Region: Germany
Animal rights

Animal Protection Act threatens pedigree dog breeding

Petition is directed to
Ministry of Agriculture
10,529 8,787 in Germany
Petitioner did not submit the petition.
  1. Launched April 2022
  2. Collection finished
  3. Submitted
  4. Dialogue
  5. Failed

We demand:

1. a clear definition of the term suffering according to §2 TierSchG consideration of the genetic and radiological examination results (DNA examinations for recessive diseases and examinations for colour genetics),

2. the recognition that the coat colour "merle" in a heterozygous form (proven by DNA test) does not constitute torture breeding. The simple genetic disposition of the coat colour merle does not result in any specific diseases.

3. the breeding use of dogs which are only carriers of genetically detectable diseases, in each case combined with non-trait carriers

4. the unrestricted admission of these dogs to shows. Dog shows are an important and independent assessment of the breed type, taking into account health aspects. The arbitrary exclusion of dogs lacks any objectivity and is therefore both inadmissible and disproportionate.


The British Sheepdog Club has been in existence since 1889, making it not only the oldest but also the largest breed club for British Sheepdogs.

As a breed-book-keeping club for the breeds it looks after, it belongs to the VDH (Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen) and the FCI (Federation Cynologique International).

With this petition, we would like to draw attention to the untenable and incalculable situation since the introduction of the new Animal Welfare Act in January 2022.

As a purebred dog club, we stand for active animal welfare. We have our strict rules on breeding, keeping dogs and raising puppies.

We implement far more in our regulations than is required by the Animal Welfare Act and the Animal Welfare Dog Ordinance and require our breeders to conduct health examinations of their breeding dogs that clearly exceed the requirements of the aforementioned legal bases. In addition, training, including the passing of a new breeder's examination, as well as regular further training, are prerequisites for breeding in the Club for British Sheepdogs.

We participate in studies, continue our education, and place our offspring exclusively in carefully selected and responsible hands with sometimes strictly formulated contracts. Our breeding strategies are transparent, the health data of our dogs are regularly recorded and entered into databases that are open to public inspection. On the contrary, we always strive to reconsider our rules and, if necessary, adapt them to new findings.

The dogs we use for breeding are subjected to breed-specific DNA tests and even beyond that, voluntarily, to further tests that are not breed-specific.

A dog with a simple predisposition to a genetically detectable disease is not itself clinically ill! Selective breeding with this dog, mated with a tested, homozygous healthy partner is possible, as this does not lead to clinically ill puppies.

Excluding all dogs that are heterozygous carriers of diseases would not lead to maintaining the health of the breed, but to a loss of genetic diversity and necessary breed-related dispositions. We therefore do not breed with hidden trait carriers, but have our breeding dogs tested for these diseases, know about the carriers of our breeding dogs and constantly pursue the long-term goal of breeding dogs that are genetically free of testable diseases.

A change as now demanded in the TierSchG and the TierSchHuV would only lead to breeders leaving the controlled pedigree dog clubs and thus contribute to an uncontrolled proliferation.

That the breeding of merle-coloured dogs is generally a torture breeding prohibited under § 11b TierSchG is an untrue generalisation. This only applies to homozygous merle-coloured dogs (M/M), which are the result of mating two merle-coloured dogs. This mating has been forbidden for a long time in the British Sheepdog Club for good reason.

For many years, not only in Germany, but all over the world, merle coloured dogs have been mated with solid coloured breeding partners - with the result that these dogs do not differ in health or character from their solid coloured breed representatives. There are many merle-coloured dogs in the sporting, assistance dog or rescue dog sector.

We therefore make it clear that merle-coloured dogs, as they are bred and reared with strict conditions in the VDH-organised breed clubs, explicitly do not fall under the definition of torture breeding, as the necessary prerequisites for this are simply missing.

Thank you for your support, Simone Cliff from Hamburg
Question to the initiator

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