Mar 08

Lets stop bad breeding in dogs, Crufts I’m looking at you

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.

Lets stop bad breeding in dogs, Crufts I’m looking at you

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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?

Neopolitan Mastiff dogFrom 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.

8 Responses to “Lets stop bad breeding in dogs, Crufts I’m looking at you”

  1. robyn says:

    My baby redman is an american bulldog i got him eight years ago when he was three months and have had him from then on. Every person even people that dont like dogs love this dog. He is a well mannered and sweet and smart. I took him to the vet yesterday and was told he is showing early stages of hip displacecia. So because some fool somewhere down his blood line decided that he was going to breed a bro and sis to “keep the blood line pure” my baby is going to suffer.

  2. Emma says:

    I have a bullie and would love to mate him cause his temperament is perfect. He is a all round dog. But the breed specifications lets call it are out of this world. Would I want a ill dog to look good or a dog that should look like it was made to be originally and with the best personality? I know which one I would pick and I bet most owners who love their dogs would as well. I think any dog taking my bull dog for example wouldn’t act any different if his nose was longer. And he would be just as eye catching :) I say stop playing with the looks it’s not everything and a best in show is the healthiest loving pet you see before you. Not a standered that’s wrote in some book.

  3. Alissa says:

    I saw the BBC documentary a few months ago and was horrified at the things these breeders do to these amazing animals. I a few years ago I had bought a dachshund and he was the best thing that ever happened to me. A few years after we had him he started to drag his leg and I took him to the vet and they sent us to the neurologist. After many tests, many hours,and many days the neurologist could not pin point what was totally wrong with him. They thought it was close to meningitis. He slowly started to get more and more sick and eventually lost all function of his back legs and just was no himself. He was sick and had many problems and the vets that I had look at him said it was most likely genetic. I unfortunately lost my little one when he was only 4. I do not regret having him or taking Jim from that home. He enriched my life and gave me so much love and happiness I will never forget. I just want to find a way to prevent this from happening to others. We love our pets like family because they give us unconditional love and make an amazing imprint on our lives. I hope that one day laws will be made to prevent breeders from doing these horrible things. If there are foundations out there against bad breeding I would love to know about them.

    • Play Fetch says:

      Thanks for your comment Alissa, it sounds like you gave him a superb home and great life. Animal welfare still isn`t given the importance it deserves but if we keep persevering we will get there in the end. Is it harsh to one day hope for a punishment for an offence to an animal to result in the equal punishment had it happened to a person?

  4. Arto says:

    I saw the BBC documentary recently and was disgusted by the sheer disregard of the breeders to those animals.

    The way they have created these frankenstein monsters and to call them pure breed is a travesty!

  5. Caroline Manners says:

    I will be at Crufts this year (courtesy tickets of a show dog) so can report back if you like on the health of the dogs I see. Thankfully the dogs in the category of my daughters dog have never suffered manipulation but over the years my daughter has been doing this I have been appalled to see some of the dogs that have not only been shown but have won have obviously been ‘tweaked’ for asthetic purposes.

  6. Claire says:

    I have mixed opinions on this. I am definately for dog shows, I love to see lots of dog breeds all in one place but I hate seeing them pushed, pulled, tugged around just to make their hair go in a certain direction or stand a certain way.

    For me a dog is my companion, my dog comes with me everywhere I go whether it is taking the kids to school or to the local supermarket, I could never imagine anything but good health for my dog but unfortunately some people don`t feel that way. I guess it is similar to the beauty pagents in America but the dogs can`t talk back.

    I remember the mastiff you mention in your post, how many hours of weights placed on its face must that poor dog have endured all to win a competition!

    I will continue to visit dog shows but not the likes of Crufts or crufts qualifying competitions. I will visit the local fate waggiest tail, cutest puppy and the hilarious agility contests. Now that is what I call a dog show. Lots of happy dogs and their owners sharing their joy in dog ownership.

    • Play Fetch says:

      I love local fair dog events, I was a little upset though when I entered my gorgeous German Shepherd/Collie cross into the cute dog category and she didn`t make it through to the final! It was a travesty I tell you.

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