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also have started to import puppies - legal as well as illegal. Origin and early life conditions of these dogs are unknown but there are reasons to believe that it could be compromised.
Breeding programs
The trend towards breeding outside the kennel clubs may have additional causes. Many National kennel clubs have implemented different kinds of mandatory health screening of breeding animals during the last decades. This goes for hip and elbow dysplasia screening,
eye examinations etc. The breeding programs were implemented to increase the health of purebred dogs but may also have been enforced by the negative mentioning of purebred dogs in the media culminated with the BBC program “Pedigree dogs exposed”. The breeding programs put extra costs on the organized breeders resulting in puppies that are more expensive compared to the puppies from non-organized breeders or imported puppies. In addition, dog that do not meet the requirements are banned from breeding within the organized kennel clubs. Thus, the organized breeders have experienced a decrease in autonomy. This would not be problematic if the puppy buyers had a demand for puppies bred from health checked parents. However, this does not seem to be the case. Especially for popular breeds as Chihuahua and French bulldog, the type, personality and simplicity of acquisition outshines the health status of the breeds. 9
Consumers rights
The last aspect with a negative influence on the organized breeders is the Sale of Goods Act. 10 In Denmark, as well as the rest of EU, dogs are goods
in line with computers and refrigerators. It means, that the buyers have the right to complain within the first two years if the puppy does not meet the expectations. Within the Danish Kennel Club, it is mandatory for the breeders to use an approved purchase document
that clearly describes the rights of the puppy buyer or “consumer”. These rights exist for the non-organized breeders and the providers of imported dogs as well. However, they are rarely pursued, either because the puppy buyers are unaware of their rights or because it
is impossible to rediscover the identity of the provider. In this way, you have a higher risk of being pursued from discontented puppy buyers if you breed within the kennel club compared to being a non-organized provider.
Overall, legislation and consumer behavior has decreased the power of the pedigree organizations. The consumers choose to buy puppies from non-organized breeders that are not subject to the breeding programs of the organized dog society. In addition, the non- organized breeders seems less obliged to follow the current legislation. This is a seeming paradox. Parallel to
An Urban Experience
this development there has been an increased focus from the surrounding society and media on health and welfare of purebred dogs. Each time the subject comes up
focus and critique is targeted at the official organizations for pedigree dogs, which are urged to “do something”. However, when their power declines in favor of the non- organized breeders there are less animals that the kennel club can influence by means of breeding programs. For some breeds, the result is smaller population sizes and reduced genetic variation making selection even more difficult. better communication to puppy buyers and media may be necessary in order to increase the health and welfare of dogs.
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HF, et al. Why do people buy dogs with potential welfare problems related to extreme conformation and inherited disease? A representative study of Danish owners of four small dog breeds. PLoS ONE 2017 Feb; 12(2): 1-25. e0172091. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172091
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