Breeding Tea-cup chihuahuas will be illegal

Last Sunday I came across an article in the Sunday Times by Johnathan Leake. He was reporting on the new crackdown on the breeding of pets with ‘cute defects’. Or designer dogs and cats that have been bread encouraging defects because they make the animal look cute.

In the article he talks about Scottish folding cats, that has a genetic defect that prevents it forming cartilage. As his ears won’t stand up this, apparently, makes him look super cute. Sadly, it also means he is subject to a life of arthritic pain.

He also goes on to mention the Cavalier King Charles that is bred to have an unnaturally small skull, this compresses his brain and affects his spinal cord.

I contacted Johnathan, who kindly sent me the Defra press release, and under the new proposals:

Anyone knowingly breeding animals with genetic defects could be considered to be committing an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Local authorities and the police have specific powers to enforce the Animal Welfare Act 2006, for example in relation to powers of entry and seizure. However, anyone can take out a prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and it is on this basis that the RSPCA prosecute people for animal cruelty.

Tea-cup dogs have become all the rage, but it is not just a craze that affects chihuahuas, all sorts of dogs are now being bred in miniature to supply a very lucrative market for designer pets.

What is a Tea-cup?

First, there is no known breed called a tea-cup. They are chihuahuas that have been selectively inbred or bred as runts to get a very small chihuahua. Characterised by their extra-large heads to body ratio and bulging eyes. Find out more about tea-cups here.

Why miniaturisation is bad

Chihuahuas are especially at risk from this miniaturisation as they are already very small. It causes all kinds of medical issues, from hydrocephalus (water on the brain), liver shunt disease, limb deformities, heart problems, respiratory problems and hypoglycaemia (blood sugar issues).

Apart from the medical issues these dogs have, the continual breeding of runts weakens the breed.

Cruel breeding conditions.

If your cute ‘tea-cup’ comes from a farm, the bitches are often kept malnourished in cages and have early caesareans performed on them. Don’t comfort yourself by thinking this is done under veterinary conditions.

Your puppy will then be sold through a ‘boutique’ website for several thousand pounds. But they can’t show the parents for many reasons, but probably because she is dead. For more advice on how to buy a puppy read here.

Welcome changes in the law.

The crack down is also tightening up controls on breeders and registration of breeders, the age they sell puppies (8 weeks), laws on the importing of pets and their vaccinations against rabies. Breeders must also be able to advise you on the background of the pup. More advice on how to buy a puppy

You can read the full report here.

I will be contacting the The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP from the DoE to see if I can get some further clarification on the matter and let you know how I get on.