Torment breeding – The top 7 examples "A life without a pug is possible but pointless", what the famous Loriot knew long ago, now the whole world knows. But unfortunately, many of these pedigree dogs have a problem! Their health.
And thus the pug belongs to the up-and-coming dog breeds of the 21st century. Century. But the French Bulldog and other short-headed (brachycephalic) dog breeds, as well as the handsome Blue Merle, the unique naked dogs, or even the Sphynx, the feline counterpart, are also taking people's hearts by storm.
But unfortunately, many of these pedigree dogs have a big problem! Your health.
Table of Contents:
What exactly is torture breeding?
The breeding goals of the many breed associations are traditionally quite "superficial". Usually the external appearance wins the race for attention, instead of the "overall inner package".
Breeding characteristics are fixed external features (phenotype) such as a curly tail, a flat nose or curly fur. These characteristics are recorded as breeding goals in the breed standards and coordinated by breeding associations. The aim of the breeder is to produce an ideal representative of the breed from his own breeding.
If externals and optical changes are tolerated in breeding, although they harm the dog, one speaks of Qualzucht. Some of these breeding characteristics desired by breeders are even the cause of pain, suffering, damage or behavioral disorders.
Indeed, the phenotype is also directly related to the totality of genes (genotype). This is the basis for the appearance of the offspring, as well as for their health. As the normal physique is altered and health is no longer the primary concern, breed diseases will result.
Specialists are currently arguing about the use of the term "Qualzucht" (torture breeding). The definition of the word torture means that physical pain is deliberately inflicted on a living being. Ignorance over the health impairments stands here however in the center of the Qualzucht topic. Can one ame that both breeders and owners deliberately torture their pets? Probably not! And thus one can refrain from a deliberate act of active torture. The result for the animal is however the same.
What does the Animal Welfare Act say?
Paragraph (§) 11b of the German Animal Welfare Act prohibits the enforcement of breeding objectives that cause pain, suffering or harm. In case of hardship, even the infertility of the parent animals can be ordered. But pain, suffering and damage are often not so easy and objective to determine and especially to prove. Our animals cannot fill out a questionnaire about how great they think their curly tails are.
Animal Protection Act paragraph (§) 11b
(1) It is prohibited to breed vertebrate animals or to modify them by biotechnical measures insofar as, in the case of breeding, breeding knowledge or, in the case of modification, knowledge concerning modifications by biotechnical measures leads to the expectation that, as a consequence of the breeding or modification, 1. the offspring, the bioengineered animals themselves or their offspring are hereditarily missing body parts or organs for the appropriate use of the species, or are unfit or malformed, causing pain, suffering or damage, or 2. in the offspring a) hereditary behavioral disorders associated with suffering occur, b) any species-appropriate contact with conspecifics leads to pain or avoidable suffering or damage in themselves or a conspecific, or c) husbandry is only possible with pain or avoidable suffering or leads to damage.
(2) The competent authority may order the sterilization of vertebrates, if breeding knowledge or knowledge concerning changes by biotechnical measures lead to the expectation that their offspring will show disorders or changes in the sense of paragraph 1.
(3) Paragraphs 1 and 2 do not apply to vertebrate animals modified by breeding or biotechnical measures necessary for scientific purposes.
(4) The Federal Ministry is authorized, by ordinance with the consent of the Bundesrat 1. to specify the hereditary changes and behavioral disorders referred to in paragraph 1, 2. prohibit or restrict breeding with vertebrates of certain species, breeds and lines, if such breeding may lead to violations of paragraph 1 of this article.
Currently there are no binding legal guidelines and procedures to stop these breeding methods. The legal procedures are usually long and difficult to control, because Germany has different administrative districts due to its federal states (federalism). In the past, it has often happened that breeders have moved after a complaint and thus the procedure has come to nothing. But also up to the announcement time passes! time that can be very precious. Who can indicate at all. Who to contact? Often the veterinary offices are through the bureaucracy. Shortage of employees ties the hands! Moreover, in the German law animals are still considered as a thing. The owner takes the role of the "guardian. This one decides at its own discretion what is good for the animal. This can go wrong!
In the last few years there was the first trial on the subject of torture breeding, in which the breeding of naked cats was to be stopped by castration of an unsuitable male cat. The reason for this was, among other things, the non-existent tactile hairs (vibrissae). These have a vital function: they are part of the sense of touch! Through their countless nerve endings, cats can perceive their surroundings with this orientation aid, even in the pitch dark of night. It was only in May 2018 that the trial was successfully completed and the verdict pronounced. After almost three years, breeding with the Sphynx cats was legally prohibited. A true milestone!
Extreme cases of torture breeding: breeds and their health problems
In spite of the existing laws, it happens again and again that animals are mated, which are actually not able to produce healthy offspring, let alone to carry them to term naturally.
Let us take the bulldogs as an example. No matter if English, French or American: here we have two problems why they are actually not able to survive! Many of the bulldog males are bred to be so massive that they cannot perform the act of intercourse. Instead, they are "inseminated" by humans. The bitch subsequently artificially inseminated.
Here the comparison to a "dog wish clinic" is obvious. The second problem is their large head circumference. If this is too large, the puppies are born by Caesarean section, as they would get stuck in the bitch's birth canal.
If a cesarean section is being considered, you should plan for it and act quickly! Of course, when the bitch begins to give birth, she will first try to give birth to the puppies naturally. However, since they can quickly suffocate when stuck, the bitch must be attended to by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
These dogs would not be able to reproduce without human intervention. The breed would die out simply by natural selection. Crazy, isn't it?
TOP 10 dog breeds: Popularity, despite diseases
And despite these serious increasing diseases, the so-called fashion dogs are among the most popular dog breeds. According to Tasso, in 2017, about 13.149 Chihuahuas and 10.848 "Frenchis" (French bulldogs) newly registered. But how can that be? Also here the ignorance is again in the center. "Oh, he snores so sweetly!", one hears owners again and again say. No, that is not cute. He just gets bad air!
The costs for an operation the health insurance usually does not take over.
An insurance, which takes over health consequences of race-conditioned illnesses, can you unfortunately long look for. Because well-known insurances have meanwhile clauses. restrictions included in their program. These say, among other things, that the cost of "standard diseases of the air and respiratory tract (including throat and nose)", is not covered.
Torture breeding: 7 examples you should know about
Brachycephaly: "flat noses" or also called short-headed breeds
The term brachycephaly means short-headedness and describes a shortening of the facial skull in some breeds of dogs and cats, which is intentional in breeding terms. With this breeding goal the appearance of young puppies is to be imitated – also called the "Kindchenschema". Also cat breeds such as the Persian cat, among others. The British shorthair cats belong to brachycephalic breedings.
Brachycephaly syndrome (BCS) is the term used to group together all the health limitations that result from short stature, especially those that cause respiratory problems due to the narrowing of the upper airway. The most obvious symptom of the brachycephalic syndrome is probably the snorting, rattling, snoring or grunting of pugs, bulldogs and co.
With the short noses the numbers of the vital soft palate operation, also snore operation mentioned, rapidly in the height. Especially in the warm summer temperatures, the little ones regularly collapse under the weight of "not being able to breathe". Exhibit choking as a result of a serious lack of oxygen. It has also happened that owners have misinterpreted a supposed nap of their dog in the park, because the dog had a circulatory collapse and was simply unconscious.
Since the nose cannot be easily pulled long again, the excess and too long soft palate must be surgically shortened. A special laser technique in the pharyngeal area is probably the best method for this. However, the best method often also means the most expensive method! The owner has to dig deep into his pocket. Four-digit surgery costs, which were probably not considered when acquiring the cute little short noses.
As brachycephalic syndrome (BCS) all health restrictions are summarized, which result from the short-headedness, in particular those, which lead to respiratory problems by the narrowing of the upper airways.
The most obvious symptom of the brachycephalic syndrome is probably the snorting, rattling, snoring or grunting of pugs, bulldogs and co.
It is the sound of inhalation (inspiratory sounds), which are caused by the narrowing of the airways. There are four reasons for this:
– The too long soft palate in the throat hinders the free movement of the epiglottis, especially when panting. The windpipe is covered, so to speak, like transparent film over the mouth. It does not breathe easily with it. – The trachea diameter is often too small, which also leads to narrowing of the upper airway. It is not uncommon for the trachea to "collapse" (tracheal collapse). – The too small nostrils make inhalation difficult (high inspiratory resistance). – Brachycephalic breeds have abnormally shaped to strongly shortened and flattened nasal conchae, which makes nasal breathing even more difficult. The nasal conchae are located on the lateral wall inside the nose, are well supplied with blood and thus serve to regulate temperature. Contribute to optimized water vapor saturation of the respiratory air via their moist mucosal surface. If these now atrophy, on the one hand the heat emission is hindered and on the other hand it comes to the intensified suction of breath air.
Especially during nasal breathing, a strained (forced) inhalation occurs which irritates the mucous membranes of the nasal conchae, which then thicken (hypertrophy) and additionally narrow the airways. Here there is the next problem: due to the generated negative prere it can even come to laryngeal collapse.
To the "short nose syndrome" (brachycephalic syndrome) belongs among other things also that by the change of the facial skull the eye sockets are flattened. As a result, the eyes are less protected and the dogs have the "cute googly eyes". In case of emergency, the eyeballs prolapse (exophthalmos). As with classic "wrinkled dogs," skin folds form (due to the excess skin) on the bridge of the nose, which can be the trigger for painful skin inflammation.
In addition, these folds often cause the eyelids to roll in (entropion). This causes constant friction of the hairs on the cornea. Both causes that the eyelid gap can no longer be closed and the eye is unprotected. Consequences are the desiccation or even pigmentation of the cornea. It can make the dog blind!Squinting is also often observed. Consequences are a restriction of the field of vision and thus a reduced eyesight. Last but not least, the deformed or not fully formed skull can lead to brain damage.
The main problem of these short-headed breeds is certainly the "brachycephalic syndrome" as a breed disease, but also joint and spine diseases can be observed in connection with the breeds. Especially the herniated disc in Pugs and French Bulldogs are frequent diseases, which are recognized by the veterinarian! Specialists suspect that the herniated sphynx is directly related to the breeding "wanted" breed trait ring tail. The reason are the thereby changed and compressed vertebrae, which usually cause pain in the lower back and can even have paralysis as a result.
Merle breeds: Bright blue eyes
Merle refers to a dog whose coat shows a distinct grain in the normally brown or black colored areas. There are Blue Merle (black with gray base color) and Red Merle (red/brown with light red/beige base color) combinations.
Most dogs of the merle type have one or two blue eyes. Merle color is nowadays a "normal" coat pattern, which is very popular. The fewest people are aware, however, that the coat markings are only due to a genetic defect, which poses health risks. The great danger of the merle gene is revealed in the mating of two parents who are both carriers of the merle gene.
Puppies, which get the gene from both parents "transferred", are then purebred and get a range of possible diseases with the same. Various eye diseases such as clefts of the eye skins (colobomas), strongly reduced eyes (microphthalmia) or deformed pupils (dyscoria) are the consequence. Mostly the puppies are blind, sometimes even deaf. In various cases, besides the very frequent eye malformations, deformations of the skeleton or the sexual organs and even of the heart have occurred. Stillbirths have also been observed regularly in matings of purebred dogs.
Learn more about this genetic defect in our article Merle factor in dogs.
Hairless dogs: Are dogs without coat allergic to animal hair?
Naked dogs are almost hairless dog breeds with often strongly pigmented, dark skin. They are often referred to as "pet hair allergy sufferers". Corresponding scientific studies are not known so far.However, a number of health diseases have been proven for the dog!
– American Hairless Terrier – Chinese Crested Dog – Mexican Naked Dog – Peruvian Naked Dog
The genetic defect of hairlessness often occurs together with hereditary or acquired deviations from the normal shape of the teeth (teeth anomalies). Consequences of this can be loss of teeth. Moreover, the skin is very sensitive. Especially lighter skin areas must be actively protected from sunburn.
Beside problems with the heat regulation by the missing fur and the not existing isolation, probably also a tendency to a genetically caused weakness of the suspension apparatus of the eye lens exists. By the displacement of the eye lens it can come thus to visual restrictions or even to the blindness.
Like the merle factor, hairlessness is inherited dominantly. When mating two purebred Sphynx there is a risk of stillbirths. The hairless unborns die already in the womb of the cat.
Idiopathic mucinosis: skin folds and inflammation
Aren't these fluffy Chinese cuddly, like big teddy bears?? Shar Peis look like they are carrying twice as much skin as is actually necessary. But just these skin folds are the reason for the so-called "Idiopathic Mucinosis", a skin disease of still unexplained cause.
The result is a doughy consistency of the skin which is often combined with redness, itching and even a bad smell. These massive skin folds can even hang over the eyes and lead to curled eyelids (entropion), so that the eyelashes prick on the cornea. Also a too big eyelid gap can be a result! The consequence of both problems is an increased risk of injury to the eyeball.
In the worst case, blindness can result from a process that occurs when the cornea of the eye darkens (pigmentation) due to dehydration of the eye. Thus, in the end, "the curtain is drawn" permanently.
Dermoid sinus: When the skin grows into the spine
Even the majestic Rhodesian Ridgeback with its elegant breed-typical eel mark can develop a serious disease. Because very often a dermoid sinus (DS) develops already in the embryonic development. This sinus is a cyst in which channel-like skin structures form. They move from the surface of the skin down into the spine. Inside these canals there is fully formed skin with hair as well as their glands. Due to the secretion of the glands, the cysts become larger and larger and must eventually be surgically removed. Neurological disease can occur due to close proximity to the spine, which can result in lameness.
HD: The hip wobbles! So it plays itself only half so beautifully
Another classic is the HD in the German Shepherd, which was bred for many years for a "sloping back line", but also in the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever the HD occurs very often. Almost all large breeds are affected by genetic inheritance and have to struggle with hip problems and lameness, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. In the meantime it is forbidden to breed with HD affected dogs (grade C upwards).
You can learn everything about HD in our article Hip dysplasia in dogs.
Chondrodystrophy: Preprogrammed disc herniation pleases?
– Dachshund – Basset – Cocker Spaniel – Short-legged Terrier – Pekinese
Chrondrodysplasia describes the defective development of the skeleton and the intervertebral discs. The development of cartilage and the further development of bones is so faulty that affected dogs get the following problems:
– The probability to suffer one or even several herniated discs (dachshund paralysis) is high. – Very short legs due to the shortening of the "long tubular bones".
In affected breeds this breeding for chondrodysplasia is part of the breed standard, otherwise they would not have such short legs and a long back.Whether skin problems such as cavities (cysts) or inflammations (dermatitis), hip dysplasia (HD) or joint problems: the dog diseases start at the nose and extend to the tip of the tail. From minor aches and pains to serious, life-limiting diseases, it's all there.
What is the best way to deal with torture breeding?
Change of the legal basis
In order to stop the breeding of these conspicuous animals, bans should be ordered and violations of the law should be prosecuted. A basis for this was recently created by the verdict of the naked cat trial. Further in such a way!
Quality guarantee by the German Kennel Club (VDH)
Illegal puppy trade and uncontrolled hobby breeding are becoming an increasing problem in Germany. There is never a guarantee for the health of your pet. But trunk and Ebay purchases definitely do not contribute to the "quality guarantee".This is actually the responsibility of the VDH! The VDH is the leading interest group of dog breeders and dog owners in Germany. Here breed standards are set and breeders are controlled. However, breeding goals have to be partly adapted and changed in order to focus more on the health of the animals again. Important health tests should be introduced and also genetic tests should be mandatory. If there is evidence of health restrictions and hereditary diseases, exclusion from breeding must be ordered. For this, of course, the documentation is very important! Also on the part of the veterinary surgeons medical interventions must be noted and passed on. Some veterinary practices now categorically refuse to care for torture breeders.
Of course, one can wish that the change to awareness comes from the breeders! But unfortunately the demand for such dogs is a big problem. Because if WE continue to buy and desire dogs with such characteristics, then such "dog building sites" will continue to be "produced" without health being the main focus.
Since again and again the alleged ignorance represents the focus of the problems, here the objective clearing-up and an independent source of information is the A and O. We humans should put ourselves in the shoes of our loved ones more often and ask, "Is this the kind of life I want to lead??" Ade fashion dog, welcome health!
Both animal protection associations and groups, as well as the public veterinary chambers demand therefore a prohibition of the representation of agony breedings in the television and in the advertisement. To the displeasure of many veterinarians and animal rights activists, the Disney movie starring a pug named "Patrick" will soon be filmed. It can only be guessed how many new pug owners there will be next year. At the moment, educational initiatives are being set up, where the aim is to inform school children already about topics relevant to animal protection. With educational brochures under the slogan: "Not cute, but tortured", the Federal Veterinary Chamber (BTK) tries to draw attention to the explosive ie.
But also the television contributes to the clarification! The 2017 broadcast contribution of the ARD "Pug and Co: How dogs suffer from the torture breeding", summarizes the problem succinctly.
Qual breeding is a very emotional topic and maybe some of you have already had personal experiences with it! But what can you do as a pet owner for the well-being of your affected dog? Health is the focus! Therefore it is very important to deal with it. Of course, opinions of specialists in this field are very useful and a visit to the vet can clarify individual questions.
However, an important basis is already the puppy purchase! As mentioned above, there is no guarantee when it comes to health. However, it is especially true for the "torture breeds": If then absolutely the heart hangs on it, eyes on with the puppy purchase! Especially the illegal puppy trade, Ebay purchases and Co. should definitely be avoided. Take your time! And get individual advice from the vet! After all, it is about the new addition to the family!
And another thing: Why it must be a pedigree dog? The animal shelter is full of "unwanted" mongrels. It is not without reason that mixed breeds are the TOP 1 of the "newly approved dog breeds" (source Tasso 2017) in recent years. Their gratitude could reach to the immeasurable. This is a good idea or not?
But beware: mixed breed is not equal to healthy mixed breed! Because when two site dogs are mixed, another site dog is likely to result.