Category Three Breeds

Category Three Breeds © Rhiannon Sharp

The Kennel Club has identified a number of breeds and designated them as 'Category Three' on Breed Watch, due to to visible conditions that can cause pain or discomfort due to exaggerations. The Kennel Club works closely with the clubs for these breeds in identifying key issues to be addressed within the breed, obtaining the opinion of breed experts on the issues identified, advising on how breed clubs can effectively address health and conformational issues and investigating how the Kennel Club can assist.

For more information from the relevant breed clubs regarding what is being done to ensure health and welfare remains a top priority, please contact the Breed Health Co-ordinator or Breed Health Group using details provided on Breed Club Websites;


Breed Club/Council

Website Address

Basset Hound

Basset Hound Health Group


Association of Bloodhound Breeders

Bloodhound Club


Bulldog Breed Council

Chow Chow

Chow Chow Breed Council


Northern DDB Club

DDB Club of Great Britain


GSD Breed Council


The Old English Mastiff Club

The Mastiff Association

Neapolitan Mastiff

The Neapolitan Mastiff Club


The Pekingese Health Group

No website contact KC for information.


The Pug Breed Council


The Shar-Pei Club of GB

St. Bernard

Breed Health Co-ordinator 

* Whilst the Kennel Club makes every effort to vet external sites it does not endorse or accept responsibility over any external sites that may be linked to or from this site. 

Q. What is a Category Three Breed? 

High Profile Breeds - Breeds where some dogs have visible conditions or exaggerations that can cause pain or discomfort. The Kennel Club provides additional support for these breed representatives. Best of Breed (BOB) Veterinary Health checks at General and Group Shows are required. 

Q. Which breeds are classified as Category Three?

A. Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Dogue de Bordeaux, German Shepherd Dog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, Pug, St. Bernard, Shar Pei.

N.B The Chinese Crested, French Bulldog & Spaniel (Clumber) have now been removed from Category Three and are now listed as Category Two breeds on Breed Watch. To find more information about why the French Bulldog was removed from the Category Three breed listing please see the Dog Health Group Annual Report. Information about the reclassification of the Spaniel (Clumber) will be available shortly. 

Q. Where can I find information on the particular conditions faced by these breeds?

A. The Kennel Club website.  The Kennel Club's Breed Watch provides information on breed specific visible characteristics which can lead to health conditions.  The Breed information Centre provides information on the health tests available for each breed, with the results being published in many instances on the Health Test Results finder on Mate Select

Q. Why are breeds classified as Category Three on Breed Watch?

A. The Kennel Club will have received expressions of concern about the breed. These may be from, for example, the general public, veterinary / scientific experts / specialists, animal welfare organisations, judges, breed organisations, and they should be sufficient in number or degree of concern to merit further investigation. This investigation would then be carried out taking into account available evidence and information, including health surveys and health reviews for that breed, expert veterinary and scientific opinion, expert knowledge of judges, level of interest from external organisations including media coverage.

The next step would be to meet with representatives of the breed to explain the Breed Watch categorisation, identify key issues to be addressed within the breed, advise on how breed clubs can effectively address health and conformational issues and investigate how the Kennel Club can assist.

Q. What is the Kennel Club Dog Health Group (DHG)?

A. A group of experts in various areas, from within the KC and externally, who set policy and monitor progress. The Dog Health Group has three sub-groups: Assured Breeder Scheme Sub-group; Breed Standards and Conformation Sub-group; Genetics and Health Screening Sub-group.

Its remit is:

• To develop strategy for the Kennel Club's health work.

• To provide overall co-ordination and monitoring of such work.

• To supervise the Fit for Function: Fit for Life campaign and other 'public' campaigns.

• To be responsible for recommending, on advice from the various sub-groups, the requirements for health schemes, the Assured Breeder Scheme requirements and other breeding strategies.

• To produce an annual report on the Dog Health Group work.

Q. How long has the DHG existed?

A. The group was established in 2002 under the name of 'European Convention Study Group', and the current name was adopted in 2010.

Q. How can a breed be reclassified from Category Three on Breed Watch to Category Two?

A. Category Three Breed Removal Criteria Guidance

The Kennel Club General Committee has announced that further guidance on the removal criteria is now available. Breed representatives will be contacted by the Kennel Club who will offer advice and support on developing current breed health initiatives to ensure they meet the requirements of the guidance criteria. The Kennel Club has considered the views of breed representatives and the hard work and dedication already applied to breed health improvement. As a result the Kennel Club would like to offer further support and guidance to breed representatives to ensure that progress is being made. For more information please contact

Q. What is the accessible population?

A. Accessible population can be defined as dogs that the Breed Clubs, Breed Councils and Breed Health Groups have access to through members. The average entry at General Championship Show level may be reflective of the accessible population. The number of Kennel Club Registrations each year will be taken into consideration but will not be compared to the number of dogs health tested when considering a breed's presentation for removal. Owners of both pet dogs and show dogs must be encouraged to participate in health testing. Many breed representatives have received interest in breed health schemes from individuals involved with a variety of canine activities and those with pet dogs.

Q. Where can I find information on the format for an annual health report?

A. The Breed Health Improvement Strategy Guide available on the Kennel Club website contains information on how to develop a breed health plan and what should be included. The Kennel Club would advise that breed representatives use the toolkit as a resource when developing breed health improvement initiatives and creating the annual health report.

Q. Where can I find information on how to conduct a breed health assessment and guidance on veterinary surgeon protocols?

A. Some Category three Breeds have successfully implemented breed health assessments with Veterinary guidance as a result the Kennel Club would like to encourage breed representatives to take a collaborative approach towards breed health improvement and share best practice methods of developing breed health assessments. Charlotte McNamara, Canine Health Advisor will offer advice and support in developing health assessments and protocol. For further information please contact


In order to ensure maintenance of progress, any breed removed from the category of Category three Breed would be formally re-evaluated three years after removal.

Version suitable for printing
More Information
Breed Watch Information
Visual Health Assessment & Data Collection Guidance
Breed Specific Visual Health Assessments at General & Group Championship Show FAQ's
Breed Specific Health Scheme Information

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