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Health - Breeds

Animals affected

Dogs, Cats






Dogs and cats have been bred selectively for thousands of generations. This has been done with a specific goal in mind, either to improve its hunting capacity or make it more attractive. However, the trend of having pedigree dogs with specific aesthetic traits leads to the suffering of thousands of animals due to the hereditary effects involved in achieving such traits.

In order for an animal to have the physical characteristics that people are looking for, animals with these or similar characteristics are cross-bred for generations, which also means breeding brothers with sisters and parents with children. This procedure is called endogamy and has serious downsides associated with it, as it reduces the genetic variety of species and also increases the chances of the animal having defective genes.

This explains why pedigree animals are more vulnerable to developing physical defects and diseases which involve pain and suffering: disorders associated with the blood, the heart, the endocrines, the eyes, the gastrointestinal tract, breathing, the urinary or reproductive system, the immune system, the muscles, the bone structure, the nervous system or the skin.

The fashion of owning pedigree dogs, with certain "aesthetic" canons, leads to the suffering of millions of animals.

Below are some examples of common problems, a consequence of genetic selection, in some of the best-known breeds:

  • Beagle: hypothyroidism, pulmonary valve stenosis.
  • Boxer: aortic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, mastocytoma and deafness in individuals with a white coat.
  • English Bulldog: dystocia, brachycephalic syndrome (breathing and eye problems due to the build of the snout and face), hemivertebra, pulmonary valve stenosis, skin problems coming from the folds in the skin.
  • French Bulldog: brachycephalic syndrome, cleft palate, hemivertebra.
  • Poodle: diabetes, cataracts, distichiasis, hyper and hypoadrenocorticism.
  • Pug: brachycephalic syndrome, hemivertebra, dermatitis in the folds of the skin.
  • Chihuahua: hydrocephalus, patellar luxation, glaucoma, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye syndrome), pulmonary valve stenosis.
  • Cocker Spaniel: anal sac adenocarcinoma, distichiasis, nephropathies, anaemia and immune mediated thrombocytopenia, otitis, pancreatitis, mammary tumors.
  • Dalmatian: hepatitis, deafness, hyperuricosuria (which gives rise to urinary stones).
  • Golden Retriever: atopic dermatitis, hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism.
  • German Shepherd: anal furunculosis, lumbosacral stenosis, degenerative myelopathy, hip and elbow dysplasia, pancreatic insufficiency, idiopathic epilepsy, panoesteitis.
  • Pekingese: brachycephalic syndrome, dermatitis.
  • Rottweiler: torn cruciate ligament, dilated cardiomyopathy, elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis, osteosarcoma.
  • Shar Pei: hypothyroidism, amyloidosis, brachycephalic syndrome, dermatitis.
  • Shih Tzu: brachycephalic syndrome, portosystemic shunt, patellar luxation, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye syndrome).
  • Sausage dog: intervertebral disc disease, thrombocytopenia, seborrhoea.
  • West Highland White Terrier: atopic dermatitis, hepatopathology, craniomandibular osteopathy, demodicosis, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye syndrome).

It can also occur in cats, for example, Persian cats, which may suffer from breathing or eye diseases, urolithiasis, dermatophytosis, polycystic kidney disease or portosystemic shunt.

Mixed-breed animals tend to be healthier than pure-bred, they are wonderful companions and dog’s homes and shelters are full of these animals looking for a new home.


Our action

  • In Catalonia and others CCAA we carry out a yearly sterilisation and identification campaign aimed at the pets of private individuals at reasonable prices: Soy Responsable (I'm Responsible).
  • On our web page Soy Responsable, you will find up-to-date information about veterinary centres which offer good rates for families who can prove a lack of resources.
  • From FAADA we inform about the benefits of sterilization in companion animals and its consequences in case of not doing so.

What can you do?

  • Choose to share your life with an adopted pet.
  • Keep in mind the influence of trends from the TV and movies. Occasionally the breeding of certain types of dog skyrockets because a specific breed has been used in a blockbuster production.
  • Sterilise your pets in order to limit overpopulation of dogs and cats, and reduce the burden on shelters and their inevitable killing.
  • Let your family and friends know about the problem.
  • Show your rejection of pet shops and suggest they promote adoption.
  • Write letters to the editors of local magazines and newspapers, suggesting they discuss the topic.
  • Share the content of our FAADA website on your social networks.

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