Kennel Club introduces Colour Watch initiative

The Kennel Club has introduced its new Colour Watch initiative as an aid to communicating and educating on the importance of breed standard colours in pedigree dogs.

The initiative was a recommendation from The Kennel Club’s Non-Breed Standard Colours Working Party (NBSCWP), following an in-depth review of the issues surrounding the registration of dogs of colours which are not recognised.

Colour Watch will follow a similar approach to Breed Watch, as a means of highlighting the breeds within which trends in non-breed standard [NBS] colours could be a concern. The system will purely be an indication of colour trends within breeds; health matters will remain within Breed Watch and/or Breed Health and Conservation plans.

The Colour Watch system categorises breeds according to the prevalence of NBS colours being registered. The categorisation has been calculated according to the percentage of registrations that were NBS in 2022 or the total number if over 500.

The five categories are as follows:

  • Category 0: Breeds with no NBS colour registration options
  • Category 1: Breeds with 0 to 2% registered NBS colours
  • Category 2: Breeds with >2 to 10% registered NBS colours
  • Category 3: Breeds with >10% to 30% registered NBS colours or between 500 and 1,000 NBS registrations per annum
  • Category 4: Breeds with >30% registered NBS colours or more than 1,000 NBS registrations per annum

The categories take account of both numbers and percentages to help protect breeds such as the Retriever (Labrador) where the percentage of NBS colour registrations is relatively low (2.8%), but this equates to 1,247 NBS colour Labradors registered in 2022. Using a banding system based on registration numbers and percentages will allow The Kennel Club to monitor annual trends in NBS colours, and breeds will move between bands accordingly.

Based on 2022 registrations, each Kennel Club recognised breed is to be categorised as follows:

Colour Watch Categories

Breeds

Category 4: Breeds with >30% registered NBS colours or more than 1000 NBS registrations per annum

 

Bulldog

Dachshund (Miniature Smooth Haired)

French Bulldog

Pug

Retriever (Labrador)

Spaniel (Cocker)

Category 3: Breeds with >10% to 30% registered NBS colours or between 500 and 1000 NBS registrations per annum

 

Boston Terrier

Pomeranian

Poodle (Standard)

Shar Pei

Shih Tzu

Swedish Vallhund

Weimaraner

Category 2: Breeds with >2 to 10% registered NBS colours

 

Affenpinscher

Chow Chow

Dachshund (Miniature Long Haired)

German Shepherd Dog

Great Dane

Poodle (Miniature)

Poodle (Toy)

Category 1: Breeds with 0 to 2% registered NBS colours

 

Dachshund (Smooth Haired)

Dalmatian

Dobermann

Giant Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer

Retriever (Flatcoated)

Category 0: Breeds with no NBS colour registration options

 

Dachshund (Long Haired)*

Dachshund (Miniature Wire Haired)*

Dachshund (Wire Haired)*

All other Kennel Club-recognised breeds

* Dachshund (Long Haired), Dachshund (Miniature Wire Haired) and Dachshund (Wire Haired) all had NBS colour dogs registered in 2022 prior to the removal of all NBS colours from the list of registration options available in October 2022.

The Kennel Club will be communicating directly with registered breed clubs across the 26 breeds currently within categories 1-4. The Kennel Club website will include each breed’s Colour Watch category under the ‘Colours’ tab on the Breed A-Z page, with a link to further explanation about the initiative.

In future, Colour Watch will be based on registration data for the previous calendar year. It is planned that each breed’s category will be updated using the 2023 data in August of this year and subsequently on an annual basis each June, to allow time for the end of previous year statistics to be produced, and for the categories to be reviewed. The relevant breed clubs will be notified of their breed’s category based on the most up-to-date registration data before the categorisation is publicly announced each year.

The Kennel Club is still exploring the NBSCWP’s recommendation of the adoption of a clearer approach to differentiate between breed standard and NBS colours, and for the promotion of breed standard colours, along with health test results, as part of the ongoing Transformation project. Further initiatives will be announced at the relevant time. 

 

Crufts, which celebrates dogs from all walks of life, takes place from 7-10 March at the NEC in Birmingham and tickets are available here