Respiratory Function Grading Scheme

French bulldog puppy looking at camera

What is the scheme?

The Kennel Club and University of Cambridge's Respiratory Function Grading Scheme assesses Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs for a breathing problem known as BOAS (brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome).

The scheme advises owners if their dog is affected by BOAS and gives guidance to breeders on how to lower the risk of producing affected puppies. A selection of regionally approved assessors (vets trained especially in BOAS) have been appointed to carry out respiratory function grading on dogs of these breeds.

Dogs can be assessed from the age of 12 months and this should be repeated every two years for their lifetime, or until you stop using them for breeding.

What is BOAS?

Dogs with a flat, wide-shaped head are said to be brachycephalic (‘brachy’ meaning short, and ‘cephalic’, meaning head). The soft tissue in the nose and throat of some brachycephalic dogs may be excessive for the airways, partially obstructing the airway and making it difficult for them to breathe normally (causing heavy panting or noisy breathing). This condition is known as BOAS and is a progressive disorder that can impair a dog’s ability to exercise, play, eat and sleep.

Find out more about BOAS or watch our film on The Kennel Club Academy

How can I book an assessment?

You could look at our list of health testing clinics, or alternatively find your closest regional assessor below and contact them directly to book an assessment. 

Scotland
Assessor: Laura Hamilton
Location: East Lothian
Practice: Animal 1st Veterinary Surgery
Bookings (via email): Laura Hamilton
   
Assessor: Adele Fitzpatrick
Location: Glasgow
Practice: The Natural Vet/Vet Crèche
Bookings (via email): Adele Fitzpatrick
   
Assessor: Tim Borthwick
Location: County of Lanark
Practice: Clyde Vet Group – Lanark Hospital
Bookings (via email): Clyde Vet Group – Lanark Hospital
Bookings (via telephone): 01555 660000
   
Assessor: Niall Morton
Location: City of Dundee
Practice: Wallace Vets - Broughty Ferry
Bookings (via email): N/A
Bookings (via telephone): 01382 549600
   
Assessor: Paik Koh
Location: East Lothian
Practice: DentalVets
Bookings: DentalVets
01620 890002
Ireland
Assessor: Ian Finney
Location: Stamullen, County Meath
Practice: Shenick Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via email): Ian Finney

00353830332468

   
Assessor: Dr. Tim Kirby
Location: Kerry
Practice: PetBond Ltd
Bookings (via email):

 

PetBond Ltd

 

 

Assessor: David Woods
Location: Wexford, Ireland
Practice: Wexford Veterinary Hospital
Bookings (via email): David Woods
Bookings (via phone):

+353 (53) 914 5755

 

Northern Ireland
Assessor: Currently no assessors
Location:  
Name:  
Bookings (via email):  
Wales
Assessor: Emma Havard
Location: Carmarthenshire
Practice: Vets4Pets – Cross Hands
Bookings (via email):

emma havard

Bookings (via phone):

01269 833 150

   
Assessor: Geraint Jones
Location: Swansea
Practice: St James Veterinary Group - Parkway Surgery
Bookings (via email): parkway@stjamesvet.co.uk
Bookings (via phone):

01792 205000

   
Assessor: Rebecca Riley
Location: Cardiff
Practice: CSVI clinic
Bookings (via email): CS Veterinary Imaging

 

 

 

North East
Assessor: Andrew Ward
Location: Northumberland
Practice: St. Clair Veterinary Care
Bookings (via email): Andrew Ward
North West
Assessor: Gemma Holloway
Location: Cumbria
Practice: Kentdale Referrals
Bookings (via email): Kentdale Referrals
   
Assessor: Lloyd Davies
Location: Greater Manchester
Practice: My Pet Vets, Walter Leigh Way Surgery
Bookings (via email): My Pet Vets, Walter Leigh Way Surgery
   
Assessor: Lisa Steinhage
Location: Lancashire
Practice: Oakhill Veterinary Centre – Lytham Road
Bookings (via email): Oakhill Veterinary Centre - Lytham Road
Bookings (via telephone): 01772 718774
   
Assessor: Charlotte Furnell
Location: Lancashire
Practice: Oakhill Veterinary Centre - Goosnargh
Bookings (via email): Oakhill Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via telephone): 01772 861300
   
Assessor: James Dutfield
Location: Cheshire
Practice: Goostrey Lane Vets
Bookings (via email): Goostrey Lane Vets
   
Assessor: Hannah Redhead
Location: Cheshire
Practice: Hillside Animal Medics
Bookings (via email): Hillside Animal Medics
Bookings (via telephone): N/A
   
Assessor: Maliha Chowdhury
Location: Blackburn
Practice: Myerscough Veterinary Group
Bookings (via email): Myerscough Veterinary Group
Bookings (via telephone): 01254 814863
Yorkshire
Assessor: Beth Laycock
Location: North Yorkshire
Practice: Kingsway Veterinary Group Ltd - Skipton
Bookings (via email): Kingsway Veterinary Group Ltd - Skipton
   
Assessor: Dr Eric Rouviere
Location: Rotherham
Practice: Rotherham Vets4Pets - Moorgate
Bookings (via email): Eric Rouviere
Bookings (via phone):

01709 369808

   
Assessor: Katie Illingworth
Location: North Yorkshire
Practice: Kingsway Veterinary Group Ltd - Skipton
Bookings (via email): Kingsway Veterinary Group Ltd - Skipton
 
Assessor: Natalie Ratcliffe
Location: South Yorkshire
Practice: Abbey Veterinary Group
Bookings (via email): natalie.ratcliffe@abbeyvetsgroup.co.uk
 
West Midlands
Assessor: Charlotte Matthews
Location: Herefordshire
Practice: Belmont Vets
Bookings (via email): Belmont Vets
   
Assessor: Chris Kirtley
Location: Shropshire
Practice: Park Issa Veterinary Hospital
Bookings (via email): Park Issa Veterinary Hospital

Bookings (via phone):

01691 670067
   
Assessor: Daniel Fetic
Location: Halesowen
Practice: Local vets Halesowen
Bookings (via email):

 

Bookings (via phone): 0121 296 7776
   
Assessor: Diana Baker 
Location: Shropshire
Practice: Elite Kennel Fertility
Bookings (via email): office@elitekennelfertility.com
Bookings (via phone): 01948 668059
   
Assessor: Hannah Brooks
Location: Staffordshire
Practice: Bramble and Bear - The Mobile Vet Clinic
Bookings (via email): Bramble and Bear - The Mobile Vet Clinic
Bookings (via phone): 01782 438663
   
Assessor: Dr Helen Price
Location: Staffordshire
Practice: Wombourne Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via email): Wombourne Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via phone): 01902 324551
   
Assessor: John Alexander
Location: Herefordshire
Practice: Alexander-Wallace Ltd
Bookings (via phone): 07875389511
   
Assessor: Magdalena Ferrante
Location: West Midlands
Practice: West Bromwich
Bookings (via email): Vet4Pets - West Bromwich
   
Assessor: Rumen Beleliev
Location: Oldbury, Birmingham
Practice:

Local Vets Oldbury

Bookings (via email): Rumen Beleliev
   
Assessor: Susan Seffer
Location: West Midlands
Practice: 608 Veterinary Practice
Bookings (via email): Susan Seffer
   
Assessor: Heather Tyrie
Location: Wolverhampton
Practice (bookings via email): Trusted Vets
Bookings (via telephone): 01902 766905
 
Assessor: Stephanie Edwards BVetMed MRCVS
Location: Shropshire 
Practice: Severn Edge Vets, Bridgnorth, Shropshire WV16 4AR
Practice (bookings via email): Stephanie Edwards
Bookings (via telephone): 01746763998
East Midlands

 

Assessor: Alistair Mitchell
Location: Lincolnshire
Practice: Holbeach and Fleet Veterinary Clinic
Bookings (via email): Alistair Mitchell
   
Assessor: Dinu Catilina
Location: Derbyshire
Practice: Prime Veterinary Practice
Bookings (via email): Prime Veterinary Practice
   
Assessor: Elizabeth Nobes
Location: Northampton
Practice: Spinney Lodge Vets
Bookings (via email):

 

Elizabeth Nobes
Bookings (via phone):

01604 648221

 

 
Assessor: James Millington
Location: Chesterfield
Practice: Staveley Vets
Bookings (via email): Staveley Vets
   
Assessor:

Javier Berrón

Location:

Ashby

Practice:

Woodward Veterinary Practice

Bookings (via email):

 

Javier Berrón

 

Bookings (via phone):

01530 412035

   
Assessor: Dr Sean Brister
Location: Derbyshire
Practice: Shirebrook Vets
Bookings (via email): Shirebrook Vets
Bookings (via phone): 01623 579579
   
Assessor: Vicky Lees
Location: Lincolnshire
Practice: Priory Veterinary Practice - Stamford
Bookings (via email): Priory Veterinary Practice - Stamford
Bookings (via phone): 01780 322333
East of England
Assessor: Andy Trevan
Location: Surrey
Practice: Gayton Veterinary Group, Redhill
Bookings (via email): Andy Trevan
   
Assessor: Charlie Lloyd
Location: Colchester
Practice: Mayne Veterinary Clinic
Bookings (via email): Charlie Lloyd
   
Assessor: Charlotte Gray
Location: East Sussex
Practice: Badgers Oak Veterinary Clinic 
Bookings (via email): Badgers Oak Veterinary Clinic
 
Assessor:

Fran Thomlinson

Location:

Cambridgeshire

Practice:

The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital

Bookings (via email):

The Queen's Veterinary School Hospital

Bookings (via phone):

01223 337621

 
Assessor:

Jane Ladlow

Location:

Cambridgeshire

Practice: Granta Veterinary Specialists
Bookings (via email): Jane Ladlow
   
Assessor: Katarzyna Atmaca
Location: West Sussex
Practice: Portland Vets East Grinstead
Bookings (via email): Portland Vets East Grinstead
 
Practice:

Millennium Veterinary Practice

Bookings (via email):

Millennium Veterinary Practice

 

Assessor:

Susana Monforte Monteiro

Location:

Cambridge

Practice:

Queens Veterinary Hospital

Bookings (via email): University of Cambridge Veterinary School
Bookings (via phone):

01223 337621

London and South East
Assessor:

Alice Webb-Wilson

Location:

Windsor

Practice:

Alma Veterinary Hospital

Bookings (via email):

 

Alice Webb-Wilson

 

Bookings (via phone):

01753 858893

   
Assessor: Andy Trevan
Location: Surrey
Practice: Gayton Veterinary Group, Redhill
Bookings (via email): Andy Trevan
 
Assessor: Amanda Wiltshire
Location: Reigate
Practice: Priory Veterinary Surgeons
Bookings (via email): Priory Veterinary Surgeons

Bookings (via phone):

01737 242190
   
Assessor: Charlotte Gray
Location: East Sussex
Practice: Badgers Oak Veterinary Clinic 
Bookings (via email): Badgers Oak Veterinary Clinic
   
Assessor:

David Duncan

Location:

East Grinstead

Practice:

Portland Vets East Grinstead

Bookings (via email):

 

Kasia Atmaca

 

Bookings (via phone):

01342 327799

   
Assessor:

Emma Tarrant

Location:

Horley

Practice:

Portland Vets Horley 

Bookings (via email): horley@portlandvets.co.uk
Bookings (via phone):

01293 782684

   
Assessor: Gabriella Papa
Location: Greater London
Practice: N/A
Bookings (via email):

 

Gabriella Papa

 

Bookings (via phone):

N/A

   
Assessor: Katarzyna Atmaca
Location: West Sussex
Practice: Portland Vets East Grinstead
Bookings (via email): Portland Vets East Grinstead
   
Assessor:

Katie Brown

Location:

East Grinstead

Practice:

Portland Vets East Grinstead

Bookings (via email):

welcome@portlandvets.co.uk

Bookings (via phone):

01342 327799

   
Assessor: Kevin Clifford
Location: Greater London
Practice: Brompton Veterinary Clinic 
Bookings (via email): Kevin Clifford
   
Assessor: Laura Raine
Location: Greater London
Practice: Voo Vets Surbiton Hospital
Bookings (via email): Voo Vets Surbiton Hospital

Bookings (via phone):

02083 996666
   
Assessor:

Matt Link

Location:

Milton Keynes

Practice:

Vets4pets Milton Keynes

Bookings (via email):

 

Matt Link

 

Bookings (via phone):

01908 309404

   
Assessor:

Dr Elizabeth Youens

Location:

Hatfield

Practice:

Royal Veterinary College

Bookings (via email):

 

Elizabeth Youens

 

Bookings (via phone):

01707 666366

   
Assessor:

Katherine Blazdell

Location:

Oxfordshire

Practice:

Five Elements Veterinary Acupuncture

Bookings (via email):

Katherine Blazdell

Bookings (via phone):

07712 182 089

South West
Assessor: Carla Puime
Location: Bristol
Practice: Bristol Emersons Green Vets4Pets
Bookings (via email): Bristol Emersons Green Vets4Pets
   
Assessor: Edward Pattison
Location: Devon
Practice: CityVet
Bookings (via email): Edward Pattison
   
Assessor: Mario Antignani
Location: Whiltshire
Practice: Macqueen Veterinary Centre
Bookings (via email): Macqueen Veterinary Centre
 
Assessor: Samantha Lane
Location: Somerset
Practice: Bath Vets Referrals
Bookings (via email): Bath Vets Referrals
Bookings (via telephone): 01225 982777
Isle of Wight
Assessor: Currently no assessors
Location:  
Practice:  
Bookings (via email):  
If you’ve experienced any difficulties contacting any of our assessors or booking an appointment, please report your issue here.

Getting your dog assessed

How much does it cost?
Each assessor will have their own assessment fee which may vary between assessors. Please enquire with the assessor in advance of booking an appointment. This fee will include the £5 admin fee for The Kennel Club.
What do I need to bring to the assessment?
You will need to bring your dog’s registration certificate from The Kennel Club and microchip identification in order for your dog’s assessment to be completed. An assessment form will be completed by the regional assessor and a copy will be given to you following the assessment, with another copy sent to The Kennel Club for publication including on the Health Test Results Finder.
What happens during the assessment?
Your dog will be assessed by a specially trained vet who will initially use a stethoscope to listen to your dog’s breathing while they are calm and relaxed. Your dog will then be encouraged to move around an exercise area at a quick pace for three minutes, either by the vet or yourself. The vet will then listen to your dog’s breathing again and will use a list of criteria to give a grade.
How often do I need to have my dog assessed?
As BOAS is a complex syndrome, the ways in which it can affect a dog may change over an individual’s lifetime. Therefore it is recommended that dogs are assessed from the age of 12 months and that this is repeated every two years for their lifetime, or until you stop using them for breeding.

What does each grade mean?

  • Grade 0: Your dog is clinically unaffected and is currently free of respiratory signs of BOAS. If your dog is under 2 years old we suggest they have an annual health check with their own vet, as BOAS can develop later in life.
  • Grade 1: Your dog is clinically unaffected but does have some respiratory noise. This does not affect their exercise performance. If your dog is under 2 years old, close monitoring by their vet is advised. All dogs should have a repeat assessment every two years with an approved assessor, as BOAS can develop later in life.
  • Grade 2: Your dog is clinically affected and has moderate respiratory signs of BOAS that should be monitored and may require veterinary treatment.
  • Grade 3: Your dog is clinically affected and has severe respiratory signs of BOAS and should be seen by your own vet for a thorough veterinary examination with treatment. We do not recommend that you breed from your dog.

These grades have an expiry date and dogs should be assessed every two years for their lifetime, or until you stop using them for breeding.

Breeding advice

For breeds where respiratory function grading is recommended, you should ideally only breed from two dogs that have both been through the scheme. Using these dogs will give you the information you need to reduce the chances of the puppies you breed suffering from BOAS when they grow up. If you are looking to buy a puppy of this breed you should ensure both parents are tested under the scheme. 

The way that BOAS is inherited is not fully understood and is not always entirely predictable. Using the guidelines below can help you reduce the chances of breeding puppies affected by BOAS. However, even if used responsibly, this guidance cannot guarantee that a puppy from two unaffected parents will be free from BOAS.

  • Green: the lowest risk of breeding dogs affected by BOAS
  • Amber: a higher risk of producing puppies that may grow up to be affected by BOAS.  Any mating of a grade 2 dog should not only consider genetic diversity, but also the health of the individual dog. BOAS is a progressive condition and special attention should be taken with any grade 2. Therefore, before considering breeding from your dog, please be aware of any respiratory issues and further consider how mating and whelping may impact your dog.
  • Red: a mating which has a high risk of producing puppies that may grow up to be affected by BOAS. These matings are not recommended. Producing puppies affected by BOAS has a serious impact on their health and welfare. A mating which may produce affected puppies should never knowingly be carried out

Find a dog's BOAS grade

Our Health Test Results Finder can help you find any dog's BOAS grade, as well as results from any DNA tests and health screening schemes that we record. This tool can help you make informed decisions, whether you're a breeder trying to find a suitable healthy mate for your dog, or a puppy buyer wanting to know more about the health of a puppy's parents. 

Making balanced breeding decisions

As well as considering the implications of a dog’s respiratory function grading score, there are other equally important factors to consider when deciding whether two dogs should be mated together, such as temperament, genetic diversity, conformation, other available health test results, the general health of the dogs etc. Your breeding decisions should always be well balanced between and take into consideration the qualities and compatibility of both the sire and dam that you are considering.

Questions and answers

What happens with my result?

Your dog’s grades will be recorded on The Kennel Club’s database and will be published in one or more of the following:

If my dog was tested before 2019 am I able to send the results to be added?

Yes, The Kennel Club will accept results from dogs assessed during 2017 and 2018, carried out by a regional assessor trained under The Kennel Club/Cambridge scheme, providing the results are submitted on a signed and dated form including the dog’s microchip and The Kennel Club registration number and name. Please email these results to us.

Can I appeal my dog’s grade?

Any appeals against a grade given to a dog must be lodged in writing to The Kennel Club within 30 days of the examination. Following this, the owner is eligible to take the dog, with the original certificate issued, for an additional examination under the chief assessor. The chief assessor will charge the normal fee. Should the chief assessor agree with the initial assessor, the appeal will be deemed to have failed, and the chief assessor will inform The Kennel Club accordingly. In such an event no further appeal is possible. The decision of the chief assessor is final. Should the chief assessor disagree with the first assessment, the dog’s new grade shall be referred to The Kennel Club for amendment.

The final result of any appeal must be received by the Kennel Club within 90 days of examination, otherwise the first result may be sent to The Kennel Club for publication.

Contact information

Chief Assessor: Dr. Jane Ladlow
Health Results Appeal
Breeder Services Dept
The Kennel Club
1-5 Clarges Street
Piccadilly, London
W1J 8AB

Send the results to us via email

What statistics are known about RFGS results?

Statistics on the number of dogs scored by the scheme and their results can be accessed in our RFGS breed-specific information.

How to become an assessor

If you’re a veterinary surgeon and wish to become an assessor for the Respiratory Function Grading scheme, please email Health (The Kennel Club) with the following details:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Veterinary practice name
  • Veterinary practice address

You'll be invited to attend a training day consisting of a theoretical and practical session, providing you with the knowledge you need to perform the assessments. The assessment itself is completely non-invasive and takes approximately 15 minutes.

By becoming a Respiratory Function Grading scheme Assessor, you not only equip yourself with a valuable tool to assess disease severity, but also contribute to educating owners and breeders about BOAS and how they can minimise the risk of producing affected puppies.

What are the terms and conditions?
The terms and conditions for this scheme can be found by clicking here.
Experienced an issue with the RFG scheme?
If you have experienced an issue with The Kennel Club/University of Cambridge Respiratory Function Grading (RFG) scheme, please complete this form to report the issue. Your feedback is very important to us so we can improve our services for the future.
What countries operate the RFG Scheme?

The RFG Scheme is currently operational in various countries worldwide. The licensing of the scheme is extended to the following countries:

  • Australia - The Australian National Kennel Council

  • Austria - Österreichische Kynologenverband

  • Belgium - Societe Royale Saint-Hubert

  • Czech Republic - Czech-Moravian Cynological Union

  • Denmark - Dansk Kennel Klub

  • Germany - Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen

  • Ireland - Irish Kennel Club

  • Mexico - Canófila Federation Mexicana

  • Netherlands - De Raad van Beheer op Kynologisch

  • New Zealand - Dogs New Zealand

  • North America - The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

  • Portugal - Clube Português de Canicultura

  • Romania - Asociatia Chinologica Romana

  • Sweden - Svenska Kennelklubben Rinkebysvängen

  • Switzerland - Société Cynologique Suisse

For details on how to participate in the assessment process in any of these countries, please contact us at health@thekennelclub.org.uk or reach out directly to the respective international organisation.