In response to the European Convention for the Protection of Pet
Animal's 1995 appendix, the Kennel Club has over time made a number
of changes to support health in dog showing. There are currently 12
breeds which are termed "high profile" breeds, which are being
monitored for exaggerated physical characteristics that may cause,
or lead to, pain or suffering. This article aims to provide an
High Profile Breeds to Vet Practices.
What are the 12 breeds?
Currently: Basset Hound, German Shepherd Dog, Pug, Dogue de
Bordeaux, Mastiff, Bulldog, Bloodhound, Chow Chow, Neapolitan
Mastiff, Pekingese, St. Bernard and Shar-Pei.
Changes to the Breed standards
In 2009 the Dog Health
Group reviewed all 210 breed standards, to ensure they
contained no wording that could encourage the breeding of dogs with
exaggerations detrimental to its health. Following widespread
consultation, 78 of the breed standards were amended.
Working with the breed clubs
The Kennel Club always work closely with breed representatives
to promote and develop health initiatives and in 2012, it appointed
the role of High Profile Breed Coordinator, to provide specific
support to High Profile Breed (HPB) health groups. Many HPB Breed
clubs now run breed-specific health testing schemes with veterinary
surgeons to collect and monitor health information and data on an
Events are regularly held for KC registered Judges, to provide
information and support on existing and emerging visible health
issues. High Profile Breed Education Day's are run each year for
judges, vets and breeders to raise awareness of health initiatives
undertaken by the HPBs. The events enable representatives from each
breed to showcase improvements that had been made and to discuss
their progress with each other.
In 2009 the Kennel Club launched Breed Watch, an online
resource which outlines breed-specific visible health conditions
and exaggerations, with the aim of assisting judges and breed clubs
to monitor and address these issues. In 2014, Breed Watch underwent
additional changes enabling Judges at Championship dog shows to
report visible health conditions or exaggerations seen in the show
ring. These changes will advance Breed Watch as an early warning
system for emerging issues and become an additional method of
monitoring health and breed progress.
High Profile Best of Breed Veterinary Checks
At Crufts 2012, the Kennel Club launched mandatory veterinary
checks for all HPBs wishing to enter Group competitions at dog
shows. These checks enable independent vets to check for visible
conditions that may have resulted from exaggerated conformation.
Any dogs that do not pass these checks are not awarded the highest
accolades at dog shows, which it is hoped will be an additional
step forward to discouraging the breeding of dogs with exaggerated
How can you be involved?
Veterinary professionals can help us to collect information on
the progress of the HPBs by reporting any procedures that they
carry out to correct defects that alter the natural conformation of
a dog (see article in general news) or by contacting the Kennel
Club about any thoughts or concerns you may have about specific
breeds. For more information on the High Profile Breeds and how
breeds can be removed from the HPB list please see the
high profile breed removal criteria guidance.