Calls to ban pugs and French bulldogs to crack down on ‘irresponsible’ breeding

Cute pug dog with funny face .
Flat-faced dogs such as pugs often suffer from a host of health complications (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
French bulldogs and pugs could be banned in the UK after a pet charity vowed to fight a ‘vicious cycle of over-breeding’. The Blue Cross says many of these dogs are ‘not living full and happy lives’ due to health defects including spinal deformities, skin and eye disease and obstructed breathing. It is now leading a campaign to end the ‘horrendously bad breeding’ of flat-faced pets, which also include Persian cats.

The charity’s vets claim to have treated over 5,000 brachycephalic pets in the last two years alone.

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They warn this number is likely to rise, as flat-faced breeds now account for 20% of dogs in Britain. Head of public affairs at the Blue Cross, Becky Thwaites, told the Sun: ‘We have already started contacting MPs. ‘Ultimately Blue Cross is determined to see the end of the poor breeding of flat-faced dogs and are considering all options both legislative and non-legislative to achieve this.’
Usa, New York State, New York City, Portrait of French Bulldog lying down on sofa
Brachycephalic breeds like French bulldogs now account for 20% of dogs in the UK (Picture: Getty Images)

The charity says it want breeders to require mandatory certification from vets to ensure their animals don’t have health problems that could be passed on by breeding.

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It says the explosion of popularity of pugs and French bulldogs is partly down to ‘cute’ advertisements and their prevalence on social media.

Some people see their loud snoring as adorable, but it’s actually a sign that their airways are obstructed.

Ms Thwaites said the Blue Cross ‘don’t want to ban the breed, we want healthier breeds’. But others have called for an outright ban – following the lead of authorities in Norway. In late January, a Norwegian court banned the breeding of bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels after an animal welfare group argued chronic inbreeding and exaggerated body shapes was causing suffering.

Many dogs have a condition nicknamed “Frito Feet,” in which their feet smell little bit like corn chips. As Matt Soniak wrote in a Big Question on this site, this has to do with the kind of bacteria found on a pup’s feet, and “could be due to yeast or Proteus bacteria. Both are known for their sweet, corn tortilla–like smell. Or it could be Pseudomonas bacteria, which smell a little fruitier—but pretty close to popcorn to most noses.”

Health expert at The Kennel Club Bill Lamert said dogs with ‘exaggerated physical features’ which are ‘bred and bought irresponsibly’ are one of the organisation’s biggest concerns.

‘However we don’t agree that a “ban” on brachycephalic breeds is the solution to this complex issue,’ he added.

Mr Lambert, who is also the founder of the UK Brachycephalic Working Group, said this could drive the trade underground and fuel illegal puppy smuggling, making it harder for animal welfare groups to make a difference.

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