Veterinarians warn of the ravages of inbreeding in certain breeds of dogs. There are already countries that prohibit them

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If you like dogs and you travel to Amsterdam or Oslo, there is probably a detail that catches your attention when you walk through its streets: you will see fewer brachycephalic breeds, dogs that, like the Bulldog, have very flattened faces and short snouts. The reason is simple. Since 2019 The Netherlands does not allow the breeding of certain species, such as the Pekingese, the Apso or the Boston Terrier, a measure that was added a few months ago Norway with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and English Bulldogs.

The reason? Very easy. Avoid the proliferation of animals that, due to their characteristics – deliberately sought by the breeders themselves – see their quality and life expectancy greatly reduced. Now an expert study of Royal Veterinary College (RVC) reopens the debate.

What are brachycephalic dogs? dogs with very marked features that even a layman can distinguish: they have a small and flattened head, very short snouts and a soft and elongated palate, among other peculiarities. In its large “club” sneak in, for example, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bulldogs, Boxers or Pugs, among many others. If they are like this, it is because it is we, the humans, who have deliberately promoted these extreme traits over the decades by playing with inbreeding and selection criteria.

The problem is that these characteristics do not sit well with them. The English Bulldog offers a clear example: its specimens usually present respiratory and digestive problemsthey find it difficult to regulate their body temperature, they tend to be overweight and the shape of their bodies conditions their reproduction: insemination must be used and they give birth by caesarean section.

Ashleigh Robertson Yql 06p89hg Unsplash

What does the new study say? Confirm with percentages what veterinarians have known for some time: that there are certain breeds of this type that see their existence and quality of life very conditioned. His attention is focused, in particular, on the english bulldog and the “significant health problems” they suffer from. After examine 2,662 of these dogs and comparing them with 22,039 specimens of other breeds from the United Kingdom concluded that they suffered from disorders much more frequently.

The risk of suffering from at least one ailment was, in fact, more than doubled. They also found that, on average, they were much younger and fatter than other dogs, a worrying sign about their health and life expectancy. Of the Bulldogs analyzed, only 9.7% were over eight years old. In the rest of the races, 25.4% pass this barrier.

The study is not in any case the first nor the only one that points in the same direction. What remember elDiario.esnot long ago Scientific Reports published another alarming fact: the life expectancy of brachycephalic dogs is up to 4.5 years less than the longest.

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What is the conclusion? To those responsible for the new report —published in Canine Medicine and Genetics— is more than clear: it should serve as a warning about the risks of breeding and buying these animals. Many of the breed’s problematic characteristics, such as a very flat face, deep facial creases, and noisy breathing, are still perceived by many people as normal or even desirable novelties.

For the institution, the data indicates that we should “follow the example of the most responsible breeders” who prioritize the well-being of dogs and also encourage them to “redefine”. On the contrary –the authors warn of the study— The United Kingdom risks following in the footsteps of Norway and joining the list of countries that have already decided to ban the breeding of certain breeds.

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What are we doing to fix it? In the Netherlands and Norway they have opted for what is healthy and have vetoed the breeding of certain breeds. In the Scandinavian country they concluded that encouraging the birth of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, for example, violates its Animal Welfare Act.

Is prohibition the only way out? Should we allow or even encourage the disappearance of certain races? There is another possibility on the table: stop promoting the most extreme characteristics and ensure that the new specimens that are born do so with a better quality of life. At their fingertips, experts have formulas such as reverse selection or outcrosses and the experience of geneticists. In this process, the awareness of breeders and the public is key.

“The results of this research are expected to discourage the breeding and purchase of animals with extreme conformations, and instead promote a shift towards acceptance of a more moderate conformation with improved natural health,” study concludes.

Pictures | Joshua Michel (Unsplash) Y
Ashleigh Robertson (Unsplash)

If you like dogs and you travel to Amsterdam or Oslo, there is probably a detail that catches your attention…

If you like dogs and you travel to Amsterdam or Oslo, there is probably a detail that catches your attention…

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