There are many reasons for and against breeding dogs, this article will try to avoid that argument but focus on the breeders who breed for show, often at the detriment of the health of the dog.
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There is a big debate over whether dog shows are good or bad and everyone will have their own opinion. In this article we look at the breeding of dogs for show, many breeders have moved towards ‘creating’ the perfect dog from an aesthetic point of view which often results in serious health issues.In 2009 the BBC produced a documentary highlighting bad breeding practises resulting in diseases and deformity. The documentary entitled Pedigree Dogs Exposed caused quite a stor at the time, resulting in the BBC pulling their coverage of Crufts, the Kennel Club’s flagship dog show.
The Kennel Club responded by reviewing the judging criterea and penalising for poor health and dogs that show signs of sickness (including lameness) were to be banned immediately.
The BBC documentary wasn`t the only blow for Crufts, Pedigree the dog food company dropped the sponsorship of the event which was estimated at around £1.5m per year. The food giant withdrew their sponsorship after claims that the show promoted breeding methods encouraging deformities and disease in animals. those of you living in the UK will no doubt remember the Pedigree TV adverts claiming “Top breeders recommend it”.|Pedigree were diplomatic in their official announcement regarding the split from Crufts stating that their decision was made to allow them to focus on activities that support the broadest possible community of dog owners.
The Kennel Club bounced back at the BBC documentary stating that it was biased and that they are working with breeders to ensure all dogs are fit and healthy by producing new breeding standards. Despite this fourteen dogs are still highlighted as being under serious risk, these include basset hound, bloodhound, bulldog, chow chow, clumber spaniel, dogue de Bordeaux, French bulldog, German shepherd, mastiff, Neapolitan mastiff, pekingese, pug, St Bernard and shar-pei.
Have the new rules made any difference?
From what I can see it hasn`t. As an example lets look at a winner from last years Leeds Championship dog show. The winning Neopolitan Mastiff (a breed known for the folds in its skin) had so many folds that the poor dog could barely see. It isn`t just the volume of folds either, the way they droop is unnatural which leads us to believe that the dog has endured a weighting of the folds in order to create a larger droop.
This is just one example, I used it here as I remember at the time it causing a stir in the dog community. It highlights the lack of conformity to legislation. The fact that this dog won a recent competition shows that the matter isn`t being dealt with or being taken seriously.
But what about the RSPCA?
The RSPCA have not attended Crufts for several years now in protest to the way the animals are treated in order to win competitions. To try to raise awareness the RSPCA has started the Get puppy Smart campaign to help prospective buyers to select a happy and healthy puppy. According to recent research
To find out more about the Get Puppy Smart campaign here are some links
I would just like to point out that I in no way see myself as an expert on the subject of bad breeding in dogs or other animals. The views in the post are my own based on my knowledge and experiences and I hope this post serves as a talking point on the subject of dog breeding. I know this is an emotive subject, some will believe breeding to exaggerate features is good for the dog, others will be against it. If you have any comments, please feel free to express them below but be respectful in your language.