SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said the image was used "probably because it's cute".

She said they were in the process of "tidying up" things like social media pages as more than 40 independent SPCA centres around the country merged to form a national organisation.

Delegates voted in favour of the move in June last year.

Midgen agreed it was a mistake to use the image as a part of a marketing campaign.

"Our intention was not to offend anybody and it's the last thing we want to do so absolute apologies and we're living and learning and we're trying our best and that's why we're taking it down."

She said the image was being removed from online platforms as quickly as possible.

Midgen said SPCA supported the breed being banned on Trade Me because its health and welfare requirements were compromised and the organisation did not want to see more French bulldogs being bred.

"But that doesn't mean that we don't support the welfare of the ones that are already in existence, of which there's quite a large number, and obviously we want to have the best outcome for them as well."

She said French bulldogs and their owners were welcome to collect for the SPCA.
Its annual street appeal begins on Friday.

Trade Me head of trust and safety Jon Duffy said it raised concern with the SPCA about the image in the past week or so.

"We were surprised because there's a whole lot of animal welfare organisations internationally who've actually said they're not going to use any of the brachycephalic breeds in their advertising because they don't want to be promoting the sale of these breeds.

"But also, there's another side to it that these breeds are abandoned just like other breeds."