Stazjia’s Commentary

The Scandal of Pedigree Dog Breeding

Posted on: August 20, 2008

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Last night BBC1 TV broadcast a documentary on the breeding of pedigree dogs here in the UK. I thought it was shocking although not exactly news. I was shocked at the levels of complacency and wilful ignorance amongst breeders about what they were doing.
This is a quote from the documentary and webpage:

“People are carrying out breeding which would be first of all entirely illegal in humans and secondly is absolutely insane from the point of view of the health of the animals.”
Professor Steve Jones University College London

They showed pictures of prize winning dogs today from certain breeds and then compared them to the same breeds in years gone by. In each case shown, the characteristics had got more extreme and more detrimental to the animal’s health and/or quality of life.

When the breeders were questioned about breeding from animals carrying a genetic defect, they refused to discuss it, completely pooh poohed its importance or just plain lied.

The RSPCA’s chief vet said on the program, “The welfare and quality of life of many pedigree dogs is seriously compromised by established breeding practices for appearance, driven primarily by the rules and requirements of competitive dog showing and pedigree dog registration.”

It is so scandalous and yet the Kennel Club behaves as if it has little or no influence. Representatives of the KC said that members would leave and breed outside of their rules if they tried to ban extreme characteristics, breeding between closely related dogs (eg mother, son, brother, sister, etc), and breeding from dogs carrying a genetic disease.

At least people buying pedigree dogs would have some degree of warning if that happened. They would know that breeders who no longer bred their dogs under the (revised) KC rules were not willing to abide by them and that puppies bought from them might need expensive and prolonged medical treatment. They might also be buying a dog that would be in extreme pain and have a very shortened lifespan.

Read more or see the Pedigree Dogs documentary online.

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