Extreme Conformations

The Issue

English Bulldog

Certain animals are being bred to have extreme conformations. This can include the breeding of brachycephalic (snub-nosed) animals, animals with large skin folds, bulging or droopy eyes, cork screw tails, or other exaggerated body shapes. The unique appearance of these animals has made them desirable for advertisers and those in the public eye. Their use in marketing and as pets to celebrities has increased public interest, resulting in excessive and often less selective breeding to meet market demand.

Why it Matters

When breeding programs focus on specific exaggerated conformational changes, sometimes referred to as extreme breeding, there can be unintended negative consequences which could affect the health and welfare of offspring. Extreme features can result in serious health conditions and in some cases, animals may not be able to effectively breathe, groom, walk, see, or hear properly. Invasive surgeries may be required in order to correct some of these issues.

CVMA Action

The CVMA is currently working with members, various external stakeholders as well as national and international committees to address the serious health issues resulting from the breeding of animals with extreme conformations, such as seen in some brachycephalic animals.

In development:  

  • CVMA Position Statement on Responsible Breeding: anticipated completion 2022/2023 
  • Updates to the existing Kennel Code in 2022/2023
  • Revision of the Cattery Code in 2022/2023
  • Guidelines for Marketers and Advertisers to Address Extreme Conformation Concerns (release 2022) 
  • Multistakeholder symposium on Extreme Conformations July 2022 
  • CVMA convention sessions on Extreme Conformations July 2022

Available now: 

March 2022

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