One has a too small skull, the other has a too flat snout… Since the traits that make them so endearing are also the cause of their torment, Norway has taken the unprecedented decision to ban it. raise two breeds of dogs. In a resounding ruling, the Oslo court banned the British bulldog and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from keeping, on the grounds that the behavior caused them suffering inconsistent with animal protection laws.
Praised by animal rights activists and criticized by breeders, the ruling comes amid a growing debate over whether to seek “cuteness” for pets is right. the price to pay for their health? Åshild Roaldset, president of the Norwegian Humane Society, which initiated the lawsuit, told AFP: “Many of the breeds on our farm are very hybrid and carry a heavy burden of disease.”
major health problem
“We need to change the way we raise dogs. The way we do it may have been acceptable 50 years ago, but not today,” she said. Because of their dissimilarity, these two breeds have developed genetic diseases that affect most, if not all.
Sick but sweet dog, especially famous in cartoons Titi and grosminet and associated with British protestant spirit during the Second World War, bulldogs accumulate respiratory difficulties due to their flattened snouts, as well as dermatological, reproductive, and orthopedic problems. More than half of these mastiffs born in the last ten years in Norway were delivered by caesarean section. The judges said: “The inability of the breed itself to breed is one reason why bulldogs are no longer used in breeding.
The breeder is skeptical
For the Cavalier King Charles, who has historically captured the hearts of such figures as Louis XIV, Ronald Reagan and Sylvester Stallone, their constitution means they often suffer from skull headaches. too small, heart or eye failure. problems. For the Åshild Roaldset, a lack of genetic diversity on a global scale is putting these breeds at risk of extinction. “And it will be very painful for them because they will get more and more diseases,” she said.
Having been appealed, the judgment on January 31 has not yet taken effect, but has sowed surprise in the professional world. “It says dogs are born with headaches. I couldn’t believe it,” said Lise Gran-Henriksen, a breeder for 25 years, as she watched her half-dozen Cavalier King Charles Spaniels dogs frolic on the ice outside her Oslo home. “If that was the case, they wouldn’t be so happy. They are happy dogs that roam around and look healthy, because they are,” she says.
Overall, experts don’t question the “challenges” that the two breeds face, but believe they can overcome them by practicing selective breeding with animals screened for a number of years. test.
And then they pointed out that the judgment does not prohibit the possession, sale, or importation of bulldogs and Cavaliers, just their crossbreeding. As a result, some people fear a wave of “undocumented dogs” from overseas “puppy factories”.
For the Humane Society, the salvation of the two breeds depends on them crossing with other species to erase their genetic weaknesses. Åshild Roaldset believes: “If Cavalier had a slightly more spacious skull to accommodate his brain, he would still be the cutest dog in the world”, Åshild Roaldset believes. “And if the bulldog became less wrinkled, with a slightly longer muzzle and stronger skeleton, it wouldn’t make him a terrible dog and he would still be a bulldog.”