Latest updates to The Kennel Club Assured Breeders scheme

The Kennel Club has announced the most recent updates to the breed-specific health testing and screening schedule for The Kennel Club Assured Breeders scheme, aimed to further improve dog health and responsible breeding.

The range of breed-specific health testing and screening requirements and recommendations under the ABS is regularly reviewed following consultations with breed clubs and councils and with the 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.

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 they are developed.

As previously, the most recent updates come into effect immediately. However, existing Assured Breeders have a period of grace of six months in order to comply with any new requirements and recommendations to allow them to take account of any existing breeding plans. In accordance with ongoing restrictions relating to Covid-19 and the inability for some breeders to get heath tests conducted, the same grace period will apply for new requirements and recommendations introduced at the end of May 2020, and these have also been extended for a further six months.

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 help 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.

Breed clubs and breed councils wishing to make changes to the breed specific requirements and recommendations for their breed should contact their breed health co-ordinator (details available at bit.ly/3oNH2MW) who can then liaise with the Health Team (health@thekennelclub.org.uk) and review available data to support the change.

Breed specific updates are as follows:

Beagle
  • Add recommendation of bitches under 18 months not to produce a litter
Bloodhound
  • Add recommendation of elbow grading
  • Add recommendation of hip scoring
  • Add recommendation of eye testing 
Border Collie
  • Add requirement of eye testing for PLA (upgraded from recommendation) 
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Add requirement of The Kennel Club Heart Scheme for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, supported by the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society
Dachshund (Long Haired)
  • Add recommendation of IVDD screening
Dachshund (Miniature Long Haired)
  • Add recommendation of IVDD screening
  • Add recommendation of eye testing (downgraded from requirement) 
Dachshund (Miniature Smooth Haired)
  • Add recommendation of IVDD screening 
Dachshund (Miniature Wire Haired)
  • Add recommendation of IVDD screening 
Dachshund (Smooth Haired)
  • Add recommendation of IVDD screening 
Dachshund (Wire Haired)
  • Add recommendation of IVDD screening 
Dandie Dinmont
  • Add requirement of eye testing for PLA 
Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Add requirement of elbow grading 
French Bulldog
  • Add recommendation of eye testing (downgraded from requirement) 
Hungarian Vizsla
  • Add requirement of eye testing for PLA 
Italian Spinone
  • Removal of DNA (linkage) testing for CA as a requirement 
Large Munsterlander
  • Add requirement of elbow grading
  • Add requirement of DNA testing for HUU 
Retriever (Golden)
  • Add requirement of eye testing for PLA 
Spaniel (Cocker)
  • Add requirement of eye testing for PLA (upgraded from recommendation)

Following the closure of the Animal Health Trust in July breeders need to be aware that tests can no longer be issued by the AHT, and therefore those looking to get their dogs tested will need to use alternative laboratories. Guidance surrounding each test and available laboratories can be found on your breed’s A-Z page on The Kennel Club website at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/breeds-a-to-z.

Bill Lambert, Head of Health and Welfare at The Kennel Club, said: “These latest Assured Breeders scheme 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.

“This year’s lockdown in which we have seen a surge in the number of people looking for puppies has merely served to throw the spotlight on the importance of puppy seekers doing their research before making a purchase. The ABS offers these people a way to source breeders who have agreed to follow a number of requirements including health testing.”

More information on the Assured Breeders scheme, including the latest list of health testing requirements and recommendations, can be found at bit.ly/37jOkC2.

As we seek clarity on what the restrictions mean for breeders, dog owners and clubs we are regularly updating our Covid-19 hub at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/coronavirus with the latest information, FAQs at bit.ly/3ac17sc and further resources to help you and your dog during the pandemic.