French Bulldogs and Pugs also in danger of breeding ban, This Morning vet says

Flat-faced dogs often suffer from a range of health problems, vet says (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Flat-faced dogs often suffer from a range of health problems, vet says (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

French Bulldogs and Pugs could also be subject to a ban on the selective breeding of flat-faced dogs in Norway, ITV’s Dr Scott Miller has said.

The veterinarian appeared on The Morning show on Friday morning after the Oslo District Court banned the breeding of British Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

The court ruled that the breeding of brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs is cruel and results in man-made health problems, and is in violation of Norway’s Animal Welfare Act.

The case was brought to court by animals rights group Animal Protection Norway, who described the landmark ruling as a “a victory for our dogs”.

Dr Miller, who has been practising as a vet for more than 20 years, said he has “great concerns” about the health outcomes of breeding brachycephalic dogs.

Taking the example of the British Bulldog, he said they have very narrow nostrils and “virtually no nose”. This means that the structures in their nasal passages are shunted back, and that they have an elongated soft palate.

“Which means they struggle to breathe, they overheat and also, because of their shape, they struggle with arthritis and tend to be overweight because you can’t exercise them that much,” he said.

He added: “King Charles Spaniels have such an abnormally shaped head. This can actually pressurise the brain stem and lead to a neurological condition called Syringomyelia.”

Syringomyelia occurs when there is an abnormal fluid-build up where the dog’s skull joins onto its spine, causing neck and back pain.

“These conditions have been brought about because of breeding standards,” Dr Miller said.

“All kennel clubs have to take responsibility that they set those breeding standards, and those standards have become so insane that these dogs are struggling. They’re in pain, they’re uncomfortable and in a lot of cases, they need surgical correction to be normal.”

When asked by host Dermot O’Leary whether any other dog breeds could be subject to a similar ban in the country, Dr Miller said it could soon be applied to other flat-faced breeds such as French Bulldogs and Pugs.

He said these dogs had been bred to appear this way because people are “trying to make dogs look like humans”.

“They need to look a certain way, but they also need to be healthy. We’re giving them problems they don’t deserve to have,” he said.

However, Dr Miller cautioned against a similar ban in the UK, arguing that the Norwegian ruling could encourage illegal breeding and worsen the problem.

Instead he advised the government to “work with breeders and kennel clubs to try and breed the animals they love to be healthy”.