Dog Judges And Breeders Given Guidance On Identifying Visible Health And Welfare Concerns In Dogs At Shows

Dog show judges, breeders and exhibitors have attended the Kennel Club’s annual Breed Watch Education Day at the Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre in Bishop’s Tachbrook, Warwickshire, to learn more about how to identify visible health and welfare concerns in dogs competing at shows.

The educational day was held to provide delegates with the opportunity to help secure the future of healthy and happy pedigree dogs by ensuring that dog shows remain a platform on which to monitor and improve pedigree dog health. 

The day was designed for those involved in any breed but focused on health and welfare concerns listed in category two and three of the Kennel Club’s Breed Watch initiative, which identifies breed specific conformational issues which may lead to health problems in dogs. It enabled judges to enhance their knowledge in key conformational areas in order to identify visible concerns when judging at dog shows.

Seminars were held on locomotion, dentition and body condition, led by veterinary specialists who discussed ongoing research as well as techniques which can easily be applied to identify concerns within the show ring.

The locomotion talk was given by Dr Constanza Gomez Alverez, lecturer in Musculoskeletal Biology at the University of Surrey, who gave an overview of normal movement and consequences of abnormal conformation and conditions which can cause abnormal movement in dogs.

Dentition was covered by Simone Kirby, Veterinary Dentistry lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College, who gave an overview of the anatomy and normal occlusion of a dog’s mouth, from birth to adulthood, as well as common malocclusions.  Simone also explored the difference between cosmetic issues and more serious conditions, as well as periodontal disease and trauma to teeth.

Dr Eleanor Raffan, Veterinary Specialist and research fellow at the University of Cambridge, provided a talk on obesity and body condition scoring, genetic predisposition, and how to identify and treat obesity.

Frank Kane Chairman of the Kennel Club Breed Standards and Conformation Sub-Group, who hosted the day, said; “Judges have such a positive role in helping to secure the future of dog showing and the part it plays in improving dog health, which is why events such as this where we can further our knowledge are so useful. 

“It was very encouraging to see so many judges at the event.  While judges are not expected to assess a dog in the same way a vet would, the talks will give judges an opportunity to use their experience and vast knowledge to identify any visible conditions which may be of concern.”

The primary purpose of the Kennel Club’s Breed Watch initiative is to enable anyone involved in the world of dogs, but particularly dog show judges, to develop their knowledge and identify, monitor and report any breed-specific conformational issues which may lead to health problems in dogs.

Read further information on Breed Watch.

The next Breed Watch Education Day will be held in 2017.