldog_Registry 

http://www.bulldogclubofamerica.org/

A breeder should be as interested in you as you are in them. Like most organizations there are those that slip through the cracks of even best laid rules and regulations. It is up to the public to support ethical breeders and healthy dogs, “If you're looking to buy a puppy, experts say, you should always visit the breeder and check out the conditions for yourself, even if they don't want you to come -- that's a major warning sign. Better yet, you can buy a rescued dog; there are groups that even specialize in purebreds.” https://www.today.com/news/akc-registered-breeders-raising-dogs-miserable-conditions

We aren’t experts, we’re just pet parents of a spina bifida puppy that have found the experience of caring for him extremely rewarding.  We encourage questions and conversation, so please feel free to reach out and learn more about these amazing dogs and ways you can help. 

Buster is spina bifida beautiful. Buster is spina bifida strong. He is alive today because a rescue said yes.