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Love is Blind - Animal Welfare Update

Dogs Pet Health Pet Care
Unfortunately, some breeds need more than unconditional love.

You’ve probably come across it before, a dog struggling to walk down the street and making a hell of a racket with their breathing… Is that even normal?

The Feed SBS recently aired a feature on Love Is Blind; an RSPCA and Australian Veterinary Association campaign which seeks to raise awareness about some of the health issues that are associated with breeds with exaggerated features.

What are your thoughts?

If you want to see the breed standards altered to put animal welfare first rather than aesthetics, find out more about our campaign by calling on the Australian National Kennel Council for change, and help take action at loveisblind.org.au.

There are serious health issues often faced by brachycephalic or flat faced dogs like bulldogs and pugs. RSPCA Scientific Officer (Companion Animals) Dr Bronwyn Orr, who was interviewed for the program says, “Sadly, many suffer from serious health issues that are completely preventable, and due only to the way we’ve bred them to look.

“Ironically, British Bulldogs are one of the breeds most severely impacted by these exaggerated features, yet Australian breeders have had access to a more moderate breed standard since 1987 that, unbelievably, they’ve chosen not to adopt.

“Breeders of British Bulldogs can choose right now to move away from the incredibly extreme standard that’s responsible for many of these problems.”

So what is in the Standard that can be changed? The current breed standard for British Bulldogs calls for a head that is ‘strikingly massive’ and a skull that is ‘very large – the larger the better’. Also the standard covers how the dog should look when viewed on the side, ‘The head should appear very short from its back to the point of the nose and the face should be extremely short’.

Did you know that as a result of these breeding standards, no female British Bulldog is able to give birth naturally and all require major surgery to deliver their puppies?

Brachycephalic dogs are also unable to breathe or sleep properly, and even regulate their body temperature, so as the weather warms up, they face a high risk of death from heat distress.

Let’s not be blinded by our love. Voice your concerns with the RSPCA and Australian Veterinary Association loveisblind.org.au.

Emma Lagoon
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