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The Kennel Club and breeds working together

AT THE start of 2009, the Kennel Club announced the results of its review of all Breed Standards to ensure that all dogs are healthy, of good temperament and fit for their original function.

Momentum following this announcement has continued with the Kennel Club meeting with various breed clubs and councils to discuss dog health, and to ensure that pedigree dogs have the best chance of living happy, healthy lives.

Before the revised standards came into force as ‘interim’ breed standards at the beginning of January, all breed clubs were asked to review the suggested amendments to their Breed Standard and to respond regarding any fundamental issues at that stage. Now that the interim standards are in place, further comment from the breed clubs and the major veterinary organisations has been requested and is to be submitted to the Kennel Club by 30th June 2009. After this date the final version of the revised standards will be released.

During the last six weeks the Breed Health and Welfare Strategy Group, which leads the Kennel Club’s work on the Fit for Function: Fit for Life campaign, has met with representatives of five breeds: Bulldog, Chow Chow, French Bulldog, Neapolitan Mastiff and Pug. Discussion focussed on the breeds’ conformation and possible related health issues. In the course of each meeting, the breed representatives gave their views on the ‘interim’ standard for the breed.

Dr Ruth Barbour, Chair of the Breeder Health and Welfare Strategy Group, said: ‘All the meetings held have been extremely positive. All the breed representatives accepted the importance of this work. In particular, they accepted the importance of the need to avoid exaggeration and to encourage all judges, as well as exhibitors and breeders, to consider breed-specific issues associated with the conformation of their breed. A number of breed clubs or councils who were represented, had already taken significant action to address such problems and were able to demonstrate positive results.’

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