PDSA statement on brachycephalic companion animals

22 December 2017

Our vision at PDSA is a lifetime of wellbeing for every pet. We believe that the physical and mental health of companion animals should be the highest priority when breeding or caring for pets of any species

Results from the annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report have consistently shown that health issues relating to pedigree/unsuitable breeding are a welfare concern for both veterinary professionals and pet owners alike. There is a substantial body of evidence supporting the link between flat-faced breeds and welfare issues known to cause suffering.

As a veterinary charity, the health issues facing brachycephalic pets are a real concern for us, particularly with the growing popularity of breeds such as French Bulldogs, Bulldogs and Pugs. However, many owners are simply not aware of the detrimental effect extreme conformations can have on their pet’s welfare and quality of life.

Our ‘Which Pet?’ campaign encourages prospective owners to research extensively before buying a pet. This will help people choose a pet best suited to their lifestyle as well as a breed that isn’t predisposed to health issues due to genetic or conformational disease. We hope more people who are considering getting a pet will turn to their local vet team for advice in order to become better informed on the 5 welfare needs of their preferred pet and particularly to understand the welfare and health implications of choosing certain breeds.

PDSA works with external groups such as the UK Brachycephalic Working Group and the Dog Breeding Reform Group in order to address these welfare issues and contribute to collaborative strategies that will improve welfare standards. We also have a policy of not using any flat-faced breeds in our advertising, instead only using pets who are fit and healthy. We support the work of the Campaign for the Responsible Use of Flat-Faced Animals (CRUFFA), a group working to stop the use of flat-faced pets used in advertising campaigns of all companies, which will help to reduce normalisation of these breeds across all media.

We are committed to using our veterinary and educational expertise to support work in any areas tackling this important welfare issue.

PDSA Which Pet?

This page is for veterinary professionals: Help your clients choose the right pet for them with our 'Which Pet?' consultation framework.

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