Vets Calling for Ban on “Unhealthy” Breeds

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Some British veterinarians are hoping to see an end to certain breeds of dogs – not pit bulls – but flat-faced ones, because of the respiratory ailments and other health problems they suffer as a result of not having normally elongated faces.

A survey conducted amongst delegates at a Royal Veterinary College conference on the welfare of dogs bred particularly for their “flat-faced” features found that one-fifth of veterinarians believe these breeds should be banned completely. Though no specific breeds were listed on the poll, the most well-known breeds would be boxer, Boston terrier, bulldog, Cavalier King Charles, Pekingese, pug and Shih Tzu.

There was general agreement that the dog buying public need to put dog health above appearance, whether choosing pure or crossbred dogs,” said Dr. Charlotte Burn. “Our desire for ever more baby-like flat faces and larger eyes is fueling welfare problems in the very animals we love.”

These “brachycephalic” dogs suffer from numerous ailments. They have narrowed nostrils and windpipes, leading to respiratory issues. It can be more difficult for them to cool down in high temperatures and while exercising, because it is harder for them to pant.

Their eyes tend to bulge because of shallow sockets. They do not close properly, and cases have been reported of dogs having their eyeballs pop out if they receive a blow to the back of the head or strain too hard against their leash.

With less room for all of them to fit, many of these dogs have problems with their teeth and jaws. They can also experience infections in their numerous skin folds.

BBC even stopped covering the Crufts dog show, which it had aired for 42 years, because not enough was being done to resolve the health issues for pedigree dogs.

A third of the vets who participated in the survey said a ban on brachycephalic dogs should be introduced unless significant health improvements are made in the next ten years, which would come by breeding such dogs with other breeds.

However, we here at Life With Dogs say don’t breed or shop – adopt!




14 thoughts on “Vets Calling for Ban on “Unhealthy” Breeds”

  1. This is wrong! Every breed has it’s issues. Some have problems with hip dysplasia, should we ban them? Some have high incidence of deafness….ban them? I have owned pugs for the past 14 years and have never had breathing troubles with any of them, nor have I had any whose eyes popped out. Yes, it can happen, but so can a myriad of health issues with other breeds.

    • How can this be wrong ?

      The deal with infinitely more cases of this than you ever could, this is their collective opinion, based of the facts of the Dogs presented to them for treatment.

      I think these experts know better than you ever could.

      • Small percent of vets. And it is the sick/ problem dogs that are going to these vets.
        If you think about the percent of over all dogs of these breeds they are seeing why would any one want to band a group of dogs because a small percent have health problems

  2. My dog is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and is very HEALTHY!!!! I researched breeders, and made sure my breeder did health checks. I also make sure to have vets that are experts in their fields do yearly examinations, as well as her regular vets. I belong to a breed club, and most of the owners have NO health problems with their Cavaliers. DO NOT LUMP CAVALIERS WITH THE SIMILAR BRACHYCEPHALIC ENGISH TOYS (bred from a cross of Cavaliers with Pugs, which were fashionable in Queen Victoria’s time). English Toys have the ‘pushed’ in faces, Cavaliers DO NOT.
    I do agility, rallye, and obedience, as do many Cavalier owners. My dog is one of the fastest dogs of her size out there on the agility course. SO DON’T GENERALIZE!!! And make sure next time you’re sure of your facts!!!! Sure there are sick Cavaliers, but there are also Cavaliers that live to 16 (I personally know some). I’ve had several different breeds before and they’re all special, but after having a Cavalier, that’s the only breed I want.

    • So you are another one that thinks they know better than the collective knowledge of Vets that look after our companions health and well being ?

      Your experience of a couple of these poor dogs, does not reflect the wealth of documented cases these experts deal with on a daily basis.

      I’ll trust the experts and their reasoned, pragmatic, scientific experience, over your anecdotal ramblings.

      • Oh yeah I absolutely agree with vets.
        The MAJORITY of them do not want to see these breeds banned.

        I guess we both agree then.
        Or will you be ignoring these experts with their reasoned, pragmatic scientific experience over your anecdotal ramblings?

  3. My two dogs are this: One cavalier/cocker cross. No heart issues, no face issues. A “pet quality” peke, (rescued) that lost an eye at twelve. Seemed to be a “poke” that would not heal. His face is less pushed in (resulting in the “pet quality”designation.) and his personality is beyond wonderful. He’s heading for 14 years old. So, the Chinese royalty WERE breeding for something other than the pushed in face. The cavalier X is lovable, smart and no issues. This being said, would the peke be less wonderful with a nose that was slightly longer and more functional, without the poppy eyes? NO! Breed for this, or cross breed for a “designer mutt” that is healthier. Would the Cavalier X be anything but beautiful and healthier if the heart problems and poppy eyes were bred out. Again, NO!

  4. Windswept, only 20% – 30% of the group of Vets mentioned agreed with this. That is not a majority. No need for a snooty tone. Live & let live.

  5. Being a vet tech for over 45 years I have never had a real problem with short nosed breeds. Thank you Windswept but your input but study up a little more first.Only a small percent felt this way. We had problems with torsion (lost a bloodhound myself) in large chested dog so lets eleminate all the big breeds, oh and hip or elbow problems with rotties and shepherds so they have to go and even our vet had the common problem of golden retrievers in her dog- skin issues. Thank you but I will keep my two Brussels Griffons and as long as I do not overhead them they do just fine- I even enjoy hearing the snore in my bed at night and my friend has a staffordshire die of heat stroke in her fenced yard with access to the house just AC on so thats just common sense in any breed. I also have 6 other dogs -one short nosed a Boxer, two heelers, a catahoula, a schnauzer and a poodle thing (all rescues)- I fail to see a problem with any or them.

  6. Breathing, freedom of movement, and the ability to reproduce, are among the most basic requirements for a living being to survive! It is absurd (if not completely unethical) when breeders, and breed clubs, promote conformation which compromises the well being of their breed, over innate functionality. Why breed animals to endure suffering to achieve a look which may appeal to some humans?

  7. The majority of vets are lining their pockets with the surgeries and other treatments required by these unhealthy breeds – that’s why they haven’t commented. Anyone with half a brain can see these dogs are horrendously deformed. It must be morons or people who enjoy cruelty who go and buy these dogs, I can’t see why else you’d want a deliberately deformed animal. It’s like deliberately creating dwarf humans so that parents can have “cute” (deformed) children. Who would wish a disability on their child?

    Dogs should have a body shape similar to wolves or dingos, any deviation from this in terms of skeletal structure or skin integrity is a deformity. Ban all deformed breeds, and breed for behaviour and character instead. Isn’t their wonderful personality what is important? If so, then it doesn’t matter how they look, so we may as well make them healthy and naturally shaped, so they can enjoy life to the fullest.

    If you think that a dog’s appearance is important, and you use your dog as a fashion statement, you shouldn’t own any animal, and you shouldn’t have children either (you’ll probably enter them into some ghastly pageant).


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