Popularity of Torment Breeds is Steadily Increasing

Two studies show the close bond owners have with their brachycephalic dogs. Their popularity is growing despite widespread knowledge of torment breeding and its problems.

A big head with a high forehead, rounded cheeks, big eyes, short, fat limbs, and awkward movements – all these are characteristics of the little child pattern that Konrad Lorenz already described and which triggers the need in many people to take care of themselves. Not only babies but also brachycephalic breeds like the pug or the French bulldog bring these characteristics with them and keep them – in contrast to growing human children – for life, which makes them very popular dogs.

The fact that this appearance, which is often perceived as cute or funny, entails many health problems, does not prevent pet owners from acquiring such breeds. On the contrary: surveys show that the popularity of brachycephalic dogs is steadily increasing. A statistic from the German Kennel Club showed that the number of pug puppies has increased by 95 percent since 2002 and that of bulldogs by 144 percent – despite increasing efforts on the part of veterinarians to provide information about the health problems and torture breeding. Doesn’t this information work?

Looking for answers

Two recent studies have conducted large-scale surveys, with study A only addressing owners of pugs and bulldogs (English and French), while study B was open to both dog and non-dog owners. The questionnaires were distributed via the Kennel Club and social media to get answers to the following questions, among others: Can animal owners make anything of the term torture breeding and how do they define it? What problems do you notice in your dogs and how do you rate them?

Interestingly, both studies came to similar conclusions when they were evaluated. These are summarized below.

Do animal owners know what torture breeding is (Study B)?

Half of the respondents from Study B understood the term tormented breeding (mainly older people, women, and dog owners); two-thirds were also able to define it correctly. Most often they named flat noses and short legs as typical characteristics of torment breeding. 15 percent understood torture as the conditions under which the animals have to grow up and live.

What diseases did owners of brachycephalic breeds face (Study A)?

According to the owners, the most common health problems of the animals are allergies, corneal ulcers, skin infections, and BOAS (= brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome).

A fifth of the more than 2,000 owners surveyed indicated that their dog had already undergone confirmation-altering surgery. According to owners, 36.5 percent of the dogs have problems with heat regulation, and 17.9 percent have difficulties breathing.

How do owners rate the quality of life of brachycephalic breeds (Study A+B)?

Despite the description of numerous health problems, 70 percent of dog owners rate their pet’s health as good. Clinical signs are considered “normal for the breed”. They are not believed to have any negative impact on the quality of life of the animals.

It must be assumed that many dog ​​owners do not recognize their dogs’ respiratory problems as such. However, many owners believe that breeders are more concerned with the animals’ appearance than their health and personality and that current breeding standards do not contribute to the vitality of the dogs.

Why do dog lovers get a brachycephalic dog?

Brachycephalic breeds are popular for many reasons, such as social status, fashion trends (“trend breeds”), cuteness, and the individuality of the animals. Both studies show that the relationship between dogs and human is particularly strong in brachycephalic dogs and that the owners feel very emotionally connected to the animals. This is most pronounced in female pug owners without children.

Frequently Asked Question

How does torture breeding work?

It is a matter of torturous breeding if: the offspring have hereditary body parts or organs that are missing, unsuitable, or deformed for the appropriate use and this causes pain, suffering, and damage or hereditary behavioral disorders associated with diseases occur in the offspring.

How does back breeding work?

Copy breeding, also known as reverse breeding, is understood as meaning an animal breed that is bred to phenotypically come as close as possible to the wild form of the respective domestic animal (e.g. aurochs, wild horse) or an extinct domestic animal breed (e.g. Düppeler Weidepig).

How does overbreeding happen?

The term overbreeding describes a change in the phenotype of a breeding population that is caused by breeding and is perceived as negative. In scientific genetics, the term is not used due to its unclear and ill-defined definition.

What is Blue Dog Syndrome?

Blue Dog Syndrome is caused by the dilution mutation. This can also lead to serious health problems such as Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA – Color Dilution Related Hair Loss), also known as Blue Dog Syndrome.

Is a boxer a torture breed?

Today, the Pug is one of the best-known breeds with tormented breeding due to the extremely round/short-headedness (brachycephaly) that was bred. The brachycephalic breeds also include the English and French Bulldogs, the Boxer, and King Charles Spaniel.

Is Rottweiler torture breeding?

Large dog breeds in particular are often affected. German Shepherds, Bernese and Swiss Mountain Dogs, and Rottweilers are known to have HD problems. Unfortunately, there are many other clinical pictures resulting from torture breeding, so the motto is always: keep your eyes open when buying a puppy!

Is the retro Pug a torture breed?

What do you need to know about the Pug? The Pug is a torture breed. Pugs suffer from shortness of breath throughout their lives and often only survive after surgery. Many Pugs get ear infections, misaligned teeth, conjunctivitis, skin fold dermatitis, and meningitis.

Is a Dachshund a torture breed?

Which dog breeds belong to the torture breeds? Australian Shepherd, French Bulldog, Pug, Chihuahua, Dachshund, Shar Pei, or German Shepherd breeds are often torture breeds.


Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *