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Breeding of dogs with genetic disorders

There are many dog breeds which suffer from severe health issues such as breathing difficulties, skin diseases and heart defects, as a result of breeding for extreme features

The breed standard for Bulldogs is one example

Breeding of Dogs with Genetic Disorders

When appearance takes precedence over the health and wellbeing of our pets


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Since 2019 the breeding of pugs with too short snouts banned in the Netherlands

Animal Welfare Laws on the Breeding of Animals with Genetic Disorders

This kind of breeding is already regulated by animal welfare legislation in many countries but enforcement is difficult


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The breed standard for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one example

The Suffering of Dogs with Genetic Disorders

A wide variety of genetic disorders are known in dogs, from brachycephaly, heart defects and epilepsy, to blindness and deafness


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Victims of the illegal puppy trade

The Illegal Puppy Trade and its Connection with Genetic Disorders

A link between the illegal puppy trade and the breeding of dogs with genetic disorders needs to be recognised


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Genetic defects – facts worth knowing

You can help to limit the breeding of genetic disorders in dogs

Your choices have a big impact on the breeder of dogs

What do you have to consider?

If you are looking to buy a pet dog, there is much to consider. First, it is necessary to consider if you have the necessary time and finances to take care of a dog for its entire life, as well as considering which breed of dog best suits your lifestyle. ('Things to consider before getting a dog'). In addition, you will need to find a reputable breeder who cares about the health and welfare of the dogs they breed. After taking this all into consideration there are a few things you can do to ensure that you also do not support the further breeding of dogs with genetic disorder.

Mixed breeds dogs might be a better choice?

Mixed-breed dogs live longer than purebred dogs. Often there is a reduced risk for genetic disorders in mix breed dogs due to a higher variety in their gene pool, which means they have a higher probability of not having genetic disorders. But while diseases in mixed-breeds are less common, they cannot be excluded - you should still ensure that the parents of the dog are healthy and without inherited disorders. If you have chosen your dog breed, it is very advisable to do thorough research into the health issues that are common in that breed. If the breed is highly affected by genetic disorders, you should consider looking for a different healthier breed. The health of the animal should take precedent over its appearance.

What test you can make?

Please take responsibility: There are often several health issues known for specific breeds. For many of these issues there are tests available that can be done for the parent animals or the puppies when they are very young. You can make sure that a breeder has carried out the appropriate health tests and that the parents of your puppy have been screened and found to be free of disease and suitable for breeding. A breeder may not have carried out every health test available for the breed, however some health tests are essential. For example, there are screening tests available for hip scoring, elbow grading, eye testing, BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) testing and DNA tests among others.

The UK Kennel Club requires all breeders to have both the sire and the dam screened for specific breed related health issues. For example, Dalmatians need to have the BEAR test done and Cavalier King Charles spaniels need to be screened for their eyes and numerous DNA test (Source).

What you can do to make sure to choose a healthy pet?

Dogs can suffer their whole life from the disorders that they have inherited. This can also reflect on you and your family. Having to witness your dog suffering and not being able to help your dog can have an impact on your life too. If you are unsure which dog breed is best in terms of having no or little genetic disorders then you can do online research for the specific breed, get advice from your veterinarian or a professional breeder and talk to people who have already had experiences with dogs that suffer from genetic disorders.

Finally, do not be tempted to buy a dog on the basis of purely their appearance, temperament, the dogs breed specific needs and health are also very important considerations. You should really consider how a disorder can affect the animal's quality of life and your own.

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Adopt don't shop

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