According to this 2016 study, English Bulldogs have very low genetic diversity due to a "small founder population," meaning that the bulldogs are bred from a small number select bulldogs causing a loss of genetic variation and "artificial genetic bottlenecks" further limiting the genetic diversity in the good old gene pool.
Further, the loss of present genetic diversity is intensified by "rapid integration of new coat color mutations, increased wrinkling of the coat, and attempts to create a more compact body type" to create animals that are wrinkly, smooshy, cute and even more appealing to humans. The study concluded that some genetic diversity did still exist, but whether or not it was sufficient enough to use reverse selection to improve health of the breed couldn't be determined.
More recently, a judge in Norway banned the breeding of bulldogs because of "their flat, smooshed faces" that can lead to health problems. Further, one animal rights group even claimed that breeding bulldogs is animal cruelty. Take a listen to or read the transcript of this NPR interview, "With all of their health problems, should bulldogs continue to be bred?"
Bulldogs are also notorious in the vet world for their health issues including breathing problems, cherry eye, skin issues, dysplasia and the list goes on. While their genetic pool maybe too limited, conventional veterinary medicine certainly doesn't do anything to promote optimal health and prevent disease. Kibble, apoquel, steroids and vaccines every 5 minutes aren't the answer. If every single bulldog was fed quality food, vaccinated only when necessary and not bred for certain physical traits, the breed wouldn't be facing extinction.
-Written by Erica L.