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  • Brenda Bonnett

    COVID-19 - a novel experience for dogs and people

    By Brenda Bonnett

    Sources of accurate and relevant COVID-19 information for your dog, your puppies and you. In the face of the great uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on pets and pet owners, many veterinary and regulatory organizations have been providing excellent information and advice, as have kennel and breed organizations.  It is important to remember that recommendations and restrictions vary depending on location and owners need to access and follow local recommendations, especially as t

Our community blogs

  1. The Relatedness of Breeds - A fun, interactive resource with some cautions

    ...see references below...

    The Guardian has come out with an interactive tool for looking a the relatedness between breeds.  Based on 'clades' (genetic groupings) research and genomic work by by Heidi Parker and Elaine Ostrander's team, it is an interesting resource.  Click on your breed - see what others breeds it is related to.  Fun!

    But there are a couple of cautions that apply:

    • ridgeback clade.pngThis is great work - but the relatedness has changed to some extent with each new edition of the research, with the advancement of techniques, so this is not written in stone.
    • Using gene patterns to determine relatedness is just that - it does not say that another breed was part of the development of your breed - or whether your breed has been used to develop the other one.  They are simply 'related'.
    • Difference in relatedness may be seen depending on how 'old' your breed is.  Relationships that have occurred more recently may show up as stronger.
    • This should not be confused with commercial tests that tell you the breed composition of your mixed breed dog.  This is different technology and looks primarily at 'pedigree' dogs.  To learn more about mixed breed testing see recent blogs: Ask Aimee: Can my dog's ancestry test tell me who its parents are? and HGTD This week: Guess my dog! Are breed/type genetic tests right for you?
    • This is, however, a good reminder that what some people call 'purebred' dogs - what we generally call pedigree dogs (listed in an official registry as a specific breed) are not really 'pure'.  Which is likely a good thing!  A breed can approach 'pure' only through heavy inbreeding that leads to all sorts of other problems.

    PUG clade.pngOn the other hand, the work to assign dogs to related clades and to determine relationships among breeds is beneficial in terms of:

    • It is simply interesting and informative.
    • It may provide food for thought when selecting breeds for out-crosses when trying to improve the genetic diversity within a breed.  This can go both ways, i.e. it is nice to find already related breeds, but using a breed closely related may not increase the diversity that much.  And, as seen in our outtakes - the number of related breeds varies quite a lot.
    • Expanding on comments by Dr. Ostrander...  This type of research could have a lot of value to dog breeds (and other species) by having a deeper understanding of the genetic differences between breeds/varieties of dogs. Identifying these genetic differences may be fundamental to furthering research into many aspects of canine health and welfare - from better investigations of complex disease, to improving longevity and genetic diversity.

    Anyway, check it out!



  2. "Guess my dog's breed"... Maybe?

    The popularity of breed identification tests has been increasing in parallel with the interest in human “ancestry” genetic tests. The technology is similar, as are the sometimes surprising results. We recently had contact from a friend of IPFD who put their dog Olive through three different breed identification tests – with some expected, and unexpected (and perhaps concerning) results. This blog explores some of the reasons for variation in results, as well as any benefits and risks to using these tests. 


    What is the purpose of these tests and what did you hope to gain?

    For many people, breed estimation testing is mostly a fun experience, trying to put some named breeds behind the traits in a mixed or unknown breed dog. Different test providers will claim to provide information including estimated size, likely behaviors, physical traits, “relatedness”/family trees, and disease risks. No test provider currently indicates pedigree or breed “purity” as it relates to registration with a kennel or breed club. 

    Before undertaking any genetic testing, it is important to take some time to identify the purpose of testing, and what information you are wanting. There will be different priorities for different users, and not considering these early on will make selecting the right product(s) difficult. Those new to testing might want to review an article on what genetic test types are available. 


    Olive's Experience

    Olive is a medium-sized dog from Canada, who is of unknown origins. Her owners decided to test Olive using 1 breed identification test from Canada, and 2 tests from the USAprofile.jpg. The tests all claimed to estimate the likely breeds composing Olive, and to varying degrees provide some information about those breeds, and possible traits for Olive. The results of all three tests were provided to IPFD by the owner, as they were surprised by the differences in results. The two USA test results were fairly similar. Both use databases that are optimized for mixed-breed dogs, and not purebred/pedigree dogs, which by definition are more inbred and could skew the information. This is important to bear in mind if you have a purebred dog and are attempting to confirm its breed – with few exceptions, these tools are not designed to do that! The two USA test providers offered similar number of relevant markers, but each have different reference panels of dogs for those markers. Generally, the more markers the better, but it is also important that the selected markers are breed-relevant, and in many cases, population (e.g. country/continent) relevant. For Olive, the results estimated in the first few generations – e.g. her “closest” relatives, from both test providers were either the same breed/type or similar, mainly shepherds and herding breeds. There were, however, some wild suggestions (and fewer in common between the test providers) for dogs “further back” in Olive's family tree. This is likely due to the differences in markers being screened for, and the different reference panels used, and how they assign markers in defining specific breeds. For example, one provider set a threshold in their panel as Olive being German Shepherd dog and accounted for minor shepherd-like variations within a general mixed-breed term, whereas the other provider chose to specify Dutch, German, and White Swiss dog mix. Both are likely accounting for the same thing, genetically speaking. Practically speaking they are indicating similar degrees of precision about similar breed-related traits. 

    olive the dog (2).jpgThe wildcard was the Canadian test. These test results seemed to represent breeds they believed to be in very near generations – roughly parents (50%), grandparents (25%), and great-grandparents (12.5%). This, in principle, isn’t a bad approach. All test providers had information indicating that the breed-related information in near generations was likely to be the most relevant to Olive. What was curious about these results, however, was that they were not in keeping at all with the other test providers nor in correlation with any distinctive breed-related traits observed in Olive. The reasons are a bit of a mystery, but likely due to this provider using a smaller number of markers, and variations in their breed reference panel. While in this case unlikely to impact Olive, it is something to think about if your aim was to identify breed-associated risks or traits. 


    How much could precision matter?

    If your primary interest is the novelty element of breed estimations, precision may be less of a concern. However, many people utilizing these tests are also looking for deeper information. In this case, choosing the test provider with the correct genetic tool for your priorities and level of precision is critical. If a test provider is using a relatively small number of markers, and if they are poorly associated with a wide variety of well-defined breeds, then the differences between test providers could be like comparing a microscope to a telescope. More markers aren't a guarantee of precision without a good reference panel, but there needs to be enough markers to have clear breed associations to make distinctions between breed and breed types. 

    Potential benefits to breed estimation:

    • identification of potential breed-associated health risks (varies by product)
    • early awareness of breed-associated risk factors may help owners choose preventative lifestyle changes, or catch health concerns earlier
    • puppies or young dog traits such as size estimations might help in homing appropriately
    • breed-associated behavioral traits may be useful for dogs with unknown origins
    • "relatives" finders or related dogs on some products can be fun and contribute to human-animal relationship

    These benefits could be helpful in preventative care, or in supplementing veterinary investigations. Dog shelters are keen to be able to provide whatever information they can on dogs with unknown breed origins – particularly size and behavior – which are derived from the breed typing, rather than specific associated genes. 


    Considerations and risks:

    • with poor precision there is a risk of misdiagnosis, or inappropriate veterinary treatment for disease risks
    • breed identification can bring challenges associated with the restriction or banning of certain breeds. Having a banned breed or breed-cross with “too much” wolf, bully, mastiff, etc. can impact the ability to get an apartment, find homes for shelter dogs, or in extreme cases, ownership may be illegal according to local policies
    • test accuracy and information can vary dramatically between providers
    • just like any genetic testing, breed testing isn't a guarantee of health or a health certificate
    • these products do not determine if a dog is purebred or pedigree (nor do they claim to!)


    In Summary

    If people are using any of these tests as a fun novelty of what breeds their dog is composed of, to play spot-the-trait in the suggested breeds, then the provider may not matter too much - as in human genetic ancestry tests, where everyone thinks they are Neanderthal or Cherokee. 

    However, if you are wanting to know about actual health risks or traits that could impact welfare, then it is worth doing some research to find a provider that is able to have the precision in breed/type estimation, and the tests for traits that are important to you and your dog. In most cases, breed-associated traits beyond 2-3 generations are less likely to be precise enough to be informative, particularly if you have a dog that is truly a mix. 

    In Olive's case, one health/welfare consideration where the breed testing may have helped is the identification of a number of shepherd and collie breeds that are likely part of her heritage. In her case, MDR-1 genetic testing might be prudent as there are multiple shepherd/collie breeds where this is a relevant test, and it is a risk that is important for the dog's welfare. Olive's veterinarian would also likely guess shepherd/collie breeds, and act accordingly... but what if she didn't have such distinctive, visible traits?

    As for her breeds? Our guess is a shepherd-collie-very-good-girl. 

    For more information:

    Breed identification tests

    Searchable breed-specific genetic testing, and information on genetic test providers can be found via HGTD.


    Title image with thanks to Brett Jordan via Pexels. Photos of Olive were kindly provided by her owners. 

  3. stifle research agria - vetrecord.JPGEngdahl K, Hanson J, Bergström A, Bonnett B, Höglund O, Emanuelson U. Epidemiology of stifle joint disease in an insured Swedish dog population. Vet Rec. 2021;e197.




    Background: Stifle joint diseases (SJD) are common in dogs and include a variety of diagnoses. The objective of the study was to provide an overview of the epidemiology of SJD in insured dogs.

    Methods: An historical single cohort study of dogs insured in Agria Pet Insurance (2011–2016) in Sweden was performed. Incidence and relative risk (RR) of SJD was calculated for the whole dog population and for subgroups divided by breed, breed group and sex.

    Results: The study population included almost 600,000 insured dogs (>1.7 million dog-years). Ninety-three different stifle joint diagnoses were reported in 9624 dogs, and the most common were cruciate ligament rupture and patellar luxation. The incidence of SJD was 55.4 cases per 10,000 dog-years at risk. Bulldog and boerboel had the highest RR of SJD. The breeds that accounted for the highest proportion of all SJD claimed dogs were mixed breed and Labrador retriever. Female dogs had a slightly increased RR compared with male dogs (RR 1.06, p = 0.006). The incidence increased yearly during the observation period.

    Conclusion: The study demonstrates breed-specific differences in incidence of SJD in dogs, which may be of importance for breeders, dog owners and veterinarians.

  4. Recently we have had questions from dog breeder health advisors about using inbreeding tools, particularly pedigree-based tools such as estimating Coefficients of Inbreeding (COI). This blog discussion describes COIs, some advantages and disadvantages, and provides thoughts on usage. 


    There are several resources available to both individual breeders and breed organizations (clubs and kennel clubs) that can help to monitor and track genetic diversity, and estimate an individual dog's diversity relevant to a breed population. Each have advantages and disadvantages but can play a role in improving genetic diversity, including: 
    • Pedigree-based COI estimations (Coefficient of Inbreeding)
    • Genomic COI calculations

    Often associated with COI:

    • Popular sire tracking. Access to breed-wide data will vary by country, breed/kennel club. Some clubs restrict numbers of litters born to sires/dams to reduce the impact of popular sires. 
    • Breed diversity reports/research. Some kennel clubs, breed clubs, researchers and commercial genetic test providers have undertaken breed reports on population differences, including genetic diversity and inbreeding, popular sires/dams, etc.  

    There are also other genetic tools used to estimate genetic diversity, such as MHC/DLA testing, but for the purposes of this article, we are focusing on COI-based concepts. We hope to follow up with more information on all types of genetic testing-type diversity tests in another article. 

    Pedigree-based COI

    This tool uses pedigree information to estimate how closely related a dog's parents are. The more ancestors a dog's parents share, the more likely that duplicate genes will have been passed down, accumulating over generations (called identity by decent, or IBD) and thus reducing genetic diversity. Pedigree COI probability calculations are based on the dog's relatedness, not specific genes or regions of the genome. It does not attempt (nor claim) to be able to tell you which parts of the genome a dog has randomly inherited from the dam or sire, but instead focuses on how many relatives are held in common throughout the dog's known ancestry. All dogs in the same litter will have the same COI probability. Pedigree-based COI probabilities can not account for any influence of recombination or specific genes/sections of genetic code. 


    There are some advantages to pedigree-based COI. There are a number of kennel and breed clubs who have invested in providing pedigree COIs to members, allowing free or low-cost access. There are also many free tools available for breeders to use, particularly when they have a breed or type that is not registered with a kennel club. If the COI is based on a large number of generations, ideally as many generations as known, and good-quality pedigrees, it can be informative and helpful in selecting dogs for breeding that are less closely related. It can also be used to look at changes over time in a fairly simple way that doesn't require special technology or access to the dogs. It may also have the advantage of being based on something familiar to breeders - pedigrees - and therefore may overcome some of the education challenges other genetic diversity tools may face. Pedigree-based COI calculations have been used effectively to impact genetic diversity across a wide range of animal breeding practices. 


    The big challenge is confidence in the accuracy and quantity of the pedigree data used. If based on a small number of generations, or on inaccurate pedigree information, the COI can be wildly inaccurate in measuring relatedness in a meaningful way. There have been numerous studies that have shown that restricting the number of generations included in the calculations can be very misleading. Examples have shown a COI based on 5-generations, vs 10+ generations can give a false impression that the COI is much lower, and not reflect the accumulation of inbreeding/relatives in common over time. There can also be the temptation to have generational calculation cut-offs to either reduce the time required for COI calculations or to compare different breeds to each other. This leaves COI vulnerable to being used to support practices and strategies that may agree with biased agendas, but do not improve dog health. 

    To provide good-quality COIs requires large amounts of pedigree data, time to analyze this data, and some expertise. Without this, there is a very high risk that decisions could be made on poor information. 

    Can we calculate better? Genomic COI:

    Genomic COI works off the same concept of IDB as pedigree COI, but does this by comparing tens of thousands of markers across the dog's genome (or, in theory, could use a dog's whole genome). It aims to capture specific swathes of homozygous markers of the genome inherited over generations, rather than estimate the probability that duplicate parts of the genome have been inherited. In this way, it should be more reflective of what precisely has been inherited in common, or what is IDB, over all of the generations of a breed's development, and not be restricted to a specific number of generations. 


    Genomic COI is more precise, and if based on a large volume of genomic data, has a high standard of accuracy. It can also be more precise in reflecting an individual dog's level of inbreeding compared to a defined breed population. There is also the potential for much more precise estimations of inbreeding risk or improving diversity in matings. This could be especially helpful in choosing between two potential dogs who are otherwise equal in breeding qualities. 


    There are costs for testing (usually around the $100-200 range, but often with other genetic tests included), and you need to have access to the dogs to provide genetic samples. There may be challenges (e.g. costs, compatibility) for integration into kennel club databases or other resources trying to collate health, pedigree, and genetic diversity information. Like all genetic diversity genetic tests, identifying presence or absence of areas of homozygous genetic markers does not mean identifying what those markers may be coding for. The assumption with genetic diversity is that the more diversity that is in place, the less likely that undesirable traits will be passed down. However, there could be rare or less common markers for a reason, such as an association with a disease or other undesirable traits. 

    What about other genetic diversity tests?

    We hope to follow up this blog with more articles exploring different kinds of genetic diversity genetic testing tools. 

    How could COI be useful?

    There are many ways a COI % can be used. For the individual breeder, the COI can be one way to add in genetic diversity as a consideration in breeding plans for individual matings, or as a way to track breeding plans over time. For breed clubs, or kennel clubs, it can be particularly useful in observing breed-wide trends and changes. Many clubs have recommendations based on the current breed-average - usually that a breeder should aim to breed at or below the current breed average COI. This is not necessarily to breed the lowest COI possible, and certainly not to prioritize COI over the health or health risks of an individual dog.

    For example, the Finnish Breed Club encourages breeders to integrate COI information into breeding plans based on the first 5 generations to avoid high COI% matings in the near-generations, as a way to reduce the likelihood of passing on deleterious genes that could impact the individual dog's health. The Swedish Kennel Club monitors 5-gen COI over time, to look at near-generation trends and changes. And, the Kennel Club (UK) provides the COI for the individual dog, and the breed average, based on all available generations included in the calculation. They also include the number of generations included in the calculation as this can impact how informative the COI may be (e.g. 3 gen is more dynamic and changeable than 22 gen). The recommendation for the Kennel Club is therefore to breed at or below the breed average. These examples illustrate the differences between focusing on the near-generations which could reflect "fast" inbreeding and also intentional inbreeding vs. COIs calculated with 10-20 generations more suitable for describing the situation and trends for the whole breed.

    There is also the consideration of COI changes over time. It is usually more concerning if a breed sees a rapid, drastic increase in inbreeding, leading to a rapid loss of genetic diversity, which, in a closed breeding system, cannot be regained without outcrossing to a new breed or "unrelated" breed population. 

    Rule of thumb: aim to breed for type, not relatedness...

    Even without specific tools, breeders can start by considering their own practices when selecting mates. Options could include: avoiding popular sires and their close relatives who have been used extensively for breeding, exploring lines that have not used for breeding previously, seeking dogs from populations that are “new” to them (e.g. field/working vs show), aiming to seek dogs that have desirable traits but are not as likely to be closely related:

    • Use available tools to help make breeding plans - including genomic COI or genetic diversity tests, pedigree COI if that's the best you can access, with as many generations as possible. 
    • Use genetic trait/disease tests and clinical screening schemes, as well as knowledge of familial longevity, behaviour, etc.  to help select the healthiest representatives of the breed
    • Use MORE dogs of both sexes. Most breeds use less than 10% of the available dogs for breeding... you're losing 90% of the possible genetic diversity! 
    • Genetic diversity is an important factor of breeding for the Big Picture. It should be one consideration in breeding. 

    There is much more to explore in genetic diversity tools and applications both for individual breeders' plans, and breed-wide strategies than can be discussed in this short blog. Look for more information to come!


    More resources and reference publications:

    Get a GRIHP! on several breeds offers a variety of international information on a breed, including genetic diversity reports. Find them here

    Relatedness of Breeds

    Genetic Diversity webinar excerpt

    Genetic Diversity and the Big Picture

    Janes M, Lewis TW, Ilska JJ, Woolliams JA. The usage of Mate Select, a web-based selection tool for pedigree dogs for promoting sustainable breeding. Canine Med Genet. 2020 Oct 19;7(1):14. doi: 10.1186/s40575-020-00094-8. PMID: 33372639; PMCID: PMC7574414.

    Photo by Blue Bird from Pexels

  5. National Kennel Clubs are major stakeholders in the governance and regulation of dog breeding. As such, they have been the targets of major criticism related to dog health issues. It is therefore interesting to investigate to what extent health and welfare is a priority for kennel clubs (KCs), and what are the capacities and actions implemented to deal with those issues.


    A survey was sent in 2017 to 40 KCs with 15 answers received from 11 European (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK) and 4 non-European countries (Australia, Mexico, Uruguay, and the USA) aimed at describing and comparing information across countries in dog breed health management (Wang et al. 2018).


    First, in order to determine the population of dogs under the responsibility of KC, the percentages of all dogs being registered as ‘pedigree’ dogs were estimated considering the 15 surveyed KCs, as well 35 other countries, using sources such as the FCI online statistics. Across countries, the average and median percentage of the entire dog population that were registered pedigree dogs, respectively was 20% and 14%.  However, there was a large variation across countries, with European Nordic countries showing, in general, a larger proportion of pedigree dogs (see Figure 1). This aspect is of importance, since it is expected that the responsibility toward general dog health, as well as the capacity to improve the situation, relates to the proportion of dogs that are at least to some extent under the influence of the KCs.


    When asked about the current challenges, KCs ranked exaggerated morphological features and inherited disorders as the most important issues, showing those two problems are now clearly identified as priorities (Figure 2). By contrast, issues such as economic constraints to breeding were rarely viewed as problematic for dog breeding. Kennel clubs also commented on challenges related to the difficulty to find balance between increased regulation and the risk of losing members; to achieve consensus and compliance of breeders and clubs toward breed health strategies; as well as lack of capacity regarding information provision and education.



    Surveyed countries showed great diversity in terms of information management, implementation of breeding strategies, recommendations, requirement, restriction and tools. Most KCs indicated that information on genealogies, breed standards and dog shows were recorded in their data base for most, if not all breeds; however, health information (e.g. screening examinations, genetic tests) was more sparsely recorded and provided to the public, both for breeds within countries and across countries (Figure 3). For instance, KCs from Austria, Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the USA provided health information status on pedigrees and in online data bases, but in general, not all breeds were covered. When considering implementation of breeding strategies, six countries indicated that there were no breeding strategies implemented by any breed clubs, while in three countries (Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands) it was reported that each breed club had its breeding strategy.



    Several countries indicated that they were planning to develop breeding tools and provide health information to users, and for instance, France and Belgium reported having ongoing work to develop tools to provide online pedigree with health information or estimate breeding values for complex disorders such as hip dysplasia.


    Although limited by the relatively low number of countries considered, this survey showed that despite large differences in their approach to breeding policies and management, the awareness to improve breeding and health of pedigree dogs was strong among the surveyed Kennel Clubs. The dog breeding world is increasingly global in scope.  The understanding of both the diversity of health initiatives and the potential for coordinated actions internationally is key to further efforts to promote dog health and welfare.


    There is probably still a lot of progress to be made in term of information provision and collection, as well as planning breeding strategies considering dog health. In particular, finding a consensus in terms of constraints and priorities for breeding, is expected to be particularly challenging for Kennel Clubs and breed clubs in order to implement those strategies. Although the situations differ across countries, exchanges of experiences may surely help to find the most adequate solutions toward improvement of health and welfare.




    Wang, S., Laloë, D., Missant, F. M., Malm, S., Lewis, T., Verrier, E., ... & Leroy, G. (2018). Breeding policies and management of pedigree dogs in 15 national kennel clubs. The Veterinary Journal.



  6. Hello all!


    Brenda’s blog gave a great overview of the American Kennel Club National Parent Club Canine Health Conference we attended earlier this month in St. Louis, Missouri. I am grateful for the sponsorship from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals provided to myself and the 31 other veterinary students in attendance.


    This conference, like the 3rd International Dog FullSizeRender 7.jpgHealth Workshop, was an opportunity to learn more about cutting edge research that is improving dog OFA Logo 2017.jpghealth. Topics were varied and included tick borne disease, epilepsy, lymphoma, and reproductive health. It was exciting to see my Colorado State University (CSU) Immunology professor, Dr. Anne Avery, present on her lymphoma research. 




    Right: View from the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch



    Veterinary Student Attendees at the AKC National Parent Club ConferenceAfter completing a CSU clinical orthopedics rotation a few weeks prior to the conference, it was especially interesting to hear what I had learned about Omega-3 fatty acids in my rotation be reiterated by presenter Dr. Wendy Baltzer from Massey University. Her Purina funded study described that a diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids post-surgical correction of cranial cruciate ligament disease is helpful and results in less progression of arthritis and lameness.  

    I’m am looking forward to graduation in 9 months and continued  involvement in dog health. The opportunities I have received since first starting my IPFD project have been endless and I am very thankful for the community!


    Left: Veterinary Student Attendees at the AKC National Parent Club Health Conference

  7. Well, it's been 10 weeks... and I've learned quite a lot. I hope you have, too! As my project comes to an end, Nina and I wanted to give our viewers a big thank you. I hope you enjoyed this blog series and feel more confident about what your role is in solving antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We would also like to extend a huge thank you to the Skippy Frank Fund who sponsored this entire project, and a thank you to Dr. Jason Stull and Dr. Brenda Bonnett for being wonderful mentors every step of the way.


    It is important to keep in mind that science is an ever-changing field that is constantly updated with new material. For example there's a new study that just came out suggesting that not finishing a course of antibiotics may not cause resistance, which is contrary to the current belief. Here is the link to this article if you would like to read more about it. Even though this blog is over, I hope that you continue your AMR education as new scientific data arises. 


    To complete my summer project, I have constructed a poster that I will be presenting at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Research Day.

    Take a look!





    Here is the downloadable PDF version:

    IPFD Poster.pdf





    Be sure to keep checking for more information on dog health and wellness!




  8. The Finnish Kennel Club (FKC) has finished the protocol and the instructions for fitness (walk) testing of breeding dogs in brachycephalic breeds. The test is similar to the one used by the Dutch Kennel Club.


    Finnish test instructions have been developed by veterinarians doing research on BOAS. Their results concerning the Bulldog have already been published. The researchers are still continuing their research and testing Pugs and French Bulldogs, whose results will be published later.


    According to the Finnish guidelines, a dog gets an approved walk test result if he/she walks 1000 meters in 12 minutes or less, and recovers sufficiently from the walk within the recovery time. In the future, it is also possible to have different time limits for different breeds. The test result is failed if

    • The dog is, based on the veterinarian’s initial examination, showing signs of serious respiratory symptoms (including also severe hyperthermia).
    • The supervising veterinarian interrupts the test due to the dog’s serious respiratory symptoms.
    • The dog is not able to successfully complete the test and/or recover from it sufficiently within the required time.

    The FKC arranged the first pilot test in February, and the second pilot will be arranged in May. Also orientation for veterinarians will be held at that second pilot. After that, breed clubs are able to arrange the tests by their own.  The tests have to be carried out in accordance with the FKC's Guideline for walk tests, in order to get the test result recorded in the FKC breeding database.


    The FKC is following the development and use of different tests in other countries. It is also having close collaboration with the other Nordic Kennel Clubs on this subject. The aim is, in the long run, and with the help of accumulated experience, to develop the test further, to be as appropriate as possible.  

    UPDATED 7-15-2019

    All the information on the Finnish walk test can be found here.

    "Walk test

    The walk test is meant for short-muzzled (brachycephalic) breeds that have symptoms caused by upper respiratory tract disorders. These breeds include Pug, English Bulldog and French Bulldog. The dog's exercise tolerance and the ability to breathe normally are evaluated in the walk test and the clinical examination included in it. In the walk test, the dog must walk a certain distance in a defined maximum time and recover from the exercise within a defined time frame."

    Updated 2-18-2021 - See the 2-8-2019 FKC article

    The Finnish Kennel Club’s walk test helps eliminate dogs with severe breathing problems from breeding

  9. IPFD Board Member Dr. Patricia Olson was the keynote speaker at the Inaugural One Health Program at Midwestern University on October 8, 2015 (Downer’s Grove, Illinois). 

    Midwestern University also has one of the newest veterinary schools in the U.S. (Phoenix, Arizona).  Physicians were paired with veterinarians to deliver lectures on obesity, pneumonia, osteochondritis dissecans and epilepsy.  Dr. Olson’s lecture was on collaborative research, using the clues from animals to help advance both human and animal health/welfare. 

    See the pdf of her thought-provoking talk here: 





  10. blog-0240470001433429240.png

    Once a year, in October, the SKK Breeding Committee organizes a weekend course for

    breeding officials based on the book Dog breeding in theory and practice by Sofia Malm (SKK genetic expert) and Åsa Lindholm.







    The Genetic Expert and The Breeding Consultant of the SKK Department for Breeding and Health are in charge of the course.




    The aim is to give breed clubs education and tools they need to work with breeding plans and breed-specific strategies.




    The contents of the course include basic genetics and guidance in how to conduct work at club level.




    There’s also a certain amount of self-directed studies.







    Every other year, in April, this education is held specifically directed to hunting dog breed clubs.



  11. blogentry-68-0-75520200-1425905164_thumb


    On the podium:

    1st : Meisterhaus Signet Higher'N Higer ; Breed: Basenji ; Owner: Lise DURLOT and Dimitri HEBERT ; Breeder: Brenda CASSELL and Tad BOOKS

    2nd : Fall In Love Forest Ohara Of Bloom White ; Breed : Samoyede ; Owner: Mira MITKOVA ; Breeder: Elisabeth FAUCON

    3rd : Eternal Drago Of Nordic Forest ; Breed : Siberian Husky ; Owner and breeder: Valérie CHARNEAU

  • Blogs Disclaimer
    The contents of these blogs are for informational purposes only and represent the opinion of the author(s), and not that of the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD). This is not intended to be a substitute for professional, expert or veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, providers, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on, or linked to from these blogs.

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