Editorial: July 14, 2023
New sweeping changes in breeding regulations and the outright banning of breeding certain breeds around the world are shocking. Breeds that go back hundreds of years, if not longer, are now considered so unhealthy as to have their fate questioned. Here in the States, we first learned of changes in breed standards from the Royal Kennel Club, then called the English Kennel Club. Citing health issues, some standards were adjusted to conform to the suggested changes, which also included health checks determined by randomly hired veterinarians on the day of the dog show. That was very unpopular and was soon abandoned.
There are other changes in other countries that didn't affect a lot of breeds. But none compared to the broad, sweeping, draconian changes made in Germany that now require health inspections of all dogs entered at dog shows, with special examinations of the breeds labeled “Torturous Breeds” for visible indications of hereditary disease; further examination for hidden indications must be carried out in advance. If the examination form is not completed by a certain date, you will not be entitled to participate in the show. Some kennel clubs across Europe have elected to allow cross-breeding of certain breeds to improve their health, such as breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to Brussel Griffons to give the Griffon a longer nose, or breeding Cavaliers to French Bulldogs with the same result in mind.
In theory, these cross-breed matings might be an answer, but nature doesn't always work the way you would like it. It is questionable if the desired result only goes in one direction. But you get all the donor breed’s genes, good and bad. If dogs like other animals bred true, we would all have Best in Show winners. Remember the uproar in this country when Dalmatians were bred to Pointers? That’s a conversation that still exists. Fortunately, the American Kennel Club hasn't imposed these health and or temperament changes to our breeding programs, as some other national kennel clubs have.
Now we have a further anti-dog act that brings banning to a new height: the Egyptian government passing a new law that bans all dogs. This comes about as a result of a man dying from bites from a Pit Bull. The exception is for 10 breeds that will not need a safety inspection: Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, Malinois, Pomeranians, Jack Russells, Great Danes, White Shepherds, Maltese and Samoyeds, as opposed to the most stringent regulations on breeds like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherd Dogs, Boxers, Huskies and Bullmastiffs. Other breeds will need safety checks that can cost up to $1,600. Dogs deemed unsafe will be confiscated by public veterinarians without providing any further details.
Brings back the broad question: How did they exist until now?