BWG Position Statement

Should people be buying brachycephalic dogs?

BWG position statement released following the televised discussion on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine

Feb 26, 2019

The challenges:

The recent explosion in the population of flat-faced dogs in the UK is causing real concern across the dog welfare world, from vets to breeders to rescue organisations. Brachy dogs face three big problems:

  • The well-recognised health problems associated with their body shape which can include breathing difficulties, skin fold infections, eye disease, difficulty giving birth and spinal disease.
  • High demand aligned with online advertising has created a mass market for poorly bred puppies from low-welfare establishments either in the UK or illegally imported from abroad bred with a focus on profit rather than health
  • Rehoming centres are reporting that these breeds are being relinquished to rehoming centres in unprecedented numbers when owners face the stark reality of insurance and veterinary care costs to treat the conditions which they can be pre-disposed to due to their conformation.

The solutions:

We would like to see a reduction in mass demand for brachycephalic breeds, with smaller numbers of better-informed owners acquiring the healthiest dogs.

We want people who are considering getting one of these dogs to better understand the serious health problems that they can have, however cute they may seem. However, we recognise that the huge surge in the popularity of flat-faced dogs is fuelled in part by their social media appeal and mass use in advertising. So we’re actively working with the advertising industry to help people understand the problems and to prevent further normalisation of the ‘flat-faced’ look without a clear understanding of the health issues that this can cause for dogs.

Signs such as snorting or snoring can be seen as desirable or normal for these breeds, but are often indicative of breathing problems which should be checked by a vet. They are prone to overheating, even in mildly warm weather. They can find exercise challenging due to their breathing problems, so can easily become overweight, which in turn makes their breathing problems even worse.

Owners undoubtedly love their dogs, and these breeds are very lovable, but they deserve better from us, and we’re determined to help improve things for them.