4th February 2022
The UK Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG) has not yet seen the full judgement from the Norwegian court case and therefore cannot fully comment on the outcome. The BWG does recognise the serious welfare issues facing brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, and we believe the UK already has sufficient existing legislation which can prohibit breeding that has a detrimental impact on health and welfare. However, this UK legislation does need to be effectively and reasonably enforced, alongside collaborative and evidence-based efforts from breeders, vets, welfare organisations, academics and owners, to ensure that the current welfare levels of these dogs are improved.
BWG is concerned that the setting of legal precedents which effectively prohibit the breeding of individual breeds in specific countries could increase the numbers of illegally bred or imported dogs, often with little regard for the health and welfare of these animals. Legislative issues also exist in relation to identifying the precise breed of individual animals.
In the UK, increasing demand for some of the flat-faced breeds, like English Bulldogs, has promoted indiscriminate breeding and importing, which compounds the intrinsic health issues that some of these dogs can face. BWG believes to tackle these broader issues effectively, we must be led by the evidence and all play a part, working collaboratively towards smaller numbers of better-informed owners acquiring the healthiest puppies from responsible breeders.
BWG will closely monitor the enforcement and impact of Norway’s decision in relation to the overall welfare of English Bulldogs in Norway and also its effects on illegal breeding and imports.
The BWG position statement on legislation regarding brachycephalic dogs is available at ukbwg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Brachycephalic-Working-Group-Legislation-Position-Statement-210624.pdf