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RSPCA commissioned scientific report

In 2008, the RSPCA commissioned an independent scientific report on pedigree dog breeding in the UK.


Our aim was to investigate the impact of traditional selective breeding practices on pedigree dog welfare and to suggest a number of possible ways forward to improve the welfare of pedigree dogs. We hoped this would help inform all those dedicated to protecting and improving the welfare of pedigree dogs.


It focuses on the welfare issues associated with:

  • exaggerated physical features, and
  • inherited disease

Pedigree dog breeding in the UK: a major welfare concern? (PDF 885KB)


A recognised global problem too

As an independent report, its contents are the findings, views and conclusions of its expert authors and contributors (PDF 64KB), who are acclaimed experts in the fields of animal welfare science, genetics, epidemiology* and veterinary science.


Whilst conclusions are centred on the specific situation in the UK, the report reviews what is well recognised as an international problem.


*Epidemiology is the study of how often and why diseases occur in different groups of animals and/or people.


Joint effort needed to find solutions

The RSPCA recognises that solving the welfare problems associated with exaggerated physical features and inherited disease presents a very complex challenge.


It’s essential that all relevant stakeholders work together in order to identify and implement practical, evidence-based, effective solutions.


At this critical time, we are committed to working with all those involved in dog breeding. We hope that this report will be seen as a constructive contribution to the current debate into the welfare of pedigree dogs and encourages wider discussion.


Find out about our actions for pedigree dog welfare (PDF 52KB) since the BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed.


Read the report

The full report can be downloaded above and accompanying bilingual versions of an executive report summary can be downloaded below: