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The Kennel Club’s vulnerable native breeds group

On the 16th September 2004, a meeting was held at the Kennel Club, which marked the launch of the ‘Kennel Club’s Vulnerable Native Breeds Group’. This meeting took place following analysis of the returns of the previously distributed Kennel Club Vulnerable Breeds Questionnaire and various discussions with concerned parties involved in the world of dogs.

Kennel Club representatives took part in the meeting, which was attended by individuals all concerned with the issue, such as Peter Eva, Paul Keevil, Simon Parsons, and John Richardson representing the recently formed British and Irish Dog Breeds Preservation Trust.

Julien Barney, Chairman of that organisation, had also been invited, but due to previous business commitments, was unable to attend. The Irish Kennel Club has also agreed to participate.

Much of the discussion at this initial meeting centred on ways that vulnerable breeds could be promoted to the public at large to increase their popularity in a measured and sensible way. It was noted that clubs for some of the breeds identified by the KC as ‘Vulnerable’, had expressed the view that their breed did not require excessive promotion. The Group recognised this and will endeavour to ensure that the matter is handled sensitively. This group will liaise closely with the recently founded Preservation Trust, so that the two organisations can collaborate on various issues going forward.

The meeting was thorough and various actions will now be implemented and announcements made in the media as the work progresses. Key issues discussed and agreed at this initial meeting included:

l That the Kennel Club’s criteria for identifying vulnerable breeds will be set for native breeds with annual registrations of around 300 or less.

l Proactive efforts will be made to encourage breed clubs to become actively involved, in order to add weight to the group as a whole.

l Vulnerable breeds will be promoted at various shows, country fairs and other events and will be used where appropriate in general KC promotional material.

l Vulnerable breeds will be publicised at Discover Dogs in London and will be used in the press launch as ‘the issue’ for the event.

l A parade of vulnerable breeds will be staged at both Discover Dogs in London and Crufts 2005.

l Health issues, possible semen banks, puppy availability and other relevant issues will be discussed at future meetings.

Criteria set

Said Ronnie Irving, Chairman of the Kennel Club, "The purpose of this initial meeting was to review the facts emerging from the KC Questionnaire and identify opportunities to promote our vulnerable native breeds in an appropriate way. I would like to thank those attending this first meeting for their valued input. This group has every intention of working closely with the ‘PreservationTrust’ in order fully to maximise the opportunities that have been highlighted. At some stage we intend to convene discussions with breeders in an open forum format so as to encourage further communication.

Undoubtedly further good ideas will be borne out of these meetings."

Ronnie concluded, "We will look at this issue very carefully and sensitively and will do all we can to help. Clearly, some of our native breeds need protection and as much support as is possible. Some very good ideas have come out of this initial meeting, which will now be progressed and further announcements will be made through the media in due course."