Kennel club calls for German Shepherd owners to assist in behavioural study for the breed

The Kennel Club will be contacting over 8,000 owners of German Shepherd Dogs, registered with the Kennel Club between 2004-2014, to invite them to participate in a new study investigating the health and lifestyle of the breed, undertaken by Dr Pam Wiener and her team at The Roslin Institute and Scotland's Rural College.

The Roslin Institute (part of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh) and Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) are beginning a study, funded by Dogs Trust, on German Shepherd Dog (GSD) temperament, lifestyle and health and are requesting the help of GSD owners, through email invitations being sent from 2nd November 2015 onwards.

This project has the support of the German Shepherd Dog League, and the German Shepherd Dog Breed Council has been consulted accordingly.  The study aims to determine whether certain factors in a dog's lifestyle or in their genetics are related to the temperament and health of individual GSDs. This builds on a similar study in Labrador Retrievers in which it was shown that lifestyle and genetic factors were related to behaviour, and researchers now want to extend this research to other breeds. They believe the results of this study will prove useful in further improving the health of the GSD breed.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for owners of German Shepherd Dogs to help out with a study that could have a very positive impact on the breed.

"These kind of research projects, carried out by respected experts, can result in extremely reliable, good quality findings which can help improve the breed and give guidance to breeders, vets, dog trainers, and anyone else who deals with various aspects of dog health and behaviour. 

"We would recommend as many invited owners of GSDs to take part in this study as possible, with the knowledge that they are doing something positive for the breed they love."

For owners who choose to participate in the study, following initial contact by the Kennel Club, all subsequent contact will be with Dr Pam Weiner's team, and all the project data will be maintained at The Roslin Institute.  All data gathered will be used solely by those staff within the University of Edinburgh and SRUC who require access to the data and only for the purposes of this study. Personal data will be kept strictly confidential and will not be passed onto any third party without the express written consent of participants.

It is anticipated that the results of the study will be published and any published data will be completely anonymous.  Relevant findings from the study will be reported back to participants.

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