Dachshunds could face breeding ban in Germany - here's why

Dachshunds could face a breeding ban in Germany after a draft law looked to prohibit the spread of various canine characteristics, the country's kennel club has warned.

The latest draft of the Animal Protection Act aims to clamp down on torture breeding - the reproduction of dogs with traits that cause "pain, suffering or damage".

As part of the proposal, it lists a number of "symptoms" that should not be reproduced, including hairlessness, reduced life expectancy, abnormalities of the skeletal system and teeth malformations.

Germany's Kennel Club (VDH) has warned that this could affect the dachshund - and a number of other breeds - due to their short legs being classed as an "abnormality".

It has started a petition calling for an adaptation of the law to avoid "incorrect or exaggerated interpretations" and save sausage dogs.

The VDH says the proposed law could cause confusion for law enforcement, vets, breeders and dog owners as it seems to suggest that any breed that visually "differs from the original wolf type" should not be permitted to breed.

And it is not just the dachshund that could be under threat. The VDH said that - if the draft becomes law - English and French bulldogs, pugs, boxers, toy poodles and cocker spaniels could all be banned from reproducing.

Larger dogs including German shepherds could also be under threat due to their shorter life expectancy when compared with smaller dogs.

The club argues that a list of banned characteristics needs to be created after discussion with experts and "based on scientific facts".

"Many of the proposed changes, such as regulating the online trade in animals or taking action against the illegal puppy trade, make sense," the VDH said in a statement.

"However, [it] contains requirements that could mean the end of many healthy dog ​​breeds in Germany.

"The health and quality of life of the animals must be the priority. Then torture breeding can be combated effectively."

The club's petition has got more than 14,000 signatures since it was started on 21 March.

Germany's agriculture ministry has denied that the reform would amount to a ban on certain breeds, such as dachshunds.

A spokesperson told Sky News that the reform was specifically about strengthening the law that already exists around "torture breeding".

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Literally translated as badger dog, the dachshund was originally bred in Germany for hunting, making its shorter legs useful for burrowing, according to the UK's Kennel Club.

There are six different varieties of dachshund, each with three different coat types - smooth haired, long haired and the wirehaired.

Due to its physique, dachshunds can be prone to developing slipped discus - but if kept healthy, the breed typically lives for more than 12 years.