© Therese Rodin
In summer 2015, more than 500 Swedish veterinarians forwarded a petition to the Swedish board of agriculture which intention was “to bring about collaboration between clinically active veterinarians, the Swedish Kennel Club (SKK) and the Swedish Board of Agriculture for the right of snub nosed dogs to breathe normally without an operation” (Trubbnosuppropet. 2015). They had six suggestions for how to come to terms with the problems:
- The criteria for assessment of the breathing organs at dog shows should be re-examined
- All snub nosed dogs thought for breeding should have a health certificate regarding the airways
- A more elaborate health certificate for insurance of and sale of snub nosed dogs
- Dogs that have had surgery in their airways shall not be allowed in breeding
- A survey of the breathing problems of snub nosed dogs
- Consumer information so that owners of snub nosed dogs know what they need to pay attention to regarding the airways of their dog
The Swedish kennel club has had Breed Specific Instructions for the show judges since 2009 and in 2014 they initiated a Nordic cooperation in the Kennel clubs to counter conformational exaggerations in dogs. It seems though, that the petition mentioned above led to an intensified activity to come to terms with the breathing problems of snub nosed dogs.
In May 2017 SKK published a new examination form for puppies that had been developed by SKK, veterinarians and breeders. It came as a result of the petition for the snub nosed dogs right to breathe normally without an operation (SKK, valpbesiktningsintyg).
In spring 2018 SKK introduced a voluntary registration of surgery of the airways on snub nosed dogs and also dogs who have died as a result of airway problems can be registered. Dogs who have undergone surgery are not allowed into breeding (SKK, Operationer och dödsfall hos kortskalliga hundar).
At the beginning of 2019 the Swedish kennel club introduced a health program for four snub nosed breeds; Boston terrier, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, and Pug. It is voluntary for breeders to investigate dogs intended for breeding regarding breathing and thermoregulation (SKK, Hälsoprogram).
The dog does an exercise test, which corresponds to the test that has been developed by the German Kennel Club (VdH) Kurznasen, Hautfalten und Glubschaugen – nicht süß, sondern gequält! Wichtige Informationen über das Verbot der Qualzucht (Read about the German test here (in German)). The dog shall walk one kilometer in at most 12 minutes. It is examined by a veterinarian before and after the test as well as 15 minutes after the test. The result are registered in SKK:s data base and are public.
Part of the health program is also inspections arranged by the breed clubs and/or veterinary clinics.
There is also an inventory of the four snub nosed dogs that are focus of the health program that started in autumn 2018 and that continues during 2019. It will be done in all the Nordic countries. The aim of the inventory is to look at the conformation and genetics of these breeds with the hope to find enough variation to come to terms with the problems with BOAS (SKK, Trubbnosinventering).
In 2017 the Swedish Pug breed club Mopsorden decided as a strategy “to promote breeding of pugs with unaffected (besvärsfri) breathing and smaller nose fold” and “to promote breeding of pugs with not too short a muzzle”. This can be read on the breed club’s web page on a prominent position under “breeding and health” (Avel och hälsa). They also write on the same page that “Mopsorden’s goal in RAS (breed specific breeding strategy) is that the whole Pug population shall have an unaffected breathing (andas besvärsfritt)”.
In 2019 the Swedish Board of Agriculture published a new regulation regarding “keeping dogs and cats” (Statens jordbruksverks föreskrifter och allmänna råd om hållande av hund och katt). The passage about breeding can be seen in the light of the debate that has been going on since the 2015 veterinary petition.
Chapter 1. Common regulations, Breeding
24 § Animals are not allowed to be used in breeding if
1. they have illnesses or disabilities that can be inherited,
2. they are or with big probability are carriers of two recessive alleles for illness,
3. they are or big probability are carriers of a single recessive allele for illness if not paired with an individual that has been proven to be free from this allele,
4. the breeding combination from available information enhances the risk for illness or disability in the offspring
5. they show behavior disorders like exaggerated fear or aggressive behavior in unprovocative or for the animal ordinary situations, or
6. they lack the ability to reproduce in a natural way.
In summer 2019, the Swedish veterinarians issued a new petition regarding the snub nosed dogs. They write that they want the Swedish Board of Agriculture to look at the new legislation in the Netherlands where breeding with dogs that have a muzzle that is shorter than 1/3 of the skull length (measured from the stop to the occipital protuberance) is forbidden. They also want a prohibition against the breeding of dogs with stenotic nares. The veterinarians write that “The background to the petition is the suffering Swedish animal healthcare personnel see in the clinics caused by the breeding towards extreme brachycephaly and that the progress in breeding since the veterinary petition from 2015 still has not given sufficient effect. Snub nosed dogs with health problems are still being born and it is not acceptable from the point of view of animal welfare”. They show that they are aware of the work SKK does regarding this issue but argue that legislation is needed to reach the goal faster (Veterinärt upprop 2019).
Mopsorden. ”Avel och hälsa”. (Accessed 190719)
SKK. 2017. ”Valpbesiktningsintyg”. (Accessed 190719)
SKK. 2018. “Trubbnosinventering”. (Accessed 190719)
SKK. 2018. ”Registrering av operationer och dödsfall hos kortskalliga hundar”. (Accessed 190719)
SKK. 2019. ”Hälsoprogram för brakycefal ras”. (Accessed 190719)
”Trubbnosuppropet”. 2015. (Accessed 190719)
”Veterinärt upprop 2019: Förbjud korta noslängder hos brachycefala hundar enligt det holländska initiativet”. 2019. (Accessed 190719)