Germany moves to impose stricter rules for breeding sausage dogs

A draft law is design to prevent the suffering of pets from body deformations.

Dachshunds, the German dog breed known for their distinctive long bodies and short legs, and also called “sausage dogs,” face an uncertain future if proposed changes to an animal protection law are approved. These pets are prone to health issues such as disc damage and back problems, ear infections and PRA - an inherited eye condition.

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The document, elaborated by the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture, was published in February and aims to combat “torture breeding” – a sort of breeding designed to produce animals with certain enhanced characteristics that underline their cuteness, for example, but also cause their physical suffering. The draft amendment lists a number of disease characteristics that need to be outlawed, such as anomalies of the skeletal system, or leg length, or other body deviations. 

A sausage dog more than 100 years ago...

...and now. 

On the other hand, Germany’s kennel club VDH, fears that it would force owners to end the breeding of certain dogs.

It could apply, on beagles, Jack Russell terriers, miniature schnauzers, as well as of dogs with short noses, like the English bulldog, French bulldog, and pug, VDH noted, adding that those characteristics are too vague and unclear.

But a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food calmed down the waters by saying that the draft was at an early stage and would be almost certainly modified during debates in the Bundestag, the German parliament.

“The issue at hand pertains to the characteristics stemming from breeding for deformity and the overall welfare of animals, not, as erroneously asserted, to a blanket prohibition targeting specific breeds,” the spokesman said.

The amendment’s purpose is to clarify existing regulations regarding the breeding without deforming animals’ bodies, which by the way was introduced in 1986 and further amended in 2013 in order to add new potential risks and symptoms (blindness, deafness, dental abnormalities).

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The document is a response from the authorities to an article in the daily Hochrhein Zeitung on the effects of breeding practices in Germany, where owners choose to accentuate certain characteristics of their pets on the expense of their health. 

The VDH has launched a petition against the new changes.

Sources: German media

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