Respiratory Function Grading Scheme

French bulldog puppy looking at camera

What is the scheme?

The Kennel Club and University of Cambridge's Respiratory Function Grading Scheme assesses Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs for a breathing problem known as BOAS (brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome).

The scheme advises owners if their dog is affected by BOAS and gives guidance to breeders on how to lower the risk of producing affected puppies. A selection of regionally approved assessors (vets trained especially in BOAS) have been appointed to carry out respiratory function grading on dogs of these breeds.

What is BOAS?

Dogs with a flat, wide-shaped head are said to be brachycephalic (‘brachy’ meaning short, and ‘cephalic’, meaning head). The soft tissue in the nose and throat of some brachycephalic dogs may be excessive for the airways, partially obstructing the airway and making it difficult for them to breathe normally (causing heavy panting or noisy breathing). This condition is known as BOAS and is a progressive disorder that can impair a dog’s ability to exercise, play, eat and sleep.

How can I book an assessment?

You could look at our list of health testing clinics, or alternatively find your closest regional assessor below and contact them directly to book an assessment. 

Scotland
Assessment location: East Lothian
Name: Laura Hamilton
Bookings (via email): Laura Hamilton
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Willing to travel if provided with notice
Ireland
Assessment location: Stamullen, County Meath
Name: Ian Finney
Bookings (via email): Ian Finney
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Within a two-hour radius of Dublin
Northern Ireland
Assessment location: Belfast
Name: Gilbert McKnight
Bookings (via email): Gilbert McKnight
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Will travel by prior/specific arrangement - please contact clinic to discuss
North
Assessment location: Skipton, North Yorkshire
Kingsway Vets, 73 Otley Road, Skiption, North Yorkshire, BD23 1HJ
Name: Katie Illingworth/Beth Laycock
Bookings (email and phone): Katie Illingworth/Beth Laycock
01756 793224
Group sessions:  - 
Notes from assessor:  - 
   
Assessment location: Barnsley, South Yorkshire
Name: Natalie Ratcliffe
Bookings (via email): Natalie Ratcliffe
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Within a one-hour radius
   
Assessment location: Durham
Name: Gillian Maxwell
Bookings (via email): Gillian Maxwell
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Within two-hour radius
 
Assessment location: Blyth, Northumberland
Name: Andrew Ward
Bookings (via email): Andrew Ward, 01670 457271
Group sessions: On request
Notes from assessor: Available to travel
North West
Assessment location: Nantwich, Cheshire, Hillside Veterinary Centre, 146 Crewe Road, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 6NB
Name: Richard Pescod
Bookings: 01270 625310
Group sessions: Not currently available
Notes from assessor: Please be clear that you are requesting a RFG scheme assessment
   
Assessment location: Withington, South Manchester, Yew Tree Vets, 331 Yew Tree Road, Withington, Manchester, M20 3FP
Name: James Dutfield
Bookings (email and phone): James Dutfield
0161 4452282
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Willing to travel with 20-30 minute radius
   
Assessment location: Wilmslow, Cheshire, Michael Hough BVSc MRCVS, The Vets’ Place, Chestnut House, Upcast Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 6EH
Name: Michael Hough
Bookings (email and phone): Michael Hough
01625 585500
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Group sessions available in Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire
 
Assessment location: Kentdale Referrals, Milnthorpe, LA7 7NU
Name: Gemma Holloway
Bookings (email and phone): Gemma Holloway
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor:  
Midlands
Assessment location: West Midlands
Name: Susan Seffer
Bookings (via email): Susan Seffer
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Willing to travel within 100-mile radius
   
Assessment location: West Midlands
Name: Tom Bingham
Bookings (via email): Tom Bingham
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Within one-hour radius
   
Assessment location: West Midlands
Name: Rumen Beleliev
Bookings (via email): Rumen Beleliev
Group sessions: -
Notes from assessor: -
   
Assessment location: Birmingham, West Midlands
Name: Rebecca Rowe
Bookings (via email): Rebecca Rowe
Group sessions:  - 
Notes from assessor:  - 
   
Assessment location: East Midlands
Name: Dinu Catilina
Bookings (via email): Dinu Catilina
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Within one and a half hour radius
South West
Assessment location: Bristol
Name: Carla Puime
Bookings (via email): Carla Puime
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Willing to travel within two-hour radius
 
Assessment location: Taunton, Somerset
Name: Victoria Woods
Bookings (via email): Victoria Woods
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Willing to travel with two to three-hour radius
 
Assessment location: Exeter
Name: Edward Pattison
Bookings (via email): Edward Pattison
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Happy to travel up to an hour
Isle of Wight
Assessment location: Newport
Name: Katy Butler
Bookings (via email): Katy Butler
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor: Happy to travel island wide and within one hour of Portsmouth, Southampton or Lymington on the mainland
East of England
Assessment location: Newmarket
Name: Jane Ladlow
Bookings (via email): Jane Ladlow
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor:  -
   
Assessment location: Cambridge
Name: Nai-Chieh
Bookings (via email): Nai-Chieh
Group sessions:  - 
Notes from assessor:  - 
   
Assessment location: Cambridge
Name: Philip Franklin
Bookings (via email): Philip Franklin
Group sessions: Yes
Notes from assessor:  - 
   
Assessment location: Lincolnshire
Name: Richard Morris
Bookings (via email): Richard Morris
Group sessions:  
Notes from assessor:  
London & South East
Assessment location: Surrey
Name: Andy Trevan
Bookings (via email): Andy Trevan
Group sessions:  - 
Notes from assessor:  - 
   
Assessment location: Braintree, Essex
Name: Lindsey Nice
Bookings (via email): Lindsey Nice
Group sessions:  - 
Notes from assessor:  - 
   
Assessment location: Folkestone
Name: Mike Nikolaou
Bookings (via email): Mike Nikolaou
Group sessions: Please enquire directly with assessor
Notes from assessor: -
 
Assessment location: East Grinstead
Name: Kasia Atmaca
Bookings (via email): Kasia Atmaca
Group sessions: On request
Notes from assessor: -
 
Assessment location: Brompton Veterinary Clinic, South Kensington, London SW3 6HR
Name: Kevin Clifford
Bookings (via email): Kevin Clifford
Group sessions: -
Notes from assessor: -

Getting your dog assessed

How much does it cost?
Each assessor will have their own assessment fee which may vary between assessors. Please enquire with the assessor in advance of booking an appointment. This fee will include the £5 admin fee for The Kennel Club.
What do I need to bring to the assessment?
You will need to bring your dog’s registration certificate from The Kennel Club and microchip identification in order for your dog’s assessment to be completed. An assessment form will be completed by the regional assessor and a copy will be given to you following the assessment, with another copy sent to The Kennel Club for publication including on the Health Test Results Finder.
What happens during the assessment?
Your dog will be assessed by a specially trained vet who will initially use a stethoscope to listen to your dog’s breathing while they are calm and relaxed. Your dog will then be encouraged to move around an exercise area at a quick pace for three minutes, either by the vet or yourself. The vet will then listen to your dog’s breathing again and will use a list of criteria to give a grade.
How often do I need to have my dog assessed?
As BOAS is a complex syndrome, the ways in which it can affect a dog may change over an individual’s lifetime. Therefore it is recommended that dogs are assessed from the age of 12 months and that this is repeated every two years for their lifetime, or until you stop using them for breeding.

What does each grade mean?

  • Grade 0: Your dog is clinically unaffected and is currently free of respiratory signs of BOAS. If your dog is under 2 years old we suggest they have an annual health check with their own vet, as BOAS can develop later in life
  • Grade 1: Your dog is clinically unaffected but does have mild respiratory signs linked to BOAS. These signs do not affect their exercise performance. If your dog is under 2 years old we suggest they have an annual health check with their own vet, as BOAS can develop later in life
  • Grade 2: Your dog is clinically affected and has moderate respiratory signs of BOAS that should be monitored and may require veterinary treatment
  • Grade 3: Your dog is clinically affected and has severe respiratory signs of BOAS and should be seen by your own vet for a thorough veterinary examination with treatment. We do not recommend that you breed from your dog

Breeding advice

The way that BOAS is inherited is not fully understood and is not always entirely predictable. Using the guidelines below can help you reduce the chances of breeding puppies affected by BOAS. However, even if used responsibly, this guidance cannot guarantee that a puppy from two unaffected parents will be free from BOAS.

Respiratory Function Grading Scheme grades
  • Green: the lowest risk of breeding dogs affected by BOAS
  • Amber: a higher risk of producing puppies that may grow up to be affected by BOAS
  • Red: a mating which has a high risk of producing puppies that may grow up to be affected by BOAS. These matings are not recommended. Producing puppies affected by BOAS has a serious impact on their health and welfare. A mating which may produce affected puppies should never knowingly be carried out

Find a dog's BOAS grade

Our Health Test Results Finder can help you find any dog's BOAS grade, as well as results from any DNA tests and health screening schemes that we record. This tool can help you make informed decisions, whether you're a breeder trying to find a suitable healthy mate for your dog, or a puppy buyer wanting to know more about the health of a puppy's parents. 

Making balanced breeding decisions

As well as considering the implications of a dog’s respiratory function grading score, there are other equally important factors to consider when deciding whether two dogs should be mated together, such as temperament, genetic diversity, conformation, other available health test results, the general health of the dogs etc. Your breeding decisions should always be well balanced between and take into consideration the qualities and compatibility of both the sire and dam that you are considering.

Questions and answers

What happens with my result?

Your dog’s grades will be recorded on The Kennel Club’s database and will be published in one or more of the following:

If my dog was tested before 2019 am I able to send the results to be added?

Yes, The Kennel Club will accept results from dogs assessed during 2017 and 2018, carried out by a regional assessor trained under The Kennel Club/Cambridge scheme, providing the results are submitted on a signed and dated form including the dog’s microchip and The Kennel Club registration number and name. Please email these results to us.

Can I appeal my dog’s grade?

Any appeals against a grade given to a dog must be lodged in writing to The Kennel Club within 30 days of the examination. Following this, the owner is eligible to take the dog, with the original certificate issued, for an additional examination under the chief assessor. The chief assessor will charge the normal fee. Should the chief assessor agree with the initial assessor, the appeal will be deemed to have failed, and the chief assessor will inform The Kennel Club accordingly. In such an event no further appeal is possible. The decision of the chief assessor is final. Should the chief assessor disagree with the first assessment, the dog’s new grade shall be referred to The Kennel Club for amendment.

The final result of any appeal must be received by the Kennel Club within 90 days of examination, otherwise the first result may be sent to The Kennel Club for publication.

Contact information

Chief Assessor: Dr. Jane Ladlow
Health Results Appeal
Breeder Services Dept
The Kennel Club
1-5 Clarges Street
Piccadilly, London
W1J 8AB

Send the results to us via email

What statistics are known about RFGS results?
Statistics on the number of dogs scored by the scheme and their results can be accessed in our RFGS breed-specific information.