Who is ultimately responsible for overseeing the health, well-being and welfare of specific breeds of dogs? Most national kennel clubs often take the lead to promote ethical breeding of sound and health dogs, in general, by their members. These may take the form of rules, guidelines, and recommendations, directed to breeders, about ethical and breeding practices as well as health and welfare concerns for dogs under their care.
Beyond the care of individual dogs, however, there are concerns for the overall health and well-being of each breed. Many breed and kennel clubs have a long history of evaluating the health status of potential breeding dogs, using various Health and Screening Tests. Increasingly, committed clubs have developed breed-specific programs to describe and evaluate the status of their breed, especially in regard to health, mentality and other indicators of well-being.
Internationally, there is great variation in breed-specific approaches to health in dogs. This section will provide information on and links to various sources and approaches, under the following categories.
Breed and kennel clubs are continually working to assess and address the health of dogs. Breed-specific approaches are at the heart of this work. In some countries, through the national kennel club, there are mandated activities related to describing the health and well-being of a breed, defining and reporting on health concerns (including behavior/temperament) and designing and monitoring health programs. These programs are often enacted by national breed clubs. This section is divided into programs by country and by individual breed clubs.
One concern for purebred dogs is health conditions that arise due to the conformation, temperament and use of the dog. Breed characteristics, especially those reflecting extreme conformations may represent potential health or welfare concerns. In attempt to address such issues, some Kennel Clubs have instituted programs aimed at detecting dogs with health issues and/or not rewarding conformation shows.