The Kennel Club has announced the launch of its Breed Health Coordinator of the Year competition, designed to reward the hard work and dedication of its network of health coordinators across the 217 breeds recognised in the UK.
Nominations from breed clubs and councils are invited for the award and a shortlist of five candidates will be chosen by an expert panel comprising world renowned canine ophthalmologist, Professor Sheila Crispin; Head of Canine Genetics at the Animal Health Trust, Dr Cathryn Mellersh; international championship show judge, Frank Kane; and Head of Health and Research at the Kennel Club, Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi.
Breed clubs and councils may make nominations via email by 1st October, after which time the panel will draw up their shortlist. An online poll will then allow the dog-owning public to choose an overall winner. All five finalists will be invited to a special Christmas lunch in December at the Kennel Club where the winner will be presented with their award by Kennel Club Chairman, Simon Luxmoore.
When nominating someone, breed clubs and councils are asked to make a submission of no more than 500 words stating why the nominee should win. Among the characteristics being looked for by the judging panel will be the nominee’s ability to motivate breeders and breed clubs in relation to health matters as well as their ability to encourage participation in health surveys and research projects.
The main role of a breed health coordinator is to facilitate, over time, the communication and collection of data on the health of their chosen breed. They also act as a spokesperson on matters of health and collaborate with the Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The health of pedigree dogs is under constant scrutiny, so it is absolutely vital that breed health coordinators are chosen from the ranks of a breed, who are not only interested in health but are also able to communicate effectively with breed clubs and the Kennel Club in relation to health matters. This usually involves great dedication and many hours of hard work, so the Kennel Club is very much hoping to see a long list of nominees from which the judging panel can choose a shortlist. Shameless canvassing for your own breed once voting opens is not only allowed but actively encouraged!”
The Kennel Club will provide further information on how to vote once the judging panel has selected its five finalists.