Norwegian Supreme Court deems breeding of Cavalier King Charles spaniel ‘illegal’

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Cavalier king Charles spaniel

In early 2022, the Oslo District Court ruled that the breeding of the English bulldog and Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a violation of the Norwegian Animal Welfare Act, due to the severe health issues that plague both breeds. Now, the judgement has been upheld by the country’s Supreme Court – at least concerning the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

A beloved British breed, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is plagued by heart problems, with about half of these dogs having developed a heart murmur by age five; heart mitral valve disease (MVD) is the leading cause of death in the breed. They are also far more likely than any other breed to develop a painful condition known as Syringomyelia (SM).

“The consequences of such breeding have been felt by our dogs over far too many decades”

The Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals (NSPA) is celebrating the ruling, which finds the breed is too unhealthy and inbred for the breeding to continue without breaching Norwegian animal welfare laws.

“The verdict thus confirms that the breeding which for years has perpetuated hereditary disorders and diseases is not only unethical, but also an actual breach of Norwegian law,” a NASPA statement reads.

“Over a hundred years of breeding based on breed purity, appearance and inbreeding has produced hereditary disorders, a high degree of inbreeding and increasingly shorter lifespans. The diseases and suffering that breeding inflicts on our dogs are numerous and completely man-made.

“The consequences of such breeding have been felt by our dogs over far too many decades. The price they have had to pay for some people’s vanity is sky high and will go down in history as one of man’s greatest betrayals of dogs.”

While the Oslo court originally ruled against the breeding of English bulldogs in Norway, the Supreme Court concluded that their breeding can continue, but with “clear frameworks and signals for the future”.

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