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Sweden and judging brachycephalic breeds

Issue: 29/09/2017


Our Dogs has learned that from 1st January, 2020 until the year 2024, at all shows in Sweden
        Boston Terriers
        French Bulldogs and
will normally require to be judged only by judges from the Nordic countries.
We understand that non-Nordic country judges will be able to judge these breeds only if special prior approval has been granted by the Swedish Kennelklub (SKK). This includes judges from the UK and the USA. It also appears that the SKK wishes to make sure that all FCI judges seeking such approval must be included on the FCI International Judges List.
Information suggests that if a judge has more than 25 dogs of one or more of those breeds entered under them at a show, that judge can only judge a maximum of 60 dogs overall on that day. If a judge has fewer than 25 dogs of one or more of those breeds entered, they may then judge a maximum of 80 dogs per day
It is understood that the reason for these new regulations being introduced, is that the Swedish Kennelklub and the veterinary profession in Sweden want to see more meaningful improvements to the health of those breeds.
It is not surprising that the SKK has decided to adopt this strong approach towards these brachycephalic breeds. Last year it issued a paper on the strategies to be adopted: "on account of increased knowledge about respiratory related health problems in brachycephalic dogs"
It said then, that despite having had SKK and breed club programs for several years to eliminate exaggerations related to respiratory problems in dogs, it believed that respiratory-related health problems were still high in brachycephalic dogs.

Previous proposed measures

A conference was held in Sweden in 2016 for breeders, vets, breed clubs and the SKK to examine the health status of the dog breeds in question.
A strong wish was expressed at that conference for solid measures to be taken with the tools already available.
It was agreed that the following additional steps should be taken:
All to reward and prioritize healthy dogs in breeding with less pronounced brachycephalic structure, to reduce the health problems in the breeds concerned, while nevertheless paying attention to correct breed type.
Increased education of breeders, show judges, and veterinarians in assessing dogs' suitability for breeding in relation to the parameters affecting breathing.
Develop further examination of breeding animals regarding respiratory function and temperature regulation.
Promotion of central registration of diagnoses and procedures which are incompatible with use of dogs in breeding programmes.
Work internationally towards breed standards that clearly reward anatomical conditions of importance to health.
Evaluate the effects of measures taken with the help of e.g. surveys and monitoring of epidemiological data.
The announcement in 2016 then went on to say: "In collaboration with the SKK and its breed clubs, the Swedish Veterinary Association / the Swedish Society of Veterinary Medicine, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and the Swedish Board of Agriculture, a number of working groups have been established, aiming to further develop various measures to be taken as soon as possible and at the latest during 2017."

Our Dogs comments

At time of going to press, we do not have formal confirmation of the news that only Nordic Judges are to be allowed automatically to judge these four breeds in Sweden from 1st January 2020. We do however have enough information to believe that such a rule is about to be formally introduced. It is noted that non-Nordic judges will first have to have been approved by the SKK
A number of non-Nordic kennel clubs are likely to be irritated by this move, especially in those countries such as the Netherlands and the UK where very strong Breed Specific Instructions to judges regarding most of these breeds are already in force. Breed specialists in these breeds will also be surprised by the move. 
In addition, some of the supporters of these four breeds are astonished that other breeds with just as strong Breed Specific Instructions issued, appear to be being exempted from these regulations. These include Griffons, Pekingese and Japanese Chins.
Asked for comments by OUR DOGS, neither the Kennel Club here in the UK nor the FCI were sufficiently aware of these proposals, so both of these organisations declined to make any statement at this stage.

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