The German Dachshund: on the brink of extinction due to animal welfare law

Germany's animal welfare law could lead to the extinction of one of the country's most iconic breeds, the Dachshund

In a bold move towards enhancing animal welfare, Germany is considering a law that might inadvertently signal the end for the iconic German Dachshund. Aimed at eradicating cruelty and maltreatment in breeding practices, this legislation seeks to outlaw breeds plagued with physical ailments, intensify penalties against illegal animal trade, and put an end to breeds known for health issues.

The proposed law

Central to the proposed German legislation is a crackdown on breeds suffering from various inherent physical problems, including movement anomalies, limping, hairlessness, dental malformations, internal organ dysfunction, and shortened life expectancy.

While Dachshunds are not directly named, their distinct long bodies and short legs predispose them to skeletal anomalies, categorizing them under the at-risk breeds the law aims to protect. This regulation could extend to prohibit other breeds, such as Pugs and all brachycephalic dogs known for respiratory issues, and even earless cats. Additionally, the law seeks to end the practice of perpetually chaining cows.

Opposition from breeders

Breeders, predictably, have raised their voices against the proposed animal protection law. The German Dog Breeders’ Association (VHD) vehemently argues that the law threatens the existence of many healthy dog breeds in Germany. The association criticizes the bill for its vague and ambiguous criteria for pathological traits, which could lead to wrongful interpretations and significant legal uncertainties for enforcement authorities, veterinarians, breeders, and pet owners.

While the VHD supports several proposed changes to Germany’s current legal framework, including the regulation of online animal trade and measures against illegal puppy trafficking, they also advocate for combating cruel breeding practices. However, the association underscores the effort of hobby breeders in improving the health of their dogs through dedicated breeding programs.

Health concerns of the Dachshund

Despite these breeding efforts, the German Dachshund is notorious for its physical vulnerabilities, attributed to its unique physique. While dachshunds can live between 12 to 16 years, they are predisposed to neurological genetic diseases and other conditions such as disc herniation, otitis, gingivitis, epilepsy, obesity, myasthenia gravis, Cushing’s syndrome, and intervertebral disc disease.

The question arises: Is the Dachshund truly a healthy breed? Meanwhile, a petition launched by the breeders’ association has garnered 22,000 signatures, indicating significant public interest and concern over the fate of these beloved dogs.

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