According to the Oslo court, the physical characteristics of two dog breeds are the cause of much suffering.
Breeds that have a lot of problems
Hailed by animal rights activists and criticized by breeders, the verdict is against the backdrop of a growing debate on the planet: does the pursuit of pet “cuteness” at the expense of their well-being?
“Many of our breeding breeds are very closely inbred and carry a heavy burden of disease,” Åshild Roaldset, president of the Norwegian Humane Society, which initiated the lawsuit, told AFP against canine societies and individual breeders. “We need to change the way we raise dogs. The way we did it might have been acceptable 50 years ago, but it’s not today,” she says.
Through inbreeding, both races have developed hereditary diseases that affect most, if not all, individuals. The list is long.
Breathing problems and undersized skulls
Patibular – but gentle – dog, notably popularized in the cartoon Tweety and Sylvester and associated with the spirit of English resistance during World War II, the bulldog accumulates respiratory difficulties due to the flattened muzzle, but also dermatological, reproductive and orthopedic problems.
More than half of these mastiffs born in the last ten years in Norway were born by caesarean section. “The genetic inability of the breed to give birth naturally is itself a reason why the bulldog is no longer used in breeding,” the judges said.
As for the Cavalier King Charles – who won the hearts of many personalities in history such as Louis XIV, Ronald Reagan and Sylvester Stallone – his constitution makes them often subject to headaches because of a very small skull, heart failure or even eye problems.
For Roaldset, the lack of genetic diversity on a global scale is driving these breeds directly to extinction. “And it will be painful for them because they will have more and more diseases,” she says.
Having been the subject of an appeal, the sentence handed down on January 31 does not yet have the force of law, but it sowed astonishment among professionals.
“It says that dogs are born with headaches. I can’t believe it,” says Lise Gran-Henriksen, a breeder for 25 years, watching half a dozen of her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels playing on the ice outside her home in Oslo. “If that were the case, they wouldn’t be so happy. They are happy dogs that walk around and look healthy – because they are,” she says.
“dog without papers” effect
In general, professionals do not question the “challenges” encountered by the two breeds, but believe that they can overcome them by practicing selective breeding with animals screened through various tests.
And then, they point out, the sentence does not prohibit the possession, sale or importation of Bulldogs and Cavaliers, only their breeding.
Walking her bulldog Oscar in a park in Oslo, Anne Grethe Holen fears the influx of “undocumented dogs” from “puppy factories” located abroad. “Demand won’t dry up, but the dogs sold will get a lot sicker,” she predicts. “They will not be subject to any veterinary requirements and we will not know anything about their lineage. »
For the Humane Society, the salvation of the two races depends on their interbreeding with other species to erase their genetic weaknesses.