Pedigree Dogs Exposed
Monday August 9 at 10 pm ET/PT & Sunday August 15 at 8 pm ET on CBC News Network
The documentary that rocked the dog world in Britain.
Pedigree Dogs Exposed claims that some pedigree dogs are so inbred that they're suffering from genetic diseases and health problems that can cause them pain and discomfort, and the number of these genetic problems is increasing at a frightening pace.Since the broadcast of this controversial documentary in the UK, the British Kennel Club announced a wholesale review of every pedigree dog breed in the UK. This review is now complete and new standards have been put in place (see right). The Canadian Kennel Club is also undertaking it's own review.
According to the documentary produced for the BBC, some pedigree dogs are suffering acute health problems because looks are often emphasized over health when breeding for competition and shows. Pedigree animals make up 75% of the seven million dogs in the UK and cost their owners over $18.7 million in vets' fees each week.
The program, Pedigree Dogs Exposed, says dogs suffering from genetic illness are not prevented from competing in dog shows and have gone on to win "best in breed", despite their poor health. It says physical traits required by the Kennel Club's breed standards, such as short faces, wrinkling, screw-tails and dwarfism, have inherent health problems. The program shows a prize-winning cavalier King Charles spaniel suffering from syringomyelia, a condition which occurs when a dog's skull is too small for its brain.
It also features boxers suffering from epilepsy and pugs with breathing problems. It says deliberate mating of dogs which are close relatives is common practice and the Kennel Club registers dogs bred from mother-to-son and brother-to-sister mating. The historic Kennel Club says it works tirelessly to improve the health of pedigree dogs.
Two years in the making, Pedigree Dogs Exposed is written and directed by Jemima Harrison. Ms. Harrison was inspired to make the documentary following the death of her pedigree retriever.
Since the broadcast of Pedigree Dogs Exposed, the British Kennel Club has introduced many changes. These include the modification of breed standards, limits on inbreeding, and a new Code of Ethics which prohibits healthy dogs being culled for cosmetic reasons.