New national plan to protect welfare of flat-faced dogs


Flat-faced dogs such as Pugs, French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs may look cute, but they can face serious health issues including breathing and heart problems, dental disease, skin fold infections and difficulty giving birth.

A new national plan drawn up by dog health and welfare organisations sets out how the public can play their part in protecting the welfare of flat-faced dogs. It follows the recent announcement by online card retailer Moonpig that Pugs and French Bulldogs will no longer feature on its products.

The three-point plan from the Brachycephalic Working Group suggests:

  1. ‘Stop and think’ if you’re considering getting a flat-faced dog or breeding from a current pet. If you’re planning to breed your dog, make sure it has passed respiratory function testing and other breed-specific veterinary health checks first. Also, avoid sharing social media posts that feature imagery of flat-faced dogs and encourage big brands to do the same.
  2. If you already own a flat-faced dog, help protect your pet’s health or welfare by learning to recognise the problems that these breeds can commonly suffer from.
  3. If you still plan to buy a flat-faced dog in the future, make sure the puppy and its parents have passed all relevant health tests for their breed. Only get a dog that has been bred away from extreme body shapes, such as extreme flat faces, skin folds and lack of tail, all of which are linked to poor innate health.

“The news that Moonpig will remove Pugs and French Bulldogs from its cards, following years of campaigning by vets and animal welfare groups, shows how powerful collective action can be in bringing about positive change,” commented Dr Justine Shotton, senior vice president of the British Veterinary Association. “It underscores the importance of our shared responsibility as advertisers, owners, breeders and vets to improve the health and welfare of dogs.

“We’re now calling on dog lovers across the country to play their part, to ‘stop and think’ before buying these breeds of dog and help share the painful truths about the extreme health issues they can suffer. Together we have an opportunity to make a real difference to these terrible breed-related welfare problems.”

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