Colour Watch

What is Colour Watch?

Colour Watch is a reporting system to help communicate and educate the importance of Breed Standard colours to breeders and puppy buyers and aims to protect and promote the heritage of pedigree dogs.

Colour Watch follows a similar approach to Breed Watch but only as a means of highlighting those breeds within which trends in Non-Breed Standard (NBS) colour registrations could be a concern.

How can I find out a breed’s Colour Watch category?

Each breed’s Colour Watch category appears on the relevant page of the Breeds A-Z under the ‘Colours’ tab.

How is a breed’s Colour Watch category calculated?

Colour Watch is based on the percentage of NBS colours recorded on registrations for each breed in a calendar year or the total number where this exceeds 500.

  • Category 0: Breeds with no NBS colour registration options
  • Category 1: Breeds with 0 to 2% registered NBS colours
  • Category 2: Breeds with >2 to 10% registered NBS colours
  • Category 3: Breeds with >10% to 30% registered NBS colours or between 500 and 1,000 NBS registrations per annum
  • Category 4: Breeds with >30% registered NBS colours or more than 1,000 NBS registrations per annum

What are we doing for Colour Watch category 4 breeds?

Colour Watch will be used primarily as an aid to communicating and educating the importance of breed standard colours to breeders and puppy buyers. It is one of the education tools which we have developed, alongside infographics on the importance of Breed Standard colours to share with the public at events such as Crufts and Discover Dogs.

Each breed’s Colour Watch category will be listed on their Breed A-Z page, with a link to further explanation as required.

The Kennel Club registration system requires the colour of the dog to be recorded. The system lists the Breed Standard colour options first, followed by any NBS colour options for a breed. To ensure there is a form of differentiation between Breed Standard and NBS colours for relevant breeds, these will be reported separately in the Kennel Club Breed Record Supplement (BRS) in due course. This will give prominence and precedence to dogs of Breed Standard colours and flag up dogs of NBS colours within breeds.

Colour Watch information will be included in any breed-specific education campaigns (as is Breed Watch) and we will work with breed clubs and councils to develop relevant educational materials upon request.

Our health team meets regularly with Breed Health co-ordinators to review the Breed Health and Conservation plans (BHCPs). BHCPs collate all available evidence on known and emerging health and behavioural issues and include any potential links to particular coat colours (Breed Standard or NBS).

What are the breed clubs doing?

We recommend visiting breed club websites for further information on breed-specific efforts to address colour concerns.

Can breeds change their Colour Watch category?

Colour Watch is based solely on statistical evidence and therefore breeds are classified according to the number and/or percentage of NBS colour dogs in the previous reported year. Therefore, breeds will only move category if the number or percentage of NBS colour dogs increases or decreases to the relevant threshold in the next reported year.

Colour frequently asked questions

What is a Non-Breed Standard colour?

A Non-Breed Standard (NBS) colour is a colour which is not typically recognised in the Breed Standard or the show ring. They may be naturally occurring colours which are not deemed desirable in a specific breed, but some may have arisen through outcrossing, either deliberate or accidental breeding of one breed to a different breed.

How many breeds have Non-Breed Standard colours?

We recognise 222 pedigree dog breeds, of which there are currently 26 breeds with NBS colours available for registration. Therefore, there are 196 breeds which are in Category 0 of the system, for breeds with no NBS colour registrations.

What are the concerns around Non-Breed Standard colours?

There are number of concerns which have been expressed about NBS colours. These include:

  • High-volume commercial breeding of unrecognised colours, which may be advertised as being ‘rare’. Some supposedly rare colours now account for high percentages of the registrations in some breeds.
  • Colours that may have been introduced as a result of crossbreeding.
  • Puppies being incorrectly registered, either deliberately or through lack of knowledge of the breed and our registration system.
  • Colours that are unacceptable in the show ring according to Kennel Club Breed Standards.
Does colour affect health?

In most cases, the genes responsible for coat colours and pattern in dogs have no impact on the health of a dog. Therefore, Colour Watch categories do not indicate health concerns. For information on health concerns in pedigree dog breeds, please refer to Breed Watch.