Crufts to introduce ‘health entry requirements’ for flat-faced breeds from 2025

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Crufts 2025 will see the introduction of health-related entry requirements for some brachycephalic breeds, the Kennel Club has announced.

The decision comes after years of controversy, with Crufts accused of celebrating the suffering of flat-faced dogs, whose extreme features cause severe health issues. One notable issue is Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), which causes breathing problems. Despite pledges from the Kennel Club to tackle the issue, dogs with exaggerated features have kept being named Best in Breed and Best in Group at Crufts – with less extreme examples of the breed overlooked.

“The Respiratory Function Grading scheme is the strongest mechanism currently available to improve the breathing of these breeds”

Under the new rules, all eligible Pugs, Bulldogs and French Bulldogs will need to have a valid Respiratory Function Grading scheme assessment result to compete at Crufts 2025. Assessments must be undertaken every two years and those assessed as grade 3 will not be able enter the competition.

Charlotte McNamara, Head of Health at The Kennel Club, commented, “Protecting and improving the health of brachycephalic breeds remains one of our top priorities and while the role of dog shows in shaping the purchasing trends of the wider general public is minimal, they do provide a platform to educate breeders and the dog owning public.

“We hope that introducing a health-related entry requirement for Pugs, Bulldogs and French for Crufts 2025 will influence a wider positive impact on dog health. Crufts is a great opportunity to showcase good examples of each recognised breed, and celebrate the work being carried out by responsible breeders and breed clubs to protect and improve health.

“The Respiratory Function Grading scheme is the strongest mechanism currently available to improve the breathing of these breeds, collect data on BOAS, and demonstrate the commitment of the show community to tackling BOAS within these breeds.”

bad breeding

Dr Laura Hamilton, veterinary surgeon and French Bulldog Breed Health Coordinator, added, “Some brachycephalic breeds, including French Bulldogs, are hugely popular, with little to no awareness amongst puppy buyers of any health concerns, and many rogue breeders producing puppies simply for profit.

“And whilst Crufts can and does educate people about important issues around dog ownership and health, and this new entry requirement for the 2025 event is welcome and we hope will have a positive wider impact, realistically social media and celebrity culture tends to have a bigger influence.

“It’s absolutely crucial that any would-be owner fully researches the breed before making any decisions, speaks to experts, and finds a responsible breeder who health screens their dogs using the RFG scheme.”

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