In the world of pug owners and breeders many people disagree about how to breed and what actions to take.The board of the breed association Commedia believes action must be taken because the health of the breed needs attention.
The main cause of this is the pug's head shape. The lack of genetic diversity also plays an enormous part in the problems occurring. The board of Commedia - after approval of the members - has joined in discussions with the ECGG (Expertice Center for Genetics of Companion Animals), which is part of Utrecht University.
The consultations that were conducted were twofold; advice was sought to investigate the population at a genetic level because people fear there is far too little genetic diversity, and there are major concerns about the head shape of the pugs.
The matter of visualizing genetic diversity was the first subject, something that is extremely necessary but also very expensive research. The breed club is considering various options on how to handle this to keep it affordable for breeders.
The coordinator of the ECGG also turned out to be part of the specialist team that advises the minister on the implementation rules of the Act on keeping animals. This team has now given a final advice to the minister to introduce a minimum muzzle length for all dogs, regardless of whether they have a pedigree.
A number of other concrete recommendations have also been included in the report. At the last meeting, the veterinarian and inspectors of the NVWA were also present to exchange ideas about the introduction.
A minimum muzzle length; a radical plan that will undoubtedly generate a lot of resistance among many people.
The board of Commedia then was told by the ECGG that the ministry has been given the final advice to set concrete and measurable requirements for several things, the muzzle length of the brachycephal breeds being one of those.
The NVWA will actually enforce these rules and is waiting to be informed on how to make this effective.
Breedclub Commedia asked the ministry for clarity about this in an official way and how this could be brought out in public if new guidelines were indeed issued, as was suggested during the discussions. On 20th November, the board of Commedia received the following letter:
In order to prevent misunderstandings, I would first like to point out that this is not a new guideline. The report serves to further elaborate the existing Article 3.4 under the Act on keeping animals.
The Ministry has commissioned the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to develop enforcement criteria with regard to the welfare consequences of short muzzles as a first step for the brachycefalic dogs (applies to all brachycefalic dogs, pedigree or mutt).
At the moment, experts carefully weigh the enforcement criteria that can be used.
The Faculty's report will be ready this year. The enforcement criteria will be included in a policy rule.
Based on this policy rule, the NVWA can apply these criteria in monitoring and control.
You are welcome to bring this line of work out in the open.
With best regards,
Well, this is obviously to be continued