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Kennel Club announces standard changes
Stricter rules in force to ban close breeding

KC LogoThe Kennel Club this week unveiled the next stage of its ‘Fit for function: fit for life’ campaign, and released the results of its review of all breed standards, as well as announcing that it will introduce strict new rules to ban the breeding of close relatives.

It is hoped that the Interim Standards will ensure that breeders are encouraged to produce healthy dogs of good temperament and which are fit for their original function, and none will ask for anything that could in any way be interpreted as encouraging features that might prevent the dogs from seeing, walking or breathing freely. The changes made represent a major additional positive step forward for the long term health and welfare of all breeds.

The changes to the standards have been made following a series of reviews, which included breed experts and independent scientific and veterinary experts, and have benefited from the extensive research that has been funded by the Kennel Club in conjunction with renowned veterinary research centres over the past 40 plus years.

Examples of the suggested amendments include a revised standard for the Shar Pei, which removes the exaggeration of loose skin folds across the neck, skull and legs. Other changes include the precluding of excessive weight in Labradors and a move to stop breeders exaggerating substance in Clumber Spaniels. Further feedback on all of these standards both from the breed clubs and from veterinary organisations will be accepted until June 2009, but in the meantime the Interim Standards will be those by which all dogs are to be judged at shows.


All judges will be expected to use the revised standards at Crufts 2009, which will be a showcase for healthy, well adjusted dogs. The Kennel Club show regulations have also been amended to lay down more clearly than ever, a judge’s duty only to reward those dogs that are healthy representatives of their breed, at all Kennel Club licensed shows. Judges will have the authority to remove from competition completely any dog that appears to be unhealthy and Kennel Club officials and show officials are expected to refer any dogs that they believe to be unhealthy, to the on-site vet, who can authorise the dog’s removal from further competition at that show.

Since the end of 2007 the Kennel Club has been actively monitoring the judging of breeds considered to be affected by obvious significant health issues. This monitoring has taken the form of observing judging and by receiving written reports from judges on their findings. All these reports are considered by the Judges Sub-Committee and in some instances judges have been asked to comment further on the views they have formed of the breed’s virtues and weaknesses.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokesperson, told us: “The changes that have been announced today underline the Kennel Club’s deep commitment to ensuring that every pedigree dog has the best possible chance of leading a happy, healthy life.

“We want the New Year to begin well for pedigree dogs and are pleased that we have been able to release our revised breed standards, which will help to ensure that pedigree dogs are bred to be fit and healthy. These standards have benefited from extensive research and consultation with experts in their field.”

“It is vital that these updated breed standards are underpinned by new regulations, which further support show judges in their right to remove from competition those dogs who stray from the breed standard in a way that is detrimental to their health. Dog shows attract a great deal of public support in this country and are designed to celebrate and reward only those dogs that are healthy representatives of their breed and are of good temperament. We are determined to make sure that this is, and remains, so.”


In a further move, the Kennel Club has announced that it will refuse to register those puppies that are born from any mating of close relatives (mother / son, father / daughter, brother / sister) taking place on or after 1st March 2009. Departures from this principle will only be made in exceptional circumstances or for scientifically proven welfare reasons. Kennel Club research into the genetic diversity of all breeds in the UK is ongoing and further changes will be considered in future, on a breed specific basis.

Additionally, all dog owners and breeders will be required to permanently identify their dogs, via microchip or tattoo, from 2010, in order to participate in the Kennel Club/British Veterinary Association health schemes for eye disease and hip and elbow dysplasia. These schemes have been in place for many years and give dog owners in relevant breeds the opportunity to test for a number of common disorders; this move is introduced to ensure the fairness and accuracy of the results of the schemes.

Caroline Kisko added: “It should be remembered that only one percent of dogs are shown at any one time and we want to make changes that will benefit all dogs not just show dogs. Our decision to refuse to register any dog born through the already uncommon practice of mating close relatives, has been made with this in mind.

“We are pleased to be able to make these announcements but we cannot afford to become complacent and we will continue to work with all those institutions and organisations who share our determination continually to improve the health and welfare of all dogs.“

Breeds with more major amendments include the Basset Hound, the Bloodhound, the Dachshund, the Bulldog, the Shar Pei, the pekingese, the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Mastiff, the Neapolitan Mastiff, the German Shepherd Dog and the Pug.

OUR DOGS will bring further news of this news next week

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It is about time. Pity the Kennel Club needed a kick up the back side from the BBC to do something that should have been done years ago. 
Dont forget that if only 1% are in the show ring that leaves 99% that need to be good as pets and working dogs! So logic would dictate that KC standards and hence breeders should concentrate on that, rather than making looks all that matters.
Finally how about taking things a stage further and starting a dna registration and screening program so we can identify genetic markers for things like the propensity for cancer in certain breeds, as they are in the USA. That way educated purchaces can truly be made rather than having to rely on luck and rumour, as it is not just puppy farmers who can be in it for a fast buck!  


This is all very well, but again it is the honest breeders that bend backwards to ensure they breed healthy well adjusted puppies, vaccinating, microchipping, vetting new owners and taking puppies back if need be.  It is in a very small minority that do not take this care. Athough, and dare I say it, I have to agree with the extremities in the breeds mentioned, but, I do feel the KC is being called to heel by the BBC and that program, the real issue is being swept aside and the honest are being targeted and bought to task. What the powers that be should be doing, is educating the public, as Caroline said, there are a very small percentage of the UK dog population being shown.

Why isnt something being done at the root of the problem. Puppy farming, we all know or know of at least one. It is easy for the KC to identify some of them, ie more that two litters a year registered, pound to a penny there are ten more at that kennel not registered, just read local free ad newspapers and see how many you can find. Also this outrageous cross breeding, poachers pocket jack russell!!! no such breed, chihuahua x JR more like, cockerdoodle, yorkie-russell the list goes on. We all know the dangers of this practice, despite the not so well educated thinking cross breeds are healthier, this must be discouraged.

KC you have had my strong support in the past but I do feel you are becoming a little like the BBC's poodle. Look after your members, the people who keep the KC afloat with registrations and affix fees. We, breeders, exhibitors and the KC need each other, so lets support each other in a way that is of mutual benefit.

Alma Oakley