Oslo District Court decided on 31st January 2022 that breeding of English Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is against the Norwegian animal welfare act. This has sparked a debate also in Finland. The Finnish Kennel Club sees that breed bans are not the best way to improve the health and well-being of dogs.

- Promoting health and well-being of dogs has taken big steps forward over the past years in Finland, says Kirsi Sainio, Chair of the Finnish Kennel Club’s Scientific Committee.

In comparison with many other countries, the Finnish Kennel Club is very progressive and Finnish dog enthusiasts are in general very conscious. Right now, 175 breeds or breed variants in total are included in the Finnish Kennel Club’s Programme for Combating Hereditary Diseases and Defects, PEVISA.

Health problems of short-muzzled breeds have been addressed in Finland

As the first Nordic country, Finland has implemented extensive breeding regulations for several short-muzzled dog breeds. The Finnish Kennel Club encourages breed clubs of short-muzzled breeds to an open dialogue about long-term and thought-out crossbreeding projects.

The English Bulldog has a very extensive health programme in Finland. For English Bulldogs, a walk test, hip dysplasia screening, patellar luxation screening, and eye examination has been required of dogs used for breeding as of 1.6.2021.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have had a health programme in Finland for several years

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniels has had a valid health programme for several years. According to it, a dog used for breeding is required to be screened for patellar luxation as well as have results from eye examination and cardiac auscultation. For a long time, several breeders have also chosen to screen their dogs for chiari malformation and syringomyelia.

Health and well-being of dogs is best promoted through cooperation with different operators

Breed clubs and breeders have a central role when it comes to promotion of health and well-being of dogs. Several breed clubs have actively participated in the work to improve the health of dogs. Breeders see that breeding of dogs is more and more about breeding for better health, says Kirsi Sainio.

Cooperation with veterinarians and researchers as well as international dialogue are also important. The Finnish Kennel Club works closely with different quarters and is active on international forums for kennel clubs to improve the health and well-being of dogs.

- An open dialogue about problems and solutions to them is the best way to go when improving the overall health and well-being of dogs, Sainio emphasizes. A lot of work remains to be done.

Supplementary data

Chair of the Finnish Kennel Club’s Scientific Committee
Ph.D., Docent Kirsi Sainio
tel. +358 44 218 4431