British bulldog to lose its Churchillian jowl after breeding standards shake-up

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London, January 14 (ANI): The classic British bulldog is to lose its Churchillian jowl because of a change in breeding standards effected by the Kennel Club.

The shake-up means that the dog will have a shrunken face, a sunken nose, longer legs, and a leaner body.

The British Bulldog Breed Council is unhappy with the change, and is considering taking legal action against the club.

"What you'll get is a completely different dog, not a British bulldog," Time Online quoted Robin Searle, the chairman, as saying.

New breeding standards for 209 dog species have been brought into immediate force, according to the online report.

The decision to effect these changes was following the furore over breeding practices shown on a BBC One documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, last summer.

Those opposed to the shake-up may lodge their objections until the end of June.

Issuing a statement, the Kennel Club has said that it is determined to show its commitment to dog welfare, and has ordered the removal of characteristic features from some dogs.

"The breed standards have been revised so they will not include anything that could in any way be interpreted as encouraging features that might prevent a dog breathing, walking and seeing freely," the statement said.

The shar pei will lose the familiar folds of skin on the neck, skull and legs.

While the Clumber spaniel and the labrador retriever must stay slim to qualify as top show dogs, flat faces without a muzzle on Pekingese are also no longer acceptable because they cause breathing difficulties.

The bloodhound, German shepherd hound, basset hound, Saint Bernard, chow chow, the Dogue de Bordeaux and mastiff are the other breeds that are to change.

Even judges at licensed dog shows have been asked to comply with the new breed standards while picking the healthiest and best-adjusted champions.

Incestuous breeding of dogs is also to be banned.

Marc Abraham, veterinary adviser to the Kennel Club, said: "The changes will leave breeders and judges in no doubt about their responsibilities to safeguard the health and welfare of dogs, first and foremost."

Jemima Harrison of Passionate Productions, which made Pedigree Dogs Exposed, welcomed the changes, but said that it would take years to put right all the problems.

Jenny Baker, chairwoman of the Shar Pei Society of Great Britain, also supported the changes. "We have never encouraged breeding of loose skin on the neck, legs or skull."

Country's leading zoologists and animal behaviour expert Sir Patrick Bateson, who is the president of the Zoological Society of London, has announced that he would be heading an independent inquiry into dog breeding techniques.

He will also review the registration and showing of dogs, and hopes to complete his report by the autumn. (ANI)

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