Press Releases

Kennel Club enhances Breed Watch to improve dog health and welfare

23rd January 2020 - 2:04 PM


To continue to improve the health and welfare of pedigree dogs, the Kennel Club has announced it is expanding its Breed Watch system, which serves as an 'early warning system' to identify points of concern for the health of individual breeds. The changes will ensure more extensive monitoring of any new and emerging health and welfare concerns that are detrimental to a dog’s wellbeing and to prevent the introduction of these concerns within a breed.

The decision to introduce these changes was made by the Kennel Club Dog Health Group, which is made up of independent vets, dog experts, canine researchers and welfare organisations, following a recommendation from the group’s Breed Standards & Conformation sub-group, and approval from the Kennel Club Board.

The Dog Health Group concluded that the following points of concern should be monitored and therefore added to Breed Watch for the respective breeds:

Boston Terrier – ‘lack of tail, screw tail, inverted tail and tight tail’ and ‘irregular hind movement’. Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

Boxer – ‘pinched nostrils’. Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

Bullmastiff – ‘excessive amounts of loose facial skin with conformational defects of the upper and/or lower eyelids so that the eyelid margins are not in normal contact with the eye when the dog is in its natural pose e.g. they turn in, or out, or both abnormalities are present’. Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – ‘sore eyes or excessive tearing’, ‘unsound movement’ and ‘weak hindquarters’. Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

Chihuahua – expansion of current dental point of concern to:  ‘wry jaw’, ‘retained puppy teeth’, ‘misplaced teeth’, ‘protruding tongue as a result of incorrect teeth’, ‘missing teeth’, and ‘incorrect bites’. ‘Excessively short muzzles’ also to be added.

Chinese Crested – ‘nervous temperament’.

Dachshund – ‘sore eyes or excessive tearing’, ‘incorrect hindquarter movement/ unsound movement’ and amendment for the current point of ‘body weight/ condition’ to ‘significantly underweight’. Reclassification of Standard Long Haired, Standard Smooth, and Standard Wire Haired from Category 1 to Category 2. 

German Spitz (Mittel and Klein) – ‘sore eyes or excessive tearing’ for both varieties. Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

Great Dane – ‘excessive amounts of loose facial skin with conformational defects of the upper and/or lower eyelids so that the eyelid margins are not in normal contact with the eye when the dog is in its natural pose e.g. they turn in, or out, or both abnormalities are present’, ‘unsound movement’, ‘weak hindquarters’, and ‘nervous temperament’.

Griffon Bruxellois – ‘irregular hind movement’. Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

King Charles Spaniel – ‘prominent eyes’, and ‘weak hindquarters’. Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

Leonberger – ‘weak hindquarters’, ‘unsound movement’, and ‘weak pasterns’.  Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

Maremma Sheepdog – ‘nervous temperament’. Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

Newfoundland – ‘excessive or incorrect coat’.

Pointer – ‘excessive hind angulation’. Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

Rottweiler – ‘excessively short muzzles’, ‘sickle hocks’, ‘excessive hind angulation’ and ‘conformational defects of the upper and lower eyelids’. Reclassification from Category 1 to Category 2.

Spaniel (American Cocker) – ‘incorrect dentition’ to be amended to ‘small teeth’.

Breed Watch enables anyone involved in the world of dogs, but in particular dog show judges, to note any visible points of concern which they should take into consideration and penalise when judging the breed. It is a mandatory requirement that judges complete the judge’s health monitoring form for the above breeds, following appointments at championship shows. This is to prevent the introduction of health and welfare concerns that are detrimental to a dog’s wellbeing and to maintain high standards of health in the show ring.

After a period of 12 months, should no reports of these concerns be made by judges when completing the mandatory health monitoring form, then the point(s) will be reviewed and potentially removed from Breed Watch. All points of concern are assessed quarterly and Breed Health Co-ordinators will receive an annual summary to share with their breed. This is to continually review points of concerns reported by judges.

Bill Lambert, Senior Health and Welfare Manager of the Kennel Club commented: “The vast majority of pedigree dog breeds are happy and healthy, but some breeds do have points of concern which are being addressed robustly by all those who care about dogs, including breeders, dog clubs and the veterinary profession. The additional monitoring and amendments to Breed Watch ensures that improvements in these points of concern can be recorded, and emerging visible traits in all breeds can be monitored to maintain and protect the health and welfare of any breed.

“All judges and exhibitors should take the time to become familiar with the points of concern that can affect their breed, as they too have an important role to play in ensuring that dogs are free from health concerns and exaggeration.”

The judge breed health monitoring form can be accessed online via the Kennel Club website: https://thekennelclub.formstack.com/forms/judges_breed_health_monitoring_form

More information on Breed Watch, including the updated Breed Watch booklet, and the Judges Health Monitoring process is available at http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/for-exhibitors-and-judges-of-show-dogs/



Related Topics

Breed Watch
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