Crufts: Is it time for over breeding to end?

Crufts was back this week, which means it’s time to look at the cruelty inherent in pedigree breeding.

While the show has changed its rules, after a ‘deformed’ German Shepherd won in 2016, these changes are still just a drop in the ocean when compared to the health issues that many pedigree dogs face.

So what exactly are these rules?

As of 2016, judges should now only award prizes to dogs ‘that can stand and walk on their own’, while Crufts also issued a reminder to judges not to “award prizes to animals that are struggling to breathe,” on March 7th 2018.

Hardly stringent guidelines, and yet the decision still faced a backlash from breeders, who seem to care more for their dogs’ aesthetic than their health.

Veterinary nurse Marloes expressed her disbelief at the lengths that breeders will go to to create the ‘perfect’ dog.

“On the whole only the healthiest pets should be bred, and personality should be taken into account too, but that is an ideal world.”

So why do people breed dogs like Cruaghaire Catoria, the German Shepherd that caused such outrage two years ago?

“I don’t know,” Marloes said. “Why do they breed pugs and [French Bulldogs] and other brachycephalics with as flat a face as possible? Why do they breed cavaliers with a tiny head, so tiny their skull is smaller than their brain?”

It’s especially jarring when you compare the pedigree breeds of today with their canine forefathers 100 years ago.  But what can we do to stop the over breeding?

“People’s mentality towards animals needs to change” Marloes told Stand Up. “They are not fashion accessories – people need to become aware of the opportunities and limitations of [each] breed.”

“People’s mentality towards animals needs to change”

She also offered the following advice for anyone wanting to buy a pedigree dog, if you’re unable to take a shelter dog in:
“Do your research, find out what the breed’s purpose is, go and meet breeders, only select a healthy dog and don’t buy it out of pity.”

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