The Kennel Club has announced the most recent updates to the Breed-Specific Health Testing and Screening Schedule for its Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS), aimed to further improve dog health and promote responsible breeding. There are changes to the requirements and recommendations for the Bavarian Mountain Hound, Bulldog, Dalmatian, Lagotto Romagnolo, Pug, Shar Pei and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.
The Assured Breeder Scheme is the only scheme in the UK to monitor and inspect dog breeders and the Kennel Club is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service to do this. The range of breed-specific health testing and screening requirements and recommendations under the ABS is regularly reviewed following consultations with breed clubs and breed councils and with agreement and advice from the Kennel Club Dog Health Group, in a collaborative effort to ensure that health and welfare issues are kept at the forefront of what the scheme sets out to achieve: the encouragement of responsible breeding.
Breed specific changes as of 1st August 2017 are:
Bavarian Mountain Hound
- Add requirement for hip scoring (previously a recommendation)
- Add recommendation for Bulldog Breed Council Health Scheme to at least Bronze level
- Add recommendation for DNA test - Hyperuricosuria (HUU)
- Add requirement for BAER testing (previously a recommendation)
- Add requirement for DNA test – Juvenile Epilepsy (JE)
- Add recommendation for hip scoring
- Add recommendation for elbow grading
- Add recommendation for DNA test – Lysosomal Storage Disease (LSD)
- Add recommendation for annual eye testing
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
- Add requirement for DNA test – Degenerative Encephalopathy (previously a recommendation)
- Add recommendation for Hemivertebrae (HV) checking of parents by X-ray after twelve months of age (amended wording)
- Add recommendation for patella testing
- Add recommendation for DNA test – Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) and Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
Bill Lambert, Kennel Club Health and Breeder Services Manager, said: “One of the key benefits of the Assured Breeder Scheme is that it is designed to be flexible and is constantly evolving which allows for the greatest positive impact on dog health. These latest updates will help to maintain maximum progress for dog health improvements and encourage good breeding practices, which will in turn help to protect the future of the UK's much-loved pedigree dogs and ensure that puppy buyers can be easily signposted to breeders who do all they can to produce healthy pups.
“The requirements and recommendations that have been added for these seven breeds have come about as a direct result of input from those who love and care for their breeds – the breed clubs and councils we work with. These updates demonstrate how we adapt the scheme to the specific needs of different breeds with regards to health testing and welfare, and will have a positive impact on the breeds involved as well as the wider pedigree dog population.”
The list of ABS breed specific requirements and recommendations is updated twice a year to ensure that they remain relevant and of maximum health benefit to all dogs bred by Kennel Club Assured Breeders. Further tests can be expected to be announced as specific inherited conditions are identified and associated tests are developed.
These updates come into effect immediately. However, existing Assured Breeders have a period of grace of six months before compliance with new requirements and recommendations comes into effect to allow them to take account of any existing breeding plans.
The ABS guidelines emphasise the importance of conducting not only the required health tests but the recommended ones also. Results provide data which allow researchers to develop a picture of how each breed is affected by particular diseases, and how best to improve the health of affected breeds and develop cheaper and faster testing methods.
In breeds where enough dogs have been tested, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) have been developed by the Kennel Club using BVA/KC hip and elbow screening data to enable breeders to make breeding choices based on indicators of the genetic risk of these complex inherited diseases, which is more accurate than using an individual dog’s test score alone and determines the genetic risk that each dog will pass the disease to its progeny.
Breed clubs and breed councils wishing to make changes to the breed specific requirements and recommendations for their breed should write to Assured Breeder Scheme, The Kennel Club, Clarges Street, London, W1J 8AB.
Read more information on the Assured Breeder Scheme, including the latest list of health testing requirements and recommendations.