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Breed-Specific Health Strategies Theme: Outline for Participants


    General Goals and Outcomes - all Themes: 
    By the conclusion of the 3rd IDHW participants should leave with a clear sense of key decisions on priorities / needs within the theme; remaining gaps/ challenges/ controversies; List of specific tasks/ actions to be undertaken over the next two years, by whom; and a clear understanding of how they, personally, will help achieve the desired outcomes.
    Please see: 3rd IDHW_Program Overview, Schedule, Themes and Speakers  for further information.



    Breed-Specific Health Strategies Theme
    National and international programs and approaches to studying and improving health of dogs within a breed.
    •    Working Group Coordinator(s): Helena Skarp, Sweden;
    •    Resource persons:  Brenda Bonnett;   Ian Seath, UK (plenary speaker); Catherine Andre (plenary speaker);
    •    Facilitator:  Gregoire Leroy, France 
    •    Note Taker:  Kim Bellamy, Norway



    Keys To The Breed-Specific Health Strategies Theme:
    An issue frequently raised by breeding advisors, breed clubs and individual breeders, is how do they define and understand the ’big picture’ for their breed and how do the manage all the complex inputs that affect the health and welfare of their dogs?  They hear in the media that they should test for and preferably prevent every possible disease, health and welfare issue in their breed as well as improving temperament/ behaviour and do that while maximizing genetic diversity of the population.  Breed clubs must be able to make some kind of ranking of importance in terms of influence on longevity, severity, death vs. chronic disease, costs etc.; they must be able to put this together with good information on the accuracy/ efficacy of screening strategies - DNA tests, other - as well as the strategies that are available; and from all that make balanced, preferably evidence-based decisions as to what is an appropriate strategy for the long term health of the breed; and then they must advise breeders on how to proceed with individual breeding decisions. Of course, there is also the issue that the primary goal of the breeder, might be to, at least in the short term, breed a competition-winning dog. 

    Unfortunately, without access to the needed holistic information, evidence and effective tools we tend to see challenges, e.g. running off after the DNA 'test of the month'; knee-jerk reactions to storms on Facebook; breeding strategies that change when the executive of the breed club changes... etc. etc.  Our plenary speaker, Ian Seath, will give us an overview of what the Dachshund Breed Council in the UK is doing.  The approach to managing health and disease at a breed level varies widely across countries, kennel clubs, breed clubs and breeds.  Notwithstanding, there is a great potential to learn from and work together with those who are dealing with similar issues.  Key concepts for this theme include a need to:

    • Increase exchange of information about disease prevalence, population structure and health programs between countries. 
    • Identify and propose strategies to limit the obstacles that differently designed health programs in different countries present to the possibility to use breeding stock between countries
    • Move away from the adoption or creation of new health initiatives without adopting a holistic approach 
    • Find and share the best resources and tools to address these issues.


    Continue reading below or download PDF

    3rd IDHW Guide for Participants_Breed Specific Health Strategies _15April2017.docx




    Possible Questions For The Breakout Sessions

    • Who is doing what and where... and what is making a difference?
      • Are there existing materials, approaches and tools which can be shared?  How do we find information on how the problem is addressed in other countries? 
      • Can be used more/better in this area?
    • What has held us back on following through on actions from the 2nd International Dog Health workshop? (see summary presentations from Dortmund) 
    • Is it possible to create a successful health strategy without creating a breed specific breeding strategy (in the sense of an all including strategy comprising health, mentality, working ability for working breeds, conformation and genetic diversity)?
      • What are the benefits/ challenges of using the same strategy in different countries?
      • How do we evaluate/ monitor the impact of strategies?
    • Roles and responsibilities across stakeholder groups?
    • Relevant discussions may go on in other themes, for example:
      • Numbers Theme: collecting accurate information on populations (demography, prevalence, risk, etc.); potential for comparison and collation across various sources of data.
      • Harmonization of Genetic Testing:  resources being developed on DNA testing, application and genetic counselling.
      • Health and Welfare Issues of Exaggerated Conformation: health and welfare; breed-specific issues; challenges for ‘popular’ breeds; etc.



    Possible Specific Outcomes For The Breed-Specific Health Strategies Theme :

    • Create guidelines “how to create/components of a breed specific breeding program”; distribute internationally. Assign working group?  Arrange translations in various countries
    • Collaborations: assign specific people to the task of creating and sharing the information mentioned above and find ways of using more effectively as a sharing point for information about health/breeding strategies in different breeds and countries.
    • How do we engage breed clubs, breeders and other stakeholders?  Are there others who could be involved?



    Organisation of Breakout Session:
    Time frame (refer to 3rd IDHW Program Overview, Schedule, Themes and Speakers March 2017):

    • To be accomplished before 1st Sharing session on Saturday at 16 :05-17 :45) 
      • Breakouts : 11 :15 - 13 :00 and 14 :30-15 :45 Saturday
        • Introduction 
          • Explain the background for the group and what tasks are required.
          • Explain discussion format ; facilitator’s role. 
        • Short presentations from 2 or 3 individuals?
        • Address questions; identify and prioritize issues; identify gaps ; what are the issues that would most benefit from an international perspective and what are current barriers?
    • To be accomplished before 2nd Sharing session on Sunday 10 :45-13 :00
      • Breakout: 08 :30-10 :15 Sunday.
      • Identify specific actions for identified priorities.
      • Assign names to working groups or initiatives.


    Required pre-workshop reading:
    Presentations and outcome of the 1st and 2nd Dog Health Workshops.
    The material about RAS (breed specific breeding strategies) at 



Edited by Brenda Bonnett

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