The United Kingdom

© Therese Rodin

In 2018, the UK established the following paragraph in The Animal Welfare […] Regulations:

Schedule 6

6.5 No dog may be kept for breeding if it can reasonably be expected, on the basis of its genotype, phenotype or state of health that breeding from it could have a detrimental effect on its health or welfare or the health or welfare of its offspring.

The reason for the new law in the UK is quite simply that the breeding of pets that have severe health problem is booming, and among them, the French Bulldog is mentioned. In the process of changing the law, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has been an important actor, campaigning against the kind of breeding that the law aims at prohibiting.

The situation has made the government to react. Journalist Jonathan Leake cites them in his article “Crackdown on ‘designer pet’ breeders”. The government says that “[b]reeders of puppies […] who knowingly produce animals with genetic defects, such as French bulldogs that cannot breathe properly, will be liable for prosecution under animal welfare legislation” (Leake 2017).

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says that already the Animal Welfare Act from 2006 could be used against the breeding of animals with genetic defects. However, the breeders thought that their breeding was not affected by that law (Leake 2017). The new law is a result of the fact that the old one was not used against this kind of animal abuse.

The spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says that prosecution against an offender of the law can be made by the police, local authorities or organizations such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

The process towards a new legislation was received well by the Kennel Club, whose secretary said: “The Kennel Club would support legislative measures to improve the quality of dog breeding in the UK” (Leake 2017).

Part of the front page of the British regulations


Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. 2018. “The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 Guidance notes for conditions for breeding dogs”. (Accessed 190712)

Leake, Jonathan. 2017. “Crackdown on ‘designer pet’ breeders”. The Times.