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Updated: May 15, 2023

The tendentious campaign by the Animal & Law Foundation is a very negative campaign in which they claim that every brachycephalic dog has breathing problems. This campaign has been professionally executed, which has now created support for this claim even in politics.

However, this claim is incorrect: Just as not every German Shepherd suffers from hip dysplasia, or every Dachshund struggles with hernias, not every brachycephalic (short-snouted) dog has breathing problems. It is important to have an objective method to determine if a dog has breathing problems.

Breathing problems in short-snouted breeds are referred to as BOAS (Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome).

In the Netherlands, BOAS is evaluated using Cranio Facial Ratio (CFR). To calculate the CFR, the length of the nose is divided by the length of the rest of the skull. Dogs with a CFR of >0.3 are excluded from breeding programs. However, neither the Dutch Kennel Club nor the international purebred dog association (FCI) supports this position. They support the BOAS method developed by the University of Cambridge.

This is a scientific method developed by the University of Cambridge to measure the level of BOAS in dogs, or to determine if a dog can breathe well or not. Grade 0 in BOAS means no clinical BOAS, the dog is free of BOAS signs, and grade 3 means severe BOAS signs. It is important to only allow dogs with a low BOAS grade in a breeding program.

A well-controlled breeding program must be conducted, only breeding with dogs that do not have breathing problems. This makes it clear that puppy mills must be stopped as soon as possible. We know that the dogs with the worst backs, knees, allergies, and breathing problems come from puppy mills. It is remarkable why we are still so tolerant of them, while we all know that not only do unhealthy dogs often come out of puppy mills, but also miserable and reprehensible animal-disrespecting conditions can be found there. It seems sensible to launch a good campaign about this.

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