The Kennel Club has today (1 November) launched its new DNA Testing Services, developed to improve and protect dog health, and to promote responsible dog breeding.
Priced from £60, with a £20 off introductory offer on selected Breed-Specific Packages running throughout November, The Kennel Club DNA Testing Services provide owners with cost-effective access to the most impactful genetic health tests – without the need to carry out each one individually – with results that are easy to interpret and accompanied by breeding and care advice.
The service has been uniquely developed by The Kennel Club, the UK’s largest dog health organisation, in partnership with Weatherbys Scientific, to advance understanding of dog genetics and disease, with those who use the service contributing to canine genetic research – both through data collection and with all funds reinvested into ongoing research and health initiatives.
Available for 80 breeds and aimed at anyone considering breeding, and any owner who wants to better understand their dog’s genetics, The Kennel Club DNA Testing Service collects a dog’s DNA sample via a simple cheek swab. From the swab, the service checks the DNA for markers associated with a number of different inherited breed-relevant disorders and provides advice to help reduce the risk of producing puppies affected by these conditions, so they can ultimately be eradicated through responsible breeding.
Test results will automatically be registered on a dog’s record and available on The Kennel Club website, allowing breeders to find health-tested mates, and puppy buyers to check if the dog they are thinking of buying has come from health-tested parents.
For owners, understanding a dog’s genetics and knowing which testable hereditary conditions they may be affected by allows preparation for the future. Some dogs affected by hereditary conditions can go undiagnosed during the early stages of disease, due to clinical symptoms being missed or mistaken for ageing, and missing the early signs of disease can leave a dog in unnecessary pain or discomfort. Early intervention can frequently improve quality of life.
To discuss the importance of DNA testing, the impact it can have on dog health and how it can help to eradicate some of the most concerning genetic disorders facing certain breeds, The Kennel Club’s geneticist, Dr Joanna Ilska, is hosting a free interactive webinar on 3 November at 19:00pm - sign up is available here.
Alongside the health packages, the new DNA Testing Services also offer DNA profiling for all breeds, which is included as standard for multiple-test Breed-Specific Packages at no further cost. This DNA profile provides a unique genetic code for an individual dog, which can be used as a ‘genetic fingerprint’, and unlike other identification means, a DNA profile remains the same throughout the dog’s entire life and cannot be lost, manipulated or destroyed. As DNA profiles can also be used to confirm parentage, a new parental verification service will be available for all breeds – both of these services are new offerings from The Kennel Club and have been developed in partnership with Weatherbys Scientific.
Dr Joanna Ilska, Genetics & Research Manager at The Kennel Club said: “Research has shown that the number of pedigree dogs at risk of inherited diseases can be dramatically reduced by responsible breeding, thanks to the use of DNA tests. We have seen that around ten years after a DNA test becomes available, the frequency of gene mutations that caused the disease in some breeds decreases by a staggering 90 per cent, or more.
“With that in mind, we are delighted to launch The Kennel Club DNA Testing Services, which allow caring breeders and responsible owners to have a genuine and positive impact on the health of future generations of dogs, in an easy, accessible and cost-effective way. At the same time, those who use the service will be contributing to driving further understanding of canine genetics and disease, and the development of dog health initiatives, with all data and profits reinvested into research as part of The Kennel Club’s mission of making a difference for dogs.”
Paul Flynn, Head of Research and Development at Weatherbys Scientific, added: “Weatherbys Scientific are proud to hold some 25 years’ experience as a global multi-species genetic testing service provider, to ensure professional delivery of the genetic testing aspect of The Kennel Club DNA Testing Services.
“The partnership between The Kennel Club and Weatherbys brings together a combined heritage of nearly 400 years dedicated to animal registration and welfare and we very much look forward to being part of The Kennel Club DNA Testing Services. The service leverages Weatherbys Scientific’s proven laboratory track record and availability of latest in-house molecular technologies to help realise admirable genetic breeding objectives that aim to continuously better the future health and welfare of the canine species.
“Looking into the future; this partnership is scientifically exciting, with both The Kennel Club and Weatherbys Scientific being proven technology adopters - positioning our partnership to harness the benefits of current and future genetic testing capabilities, within an ever-enhancing era of genomic advancements and discovery.”
Assured Breeders and Kennel Club Accredited Instructors receive a 10% discount on the services, and any owner can make use of the introductory £20 off throughout November for all Breed-Specific Packages with DNA profiling included, with the discount code: DNATest20.