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Brachycephalic dog breeding: our position statement. December 17.

Our clinical team have taken the decision not to help promote the future breeding of any brachycephalic dog - dogs with flattened faces / short muzzles such as the French bulldog, pug and English bulldog.

Our decision will be reconsidered once the Kennel Club and Brachycephalic Working Group* have reviewed current breed standards and implemented changes to develop better breed health.

In practical terms, this means that:-

  • we no longer offer pre-mate tests for brachycephalic bitches
  • we no longer treat infertility in brachycephalic breeds
  • our team will strongly advise prospective pet parents against the purchase of brachycephalic puppies
  • we will not use, or condone the use of, brachycephalic breeds in any form of advertising

However, a brachycephalic puppy, or dog, that is already owned and loved by a pet parent will be afforded all the veterinary care and loving attention he, or she, needs and deserves. We will most certainly not discriminate against any canine patient.

Our team feel very strongly that the huge current demand for brachycephalic puppies is causing a veterinary health crisis, which will only worsen as the current puppies and young dogs become older. Rescue charities are already becoming inundated with brachycephalic dogs - Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has seen a 288% increase in the number of French bulldogs handed in over the last two years.

It is our team's opinion that when animals are selectively bred to be companions, physical body features that may improve, or maintain, their health and wellbeing should be selected for and features that may damage their health and wellbeing should be selected against.

We appreciate that harmful traits are not deliberately selected for to be harmful. However, health-limiting consequences may inadvertently accompany selection for other desired physical features.

In the case of brachycephalic dogs, selecting for a flattened face shape has unintentionally led to associated health problems in a substantial proportion of individuals. These problems include:

  •  Anatomical defects of the upper airway, causing breathing difficulties - Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
  • Recurring skin infections related to skin folds
  • Eye disease
  • Inability to give birth naturally (requiring Caesarean section)
  • Spinal disease which may, or may not, be related to having a screw-tail or short-tail.

Reducing and eliminating these health problems is a shared goal of our team and everyone who cares about dogs and their health and welfare.

*The BWG has the following members:

  • The Royal Veterinary College
  • The University of Cambridge Vet School
  • British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA)
  • The Kennel Club
  • Dog Breed Clubs – Bulldog, French Bulldog, Pug
  • Dogs Trust
  • PDSA

To see the thoughts of the British Veterinary Association please follow this link...