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Breed health monitoring - judge observation pilot scheme announced

The Kennel Club recognises, as one of its key objectives, ‘the importance of canine health and welfare’ in the general improvement of dogs. In recent years, concerns have been expressed by some parties about the effect of interpretations of certain breed standards that can lead to potentially harmful exaggerations becoming more common in those breeds. For a number of years the Kennel Club has worked with breeds to review breed standards and, where appropriate, alter those standards to improve and highlight health issues.

It is clear that judges, especially those awarding Challenge Certificates, are crucial to the success of this work. The Kennel Club is therefore initiating a pilot scheme introducing the random observation of judges awarding Challenge Certificates in certain breeds. The focus of this observation will be on whether the judges are taking note of the specific concerns about the potentially damaging exaggerations found in that breed.

Kennel Club Chairman, Mr Ronnie Irving explained, “The Kennel Club’s Breed Health and Welfare Strategy Group has worked well with breed clubs in addressing health concerns in certain breeds.  The role that judges play in supporting the progress made is vital to ensure the continued healthy development of dogs.  This pilot scheme will hopefully demonstrate the beneficial impact of the work done. Health and welfare considerations are of paramount importance to all those who care about dogs.”

The Pilot Scheme involves a system of spot checks conducted on a random basis over the course of the next twelve months where Challenge Certificates are on offer for the following breeds: Bloodhound, Bulldog, Clumber Spaniel, Chow Chow, Pekingese, St Bernard and Shar Pei.
The selection of which shows and judges will be observed has been made on a completely random and impartial basis.

Mr Irving added, “ I am sure that everyone involved with the breeds in the pilot scheme will understand that the judge’s role is crucial in achieving progress.The reputation of the breeds concerned can only be further enhanced by focusing on health issues in this way. Judges who recognise this have nothing to fear from this project.”