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Brachycephalic dogs
It's now time to curb advertising using flat-faced dogs, say vets

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VETS want to see demand for popular flat-nosed dogs reduced and some tougher curbs on their use in advertising campaigns.

They say breeds such as the bulldog, French bulldog and pug have become fashionable and, as a result, there has been an exponential rise in breed numbers and unhealthy dogs. Unscrupulous breeders are breeding dogs with exaggerated features in the hope that they will appear ‘cute’ to puppy buyers.

While some vets support a move to responsible use of their images in the media, others have called for an outright ban of unhealthy dogs.

The calls follow moves by the BVA to publicly criticise Comic Relief for using an image of a French bulldog in its advertising campaign for Red Nose Day.

BVA's president Gudrun Ravetz wrote to them to spell out the health concerns associated with the breed (see story p 290).

‘Many companies do not understand the significant health and welfare problems brachycephalic breeds can suffer, emphasising how important it is that vets continue to speak out on this issue,’ she said.

Kennel Club registrations for Labrador retrievers, French bulldogs, pugs and bulldogs, 2010 to 2016

Rowena Packer, brachycephaly expert, said: ‘I started work in this field in 2009 and the problem has got worse. The number of these dogs has gone through the roof and the recognition that there is more problems in these dogs just seems to be constant. The level of knowledge in general public is still incredibly low despite there being more resources available. If you want to buy a dog you only need to spend 10 minutes …

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