Vets Ask Prospective Dog Owners To Avoid Pugs and Other Flat-Faced Breeds
Wednesday 21 September 2016 17.52 BST Last modified on Thursday 22 September 2016 14.25 BST
Apparently Veterinarians in the UK are urging prospective dog owners to steer clear of flat-faced breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Shih-Tzus, which can experience debilitating health problems related to their characteristics.
These types of dogs, known properly as brachycephalic breeds, have surged in popularity after a rise in celebrity ownership, but their shortened muzzles put them at risk of breathing and eating difficulties, as well as eye problems.
The British Veterinary Association, which represents vets across the UK, has encouraged prospective dog owners to choose a healthier breed or a crossbreed.
“Vets are seeing concerning trends in dog health and welfare because of the rise in ownership of brachycephalic breeds,” said Sean Wensley, president of the BVA.
“Prospective dog owners need to consider that these dogs can suffer a range of health issues throughout their lives, from eye ulcers to painful spine abnormalities and severe breathing difficulties that can result in otherwise preventable surgery.
“The surge in popularity of these dogs has increased animal suffering and resulted in unwell pets for owners, so we strongly urge people to think about choosing a healthier breed or crossbreed instead.”
Dr Rowena Packer, a researcher at the Royal Veterinary College, said the health issues faced by brachycephalic dogs are to body shapes developed through years of selective breeding. “Basically, it’s where we’ve been selecting for this face shape, but where nature isn’t really compatible with that, so that not everything inside is reducing down how we want it to.
“They find it far more difficult to exercise, or even do normal things like eating. They actually sell specific diets for these dogs because they find it difficult to chew and swallow,” Packer added.
“If you’re breeding dogs with extreme body shapes, no matter how good a breeder you are, you are still putting the puppies at very, very high risk of a long list of conditions.”
Wensley’s warning is at least the third statement this year by the BVA warning of serious health problems faced by brachycephalic dogs. The Kennel Club said the problem is caused by breeders deliberately breeding dogs with exaggerated features.
Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, said: “Breeds such as the French bulldog and pug have seen a sudden increase in popularity in recent years, leading to a huge demand for them. This has provided a ready market for unscrupulous breeders to effectively churn out puppies for profit, outside of any regulation or umbrella of influence, with no regard for their health and welfare.”
Kisko added that anyone who wanted to buy a brachycephalic breed should speak to the relevant owners’ club for advice.
But the secretary of one brachycephalic breed owners’ club, who preferred not to be named, criticised the Kennel Club, saying the organisation registered puppies despite their diverging from recognised breed standards. This exacerbated the problem, she said.
The number of registrations of the breed her club represented had skyrocketed in the past decade, she said.
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