Sweden: Operated brachycephalic dogs are excluded from breeding

Good news from Sweden! Since April 10th, the Swedish Kennel Club (SKK) will no longer register puppies born from a brachycephalic dog that has undergone airway surgery. Breeding of dogs with disability is not permitted under Swedish animal welfare legislation and the SKK rules. ‘This means breeding is no longer allowed with dogs that have undergone respiratory surgery as a result of clinical problems caused by their brachycephalic features,’ explains Maria Karlsson, FECAVA Director for Sweden. This will hopefully steer breeders towards a healthier phenotype.

Furthermore, Swedish veterinarians will be able to report any procedures directly to the SKK and the dog's record on the (publicly available) SKK database will be amended. For the moment, only surgical procedures and respiratory / temperature control diagnoses can be recorded. Regarding caesarean sections, breeding is prohibited from bitches that have undergone two such operations, according to Swedish legislation. Veterinarians are also being asked to report deaths or euthanasia if these occurred as a result of poor respiratory and / or temperature control. 

The veterinary profession asked for these changes in a petition back in 2015, adds Maria Karlsson. ‘As one of the initiators of the petition, I became member of a board coordinating this together with the veterinary authorities and kennel clubs.’

There is also a new puppy certificate allowing vets to record all exaggerated features of the dog's phenotype rather than things like ‘normal breathing sounds for the breed’. The new certificate, aimed at all SKK registered puppies up to 6 months of age, was produced by a working group with representatives of the Swedish Kennel Club and Swedish Veterinary Society (SVS), breeders and veterinary practitioners.

The next step? ‘We're still waiting for the breeding certificate. This will require dogs to have normal breathing function and be able to pass a physical test in order to qualify for breeding. It's taking a long time, but we've been told it will be launched this year.’