Norway Bans English Bulldogs, King Charles Spaniels From Breeding Over Health Concerns

CC0 / / English bulldog
English bulldog  - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.02.2022
Despite being cute, popular, and beloved, the bulldogs and the spaniels are prone to a plethora of hereditary diseases ranging from breathing problems to heart defects and joint dislocation. This sparked protests from Animal Protection Norway against "unethical" dog breeding.
Norway's Oslo District Court has in a unanimous, landmark decision ruled that breeding English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is a violation of Section 25 of the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act and will no longer be tolerated.
The ruling was prompted by a case brought in November 2021 by Animal Protection Norway out of concern for the dog breeds' numerous and critical health issues. The dog breeds themselves were labelled a "product of cruelty".
The two dog breeds are known to be prone to several hereditary disorders. Among others, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is plagued by heart defects, eye diseases, and joint problems called patella dislocation. The English Bulldog is known to suffer from breathing problems, skin problems, kidney stone disease, and joint issues, as well as about 40 other disorders. In addition, caesarean section is needed in 95 percent of cases.

"This is first and foremost a victory for our dogs, and for us in Animal Protection Norway", the organisation's general manager Åshild Roaldset told national broadcaster NRK, calling the breeding a "systematic and organised betrayal of our four-legged friends" and the verdict "historic".

The Norwegian Kennel Club, the Norwegian Bulldog Club, the Norwegian Cavalier Club, and six other affected breeders were admittedly surprised and disappointed by the verdict, venturing it would have a negative effect on dog welfare. They also warned that irresponsible players may instead take over and flood the market, whereas professional competence, rigid health requirements, and information about the health status and history of the breeding animals will disappear.
This is not the first time dog breeding has sparked controversy. In 2017, 1,500 Norwegian veterinarians protested against what they called unethical dog breeding.
The ruling, however, is not a blanket ban on the breeds but a more nuanced legal framework for animal breeding. Therefore, cross-breeding is still possible and permitted.
The Norwegian Kennel Club emphasised that the breeds in question are popular and ventured that demand was unlikely to decrease, even envisaging a spike in imports.
Worldwide, a number of breeds have been restricted or banned, including Rottweilers, American Staffordshire Bull Terriers (also known "Pit Bulls"), Chow Chows, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers, most often for their aggression.
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