Norway made headlines earlier this year by effectively banning the breeding of British bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles spaniels, – stating the practice violates animal welfare laws. British bulldogs and King Charles spaniels are brachycephalic dogs (meaning they have flat faces) and can commonly suffer from severe breathing problems and health issues. The Norwegian court chose to focus on the two specific brachycephalic breeds, intending to set a strong legal precedent for discontinuing the breeding of other flat-faced dogs.
Britons would support banning the breeding of dogs with health issues – but support is lower if you name the specific dogs
YouGov asked the British public whether they would support or oppose a ban in the UK on the selective breeding of certain types of dogs. Half of the respondents were asked whether they would support a ban on selective breeding where it results in serious health issues, like breathing problems or increased cancer risk, and the other half were asked whether they would support a ban on selective breeding of brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs, like pugs and French bulldogs.
Seven in 10 (71%) would support banning selective breeding where it results in dogs with serious health issues, with just 20% opposed and 9% unsure.
However, support for banning selective breeding falls to 57% when the public are asked if they would support banning the breeding of brachycephalic dogs, like pugs and French bulldogs – with a quarter (25%) opposed and 18% unsure. French bulldogs – which are prone to the breathing problems common to flat-faced dogs – are the second most common dog in the UK, with nearly 40,000 new dogs registered in 2020. Pugs are bred for their bulging eyes, wrinkly skin and squished face, which has made them an internet favourite – but also leaves the dogs with significant health problems.
While all age groups are generally in favour of a ban on breeding flat-faced dogs, older Britons are more likely to support a ban on breeding dogs like pugs and French bulldogs – 65% of those aged 65 and over would support such a ban, with 24% opposed. On the other hand, 52% of 18 to 24-year-olds would support such a ban, with 31% opposed.
See full results here