Pedigree breeding can cause pain and suffering

Roger Salmon.

Roger Salmon.

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Last month we saw a television programme that revealed the shocking world of pedigree dog breeding which in its pursuit of breed perfection often compromises dog welfare and health.

This is because, for each breed of dog, the kennel club sets a breed standard which describes what an ideal example of that breed should look like. It’s these standards that the breeds at Crufts are judged against.

However, some physical features have become so extreme over the years that they can cause pain and 
suffering. The coverage of Crufts this year included a few steps in the right direction, like the acknowledgement that some breeds commonly suffer from diseases that can cause them pain, like the inbreeding of dogs and the breeding of dogs with extreme exaggerations and conformations which compromise their welfare.

The coverage of the agility classes which celebrate dogs for what they can do, rather than their looks, was particularly pleasing.

One example of what breeding can cause is the large numbers of cavaliers that develop painful syringomyelia which is a hereditary brain condition common in toy dogs bred with skulls that are too small for their brains.

Why not consult your vet before embarking on the purchase of such a breed?

I was particularly horrified to see Knopa, a three year old Scottish Terrier who was announced as best in show, being lifted to the floor by her tail and throat.

While this may be the best way to pick a dog up if you don’t want to comb it’s hair again, it certainly is not good for the dogs well being and may make the public believe that this is an acceptable way to pick a dog up.

What kind of life does this dog lead?

The owner revealed that she had been bred in America, then sent to Russia to her new owner, but on the condition the new owner could have her back after one year for showing.

Since then she has been seen at various dog shows in Europe and now is in the UK.

Goodness knows where she is now, but sadly, I highly doubt that she’s having fun with her doggie mates.