Breed health and conservation plans (BHCPs)

Afghan with mouth open

What is a breed health and conservation plan?

This is a project run by The Kennel Club that gathers all available health information and data about each specific breed and compiles it into a single document. This document is given to the breed clubs and is used as a basis to collaboratively create a strategy to tackle the health priories of that particular breed.

What is the aim of the BHCPs project?

The breed health and conservation plans ensure that all health concerns are identified through evidence-based criteria. The plans provide breeders with useful information and resources to support them in making balanced breeding decisions that make health a priority.

What sort of subjects do the BHCPs cover?

The breed health and conservation plans take a complete view of breed health and include information about:

  • known inherited conditions
  • complex conditions (i.e. those involving many genes and environmental effects such as nutrition or exercise levels, e.g. hip dysplasia)
  • conformational concerns
  • population genetics

What information is used to create a BHCP?

Sources of evidence and data being used include:

  • Scientific publications and VetCompass findings
  • Agria insurance data
  • Breed Watch data
  • Data from BVA/KC health schemes and other breed health schemes
  • The Kennel Club’s 2004 and 2014 purebred dog health surveys
  • Breed-specific health surveys conducted by The Kennel Club and the breed clubs themselves

This information is brought together to indicate the most significant health conditions in each breed, in terms of prevalence and impact.

Are the BHCPs a collaborative project?

The project involves collaboration across a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Breed health co-ordinators are central to the identification and prioritisation of health concerns, but we will also draw on the knowledge and experience of breeders within the breed club communities and the veterinary and research community.

What information is provided in the BHCPs?

At the end of the first stage of each breed’s BHCP, a document that sets out all of the available health evidence is presented to the breed clubs. The second stage involves discussions between the breed clubs and The Kennel Club to decide on the breeds' main health concerns. The third stage of the project provides clear advice to breeders and breed clubs as to how the health of the breed can be improved.

BHCP stages

Stage 1: Identify

Health concerns are identified by collating and summarising data from a range of scientific resources.

Stage 2: Prioritise

Findings from stage 1 are used collaboratively to provide clear indications of the most significant health conditions in each breed, in terms of prevalence and impact.

Stage 3: Advise

Conclusions drawn collaboratively from stage 2 are used to produce guidance to both breeders and breed clubs on how to improve breed health.

Stage 4: Develop

Previous stages of the BHCPs are used to identify where additional research or breeding resources are required and where further funding is needed.

How do the BHCPs prioritise health concerns?

A spectrum of evidence-based measures are taken into consideration, recognising the impact of individual health concerns on welfare, and maximum benefit for positive change to a breed. The bespoke nature of the breed-specific health plans will include monitoring and review, so that we can ensure ongoing health needs are accommodated and reflect progress and achievements.

Which breeds will have a BHCP?

By the end of 2020 the aim is that all breeds will have, or will be working towards, developing a plan. You can find your breed’s completed plan on breed club websites, or contact your breed health co-ordinator.