Selective Breeding of Companion Animals

Selective Breeding of Companion Animals


Position Statement:

Humane Canada™ is opposed to the selective breeding of companion animals that compromises their welfare and that of their progeny. Only animals of sound structure without known health or other
disorders and of a temperament suited to human companionship and appropriate to their intended lifestyle should be chosen for breeding.

In particular, Humane Canada™ is opposed to selection for changes in body form or function, behaviour, or temperament that are detrimental to the health or quality of life of the resulting offspring.

Humane Canada™ supports the breeding of companion animals only when it is undertaken by those who are committed to providing a high level of care and to supporting their animals’ physical and psychological well-being.

Humane Canada™ supports the updating of breed standards to remove conformations that lead to inherent welfare problems.


Animals with detrimental genetic traits or known predispositions should not be bred as they can pass these on to their progeny. Breeding individuals with such traits or predispositions has the potential to affect multiple generations and, thus, a large number of animals.

Examples of disability and disease associated with certain conformations in breed standards include, but are not limited to:

  • Breathing difficulties and eye problems in brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds, such as bulldogs, Boston terriers and pugs;
  • Joint disorders, such as hip dysplasia in German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, rottweilers, Saint Bernards and other giant breed dogs;
  • Skeletal and joint disorders, such as chondrodystrophy in many dog breeds characterized by shortened legs (e.g. basset hounds, dachschunds, corgis, bulldogs, Pekineses) and in Munchkin cats;
  • Spinal problems in Manx cats;
  • Skin problems in Shar-Peis due to deep wrinkling of the skin and in hairless sphynx cats and
  • Chinese crested dogs who are prone to sunburn;
  • Birthing difficulties in bulldogs and some other breeds due to the desired large chest and head;
  • Dental malocclusion in some dog and cat breeds.
Selective Breeding of Companion Animals
Selective Breeding of Companion Animals
Humane Canada (also known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies) is Canada's federation of SPCAs and humane societies, representing the largest animal welfare community in Canada.