Research by the RSPCA reveals many people believe pedigree dogs are quality animals coming from good breeding stock, despite being vulnerable to disease and other problems.

Puppy campaignRSPCA research reveals that many people still think pedigree dogs and puppies are healthy, quality animals that come from good breeding stock.

In fact, many pedigree dogs are vulnerable to unnecessary disease, disability, pain or behavioural problems. According to the RSPCA, this is because they’re bred primarily for how they look, rather than with health, welfare and temperament in mind.

The RSPCA says it’s concerned people are buying puppies prone to serious health and welfare issues because they are choosing dogs for the way they look, such as the current trend for toy breeds and “handbag dogs”, and aren’t doing enough research before they purchase.

In the survey commissioned by the RSPCA, people were asked what they associate with pure-breed or pedigree dogs.
The top six responses were:
 
1.     Expensive
2.     Well-bred
3.     From good breeding stock
4.     Quality
5.     Responsibly bred
6.     Healthy

However, these attributes, the RSPCA warns, aren’t always true.
RSPCA senior scientist Claire Calder said: “Everyone needs to be aware of the serious health and welfare problems affecting pedigree dogs and that dogs bred for looks are born to suffer.

“A cute-looking puppy or dog can be hard to resist, but the result of not looking beyond this can be thousands of pounds spent on vet bills and a pet with long-lasting health and welfare problems. This is one of the biggest challenges facing dog welfare in the UK today.”

Victoria Stilwell, presenter and dog trainer from TV show It’s Me or the Dog, agrees that dogs shouldn’t be bred solely for the way they look.

She said: “I have nothing against dog showing and nothing against responsible breeders, but what I do have something against is breeding animals just for the way we want them to look, even though that animal is compromised physically and, a lot of the time, mentally.

“So we have to change. Why are we destroying these animals just because we like the way they look?”

The RSPCA is launching a new campaign “Bred for looks, born to suffer” in order to raise awareness of the issue.
The charity is asking the public to support the campaign by signing up at: www.rspca.org.uk/borntosuffer where they will also find further information about the campaign.

*Victoria Stilwell photo credit: Parker Smith Photography

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