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Dedicated breeders are the ‘way forward’

IN A clear signal to breeders that working together is the way forward, KC Chairman Ronnie Irving has pulled no punches in his latest From the Chairman, which appears in this month’s Kennel Gazette.

Over the past few months, said Mr Irving, the Kennel Club has accelerated the work it has been doing for many years on breed standards, on judge training and monitoring, on health surveillance and on recognising the need to avoid further erosion of genetic diversity in the pedigree dog.

He said that that activity merely adds to the huge volume of work already done over the years by the many responsible breeders who have, in conjunction with the Kennel Club, been in the forefront of developing screening programmes and DNA health tests etc.

In words which will no doubt strike a chord with many, he goes on the say: ‘Though at times in the past few months it may have appeared that the Kennel Club had forgotten to recognise the support of these breeders - that impression is far from the truth. It has of course been necessary to demonstrate to our allies and supporters in the veterinary profession and in the general public at large, that we dog breeders have indeed been listening to valid criticisms. We have also had to make it clear that however much we may have done in the past or may be doing now, we realise that there is always more that can be done.


‘But it is now time to emphasise to everyone, even more than ever before, that if we are to continue to make progress in all of the various health areas, it is by and large the dedicated breeders who produce dogs for show and other competitive events that will lead the way. They are the ones who have done so in the past - and are likely to be the ones to lead the way in the future. Breeders can be grouped into three main headings. Firstly the occasional breeder who now and again breeds a litter for their friends, or to sell locally, or to keep as an additional pet in the family. Secondly there is the group that produces large numbers of puppies merely as a means of making profits. The third and most important group here, are the breeders who support shows and competitions and breed mainly to improve their stock for show or competitive events. And they of course sell those pups that they don’t need to retain, either to other show homes, or as pets.’

He pointed out that it was this third group which would hopefully provide the impetus and ‘the will’ or the funding for further changes, and that this group in particular could accelerate the changes. He said that the ‘competitive nature of the show ring and the working spheres is the very spur which, used wisely, can accelerate change and improvement.’

In a further backing to he stressed that a balanced approach to good dog breeding must include many considerations – the study of pedigrees and use of personal knowledge of the temperament, conformation and healthiness of the dogs being bred from; the use of genetic and other testing when available and appropriate; a good sense of breed type; an appreciation of what the pet owner who may well be the owner of most of the pups is likely to want; and above all a total commitment by the breeders to ensure that the puppies being produced are likely to live long happy healthy lives. All of these things combined with a high standard of concern for the welfare of the bitch and the puppies, go to make the perfect dog breeder.

His comment concluded: ‘And it is in our ranks of the show and competitive event fraternity, that we are likely to find these attributes to a greater extent than anywhere else. It is within our ranks that we must mainly look for help to produce future improvement in the health and wellbeing of pedigree dogs. It is the duty of the Kennel Club and indeed all of us, to make sure that the general public, the veterinary profession and the politicians – are all made to realise this. With our help, co-operation and enthusiasm the future for pedigree dogs is guaranteed. Without our help it would be bleak indeed. Let us ensure that the world at large realises this.’

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