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This article is a summary we (IPFD) have created describing the issues, the dialogue and challenges around regulatory actions in the Netherlands as of June 2020. The issue is having a polarizing effect across stakeholder groups, and it is our belief that the best results for all dogs are to be achieved by collaborative efforts. IPFD also promotes the considerations of impacts on dogs, breeds, and people when programs are put in place, given the complex nature of issues of health and welfare. This article is a compilation of resources for those who are exploring the situation. Table Of Contents Key points of the situation and background from 2019 Dutch Kennel Club - Breeding Criteria Documentation (English) Stakeholder Responses DogWellNet Coverage and Dog Health Workshops Resources Kennel Club Programs Questions & Moving Forward... (also a good summary of major issues) Some key points: The government of the Netherlands has created a set of criteria about the conformation of short-muzzled dogs and regulations that prohibit breeding of any dog when one is of these is exceeded, regardless of the other criteria. Although the regulations apply to all breeders, as for other issues, pedigree dog breeders who register puppies with the national kennel club (Raad van Beheer, Dutch Kennel Club, DKC) are the most visible and traceable and there is an emphasis on the DKC to enact and enforce these guidelines. And it does not restrict ownership of these dogs or purchase and importation of dogs. Controversies and challenges include: In the 12 designated breeds, pedigreed dog breeders account for a very small proportion of puppies of these breeds being sold in the Netherlands; most are from non-pedigreed breeders and imports. How will the legislation help the majority of dogs? The 12 breeds: i.e., • Affenpinscher • Boston Terrier • English Bulldog • French Bulldog • Griffon Belge • Griffon Bruxellois • Petit Brabançon • Japanese Spaniel • King Charles Spaniel • Pug • Pekingese • Shih Tzu - although sharing some similarities in facial conformation do not have similar risks for Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, based on available statistics. As stated by the DKC in their response to the proposed legislation: The government's criteria restricting breeding describe exaggerated conformations, which DKC agrees are not desirable and the DKC has concurred with almost all criteria and is supportive in monitoring the breeding stock of pedigree dogs. (See table in Breeding strategy proposal Dutch KC, below). However, the DKC does not agree with the breeding-prohibiting criterion of the Craniofacial Ratio (CFR), stating that, “This criterion would make it impossible to breed certain breeds while the prognostic value and the reproducibility of the CFR are being questioned among scientists.” The scientific evidence for the use of the CFR in the way proposed by the government and their experts is not robust for the breeds studied or should at least be subjected to further review. The government criteria may overemphasize only one aspect of the problems in some of these breeds. Most of the 12 breeds were not part of the key cited study. The DKC is now under pressure from the government and welfare critics and members of the show world for meeting government demands. The situation is being hotly debated through much of the pedigreed dog world and beyond, with some expressing the concern that this regulatory approach is defined in a way to eventually eliminate these breeds and may lead to further restrictions for other breeds. Unfortunately, there are some voices dismissing compelling evidence that there are health problems in certain breeds. It may be that groups who support, in general, attention to the health and welfare of brachychephalics, and have spoken in support of the legislation, may not have carefully considered the evidence or wider impacts. Some are worried that other counties may follow the lead of the Netherlands, without careful consideration. Background: Health and welfare management of brachycephalic dogs is the issue; there are implications are for all dogs and owners. The health and welfare of brachycephalic dogs is a highly complex situation - and yet current reactions and efforts tend to be rather narrow. Positions on various sides seem to becoming entrenched. When narrow or unilateral solutions are enacted without adequate participation of all stakeholders, conflict rather than collaboration or collective actions is often the result. The intensity in published statements and discussions online these days, sometimes extending to hostility, will not lead to an improvement in relations and certainly not to an improvement for the health and welfare of dogs. Responsibility lies with all stakeholders. Simple solutions to complex problems are unlikely to be effective and generally produce unintended consequences. For background and commentary on the recent situation in the Netherlands, please see Dr. Brenda Bonnett's Blog from August 2019, where concerns are expressed that the proposed legislation in the Netherlands was not likely to achieve its goals and the balanced report of the Dutch Kennel Club was presented: Brachycephalic dogs in the Netherlands Since then, the government of the Netherlands has enacted its regulations, to address what they consider to be a pressing need to protect the health and welfare of brachycephalic dogs. Unfortunately, the proposed solutions do not seem to have taken into account the full scientific evidence about the problems nor possible solutions; they may not tackle the full range of concerns; and the focus/enforcement on pedigree breeders may not achieve population-wide benefits for the majority of dogs. While these regulations are under the mandate of one country's government, there is the potential for more harm than good to come from these efforts, with broad implications for owners, dogs, and breeders, both within and beyond the Netherlands. Raad van Beheer (The Dutch Kennel Club, DKC) has translated information on the background and particulars of government regulations regarding breeding brachycephalic dogs - effective in the Netherlands as of May 18, 2020. Links to extensive coverage of the issues are located on the Fokken met kortsnuitige honden page on Raad van Beheer's website. Links to the eight documents that are are available in English (accessed June 2020) are listed below. Below are compiled resources on the 'discussions' and issues as well as resources, including those calling for inclusive and collaborative discussions. This resource page will be updated as the situation evolves. ...
UNDER CONSTRUCTION IPFD and our Partners support the health, well-being and welfare of ALL DOGS - and human-dog interaction. This section will link you to content and resources to support you and your dog - no matter what breed or type it is. Topics include: - education - activities - health and breed-specific issues (even for cross breeds and mongrels!) - behaviour, socialization - legislation Education of Consumers and the Public In this section we share information, material and links to our Partner's and Collaborator's content relevant to the education of consumers and the public, in the broadest sense. Responsible dog ownership and Pre-acquisition resources are available. Education is key to addressing the health and welfare of all dogs!