The Initiative

On Janu­ary 1st 2022, the Dog Regu­la­ti­on Act of the Ani­mal Pro­tec­tion Law has been amen­ded to pro­hi­bit dog exhi­bi­ti­ons of ani­mals ori­gi­na­ting from so-cal­led tor­tu­re bree­ding acti­vi­ties. The basic under­stan­ding of pro­mo­ting ani­mal wel­fa­re by set­ting bin­ding stan­dards can only be applau­ded. Howe­ver, the way vete­ri­na­ry aut­ho­ri­ties that are tas­ked with enfor­cing this regu­la­ti­on may inter­pret it, can be detri­men­tal to ken­nel clubs who are alre­a­dy dedi­ca­ted to com­ba­ting her­edi­ta­ry defects and dispositions.

We, as mem­bers of the Club for Bri­tish Her­ding Dogs (Club für Bri­ti­sche Hüte­hun­de e.V.) and foun­ders of the initia­ti­ve “Con­trol­led Bree­ding of Pedi­gree Dogs is no Tor­tu­re Bree­ding”, are one of them.

Motivation and Objectives

This initia­ti­ve seeks to edu­ca­te the public about the actu­al methods of ken­nel clubs and uses cur­rent num­bers and rese­arch fin­dings as a frame­work to not only inform, but also allow for a fact-based exch­an­ge with aut­ho­ri­ties and govern­ment agen­ci­es. The cur­rent enforce­ment of “tor­tu­re bree­ding” laws must be stan­dar­di­zed on a nati­on­wi­de level. To achie­ve this, it is not only essen­ti­al to find – in col­la­bo­ra­ti­on with the ken­nel clubs – clear defi­ni­ti­ons for what “tor­tu­re bree­ding” actual­ly means, but also to ack­now­ledge the efforts that have been made by ken­nel clubs for a long time. A blan­ket ban can only lead to the end of con­trol­led pedi­gree bree­ding in the long run.

Who we are

Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen (VDH) e.V.
Club für britische Hütehunde e.V.
Irish Wolfhound Club e.V.
Klub für Terrier e.V.
Spaniel Club Deutschland e.V.
VDH Landesverband Rheinland-Pfalz
Bearded Collie Club Deutschland e.V.
1. Shetland Sheepdog Club Deutschland e.V.
Deutscher Collie Club e.V.
Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV) e.V.
Kynologische Gesellschaft für Deutsche Doggen e.V.
Pinscher-Schnauzer-Klub e.V.
Akita Club e.V.
Verein für Deutsche Spitze e.V.
Verein von Neufundländer-Freunden und -Züchtern in Deutschland e.V.
Verband der Pudelfreunde Deutschland e.V.
Club für Exotische Rassehunde e.V.
Basset Hound Club von Deutschland e.V.
Deutscher Neufundländer-Klub e. V.
Internationaler Klub für die Tibetische Hunderassen e.V.
Spezialclub für Tibet Terrier und Lhasa Apso e.V.
Deutscher Club für Bullterrier e.V.
Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub e.V.
1. Deutscher Shar Pei Club 1985 e. V.


Mein gesunder Rassehund

Torture breeding: between polemics and generalizations

[…] Breed exhibitions [have become] a circus of personal vanities at the cost of defect-loaded animals. What is missing is an appropriate offering of training and continued education opportunities for breeders and a willingness to take advantage of those.

Torture Breeding Evidence Network (QUEN – Qualzucht Evidenz Netzwerk)

Bree­ders of pedi­gree dogs are fre­quent­ly con­fron­ted with opi­ni­ona­ted lan­guage as used in this intro­duc­to­ry state­ment. The­se cri­tics deli­bera­te­ly igno­re the strict stan­dards that aspi­ring bree­ders as well as all bree­ding dogs are sub­ject to: Every bree­der has to pro­ve their par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on in regu­lar cyno­lo­gi­cal spe­cia­list events (con­fe­ren­ces, semi­nars, sym­po­sia) and dogs can only be appro­ved for bree­ding after pas­sing exten­si­ve health exami­na­ti­ons, breed spe­ci­fic gene­tic test­ing, and a beha­vi­oral assess­ment. The swee­ping accu­sa­ti­ons that ani­mal wel­fa­re initia­ti­ves and poli­ti­cal sup­port­ers make towards con­trol­led dog bree­ding are the­r­e­fo­re sim­ply not based in facts and are pri­ma­ri­ly aimed at deli­bera­te­ly mis­in­forming the public.


French Bull­dogs were regis­tered via TASSO in 2018. Under the Ger­man Ken­nel Club, howe­ver, hard­ly more than 300 pup­pies of the breed are born per year.

[It] should be […] noted that an overwhelming number of severely defective breeds originate from outside of the large kennel clubs.

Diana Plange: Veterinarians connect, in: Wuff Magazin, Jan. 2022 issue

The fact that this pro­blem is pri­ma­ri­ly cau­sed by the uncon­trol­led repro­duc­tion of purebred dogs out­side of regis­tered ken­nel clubs with stud­book regis­tries is not only veri­fia­ble with clear figu­res, but is also known to the ani­mal wel­fa­re initia­ti­ves them­sel­ves (for exam­p­le: in 2018, the total num­ber of new regis­tra­ti­ons for dogs of the French bull­dog breed via the pet regis­try TASSO amoun­ted to 11,203 pup­pies, while rare­ly more than 200 to 300 pup­pies per year ori­gi­na­te from regis­tered VDH kennels).

Since the reproduction of popular breeds is primarily taking place in Eastern Europe, it would make sense to at least exclude animals exhibiting defective breeding characteristics from the ability to win prizes and awards.

Letter to Julia Klöckner, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, July 24, 2019
Dr. Uwe Tiedemann, President of German Veterinary Association

The recom­men­da­ti­ons that ani­mal rights acti­vists pre­sent to poli­ti­cal decis­i­on makers are based on argu­ments that lack plau­si­bi­li­ty, such as, despi­te their bet­ter know­ledge, lay­ing the bla­me on con­trol­led dog breeders.

For the breeders, the animals are never just a commodity.

The animals are being produced like merchandise and sold for profit on internet portals, animal markets, or by “trusted breeders”. […] Dogs […] and other so-called pets are being reproduced in an uncontrollable manner to fulfill human ideals and breed characteristics stipulated by the kennel clubs.

PETA Germany: “These 17 “Pets are torture breeds”

Mean­while, ani­mal rights orga­niza­ti­ons make even more swee­ping, inflamm­a­to­ry alle­ga­ti­ons that pro­vi­de even less nuan­ce. Con­trol­led pedi­gree dog bree­ders work with bree­ding licen­ses that requi­re expan­si­ve inspec­tions and not only regu­la­te how often a bitch is allo­wed to be used for bree­ding, but also the maxi­mum num­ber of lit­ters per ken­nel and calen­dar year. Yet ani­mal rights orga­niza­ti­ons such as PETA only give sub­jec­ti­ve eva­lua­tions sui­ta­ble for defa­ma­ti­on only. Tho­se argu­men­ta­ti­ons not only igno­re the gre­at efforts made by ken­nel club regis­tered bree­ders to safe­guard the health of their off­spring and ensu­re that each lit­ter is being plan­ned respon­si­bly, but also the efforts going into sel­ec­ting the pup­py owners for each lit­ter. For a respon­si­ble bree­der, a pup­py is never con­side­red a com­mo­di­ty to be sold. On the con­tra­ry, the­re will tra­di­tio­nal­ly be a lifel­ong, caring exch­an­ge bet­ween the bree­der and the new owner.

Mein gesunder Rassehund

Controlled pedigree dog breeding is healthy dog breeding

The person selecting a domestic animal for breeding purposes, is under an obligation to take into account the physiological and ethological characteristics that could endanger the health and well-being of the offspring or the female parent.

Article 5 of the European Convention for the Protection of Domestic Animals dated November 13, 1987

What exact­ly is “Con­trol­led Pedi­gree Dog Bree­ding” as defi­ned by the Ger­man Ken­nel Club (VDH)? Out­lined here using the exam­p­le of the Club for Bri­tish Her­ding Dogs (Club für Bri­ti­sche Hüte­hun­de – CfBrH e.V.), one of the big­gest and oldest ken­nel clubs in Germany.

The Breed Association always acts in the best interests of the animals.
The Breed Asso­cia­ti­on always acts in the best inte­rests of the animals.

This kennel club …

  • is an asso­cia­ti­on regis­tered in Germany.
  • is part of the Ger­man Ken­nel Club (VDH).
  • has estab­lished its own, even more strin­gent rules within the VDH framework.
  • is being repre­sen­ted by a stee­ring com­mit­tee with the cor­re­spon­ding expertise.
  • governs regio­nal bree­ding acti­vi­ties through the mana­ging boards of its regio­nal committees.
  • uses cer­ti­fied spe­cia­lists for its bree­ding licen­sing procedure.
  • uses cer­ti­fied bree­ding inspec­tors across the coun­try for all lit­ter inspections.
  • keeps publicly acces­si­ble bree­ding records.
  • regu­lar­ly adjus­ts the bree­ding gui­de­lines in accordance with cur­rent research.
  • pre­vents tor­tu­re bree­ding through rules, stan­dards and inspections.
  • punis­hes vio­la­ti­ons against the bree­ding gui­de­lines as well as non-com­pli­ance with the sta­tu­tes in order to ensu­re the well­be­ing of the animals.
The health of the dogs and offspring is the top priority for the breeders.
The health of the dogs and off­spring is the top prio­ri­ty for the breeders.

The breeders …

  • are mem­bers of the Club for Bri­tish Her­ding Dogs (Club für Bri­ti­sche Hüte­hun­de – CfBrH e.V.)
  • are sub­ject to the stan­dards and bree­ding gui­de­lines of the Ger­man Ken­nel Club (VDH).
  • are sub­ject to the rules and pro­ce­du­res for obtai­ning a bree­ding licen­se by the CfBrH.
  • have to take an exam that requi­res basic cyno­lo­gi­cal knowledge¹.
  • are obli­ga­ted to regu­lar­ly update their trai­ning requi­re­ments by atten­ding cyno­lo­gi­cal seminars.
  • hold a per­mit, as requi­red, in accordance with §11 of the ani­mal pro­tec­tion law.
  • keep the dogs within their homes with access to the family.
  • if mul­ti­ple dogs are kept tog­e­ther, they are held in a social group.
  • adhe­re to the maxi­mum num­ber of lit­ters per calen­dar year, regard­less of the num­ber of bitches.
  • edu­ca­te poten­ti­al new pup­py owners about breed spe­ci­fic diseases.
Correct, healthy anatomy is a prerequisite for healthy breeding.
Cor­rect, healt­hy ana­to­my is a pre­re­qui­si­te for healt­hy breeding.

The breed exhibitions …

  • pro­vi­de an over­view of the cur­rent bree­ding acti­vi­ties and deve­lo­p­ment of the population.
  • use the breed spe­ci­fic ins­truc­tions of the VDH as an assess­ment standard.
  • ser­ve to eva­lua­te an appro­pria­te and healt­hy anatomy.
  • are an important tool to find any tem­pe­ra­men­tal issues and exclude tho­se dogs from breeding.
  • ser­ve as a con­trol­ling body by pro­vi­ding show results and reports.
  • pro­vi­de an oppor­tu­ni­ty to assess the dogs’ phy­si­cal con­di­ti­on and repri­mand any negligence.
The kennel is a common living space for people and dogs.
The ken­nel is a com­mon living space for peo­p­le and dogs.

The kennel …

  • must be inspec­ted and appro­ved by a bree­ding inspec­tor befo­re the first litter.
  • must be in com­pli­ance with all legal requirements.
  • is not kee­ping the dogs in ken­nels (even if legal­ly permissible).
  • is a shared living space of humans and dogs.
  • pro­vi­des a sepa­ra­te space for the mother dog and her puppies.
Extensive examinations are required for all breeding dogs.
Exten­si­ve exami­na­ti­ons are requi­red for all bree­ding dogs.

The following applies to all breeding animals:

  • a sur­vey­or² must have ruled out the pre­sence of hip dys­pla­sia (HD).
  • must under­go gene­tic exami­na­ti­ons to check for breed spe­ci­fic diseases.
  • must under­go eye exami­na­ti­on by a spe­cia­li­zed vete­ri­na­rian³ to check for her­edi­ta­ry eye diseases.
  • a DNA pro­fi­le in accordance with ISAG (Inter­na­tio­nal Socie­ty for Ani­mal Gene­tics) must be crea­ted to ensu­re gene­tic diversity.
  • only dogs that have been appro­ved for bree­ding by the asso­cia­ti­on can be used for breeding.
  • the appr­oval for bree­ding will be revo­ked, if bree­ding-rela­ted dise­a­ses are detec­ted after issu­an­ce of the approval.
  • the appr­oval for bree­ding will be revo­ked, if an accu­mu­la­ti­on of her­edi­ta­ry defects is detec­ted in the offspring.
  • the mini­mum bree­ding age for bit­ches is 15 months (or pos­si­bly later).
  • the maxi­mum bree­ding age for bit­ches is 8 years.
  • bit­ches are allo­wed a maxi­mum of two lit­ters within 24 months.
  • bit­ches must be allo­wed a mini­mum break of 10 months after having a lit­ter of 6 or more puppies.
The puppies grow up well protected and are carefully placed.
The pup­pies grow up well pro­tec­ted and are careful­ly placed.

The puppies …

  • are being rai­sed by the mother dog within the home.
  • will be inspec­ted and docu­men­ted by a bree­ding inspec­tor within the first 3 weeks of life.
  • will be inspec­ted and docu­men­ted by a bree­ding inspec­tor for a second time within their 9th week of life.
  • are being con­ti­nuous­ly loo­ked after by the bree­der and their fami­ly members.
  • will be dewor­med a mini­mum of four times befo­re their handover.
  • will be chip­ped befo­re their handover.
  • will be up-to-date on their vac­ci­na­ti­ons in com­pli­ance with the Ger­man Vac­ci­na­ti­on Aut­ho­ri­ty (StI­ko) befo­re their handover.
  • will have a valid blue EU pet pass­port at handover.
  • are at least eight weeks old at handover.
  • their new owners will be very careful­ly selected.
  • their new owners will be advi­sed and sup­port­ed, also after handover.
  • if neces­sa­ry, they will be taken back into the care of the bree­der and new owners will be found.

How many of the­se points app­ly to bree­ders and bree­ding dogs that are not affi­lia­ted with a ken­nel club? How many of the­se app­ly to the dog trade within Ger­ma­ny? And how many of the­se points (or how few) app­ly to ille­gal imports that reach Ger­ma­ny from abroad every sin­gle day?

1: General dog keeping conditions, Animal Protecting Law and Dog Regulation Act, preparation of a bitch for breeding, care for a pregnant bitch, birthing process, raising the puppies, breeding regulations, genetics, breeding guidelines of the VDH and CfBrH, breeding standards of the respective breed(s)
2: Member of the Association for Diagnostic Radiology of Genetically Influenced Skeletal Diseases in Small Animals (GRSK e.V.)
3: For the ophthalmologic examination, we recommend specialized veterinarians affiliated with the Dortmunder Kreis – Association for Diagnostics of Genetic Eye Diseases in Animals (DOK e.V.).
Mein gesunder Rassehund

Dangers of this Ruling that go beyond Breeding

The con­se­quen­ces of ban­ning all dogs with pos­si­ble tor­tu­re bree­ding cha­rac­te­ristics from being shown in dog exhi­bi­ti­ons may not yet be com­ple­te­ly fore­seeable. But it can be expec­ted that this will not only affect the bree­ding of pedi­gree dogs and asso­cia­ted sports and trai­ning ope­ra­ti­ons, but will also have long-term dama­ging effects on many other are­as of ever­y­day life – inclu­ding pri­va­te com­pa­nies and public media (press, TV and internet).

Health - that does not exclude carriers like this one.
Health — that does not exclude car­ri­ers like this one.

[The ban on dog exhibitions] is also applicable to other events in which dogs are being compared, inspected or otherwise evaluated.

Dog Regulation Act of the Animal Protection Law §10

Accor­ding to cur­rent law, all gene­tic car­ri­ers of gene­tic dise­a­ses (e. g. Col­lie Eye Anoma­ly, CEA) are being clas­si­fied as tor­tu­re breeds. While the­se are fac­tual­ly healt­hy dogs – and also their off­spring would never fall ill if the parent dog is reason­ab­ly pai­red with the appro­pria­te mate – the ruling requi­res that all gene­tic car­ri­ers shall be con­sis­t­ent­ly ban­ned from bree­ding. For dog breeds with a par­ti­cu­lar­ly small popu­la­ti­on or a par­ti­cu­lar­ly high num­ber of gene­tic car­ri­ers, this could mean that the breed will go extinct within few gene­ra­ti­ons. For all other breeds, it can be expec­ted that the dra­stic gene­tic impo­ve­rish­ment will have even worse consequences.


Puppies from VDH breeding

Only about 18% of all dogs new­ly regis­tered in Ger­ma­ny each year come from VDH breeding.

[The] illegal trade […] with puppies and kittens [has] […] reached extreme proportions […]. This surge can be explained with the discrepancy between the high demand for pets that cannot be met by the legal supply of puppies and kittens […] from reputable sources.

Deutscher Tierschutzbund (German Animal Welfare Association), Illegal trading with domestic animals in Germany, status of 04/2021

The almost insur­moun­ta­ble chal­lenges that pedi­gree dog bree­ders are sub­jec­ted to are not just com­pli­ca­ting the work of the ken­nel clubs, but also give rise to fears that many bree­ding asso­cia­ti­ons will have to cea­se their acti­vi­ties and/or that bree­ders will cho­se to enga­ge in uncon­trol­led and ille­gal bree­ding acti­vi­ties ins­tead. The high demand for pedi­gree dogs, which alre­a­dy could only par­ti­al­ly be satis­fied in recent years (about 18%), will the­r­e­fo­re shift more and more towards ille­gal bree­ding and ille­gal imports. It must be assu­med that the num­ber of con­fis­ca­ted ani­mals and con­se­quent­ly their neces­sa­ry pla­ce­ment in Ger­man ani­mal shel­ters will increase dra­sti­cal­ly and that shel­ters will face even big­ger finan­cial chal­lenges than is alre­a­dy the case.

Consequences - also for dog sports.
Con­se­quen­ces — also for dog sports.

It is prohibited to train an animal if this causes the animal considerable pain, suffering, or damage.

Animal Protection Law §3 Section 5

In addi­ti­on to dog exhi­bi­ti­ons, this ban is also aimed at the par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on in sports events (tour­na­ments, tri­als, etc.) and exams (com­pa­n­ion dog exams, dog hand­ler licen­ses, etc.). Based on this legis­la­ti­on, the ban could also be exten­ded to dog trai­ning which would include pup­py and dog schools as well. The phy­si­cal and men­tal health of the dog should always have top prio­ri­ty and each dog owner is not only requi­red to exclu­si­ve­ly use their dog in accordance with their indi­vi­du­al dis­po­si­ti­on and abili­ties, but should also faci­li­ta­te regu­lar cont­act to fel­low dogs. But this ban cate­go­ri­cal­ly excludes all dogs with pos­si­ble tor­tu­re bree­ding cha­rac­te­ristics from such activities.

The training of service and rescue dogs is also made more difficult by the legislation.
The trai­ning of ser­vice and res­cue dogs is also made more dif­fi­cult by the legislation.

A dog must […] be given the opportunity of regular interaction with fellow dogs […].

Dog Regulation Act of Animal Protection Law, §2 Section 3

It must the­r­e­fo­re be assu­med that as a con­se­quence, the num­ber of dogs with seve­re beha­vi­oral pro­blems (insuf­fi­ci­ent socia­liza­ti­on with dogs and humans, increased aggres­si­ve beha­vi­or towards humans and dogs, etc.) will increase. It is curr­ent­ly not fore­seeable to what extend the­se obs­ta­cles to dog trai­ning will also affect ser­vice dogs, res­cue dogs, and com­pa­n­ion dogs for the dis­ab­led. But it can­not be ruled out.


Well over 4,000 dogs were ori­gi­nal­ly ente­red for CACIB Erfurt 2022. In the end, hard­ly more than 1,700 ent­ries remain­ed. An enorm­ous finan­cial loss for the organiser.

It is prohibited to use an animal in film recordings, exhibitions, commercials, or similar events, if this causes the animal considerable pain, suffering, or damage.

Animal Protection Law §3 Section 6

The ban on using ani­mals with alle­ged tor­tu­re bree­ding cha­rac­te­ristics for adver­ti­sing pur­po­ses has alre­a­dy been pre­pared and enforced. Examp­les were the dog exhi­bi­ti­ons in Erfurt (05/22) and Neu­müns­ter (06/22). While the ban has so far only affec­ted the orga­ni­zers of dog exhi­bi­ti­ons, plans are alre­a­dy under­way to extend the ban to ken­nel clubs and bree­ders. It will then be pro­hi­bi­ted for bree­ders to adver­ti­se on their own web­sites or on social media plat­forms. It has to be assu­med that the ban will also affect cer­tain dog kee­pers, spe­ci­fi­cal­ly so-cal­led petfluencers.

But the effects on pri­va­te com­pa­nies spe­cia­li­zing in pet pro­ducts (pet food, con­ve­ni­ence goods, the­ra­peu­tic, and per­so­nal care pro­ducts) are even more dama­ging, as they depend on adver­ti­sing mea­su­res to pro­mo­te their pro­ducts. As any dog used for com­mer­cial pur­po­ses could poten­ti­al­ly be assu­med to have hid­den tor­tu­re bree­ding cha­rac­te­ristics, it has to be expec­ted that the depic­tion of dogs will have to be for­go­ne com­ple­te­ly. The same appli­es to public media, espe­ci­al­ly the depic­tion of dogs in maga­zi­nes (print and online) and in TV formats.

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Contacts / Press

If you have any ques­ti­ons about the initia­ti­ve or would like to offer your sup­port and coope­ra­ti­on, plea­se feel free to cont­act Ms Sarah Boyd, the Public Rela­ti­ons Offi­cer of the Club for Bri­tish Sheep­dogs e.V.

Press mate­ri­al for download

Cam­paign mate­ri­al for download