International Collaborative on Extreme Conformations in Dogs
The International Collaborative on Extreme Conformations in Dogs (ICECDogs) is global multi-stakeholder group which will will work together with our members and collaborators to minimize welfare issues resulting from extreme conformations in dogs by seeking out and applying evidence-based canine and human approaches. Initiated by the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) at its 4th International Dog Health Workshop in Windsor, UK, in 2019.
Body conformation can adversely affect the health and welfare of a dog, particularly when an emphasis is made towards selecting for unhealthy exaggeration of certain traits. For example, a flat-faced (brachycephalic) dog may have difficulty breathing in average day-to-day situations and may be especially challenged in warm weather or when exercising. A dog with extensive skin folds may have partial obstruction of the eyes or nose, and may show infection and inflammation of the folds. Features such as these that are associated with reduced health and welfare are viewed as extreme conformation. Some types of dogs and breeds show more extremes of conformation that impact their health and welfare than others.
It is important that efforts are made to produce the next generations such that dogs are bred towards conformations with progressively reduced exaggerations. When thinking of purchasing a dog, prospective buyers should actively seek out individual animals or breeds that do not show extremes of conformation that may impact their quality of life, lifespan or enjoyment as a family pet.
The issues surrounding extreme conformations in dogs are complex and involve many stakeholders. Therefore, an international multi-stakeholder approach is needed to make real progress. The ICECDogs believes the most sustainable way forward will be achieved if the main stakeholders act at the national level with multi-stakeholder collaboration and cooperate internationally. Breeders, veterinarians, kennel clubs, breed clubs, the media, authorities, Non-Governmental Organisations including welfare organisations and the public including present and future dogs owners should work together to help ensure that dogs are bred away from extremes of conformation.