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!