The Kennel Club has announced the most recent updates to the breed-specific health testing and screening schedule for the Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS), aimed to further improve dog health and responsible breeding.
The range of breed-specific health testing and screening requirements and recommendations under the ABS is regularly reviewed following consultations with breed clubs and councils and with the agreement and advice from the Kennel Club Dog Health Group, in a collaborative effort to ensure that health and welfare issues are kept at the forefront of what the scheme sets out to achieve: the encouragement of responsible breeding.
Bill Lambert, Kennel Club Health and Breeder Services Manager, said: “The Assured Breeder Scheme is designed to be flexible and is constantly evolving. The latest updates will help to maintain maximum progress for dog health improvements and encourage good breeding practices, to protect the future of our much-loved pedigree dogs and ensure that puppy buyers can be easily signposted to breeders who do all they can to produce healthy pups.
“Recommendations have been added for five breeds and a requirement has been added for a further breed, and these have come about as a direct result of input from those who love and care for their breeds – the breed clubs and councils we work with. These updates demonstrate how we adapt the scheme to the specific needs of different breeds with regards to health testing and welfare, and will have a positive impact on the breeds involved as well as the wider pedigree dog population.”
The list of ABS breed specific requirements and recommendations is updated twice a year to ensure that they remain relevant and of maximum health benefit to all dogs bred by Kennel Club Assured Breeders. Further tests can be expected to be announced as they are developed.
As previously, the most recent updates come into effect immediately. However, existing Assured Breeders have a period of grace of six months in order to comply with any new requirements and recommendations to allow them to take account of any existing breeding plans.
The ABS guidelines emphasise the importance of conducting not only the required health tests but the recommended ones also. Results provide data which allow researchers to help develop a picture of how each breed is affected by particular diseases, and how best to improve the health of affected breeds and develop cheaper and faster testing methods.
In breeds where enough dogs have been tested, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) have been developed by the Kennel Club using BVA/KC hip and elbow screening data to enable breeders to make breeding choices based on indicators of the genetic risk of these complex inherited diseases, which is more accurate than using an individual dog’s test score alone and determines the genetic risk that each dog will pass the disease to its progeny.
The updates also include a recommendation that, where relevant, any dog having a gonioscopy test for predisposition to glaucoma should be tested every three years, in line with latest British Veterinary Association guidelines.
Breed clubs and breed councils wishing to make changes to the breed specific requirements and recommendations for their breed should write to Assured Breeder Scheme, The Kennel Club, Clarges Street, London, W1J 8AB.
Breed specific updates as of 1st January 2017 are as follows:
- Add recommendation of annual eye test
- Add recommendation of annual eye test
- Add recommendation of elbow grading
- Add recommendation of breed council bronze health assessment
- Add recommendation of DNA test – Degenerative Myelopathy
Retriever (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling)
- Add recommendation of DNA test – Degenerative Encephalopathy
- Add requirement of elbow grading
- Add recommendation of DNA test – Primary Lens Luxation
More information on the Assured Breeder Scheme, including the latest list of health testing requirements and recommendations, can be found here.