Health in dog breeding – how the Kennel Club is helping our dogs
“Did you know that in 2017, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust gave over £450,000 to aid scientific research? Or that Mate Select, a free online Kennel Club health resource for breeders, was used approximately 1.8 million times? Or that the Kennel Club emailed around 140,000 dog owners and breeders to promote 40 different independent health surveys, research projects or health clinics? “
[Source: KC Newsletter March 2018]
These are just a few of the ways in which the Kennel Club strives to make a difference to dog health. To find out what the Kennel Club did in 2017 to help improve canine health, have a look at the KC Dog Health Brochure.
Why is the health of our dogs important?
If you have never had a child or pet suffer an illness or injury, lucky you! As soon as you go through the agonising experience of watching someone you love, be it child or animal, in pain, you just want to take that away. You hate to see them suffering and want to do anything to restore them to full health.
Any steps that can be taken to improve the health of our beloved pets is therefore worthwhile. I believe that it is better to start with a healthy animal than to try and nurture something that is sick to start with. Bad health might be due to a poor start in life from irresponsible breeding (puppy farming) or from genetic breed health issues.
Canine Health Schemes – helping you to improve dog health and welfare
Canine Health Schemes (CHS) works with the Kennel Club and British Veterinary Association to support breeders in improving dog health and welfare by enabling you to make informed decisions with regard to your breeding programmes. The four schemes run by CHS, which are open to all breeders, are the Hip Dysplasia Scheme, Elbow Dysplasia Scheme, Eye Disease Scheme and the Chiari Malformation/ Syringomyelia Scheme.
To find out more and to learn how to screen your dogs, have a look at the Canine Health Schemes.
I thought is would be useful for you to see a copy of Aura’s hip score certificate. She was x-rayed to see if her hips were healthy, for which she needed to be sedated. These are sent to a panel of veterinary experts for review. They examine the images for health defects, which highlight the likelihood of future problems. They mark each defect on both sides. The lower the score therefore, the better the health of the dog’s hips.
Breeds scores are recorded and over time and the figures give a clear picture of the health of the hips of different breeds. You can then see whether you are producing dogs with at least as good as average hips. The overall aim is to reduce the breed average, the probability of hip dysplasia and the likely future suffering of the dogs.
Breed_Specific_Statistics_2012 can be looked at and make for interesting reading. For example:
- Border Collies currently have an average hip score of 13, taken from 7, 648 dogs.
- Labradors have an average of 14, taken from a sample of 74, 094 dogs.
- Bulldogs have an average of 44, taken from a sample of 26 dogs.
Why is the sample of Labradors so large? We know that they are very likely to suffer from hip dysplasia, so breeders are working hard to remove this from the breed. Why is the sample of Bulldogs so small? In 2012 (when the figures were published) the breed was declining. This was due in part to its poor health, short lifespan and inability to give birth naturally. You don’t need to x-ray a bulldog’s hips to know that it can’t move freely. 😦
If you are buying a dog, start by looking at the What Dog? page, then contact me? Or if you want to breed, read this Dog Breeding Blog and then please CONTACT ME to discuss this, as I may be able to mentor you?
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