Dog and Cat Breeding

Dog and Cat Breeding

The EU Dog & Cat Alliance is deeply concerned about the lack of specific legislation on breeding and the varying requirements for registration of breeders in EU Member States.

Puppies and kittens bred in poor conditions can experience certain health problems. If puppies and kittens are bred in poor conditions, they may also not be given enough experience of different environments, people or other animals to allow them to develop into confident adult animals. When dogs develop fear-related behaviour problems, this can be a long term threat to their welfare as well as being a problem for owners and one of the top reasons for animals being handed over to a rehoming organisation.

Adult breeding dogs which have been removed from commercial breeding establishments and rehomed as pets have also been reported to have health and behaviour problems.

Breeding for extremes of conformation

Another key concern is the suffering of dogs and cats that develop serious health issues as a result of breeding for extremes of conformation, to exaggerate features such as flat faces, narrowed nostrils, skin folds and protruding eyes. Certain breeds of dogs and cats are bred this way to make them look more appealing but the reality is that these exaggerated features can lead to a range of health and welfare issues such as breathing difficulties, recurring skin infections, eye diseases and spinal or neurological problems.

As it is currently left to Member States to legislate on the breeding and trade of dogs and cats, this means that national requirements, and their enforcement, can vary across the EU.

We are calling for:

  • Compulsory licensing of dog and cat breeders by EU Member States and harmonised EU standards for dog and cat breeders, covering the conditions in which dogs and cats are kept. This would improve the functioning of the EU internal market by ensuring minimum standards across all Member States, as well as improving animal welfare and ensuring consumer protection.
  • Collaborative action to stop the suffering of dogs and cats that develop serious health issues as a result of breeding for extremes of conformation.

We welcomed the key finding of the European Commission study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices (2015), that the EU should take action to protect companion animal welfare. This is also supported by the views of EU citizens. According to Special Eurobarometer 442, published in March 2016, 74% of Europeans believe the welfare of companion animals should be better protected than it is now.

Furthermore, the Council conclusions on animal welfare, published in December 2019, stated that the Council “INVITES the Commission to assess the need for and impact of new legislation covering all animal species kept in the context of an economic activity for which specific animal welfare legislation does not exist at present, in particular cattle at least six months old, farmed rabbits, pullets, dogs and cats but also, turkeys, broiler and laying hen breeders, sheep, goats and farmed fish”.

In light of this, we call on the Commission to implement the recommendations we have outlined above.