World Small Animal Veterinary Association Taking a Stand Against Extreme Brachycephalic Breeding
It’s an International canine welfare crisis. Those are pretty strong words from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). I’ve been speaking out about the issue of short-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs with limited airways for several years, since the issue was spotlighted to the public in the UK, and their kennel club has taken a stand.
Simply put Pugs, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs and others commonly have such great difficulty breathing, the health issue has a name, Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). The condition impacts quality of life for these dogs, often daily.
“It is cruel and unethical to continue breeding dogs who cannot breathe normally,” says Peter Sandoe, PhD, professor of animal welfare and disease control University of Copenhagen, Denmark in one of several videos from WSAVA, clearly sounding the alarm in the defense of the dogs.
Truth is as brachycephalic breeds continue their rise in popularity, and breeders of all kinds, from hobby breeders to puppy mills, continue their practices, BOAS is increasingly common and seen as a worldwide welfare issue.
Looking at images of the breeds involved, they didn’t always look the way they do today. Somehow it’s been deemed to be “more cute” to have more pushed in faces. While dogs which snore or pant are considered cute by some, experts point out that these traits are not normal and that the dogs are, in fact, struggling to breathe. Many short-nosed dogs require surgery to survive and have a significantly shorter lifespan than other dogs. How is this okay?
While WSAVA veterinarians and animal welfare experts are taking an unconditional position, the problem is that kennel clubs and breeders need to take heed. Thus far, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has ignored the issue. Making matters worse, the AKC continues to support sales of puppies at pet stores, which are sourced from breeders such as puppy mills who don’t have any interest in doing the right thing. Meanwhile, these breeds are continuing to increase in popularity, as the public must think these deformities (truly that is what this is) are cute.
The British Veterinary Medical Association has taken the international lead on this issue.
Here’s a WSAVA video: