Breed Health and Conservation Plan

What is the aim of the BHCPs?

The purpose of the Breed Health and Conservation Plans is to ensure that all health concerns are identified through evidence-based criteria, and that breeders are provided with useful information and resources to support them in making balanced breeding decisions that make health a priority.

What topics will the BHCPs take into consideration?

The Breed Health and Conservation Plans will take a holistic view of breed health and will include information about the following issues: known inherited conditions, complex conditions (i.e. those involving many genes and environmental effects such as nutrition or exercise levels, for example hip dysplasia), conformational concerns and population genetics.  

What information will be used to create BHCPs?

Sources of evidence and data being collated include the scientific literature, the Kennel Club’s 2004 and 2014 Purebred Dog Health Surveys and breed-specific health surveys conducted by the Breed Clubs themselves. Other potential sources of data are also being investigated. These will be brought together to give clear indications of the most significant health conditions in each breed, in terms of prevalence and impact. 

For more information on how BHCP will utilise evidence based information, please click here to view our booklet on the subject.

Will the BHCPs be a collaborative project?
The project, part of the Kennel Club’s wider work to improve dog health, will involve collaboration across a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Breed Health Coordinators will continue to be central collaborators in 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 will be provided in the BHCPs?

At the end of the first stage of each breed’s Breed Health and Conservation Plan a document will have been produced, collaboratively with the Breed Clubs, setting out all of the evidence.  The second stage will include the prioritisation of health concerns and the third Stage will provide clear advice to breeders and breed clubs as to how to move forward.

BHCP Stages

Stage one - Identify

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

Stage two - Prioritise

Findings from stage one will be used collaboratively to provide clear indications of the most significant health conditions in each breed, in terms of prevalence and impact

Stage three - Advise

Conclusions drawn collaboratively from stage two will lead to guidance to both breeders and breed clubs on how to improve breed health.

Stage four - Develop

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


How will the BHCPs prioritise health concerns?
Prioritisation will take into consideration a spectrum of evidence-based measures, 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?
Eventually, it is hoped that all breeds have a BHCP available.  In the meantime, 17 key breeds have been identified as the first to collaborate on a Breed Health and Conservation Plan.   The first group of breeds are the:

  • Basset Hound
  • Bloodhound
  • Bulldog
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chow Chow
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • English Setter
  • French Bulldog
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Mastiff
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Otterhound
  • Pekingese
  • Pug
  • Shar Pei
  • St Bernard

Work is well underway on the Plans for the 17 breeds in the first group and it is hoped that these breeds’ initial Plans will be complete by the end of 2017.

Related Topics

Breed Health and Conservation Plan
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