Breed health co-ordinators

Pupping looking over a woman's shoulder

What is a breed health co-ordinator?

Breed health co-ordinators (BHC) are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed.

The main role of the BHC is to facilitate, over time, the communication and collection of data on the health of their chosen breed. The BHC acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

How can I contact my breed health co-ordinator?

If you have a health related question concerning a particular breed, you can find the contact details for your breed health co-ordinator in the health section of your breeds entry on our Breeds A to Z.

How are breed health co-ordinators appointed?

BHCs are chosen and appointed by breed clubs and councils. Candidates for the position are usually nominated and then chosen by a majority vote. Breeds with more than one club must have a majority agreement before informing The Kennel Club of the newly appointed individual. A BHC may be appointed for a variety of different reasons, including their breed knowledge or their skill sets.

Breed health co-ordinator job description

We have designed a breed health co-ordinator job description to give potential applicants a more in-depth understanding of the attributes of an ideal breed health co-ordinator. 
Main purpose and scope of the job

The main role of the breed health co-ordinator is to facilitate, over time, the communication and collection of data on the health of their chosen breed. The breed health co-ordinator acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with us on any health concerns the breed may have.

Duties and key responsibilities

The breed health co-ordinator will be a vital conduit between The Kennel Club and breed clubs, owners and members of the public, and will be able to provide relevant advice and support.

It is important that the person in this role collates and disseminates significant, accurate and timely health research to The Kennel Club, breed clubs and owners.

The breed health co-ordinator should motivate and educate owners, breed clubs and the public about relevant health issues within their breed.

Recording and monitoring health issues throughout the breed via surveys, seminars, health reports and health testing sessions is a necessity in order to continuously evaluate and prioritise health problems within their breed.

Attributes and skills of a breed health co-ordinator
The breed health co-ordinator must have excellent communication skills and be approachable in order to communicate and convey appropriately with people of different levels.
It is important that the breed health co-ordinator is impartial and maintains confidentiality with regard to personal information supplied to them.

The person in this role must be experienced and enthusiastic about their breed and also motivated and resourceful for the benefit of their breed’s health and welfare.

The breed health co-ordinator must be professional, have sound IT knowledge and have excellent organisational skills in order to efficiently manage the role.

The BHC mentor scheme

What is the breed health co-ordinator mentor scheme?

The breed health co-ordinator mentor scheme helps BHCs who require assistance, especially those who have recently become a BHC. The mentor scheme currently involves a small number of highly experienced and passionate breed health co-ordinators and health representatives who have volunteered to help you to help your breed.

How does the scheme work?

Help and advice from The Kennel Club

The Kennel Club can help BHCs in their role in a number of different ways, including:

Giving you free access to breed health reports

All breed health co-ordinators have access to bespoke breed health reports from The Kennel Club, free of charge. This includes the reports generated on DNA tests, as well as relevant health schemes. If you wish to request any reports, then please email our health team.

Publicising and promoting health surveys and research

We are in a unique position to help assist BHCs with the promotion of any ongoing health related research, whether it is a survey instigated by a breed club/council, or an official research body.

On your behalf, we may be able to promote your study via:

If you would like The Kennel Club to help in any or all of these ways, please email our health team.

Use our health resource toolkits

This collection of toolkits is a resource intended to help breed health coordinators maintain, develop and promote the health of their breed.

Breed health improvement strategy: a step-by-step guide

Breed health improvement strategy: a step-by-step guide is a practical approach to developing, assessing, and monitoring a health plan specific to your breed. Every breed can benefit from a health improvement strategy as a way to prevent health issues from developing, tackle a problem if it does arise, and assess the good practices already being undertaken.

Common problems encountered by BHCs and how to resolve them

Common problems encountered by BHCs and how to resolve them is a toolkit which discusses the top five challenges BHCs face and ways to manage them.

Breed health surveys toolkits
Breed health surveys toolkits are step-by-step guides to developing the right surveys for your breed. By carrying out good health surveys, you will be able to provide the evidence of how healthy your breed is and which areas, if any, require improvement.

There are three toolkits:
  1. Background information and getting ready
  2. Creating a survey
  3. Analysis and reporting
Website content toolkit

The website content toolkit is a general guide on features that could be included on your website to provide relevant information for breeders and owners about the health of your breed.

Website enhancement toolkit

The website enhancement toolkit is a guide to creating or enhancing your website, which is one of the best platforms you can have to promote and publicise the health and welfare of your breed. The toolkit includes some dos and don'ts, plus information on general web design and how to build a website.

Managing the arrival of a new DNA test

Managing the arrival of a new DNA test is a toolkit which will guide you through the necessary and recommended action to take following the arrival of a new DNA test for your breed. This includes how to tell if the test is reliable, how a DNA test is made part of The Kennel Club's official testing scheme, and where to find a list of DNA tests available for your breed and the laboratories that carry these out.

Understanding canine genetics
If you'd like to find out more about how genetic conditions are inherited, what DNA is, how a gene is made and how these translate into a dog’s body then please read our guide on understanding canine genetics.

Useful Kennel Club research

2004 purebred dog health survey

The Kennel Club and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee joined forces with scientists in the Epidemiology Unit at the Animal Health Trust to carry out a nationwide survey of purebred dogs. 

Find out more about the results of our 2004 purebred dog health survey.

2014 pedigree breed health survey

The 2014 pedigree breed health survey summarises the results found from nearly 50,000 dogs represented by the completed questionnaires.

Find out more about the results of our 2014 pedigree breed health survey.

Effective population size - population analysis

The Kennel Club's population analysis reports allow breeders and those involved in canine health to review the unique situation of each breed.

Find out more about the results of our population analysis.