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FAQ

Why did you choose these two breeds?

These are two breeds where we believe there are no healthy individuals left to breed on. Any breeding within these breeds is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act. The individuals within each breed are so closely related, that they only get unhealthy offspring.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is predisposed to more than 25 hereditary disorders, and some of these are very painful. The Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK) has itself approached The British Kennel Club and asked for cross-breeding on Cavaliers. NKK writes in “Hundesport” 3/17 that it is very difficult to breed out of the problems of the Cavalier, without crossing in healthy dogs from other breeds.

The English Bulldog is predisposed to 40 hereditary disorders. Studies show that almost all English Bulldogs have varying degrees of hip dysplasia. In addition, The Bulldog Club says that about 95% needs to have a caesarean section, over 90% are artificially inseminated, over 50% have skin problems and more than 40% have eye problems. DNA tests show that all or almost all English Bulldogs have robinow-like syndrome. The syndrome predisposes to, among other things, back problems that can lead to paralysis and cleft palate.

These are two very sick dog breeds, which in addition are so inbred over many years that all individuals within the breed are genetically closely related and we believe the Animal Welfare Act prohibits further breeding of these breeds.

Why do you attack breeders that breed seriously and do what they can to improve the health of the breed?

The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals believes that breeding must be based on a scientific method, and controlled by geneticists. The animals must benefit from the last 50 years of progress in genetics and technology in the field. Breeding must be based on obtaining information on all individuals in the breed, it is not sufficient to base the selection on show results. For serious breeding, there is a need for mass data of traits and mass data of all health problems. In addition, you need good IT tools and geneticists who have knowledge of their use. The breeding process must have the whole dog in focus and all individuals in the breed are equally important. The whole dog must be healthy for the breeding to be good and for the dog to be well.

The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals understands that many breeders do the best they can and want the best for the dogs. Unfortunately, it is well documented that dog owners themselves do not perceive serious illness, such as breathing problems in their own animal and it is known that dog shows are not a suitable tool for selecting animals for breeding.

These breeds consist of wonderful individuals with wonderful personalities, despite a lot of pain and illness. They deserve good lives, and good starting points in life. That is what we work for.

When you choose a purebred dog, you know what you are getting. How can you know what the dog will be like if you choose a mixed breed dog?

Regardless of whether you buy a purebred dog or a mixed breed dog, it will always be wise to check for diseases in the lines, both with the puppy’s parents and grandparents. This will give a good picture of potential diseases. In addition, for purebred dogs you can learn which diseases the breed is predisposed to, that way you can know what you are most likely to get. For some diseases there will be more than a 50% chance that the puppy will get a hereditary disease, and this can be good to know when considering what kind of dog to get. There are several insurance companies that exclude breed-typical diseases in their insurance policies. You may want to check this with the insurance companies.

A large study shows that purebred dogs are 2.7 times more likely to suffer from a hereditary disorder than mixed breed dogs.

We want a clarification of current legislation, which regulates the breeding of both mixed breed and purebred dogs. The essential thing for The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals is that we breed healthy animals, and we believe that you can care just as much about a healthy dog that looks a little different, as in a breed-typical but sick dog!

Breeding helps to take care of important breeds, why do you want to ruin this important work?

Some people believe that breed unity helps to preserve the breeds, but the truth is that such a breeding philosophy has led to dramatic changes in dogs’ appearance, health and genetic composition over the last 50-100 years. Our desire is not to destroy, and that is not part of our motivation in this work. Our wish is that we breed healthy animals. If you want to do purebred breeding in small, closed populations, this is a job for geneticists. The truth is that today’s breeding has changed the appearance and genetics of the breeds dramatically over the last hundred years. During this time, the animals have changed a lot both on the outside and inside, and with this change, the health of most breeds has become much worse. Today’s breeding is not sustainable, and we have seen clear signs of that for a long time. If the desire is to preserve breeds, the breeding must be based on science and mass data.

Pedigree dogs have been tested for important diseases, mixed breed dogs are often not checked as thoroughly. Is this not a good reason to choose a purebred dog?

There are now over 770 hereditary diseases in dogs. Research shows that purebred dogs are 2.7 times more likely to be affected by one or more hereditary disorders than mixed breed dogs.

There are no tests for most diseases. Unfortunately, testing for individual diseases does not produce healthy animals, and does not take into account the animal’s overall health and genetics. Very often the test is not aimed at the breed’s most prominent problems.

Genetic testing is useful as part of a breeding program, but the way this is used today, testing helps to exclude key individuals from further breeding.

Why does The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals not cooperate with the Norwegian Kennel Club when it comes to dog breeding?

Simply explained, we do not have the same main goal. The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals puts health before breed. The Norwegian Kennel Club puts breed before health.

We want the animals to be healthy and have no goal of breeding ourselves. Neither we nor the Norwegian Kennel Club have the necessary tools or geneticists to engage in breeding.

We believe that in order to breed healthy animals, breeding must be based on scientific methods and led by geneticists.

What about show judges and the FCI, shouldn’t they take their share of the responsibility?

Everyone has a moral responsibility to breed healthy animals, update themselves on relevant knowledge, and follow the law. In Norway, it is legal to sell sick animals, it is legal to own them, it is legal to show them, it is legal to reward them, but it is not legal to breed them. If the FCI and show judges had taken their responsibility so that the welfare was taken care of, we would not have had to do anything with the breeding. Today we see the opposite, judges and FCI are part of the problem, but they do not commit crimes and thus there is nothing we can do with either FCI or show judges.

The overall breeding strategy for the different breeds is made in the country the breed comes from. Why does The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals not work towards the international kennel club to get rid of unethical breeding?

In Norway, we must follow Norwegian law. Here, all animals are protected by our Animal Welfare Act. In that sense, it is irrelevant how they do it in other countries. We are working towards the Norwegian Kennel Club, which is a member of the international kennel club.

 

NKK has a good database for kinship and health (Dogweb). Is this not a good enough starting point for breeding dogs?

The degree of inbreeding is stated in the Norwegian Kennel Club’s (NKK) database, DogWeb, but there may be uncertainty associated with the figures given. When a dog crosses a national border, the inbreeding rate is often reset in Dogweb. This means that in very many individuals the stated inbreeding numbers is incorrect, and the animals are in fact more closely related than what is stated. It would have given a more correct impression if the inbreeding level in these cases had been registered as unknown, since they may be much closer related than what is shown from the stated number.

Dogweb also only looks at the degree of inbreeding and does not take into account either inbreeding increase or kinship values. The actual inbreeding rate has little to do with it, but the increase in inbreeding can be controlled in a population administration.

Why do you attack NKK, when there are many cats with similar health problems?

We believe that many different species are bred in violation of the law. This applies to cats, dogs, pigeons, horses and rabbits. The dog is the most common family animal in Norway, and the breeding is controlled and systematized. There have already been many concerns about unethical breeding of dogs, and this should have been addressed a long time ago. If we get a verdict, it could have an impact on other species.

What exactly are you trying to achieve?

In the breeding of family animals, the health and welfare of the animals should outweigh the human need to own an animal with a certain appearance, or the consideration of breeders’ hobbies and tax-free income. The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals believes that there is no good reason to allow current breeding traditions to continue.

It is common knowledge among professionals that good breeding must be based on science, registration of the animals’ characteristics and function, as well as access to comprehensive health data and kinship data. There is no reason why family animals should not also benefit from the last 50 years of advances in technology and genetics. The solutions already exist, and we need to start using them.

All animals and humans have hereditary diseases, why are you trying to take down breeders who do their best to breed healthy dogs?

Our intention is not to take down anyone. Our intention is to help the dogs, since we see that the law does not work as intended and that this cannot continue without intervention. Many of our breeds are predisposed to many diseases, and for several breeds more than 50% of individuals have a number of the most common diseases. This is a result of our breeding of dogs.

Do you mean that we should only have mixed breed dogs?

No. The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals puts health before breed. The important thing for us is that we actually breed animals that have the opportunity to have a good life. Whether the dog is purebred or mixed breed is irrelevant. The important thing for The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals is to breed according to the law; that is, healthy animals with good function and health.

 

If things turn out the way you want, then it will probably just be breeding freely on any of the dogs and diseases?

We want health and function to be the basis for all breeding. We want a clarification of the legislation, both in the form of regulations and a court’s interpretation of current legislation. All dogs have the right to the best possible starting point. Therefore, health data and trait data must be used in breeding. That NKK must change some of its routines, will then be an obvious consequence. Our legislation does not discriminate on the basis of breeds. It is no better to breed sick mixed breed dogs than it is to breed sick purebred dogs. This of course also applies to the so-called designer dogs. In other words, we want the same regulations to apply to the breeding of all dogs.

 

So it's better to buy a Labradoodle than a Labrador?

The most important thing is that the parents are healthy, because then it is more likely that the offspring will be healthy.

What should future pet owners think about when they buy an animal, to avoid these kinds of health problems?

Through this campaign, we want to provide good information to potential animal owners about which animals are affected by health problems due to unethical breeding.

In addition to checking our website, we always recommend that you check with veterinarians if the breed is associated with health problems. Many insurance companies offer different prices based on, among other things, the risk of health problems. There are also many diseases that are not covered by the insurance company, including caesarean section in dog breeds that have problems giving birth normally. Checking how much an insurance will cost for the animal you are considering can give an indication of whether that breed is associated with a lot of health problems.

Always contact the breeder and ask to see the pedigree, health certificates and to meet the parents of the puppy / kitten / rabbit, if you have plans to get an animal from a breeder. The parents’ health and pedigree will be a good indication of the future health and temperament of the offspring.

Last but not least: If you are considering purchasing an animal, you should also contact one of our local branches. There are many beautiful but homeless animals that need a new home.

We have made a Norwegian guide for everyone who is considering getting a puppy: https://www.dyrebeskyttelsen.no/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Brosjyre-R%C3%A5d-til-deg-som-skal- kj% C3% B8pe-puppy-Animal Protection-Norway-2020.pdf

It is easy to criticize breeders and The Norwegian Kennel Club, but you do not come up with any solutions.

The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals believes that it is about time that both breeding and regulation of breeding must be modernized and lifted into our age where databases, comprehensive health data, breeding values for traits and scientific methods form the basis for breeding and regulation of breeding. We can no longer accept that breeding in small populations is based on lay understanding, and that animals for breeding are selected for their exterior characteristics without care for the animals’ function and health. Nor can it be accepted that the supervision and regulation of breeding is carried out without access to databases for health and characteristics.

We currently have a good database for disease registration (Pyramidion), a good database for registration of traits (Biotail), and a database for kinship data (DogWeb). This means that everything is in place for tomorrow’s breeding to be based on science and databases. The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals believes that this must be described in the proposed regulations to be prepared by to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. This could also lead to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority being able to carry out its inspections mainly via databases, which streamline their inspections regarding violations of section 25 of the Animal Welfare Act.

At the same time, the situation for some of the hardest hit breeds has unfortunately become so precarious, that we believe that they can only be “saved” by cross breeding with another breed with different genetic material.

It is also a matter of course that everyone who sells puppies should be able to provide information about the breed’s real disease picture, which is taken from a comprehensive health database and breeding value for different traits. In this way, breeders will also fulfill the requirements in section 27 of the Animal Welfare Act, which, among other things, requires puppy sellers to provide necessary information about conditions that are important for the animal’s welfare to the puppy buyer.

In the breeding of animals, the health and welfare of the animals should outweigh the consideration of a human need to own an animal with a certain appearance, or the consideration of breeders’ hobbies and tax-free income. For The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals, it is difficult to understand that anyone can argue that the animals’ statutory intrinsic value should be disregarded in the breeding of family animals. We therefore believe that there is no good reason to allow today’s breeding traditions to continue.

It is common knowledge among professionals that good breeding must be based on science, registration of the animals’ characteristics and function, as well as access to comprehensive health data and kinship data. There is no reason why family animals should not also benefit from the last 50 years of advances in computer technology and genetics. The solutions already exis and we need to start using them.

Is it not positive with BOAS rating?

One of the reasons why the Norwegian Kennel Club arranges BOAS certification of veterinarians is for them to assess the dogs in the same way and thus grade equally, and not interpret results and sometimes perform unnecessary surgery according to their own preferences as unfortunately some have done. In addition, BOAS-certified veterinarians can post BOAS grading results into DogWeb, which should be positive for all parties?

The veterinarians can follow SVF’s form and thus grade equally. These grades are registered with the treating veterinarian and are thus included in Pyramidion. We want the veterinarians to take ownership themselves. It is completely meaningless for the Norwegian Kennel Club to certify veterinarians to BOAS graduates.

Why does The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals believe that you have the right to decide what kind of dogs people can buy or breed? Norway is a free country!

We believe that much of today’s pedigree breeding is systematic, desired and planned offenses. Many people have been warning about this for decades. We can no longer sit on the sideline and watch while violations of the Animal Welfare Act continue. The law is made to protect animals from human actions and therefore we need the court to interpret how the law should be understood when it comes to dog breeding.

Many people in Norway have dogs and breeding as a hobby, and many will be harmed if it is forbidden to breed on certain breeds. Why does The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals want to destroy so many dog owners and breeders?

We do not want to destroy anyone, and we believe that you can be just as fond of a dog that looks almost like the original breed but has a little less disease.

If it becomes illegal to breed on certain breeds in Norway, will these breeds not be threatened with extinction?

In principle, we do not want breeds to be eradicated, but we want to open up for scientific breeding and cross in healthy dogs from other breeds, in order to overcome common diseases in vulnerable breeds. In this way, the “breed” can be preserved, while the dogs’ health is improved.

Dogs with flat faces are cute. Is it not possible to produce dogs with short noses that are completely healthy?

Dogs need a good nose to get rid of excess heat and to make room for their airways. We are concerned that animals should have good function and good health and that the breeding work can document, using indices, that an animal has been bred that has a high probability of good function and good health. It is unlikely that breeding based on dogs having a very short snout also produces a high degree of healthy individuals.

Do dogs from another breed have to be mixed in? Isn't it enough to just breed the healthy individuals in the breed?

For many breeds, it is a truth that 50 or 100 years where cousin cruising has been allowed, has led to all individuals in the breed having a high degree of kinship. This means that it can be difficult to get changes in the breed’s health without crossing in healthy dogs from other breeds. Breeding within the same breed, where only a few animals are used in breeding, will in the long run lead to unfortunate accumulation of disease-causing genes which in turn cause disease. In other words, this type of breeding is not sustainable in the long run and the solution, when the relationship becomes too high and the disease burden too great, is to cross in a healthy dog from another breed.

Why should an organization that works with homeless animals get involved in pedigree breeding?

The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals has 28 local branches that provide practical help to animals in need and take in animals that the police or the Norwegian Food Safety Authority have taken from the owner due to abuse or neglect. The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals is a democratic organization and our national annual meeting decides what the organization will work for on a national level. Although many people are aware of the fantastic work our local branches do with homeless animals, the National meeting has decided that we will also work with other issues, including illegal breeding of family animals.

What do you mean by guarantee for disease?

Breeds that have a very high frequency of several different diseases have a guarantee for disease. This means that all or almost all individuals in the breed will suffer from one or more inherited diseases.

What we see as the solution

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