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KC announces all-in-one testing product

Issue: 02/08/2019


The Kennel Club and Weatherbys announced at the Hatfield House Game Fair last week that they have partnered to provide a simplified process for canine genetic health testing which will benefit both dog breeders and owners. 
It will continue to help eradicate some of the most concerning genetic disorders facing certain breeds. The launch took place at the Kennel Club stand and ring at the Game Fair. It was attended by Rosemary Smart the KC’s Chief Executive supported by various KC staff members including Dr Tom Lewis and Charlotte McNamara. Weatherbys was represented by Chairman Johnny Weatherby and Nick Craven, the company’s Communications Director.   
CombiBreed™ health test packages will simplify the process of genetic testing by using a single cheek swab to check a dog’s DNA for markers associated with a number of different inherited disorders. The KC says that by making genetic testing easier and more accessible it will help responsible breeders work towards eradicating these conditions and will encourage first time breeders to make the health of the puppies they breed a priority. Results from these tests will automatically be registered on the dog’s record, and will be freely available on the Kennel Club website, allowing puppy buyers to check if the dog they are thinking of buying has come from health tested parents.
The product is initially available for thirteen breeds where breeders are able to order breed specific CombiBreed™ health test packages directly from The Kennel Club Shop, as well as at Kennel Club shows and events. The CombiBreed™ health test packages for each breed can be ordered by visiting the Kennel Club Shop via 
Priced at £135 (with a 10% discount for Kennel Club Assured Breeders at £121.50), CombiBreed™ allows access to the relevant genetic health tests without the need to carry out each one individually, with results that are easy to interpret.
At present, packages are available for the Labrador Retriever, French Bulldog, Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Beagle, Border Collie, Rough Collie, Chinese Crested and the Australian Shepherd. Some of the breeds have as many as seven tests incorporated and others as few as two.  
The KC and Weatherbys say that the introduction of these new packages follows research, carried out earlier this year. It revealed that the number of pedigree dogs at risk of inherited diseases is being dramatically reduced by responsible breeders, thanks to the use of DNA tests. Researchers from the Kennel Club and the Animal Health Trust found that approximately ten years after each DNA test became available, the gene mutations that caused the diseases had decreased in each breed by a staggering 90 per cent or more. 
Dr Tom Lewis, Kennel Club Genetics Research Manager said: “Our partnership with Weatherbys is a crucial step in improving dog health and will allow breeders to help positively impact future generations by ensuring dogs are health tested before breeding.
“The genetic tests that we have included in the Weatherbys CombiBreed™ packages are the result of work by the Kennel Club and Weatherbys to identify the most significant genetic diseases in individual breeds. 
“The benefits of providing all relevant tests for each breed mean that puppy buyers can also feel assured that their puppy has been bred by a responsible breeder, whilst simplifying the process for breeders themselves.”
Nick Craven, Communications Director for Weatherbys, said: “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with the Kennel Club through the development of genetic testing packages to the most popular dog breeds in the UK.
“Before, breeders had to navigate numerous laboratories to get results and interpret them to make informed breeding decisions.
“Our CombiBreed™ packages simplify this process. They are easy to purchase from the Kennel Club, the results are straightforward to understand, and they cost less than working with multiple labs.”
The Kennel Club said: “The partnership between the Kennel Club and Weatherbys brings together a combined heritage of nearly 400 years dedicated to animal registration and animal welfare, and through the provision of CombiBreed™ the two organisations are strengthening their legacy by continuing to improve the health and welfare of animals.” 
For more information on CombiBreed™ health tests packages visit the Kennel Club website: . 
For OUR DOGS comments see our Opinion Column on page eight of this week’s issue. 

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