294 – Veterinary Voice: Brachycephalic Breeds’ Health and Legislation

Veterinary Voice_ (1)

Veterinary Voice: Brachycephalic Breeds’ Health and Legislation

Dr. Marty Greer visits with host Laura Reeves about the health and recent international legislation impacting Brachycephalic breeds.

Pugs In Holland

Pug circa 1879. Our thanks to PureDogTalk listener Kelly Schur for making these images available.

Recently the Dutch Pug Club announced, with immediate effect, that the breeding of any pug with a nose less than a third of the length of the skull has been banned.

The following information regarding the breeding of Brachycephalic dogs in Holland is gleaned from several Dutch websites using Google translate:

It has been against the law in Holland since 2014 to breed flat-faced dogs but the government has recently announced they will now be checking dogs, which has triggered this change.

The ban affects popular dog breeds. In the very short term, according to the Dutch legislation, the muzzle of the following dog breeds must be adjusted:  French Bulldog, Pug, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Shih Tzu and Pekingese. In the longer term, targeted breeds also include the Boxer, Bordeaux Dog, Bullmastiff, Chihuahua, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel  and the  Yorkshire Terrier .

“It has actually been forbidden since 2014 to keep breeding short snouts, but the ministry has now announced that they will actually check it,” according to Milo Laureij of Dier & Recht. Dier & Recht is a lobbying group that advocates against purebred dogs, insists that wrinkles and flat faces are “harmful” to dogs and “Requires breeders to prevent hereditary disorders.”

Muzzle length

According to the new criteria from the Dutch Pug Club, the muzzle of a dog must be at least a third of the head. That means the end of the pug as it is now being bred in Holland, but also, for example, of the popular English and French Bulldogs and twenty other breeds.

End of breeding

For Commedia, the Dutch association of breeders of Pugs, the new policy is a reason to stop breeding immediately – before enforcement has come into effect. “Since the Ministry believes that breeding dogs with harmful external characteristics has been banned since the entry into force of the Decree on Holders of Animals  (2014), we must also conclude that our internal regulations were in part in conflict with and this decision,” the breed club writes on its website.

New breeding program

“Together with the Expertise Center for Genetics Companion Animals, we are now going to put together a breeding program to find out how we can make the pug meet the requirements of the legislator within a number of generations,” said chairman Arjan Sterk. According to him, the breeders reacted differently to Commedia’s decision. “They all understand, but there is always anger and disappointment. But I have not heard that people drop out.”

Traffic light system

The ministry uses a traffic light system with the colors red, orange and green. Red applies to dogs with a snout length shorter than a third of the skull, such as the pug and English and French bulldog. Breeding with these dogs is prohibited immediately. Orange applies to dogs with a muzzle length of a third to half the skull. With this, breeding is only allowed if they meet other criteria that are set for breeding. ‘Green’ dogs have a snout that is at least half the size of the skull. You can breed with this.

Shock waves in U.S.

Pug circa 1910. Our thanks to PureDogTalk listener Kelly Schur for making these images available.

Greer noted that National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) is actively working to encourage awareness by breeders and purebred dog enthusiasts in the U.S. and elsewhere about this type of animal rights extremism and its looming potential impact here.

Duchess of Windsor’s Pugs … late 1800s. Our thanks to PureDogTalk listener Kelly Schur for making these images available.

Pugs are an ancient breed from China, the appearance of which has changed little in 150 years.

From the Pug Dog Club of America, “The Pug is of Chinese origin and dates back to the pre-Christian era. They were prized possessions of the emperors of China and lived in a most luxurious atmosphere and at times were even guarded by soldiers. Records show that three types of short-nosed dogs were bred by the Chinese. They were the Lion dog, the Pekingese and the Lo-sze. The Lo-sze or “Foo Dog” was the ancient Pug.”


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1 Comment

  1. LISA RICCIOTTI on 06/06/2019 at 4:43 PM

    It’s interesting to see the old photos of pugs and see that this breed hasn’t changed as dramatically as some have over the past century. Is there any historical information from way back then that refers to these pugs’ breathing?

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