Sorry pugs: the Dutch are banning unhealthy ‘designer pets’

The Netherlands is taking action to stop the illegal breeding of cats and dogs with extreme appearances by banning them altogether. 

Dutch Agriculture Minister Piet Adema is working on two new bans, including the ban of owning these designer breeds and banning photos of them in advertisements, reports ANP.

“We make life miserable for innocent animals, purely because we think they are ‘beautiful’ and ‘cute,'” Adema says. 

The country already banned the breeding of designer pets in 2014 but is now seeking to close a loophole by banning the trade and import of these animals.

But wait, they’re so cute — right?

While flat-faced dogs and cats with folded ears look adorable, their health problems are far from it. These pets suffer from a range of health conditions as a result. 

Short-snouted dogs, for example, are constantly out of breath, making them gasp for air throughout their life. Cats with folding ears, on the other hand, have deviated cartilage, which causes them to be in a lot of pain. 

“This subject touches me as a minister but also as a human,” stated Adema. 

READ MORE | Thousands of pets put up for adoption as Dutchies return to the office

New rules = better life for animals

This ban would come in after a transition period. People who currently own these pets are allowed to keep them until they’ve passed away. 

In addition, the ministry is working on rules to stop showing these animals on social media since the breeds have been a staple favourite among celebrities and social media influencers. 

Issues like enforcement and how to handle freedom of expression on social media will take time to implement. 

What do you think of these new rules? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Freepik
Francesca Burbano
Francesca Burbano
Francesca is an international at heart but moved to the Netherlands to get her degree in media and communication. While she's not a big fan of the cold weather and biking (for good reason — she's been hit by bikes three times already), she fell in love with the canals, bitterballen, and the 'gezelligheid' of Dutch culture. When she's not writing, you'll find her reading thriller books, hitting her personal records at the gym, and cuddling up with her Ragdoll cat.


  1. My pug is sleeping next to me peacefully and is not even snoring let alone “gasping for breath”. I think all pet breeding should be stopped for a while. I rescued my pug from a breeder who kept her pugs in a shed and took very bad care of them. My pug was used to make puppies. I think we should also be taking measures to protect pigs as they are more intelligent than dogs and are not protected by laws as much as they should be. I do not object to the phasing out of the pug breed, as much as I love them, they do have many health issues and we should consider their needs first.

  2. The typical situation where some politician has a good idea but the implementation leaves something to be desired. Shutting down the operations that breed pugs is a good idea, but what are they going to do with illegal pugs at that point if it becomes illegal for people to have them? I have an unpleasant feeling that they may not have thought that far ahead, and that they might simply kill them en masse if an illegal breeding operation is discovered, having closed off the route for people to adopt them.

    And the attempt to impose restrictions on showing pugs on social media is obviously a major restriction on freedom of expression, unconscionable for that reason alone in my opinion, but made worse by the fact that it is aimed at preventing people from showing their beloved pets.


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