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
Assessor: Laura Hamilton
Location: East Lothian
Practice: Animal 1st Veterinary Surgery
Bookings (via email): Laura Hamilton
 
Assessor: Adele Fitzpatrick
Location: Glasgow
Practice: The Natural Vet/Vet Crèche
Bookings (via email): Adele Fitzpatrick
Ireland
Assessor: Ian Finney
Location: Stamullen, County Meath
Practice: Shenick Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via email): Ian Finney

00353830332468

Northern Ireland
Assessor: Daniel Flynn
Location: Belfast
Name: FlynnVets Balmoral
Bookings (via email): FlynnVets Balmoral
 
Assessor: Gilbert McKnight
Location: Belfast
Name: Cedar Grove Veterinary Clinic
Bookings (via email): Cedar Grove Veterinary Clinic
Wales
Assessor: Fiona Murphy
Location: Denbighshire
Practice: Murphy and Co. Vets
Bookings (via email): Murphy and Co. Vets
North East
Location: Durham
Practice: Cestria Veterinary Centre Ltd
Bookings (email): Cestria Veterinary Centre Ltd
   
Assessor: Andrew Ward
Location: Northumberland
Practice: St. Clair Veterinary Care
Bookings (via email): Andrew Ward
North West
Assessor: Gemma Holloway
Location: Cumbria
Practice: Kentdale Referrals
Bookings (via email): Kentdale Referrals
   
Assessor: James Dutfield
Location: Greater Manchester
Practice: Yew Tree Veterinary Surgery - Withington
Bookings (via email): Yew Tree Veterinary Surgery - Withington
   
Assessor: Lloyd Davies
Location: Greater Manchester
Practice: My Pet Vets, Walter Leigh Way Surgery
Bookings (via email): My Pet Vets, Walter Leigh Way Surgery
   
Assessor: Lisa Steinhage
Location: Lancashire
Practice: Oakhill Veterinary Centre – Conway Drive
Bookings (via email): Oakhill Veterinary Centre – Conway Drive
 
Assessor: Michael Hough
Location: Cheshire
Practice: The Vets Place
Bookings (via email): The Vets Place
 
Assessor: Richard Pescod
Location: Cheshire
Practice: Medivet Nantwich, Hillside Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via email): Medivet Nantwich, Hillside Veterinary Centre
Yorkshire
Assessor: Beth Laycock
Location: North Yorkshire
Practice: Kingsway Veterinary Group Ltd - Skipton
Bookings (via email): Kingsway Veterinary Group Ltd - Skipton
 
Assessor: Katie Illingworth
Location: North Yorkshire
Practice: Kingsway Veterinary Group Ltd - Skipton
Bookings (via email): Kingsway Veterinary Group Ltd - Skipton
 
Assessor: Natalie Ratcliffe
Location: South Yorkshire
Practice: Abbey Veterinary Group
Bookings (via email): Natalie Ratcliffe
West Midlands
Assessor: Susan Seffer
Location: West Midlands
Practice: 608 Veterinary Practice
Bookings (via email): Susan Seffer
   
Assessor: Tom Bingham
Location: Staffordshire
Practice: Walpole & Bingham
Bookings (via email): Tom Bingham
   
Assessor: Rumen Beleliev
Location: Staffordshire
Practice: Walpole & Bingham
Bookings (via email): Rumen Beleliev
   
Assessor: Craig McCreatb
Location: Staffordshire
Practice: E.C Straiton and Partners Veterinary Hospital
Bookings: 01785 712235
East Midlands
Assessor: Alistair Mitchell
Location: Lincolnshire
Practice: Holbeach and Fleet Veterinary Clinic
Bookings (via email): Alistair Mitchell
   
Assessor: Richard Morris
Location: Lincolnshire
Practice:

Fenwold Veterinary Practice

Bookings (via email):

Fenwold Veterinary Practice

   
Assessor: Dinu Catilina
Location: Derbyshire
Practice: Prime Veterinary Practice
Bookings (via email): Prime Veterinary Practice
East of England
Assessor: Alexander Bradnick
Location: Essex
Practice: Animal Ark Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via email): Animal Ark Veterinary Centre
   
Assessor: Hayley Giles
Location: Essex
Practice: Animal Ark Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via email): Animal Ark Veterinary Centre
   
Assessor: Lindsey Nice
Location: Essex
Practice: Millennium Veterinary Practice
Bookings (via email): Millennium Veterinary Practice
   
Assessor: Jane Ladlow
Location: Cambridgeshire
Practice: The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital
Bookings (via email): The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital
 
Assessor: Nai-Chieh
Location: Cambridgeshire
Practice: The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital
Bookings (via email): The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital
 
Assessor: Phillip Franklin
Location: Cambridgeshire
Practice: The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital
Bookings (via email): The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital
London & South East
Assessor: Andy Trevan
Location: Surrey
Practice: Gayton Veterinary Group, Redhill
Bookings (via email): Andy Trevan
   
Assessor: Charlotte Gray
Location: East Sussex
Practice: Badgers Oak Veterinary Clinic 
Bookings (via email): Badgers Oak Veterinary Clinic
   
Assessor: Katarzyna Atmaca
Location: West Sussex
Practice: Portland Vets East Grinstead
Bookings (via email): Portland Vets East Grinstead
   
Assessor: Mike Nikolaou
Location: Kent
Practice: Abbeywell Veterinary Clinic
Bookings (via email): Abbeywell Veterinary Clinic
   
Assessor: Kevin Clifford
Location: Greater London
Practice: Brompton Veterinary Clinic 
Bookings (via email): Kevin Clifford
South West
Assessor: Carla Puime
Location: Bristol
Practice: Bristol Emersons Green Vets4Pets
Bookings (via email): Carla Puime
 
Assessor: Edward Pattison
Location: Devon
Practice: VetsCity
Bookings (via email): Edward Pattison
 
Assessor: Mario Antignani
Location: Whiltshire
Practice: Macqueen Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via email): Macqueen Veterinary Centre
 
Assessor: Victoria Woods
Location: Somerset
Practice: Tone Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via email): Victoria Woods
Isle of Wight
Assessor: Katy Butler
Location: Newport
Practice: Green, Roberts and Butler Veterinary Surgeons
Bookings (via email): Green, Roberts and Butler Veterinary Surgeons

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.