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The Kennel Club Breed Initiatives

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 1 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Hereditary Defects In Dogs Genetic

As part of its fight against hereditary defects in dogs and the suffering they cause the Kennel Club has introduced the Accredited Breeder Scheme with the aim of promoting good breeding practice and the production of healthy puppies. While it is not compulsory, any reputable breeder would be keen to be part of the scheme and to have their breeding stock accredited.

Essential Requirements for the Accredited Breeder Scheme

  • All dogs that you use in breeding must be registered with the Kennel Club.
  • You must follow the Kennel Club’s policies regarding maximum breeding age and the number and/or frequency of litters.
  • You must permanently identify your breeding stock by tattoo, microchip or DNA profile.
  • You must perform the health screening tests that are relevant to your breed on all your breeding stock. These health screening schemes include hip and elbow dysplasia, inherited eye conditions and DNA testing. (Note: there is no single hear-testing scheme as there is for other conditions such as hip dysplasia but breeds with heart problems will usually have their own club-organised schemes).
  • You must draw up a contract of sale for each puppy.
  • You must hand over a sold puppy’s or dog’s registration certificate at the time of sale if available or forward it to the new owner as soon as possible.
  • You must socialise the puppies while they are still with you.
  • You must provide written advice for the new owners on:
  • the continuation of socialisation, exercises and future training
  • feeding and worming requirements
  • You must provide the new owners with a written record of the immunisation measures taken so far.
  • You should provide a reasonable after-sales telephone service.
  • You must inform your buyers of the requirements and recommendations within the Kennel Club Accredited Breeders Scheme and inform them of the existence of the complaints procedure.

Recommendations for the Accredited Breeder Scheme

In addition to the requirements above, breeders are also encouraged to :
  • Make sure that their whelping facilities are in accordance with good practice.
  • Make sure their contract of sale clearly lays out the nature and details of any guarantees given (for example, if there is a time limit) as well as any provisions regarding the return of a puppy and a refurn or replacement given. Both breeder and buyer should sign and date the contract, after having discussed and agreed on these terms.
  • Commit to the puppies for the entire of their lifetimes, including helping with re-homing if necessary.

Hereditary Defects

Breeders are advised to learn about any inherited genetic conditions which may affect their breed. This can be done through research in literature (books, journals, etc) as well as discussing the issues with the breeder of their own dogs, with relevant breed clubs, with the the Kennel Club Health & Information Department and with your veterinarian.

Several health schemes are already in operation to try and prevent or control some of these genetic diseases and these tests should be taken by both the sire and the dam before any breeding is undertaken. The DNA Screening Schemes, in particular, can provide precise information about the genetic status of your breeding stock, with regards to certain diseases. The list of DNA tests available in the UK include:

Ceroid LipofuscinosisBorder CollieAnimal Health Trust
CLADIrish SetterAnimal Health Trust
Congenital Stationary Night BlindnessBriardAnimal Health Trust
Copper ToxicosisBedlington TerrierAnimal Health Trust
FucosidosisEnglish Springer SpanielAnimal Health Trust
Hereditary CataractStaffordshire Bull TerrierAnimal Health Trust
L-2-Hydroxy Glutaric AciduriaStaffordshire Bull TerrierAnimal Health Trust
Phosphofructokinase DeficiencyEnglish Springer SpanielAnimal Health Trust
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (RCD 1)Irish SetterAnimal Health Trust
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (RCD 1a)SloughiAnimal Health Trust
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (cord 1)Miniature Long-haired DachshundAnimal Health Trust
Pyruvate kinase deficiencyWest Highland White TerrierAnimal Health Trust
Von Willebrand's diseaseIrish Red and White SetterAnimal Health Trust
Yellow Coat in Labrador RetrieversLabrador RetrieverAnimal Health Trust
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (rcd 3)Cardigan Welsh CorgiCambridge Vet School
Von Willebrand's diseaseDobermannKennel Club

Note: Do not confuse these DNA Screening Schemes with the “DNA Profiling Service” that the Kennel Club also offers, which is for individual dog identification and parentage analysis of litters.

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