Crufts organizers are responding to criticism that flat-faced dogs are allowed in shows

The Crufts organizer has defended its decision to allow flat-faced dogs to compete in the annual show despite concerns for their welfare.

Ahead of the tournament, which began on Thursday, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) called on the Kennel Club to ban brachycephalic dogs from competition.

The RSCPA suggests that allowing breeds like French Bulldogs and Pugs will increase their popularity, leading to people buying them without appreciating the extra care they require.

Innate physical traits mean that brachycephalic dogs have a harder time breathing and moving. These breeds can also suffer from several health issues and typically live shorter lives.

Speaking to Channel 4 presenter Clare Balding, The Kennel Club’s Charlotte McNamara said the organization had strict guidelines on the types of dogs that should appear on Crufts.

Ms McNamara said: “We have an introductory paragraph on these breed standards and we make it very, very clear that no exaggeration is acceptable.

“We’ve also conducted a number of breed standard reviews, including our staff, as part of the working groups we’re involved with,” she added.

Ms McNamara suggested that factors outside of Crufts, like Instagram, can affect the popularity of these breeds.

“Beyond that, we really need to understand how we’re approaching things like Instagram and the influences way beyond Crufts and the Kennel Club and how we’re really reaching out to people and making sure they’re picking up the same messages,” she said.

Ms Balding asked a representative from the British Veterinary Association about the problems short-headed dogs are more prone to.

Stressing that breathing problems are the most common, she added: “They are also more prone to extreme temperatures, so heat stroke is very common, often some skin problems, problems in childbirth. There’s a whole range of different issues, as well as things like eye issues.”

Crufts takes place at the National Exhibition Center (NEC) in Birmingham until Sunday 12th March. Crufts organizers are responding to criticism that flat-faced dogs are allowed in shows

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