When you buy a puppy from Fog City Bulldogs, we understand what you’re signing up for – awesome pet, not animal charity case – and we try to do the right thing in the rare case of a total lemon. But a health guarantee is not a guarantee your dog will be free of health care needs, even some major ones. After all, you’re buying a living creature. Your bulldog will need routine veterinary care, and may experience ‘common’ breed issues, in addition to accidents, illnesses, or injuries unrelated to genetics.
Every vet and bulldog owner will tell you, these are expensive dogs to care for. Over the course of your dog’s life, spending upwards of $10K on spay / neuter, routine checkups, disease prevention, prescriptions, and other treatments (eye issues, palate surgery, possible skin issues, injuries, some sort of stomach bug, etc.) is more probable than not. If you buy pet insurance, you’re guaranteed to spend nearly that much, though it could save you money in the long run and will likely cushion you from huge hits when accidents strike. Add in food, vitamins, toys, beds, training, dog walkers, boarding, etc. – this is not a commitment to be taken lightly. If you are not prepared to spend $10,000 – $15,000 – possibly much more – over the course of your pet’s life, a bulldog is not the breed for you.
Part of our mission is to change the public perception that bulldogs are particularly high-maintenance, and the most effective way of doing that is for our customers to have extremely positive experiences with their furry companions. That’s why we try to be available to our families to provide feedback, support, and experience-based insight on any issues. Often we can save our families heartache and money with simple home remedies, purchasing guidance, or at least, reassurance.
We never breed dogs with known genetic issues and we never sell dogs with known issues. We would much rather keep a questionable puppy than risk having a family become attached to it and have to deal with issues that could have been foreseen. Of course, not everything is foreseeable, so we do offer a one-year health guarantee and will gladly replace a puppy that has a compromised quality of life due to a genetic issue.
Many genetic defects become apparent with the first weeks after birth. So even before they are introduced to families, the puppies have been checked multiple times for common issues like cleft palates and heart murmurs. However, sometimes previously undetectable issues can emerge, so we guarantee against major genetic defects for approximately a year. We wouldn’t necessarily hold tight to the date: 12 months and 14 months, it’s the same impact; 12 months versus four years is not the same.
The following are examples of major, uncommon issues that truly compromise the quality of the dog’s life and of your life in terms of caring for it: bad hips or spine, dog cannot walk well; congestive heart failure, dog will likely die very young. Things we cannot guarantee against / common issues: parasites, undescended testicles, eye problems, allergies, skin issues, respiratory infections, needing a palate resection – these are issues that come with bulldog territory and which don’t impact too much the quality of their life or yours, but which will require treatment, which can be costly.
Basically, if your dog is simply too unhealthy to fulfill his or her mission as a couch potato and companion, and if this is diagnosed within a reasonable amount of time and is not reasonably treatable, then we would replace your dog or give you a refund. To be very clear – you would return the dog for a full refund, or you would return the dog for a replacement. There is not a scenario where you keep the dog and receive a full refund. There is also no scenario where you keep the dog but we pay for its medical care.
While this might not sound very reassuring to you, you should know that our rate of anyone actually needing to exercise this right with us is around 1%. We’re pretty conscientious breeders, always trying to improve upon litters. We have a fair amount of information about many of the dogs we have sold, either through social media, seeing each other at bulldog meetups, or via direct communication with the family. I truly believe that very few of my puppy families believe they received a ‘bad’ dog reflective of ‘bad breeding’, that should not have been sold – even amongst families who have had many health ‘adventures’.
Our contract to you is as follows:
SHORT-TERM HEALTH GUARANTEE: Seller guarantees that puppy is free of life-threatening diseases or disabilities (i.e., parvo, etc.) for ten days after delivery to Buyer, and free of any genetic defects, not commonly found within the breed and detrimental to the puppy’s health, for one year from the puppy’s date of birth.
Admittedly the language is pretty vague. It’s hard to be specific and comprehensive, and not all issues would be covered for all customers. For example, if a male dog has undescended testes, this is not a ‘covered’ issue for a pet family that did not purchase breeding rights and would neuter anyways. But, if someone bought breeding rights and then didn’t want to reproduce a dog with undescended testes, then they would get a replacement dog. In both cases the customer is getting what they purchased – a loving pet or a suitable breeding dog.
I hope this provides some clarity and reassurance. Please feel free to contact me with questions.