© Therese Rodin

Austria has legislated against what is called “Qualzucht” “torture breeding”, in German. The law and its meaning is expounded in a brochure called “Kurznasen, Hautfalten und Glubschaugen – nicht süβ, sondern gequält!: Wichtige Informationen über das Verbot der Qualzucht“. (“Short noses, skin folds and protruding eyes – not cute, but afflicted!: Important information about the prohibition of torture breeding”.) The content of the brochure was finished in 2015 and it was issued in June 2017.

Already the heading of the brochure shows that a central aim of the law is to regulate the breeding of snub nosed dogs, and among them Pugs. The brochure even has a picture of a Pug on the front page:

Part of the front page of the Austrian broschure.

Here follows a translation of the paragraphs related to “Qualzucht” in the law:

Prohibition against cruelty against animals, § 5

1) It is forbidden to unjustifiably inflict pain, suffering or harm on an animal or cause it serious anxiety.

(2) In particular, paragraph (1) is violated by anyone who:

1. Breed animals that are foreseeable to be associated with pain, distress, harm, or anxiety (torture breeding) for the animal or its offspring, and, as a result, related to genetic abnormalities, in particular one or more of the following clinical symptoms occur in the offspring, not only temporarily with significant effects on their health or physiological processes significantly affect or cause an increased risk of injury:

a) shortness of breath,

b) movement anomalies,

c) lameness,

d) inflammation of the skin,

e) lack of hair,

f) Inflammation of the conjunctiva and/or the cornea,

g) blindness,

h) exophthalmos

i) numbness,

j) Neurological symptoms,

k) malformations of the dentition,

l) malformations of the skull,

(m) body shapes that are likely to result in the impossibility to give natural birth, or

Imports, acquires, conveys, passes on or exhibits animals that have features of “torture breeding”;

As can be seen, all the symptoms but c), e), i) and m) apply on Pugs.

As a transition rule the legislators say that breeders can breed with the animals that have such symptom as above if the breeders document an ongoing improvement of the health of the offspring of their breeding animals, with the eventual goal that all the symptoms described in § 5 are gone. Here is a translation of the transition rule in the law:

Prohibition against cruelty against animals, § 44

(17) In the case of existing animal breeds in which aggravating characteristics occur, there is no violation of § 5 (2) (1) if it can be demonstrated by ongoing documentation that the health impairments of the offspring are reduced and subsequently eliminated by breeding measures or programs of measures. The documentation must be kept in writing and submitted for inspection by the authority or an organ responsible for the enforcement of this Federal Law.

In the brochure the breeders are recommended to set up criteria for selection, short-, medium and long-term breeding goals, as well as document a continuous evaluation of the breeding results. Furthermore, the symptoms of “torture breeding” are explained and illustrated as an aid to both breeders and buyers of dogs.

Footnote: I have no information about how this has developed in Austria. If you have, please send me an email and tell me about it!


Bundesministerium für Arbeit, Soziales, Gesundheit und Konsumentenschutz. 2017. “Kurznasen, Hautfalten und Glubschaugen – nicht süβ, sondern gequält!: Wichtige Informationen über das Verbot der Qualzucht“.