In the streets of Amsterdam there are very few born animals that are seen walking because in the Netherlands the breeding of certain breeds is not allowed, As the Pekingese, the Lasha Apso or the Boston Terrier, a measure to which Norway added a few months ago with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and English and French Bulldogs.
The reason is to avoid the proliferation of animals that, due to their characteristics, deliberately sought genetically by the breeders themselves, see their quality and life expectancy greatly deteriorated.
The natos or brachycephalic dogs have very marked characteristics, which in some cases constitute a pathology of genetic deviation, which popular favor has prompted to highlight them despite their associated drawbacks.
Between these Negative characteristics are the large and flattened head, the very short snout with folds, the soft and elongated palate, the respiratory pathologies correlative to its structure, the fact of not being able to mate naturally, having to resort to artificial insemination to conceive, being born almost exclusively by caesarean section, among many other negative peculiarities.
In this broad “club” of races that have reached an undesirable structural extreme are the Cavalier King Charles Spanielthe English and French Bulldogs, the Boxer or the Pug, among many others.
If they are like that, it is because it is we, human beings, who we have deliberately fostered these extreme traits over the decades by playing on inbreeding and selection criteria, motivated by demand, ignoring the consequences.
The problem is that those selected characteristics are highly negative for the welfare of the animals. The English and French Bulldog offer a clear example: they usually present respiratory and digestive problems, wandering due to the presence of undeveloped vertebrae, they have trouble regulating their body temperature, they tend to be overweight and the shape of their bodies conditions them in reproduction, having to resort to insemination to make them conceive and then stop for Caesarean section.
The risk of suffering from some of the aforementioned ailments is more than double that of any other breed. An alarming fact is that the life expectancy of brachycephalic dogs is up to 4.5 years lower than that of other longer-lived breeds. In Bulldogs, only 10% exceed eight years of age.
Many of the problematic characteristics of these breeds, such as a very flat face, deep facial creases, and labored and noisy breathing, they are perceived by many people as desirable characteristics, unfortunately.
Animal welfare should be prioritized and what is desirable in these breeds should be redefined, otherwise it would be collaborating in clear actions of animal abuse.
In some European countries, such as The Netherlands and Norway cut to the chase and banned the breeding of certain breeds, because they came to the conclusion that encouraging the birth of English Bull Dog, French Bull Dog and Cavalier King Charles violates the principles and current laws of Animal Welfare.
The other possibility could be regular, ceasing to promote the most extreme characteristics to ensure that the new specimens that are born do so with greater quality and life expectancy.
In that process, raising awareness among breeders and the public is a key factor for change. The results of these investigations are expected to discourage the breeding and purchase of animals with extreme conformations and that incite to promote a change towards a more rational breeding of these breeds with improved natural health.
*Prof. Dr. Juan Enrique Romero @drromerook is a veterinarian. Specialist in University Education. Master in Psychoimmunoneuroendocrinology. Former Director of the School Hospital for Small Animals (UNLPam). University Professor in several Argentine universities. International speaker.