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International Partnership for Dogs - Enhancing Dog Health, Well-Being, and Welfare - Join Us
  • ~ Background and Development - Timeline ~


      A Continuing and Sustainable Development

      The International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) and have come into being following a long history of efforts by many stakeholders to address dog health and well-being. An abbreviated timeline of key developments will highlight the complexity of issues addressed by the IPFD and DogWellNet and will list some of the many supporters and collaborators that have contributed directly or indirectly to this important work.

      Development was inaugurated under the patronage of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). The major contributors (in-kind and funding) since 2011 have been, chronologically, the Agria Animal Insurance-Swedish Kennel Club Research Fund, the Swedish Kennel Club (SKK), and the FCI; as well as, other national kennel clubs (from Finland, The UK, France, Germany, Ireland, and the USA (AKC)).

      This document presents an historical background to the work and current status.


      Timeline: Understanding the Sequence of Development

      1994-Present - Historical Underpinning:

      • Collaborative work to develop and use the Agria Pet Insurance Database (Agria) to provide breed-specific statistics on disease and death in dogs.
      • Partnership with Swedish Kennel Club (SKK); material used by all Swedish breed clubs to develop breed-specific breeding strategy document (RAS); also used in support Breed Specific Instructions for judges program. Breed Updates also used in Denmark and Norway.
      • Many international presentations and workshops to various stakeholder groups: breeders, breed clubs and health committees, international veterinary and scientific congresses, human-animal interaction meetings, dog judges, government welfare committees in addition to numerous publications in refereed scientific journals.
      • Leading national kennel clubs (KCs) and other stakeholders, e.g., Agria Animal Insurance, Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), and many professional, welfare, academic and other organizations are doing their own work on issues of health, well-being, and welfare of dogs. It is becoming increasingly apparent that many important issues are truly international in nature, and many of these groups increase collaborations with others.

      From 2008...

      • Kennel clubs (KCs) everywhere are under pressure to improve and expand activities under almost all areas of their mandate (e.g. breeding, legislation, information technology, etc.). Two global examples:
        • Media and societal pressure about health, well-being, and welfare in dogs
        • Need to be more proactive in addressing issues and highlighting positives of dogs, in general, purebred dogs and shows/performance and breeding
      • Regulatory issues, governments, etc., e.g. dangerous dog legislation, restrictions; guidelines for dog breeders (especially commercial)
      • Similar efforts in many countries; poor synthesis of existing information, decisions not always evidence-based
      • KCs, breeders and other stakeholders need improved access to existing information and resources
      • Many stakeholders/KCs have a lot to share, however, many resources are difficult to locate and language may pose difficulties.
      • Once information is found or assembled, there is a need for synthesis and expert evaluation of that information to promote guidance- and evidence-based decision making.
      • Issues affecting the health and welfare of dogs are global in scope, therefore international collaboration and co-operation are needed.

      Fall 2011:

      • Dr. Brenda Bonnett makes a proposal to develop a canine health and welfare information network, which is funded by Agria-SKC Research Foundation, to:
        • Capitalize on the strengths of the international cynological community through enhanced sharing of information and expertise and facilitation of on-going collaboration
        • Present a ‘united front’ (all KCs/stakeholders together for the good of dogs)
        • Build a sustainable model to accomplish goals/address needs. Specifically:
          • Create an Organization (i.e. The International Partnership for Dogs (originally 'Sharing and Caring for Dogs)) that will oversee development of the internet resource ( This will facilitate partnerships and sharing of costs for long term functionality.
          • Initially to be organized under the direction of the SKK due to its extensive experience with Information Technology (IT) development and a willingness to commit further resources to this development. However, other partners will be a key part of the development.
          • Enhance distribution of information to underpin decision-making
          • Develop and support international partnerships
          • Provide a forum for informed discussion by stakeholder experts
          • The Agria-SKC Research Foundations directs project team to first meet with FCI, as a globally recognized leader in cynology, to determine if they are willing and able to take a leadership role in the development of this resource.

      Spring 2012 - December 2013:

      • Work with/support from FCI:
        • Presentation of background and proposed structure for the information network, at that time called Sharing and Caring for Dogs, to the FCI General Committee (GC) in Vienna.
        • The GC decides the initiative is relevant and refers the project to the Working Group 2012 (originally called Back to the Standards).
        • The working group presents a proposal to the GC in October 2012. (No decision from the FCI, at that time)
        • Spring 2013: At the end of March 2013, the GC allocated funds for a contract with an IT company to help further define the platform for the Information Network and to engage Dr. Bonnett to organize, support and summarize that work. This work was overseen by Ulf Uddman of the SKK. Presentation on the initiative to the General Assembly in Budapest in May.
        • Summer 2013: FCI allocates further funds to continue development and authorizes Project Team to engage other potential partners.
        • Fall 2013: Formal proposal submitted to the GC and presentation made (The FCI decides not to take primary responsibility for this development.)
      • Parallel Development:
        • In June 2012, the Dog Health Workshop occurred in Sweden. (Organized by SKK with other partners, funded by SKK and other sponsors)
        • Over 20 countries were represented by 120 geneticists, researchers, veterinarians, dog breeders, cynologists (many from FCI), judges, welfare organizations, government/regulatory representatives, and more. The Sharing and Caring initiative and design was seen as an appropriate platform to facilitate the international collaboration and distribution of knowledge, expertise and experience that all agreed was crucial in order to address many issues related to health and well-being of dogs at a global level.
        • In the final summary session, the participants collectively agreed that there was a need for a collaborative structure, i.e. a Foundation/Organization that would function to bring together stakeholders in dog health and well-being. Representatives of FCI, The Kennel Club (i.e., Steve Dean, Chairman) and various FCI member KCs (e.g. all Nordic clubs and Germany) indicated that they supported and were willing to spearhead the development and establishment of this Organization. As the needs/desired initiatives identified by the many stakeholders were very similar to the work started with Agria-SKC and with FCI it was, essentially, decided to await developments on that front rather than possibly duplicating efforts.

      Project Team (2012-2013):

      • FCI and SKK/Agria-SKK Research Fund supports ongoing development.
      • Many experts volunteer time and expertise.
      • Discussions ongoing with other potential partners (other KCs, etc.) (who self-fund to attend meetings and support experts and staff to provide information and expertise), including The Kennel Club (UK), and the national KCs of Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, and Finland, among others.

      December 2013 - Spring 2014:

      • Funding provided by Founding Partners to support basic web development by Dr. Brenda Bonnett, together with Topshare (IT company in The Netherlands),
      • Continued meetings and communication with other national KCs to refine possible structure and function of the IPFD


      June 2014:

      • Confirmation of Commitment by the Founding Partners: The national KCs of Sweden, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, The KC (UK), The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (USA), and the Agria-SKK Research Fund. 

      August 2014:

      • The first meeting of the Board of the International Partnership for Dogs was held Thursday 28th August at the Kennel Club in London. The Board is comprised of Pekka Olson (Chair, Sweden), Caroline Kisko (Vice Chair, UK ), Eddie Dziuk (USA), Peter Friedrich (Germany), Jean-Pierre Genevois (France), Patricia Olson (USA), Kirsi Sainio (Finland). Brenda Bonnett (Canada) is the Chief Executive Officer and Ulf Uddman (Sweden) is the Chief Financial Officer. See brief curriculum vitae for the current IPFD Board here.

      Fall 2014:

      • Engagement of further Initiating Partners (e.g. Irish Kennel Club); continued development of  FCI maintains Founding Patron status.
      • Cooperation with the German Kennel Club (VDH) on plans for the 2nd International Dog Health Workshop










      • The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) joins IPFD as Contributing Partner
      • Raad van Beheer (The Dutch Kennel Club (DKC)) joins IPFD as Contributing Partner
      • The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) changes its status to IPFD Partner Collaborators
      • IPFD and The Kennel Club co-host the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW) in Windsor, UK
      • IPFD announces Monique Megens to become its first Chief Operating Officer (COO)
      • In December 2019, IPFD welcomed five new Board members - representing a broad array of international stakeholders in dog health, well-being and welfare. They include: Bill Lambert, IPFD Vice-Chair, (UK); Dave Eikelberg (USA); Marty Greer (USA); Grégoire Leroy (France); and Barbara Thiel (Germany). They join continuing Board Members: Dr. Pekka Olson, IPFD Chair (Sweden); Peter Friedrich (Germany); Kirsi Sainio (Finland); and IPFD Chief Financial Officer Ulf Uddman (Sweden). Building on the outstanding work of the initial IPFD Board (Board Members transitioning out at the end of 2019 included: Caroline Kisko (UK), Jean-Pierre Genevois (France), and Patricia N. Olson (USA)), the Board will continue to guide IPFD's work to improve the health, well-being, and welfare of all dogs worldwide.



      • COVID-19: As IPFD does the vast majority of its work virtually, we are fortunately well-placed to carry on with little disruption. All planned travel and face-to-face meetings for the near term are proactively cancelled.
      • report on the 4th IDHW is published in the online journal Canine Medicine and Genetics.
      • A new International Working Group on Extreme Conformation in Dogs (IWGECD), (prioritized in the Extremes theme at the 4th IDHW) is enacted.
      • IPFD launches a series of articles on the Big Picture of health and welfare within breeds as resources for veterinarians, owners, caretakers, breeders, and others who want to understand the key issues for individual dogs and breed populations, internationally; under the Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative
      • IPFD Collaborating Partner, The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), begins publishing Dog Breeds: What You Need to Know, a new regular feature in their online news section (and in the WSAVA Bulletin) that highlights IPFD resources on a particular breed with a focus on breed-specific diseases.
      • IPFD unveils enhanced messaging and branding with new “About IPFD” section on highlighting who we are, what we do and how and where we work
      • New HGTD Breed Relevance Ratings (BRR) support evidence-based usage and application of genetic tests. BRRs are a way to capture current research, and expert opinion on breed-specific tests, as well as many crossbreeds. Canine health specialists, as well as dog owners, can use BRR to more easily identify tests that may be important to consider in health and breeding decisions.
      • IPFD welcomes new Collaborating Partner, The Black Russian Terrier Club of America (BRTCA), the AKC Parent Club for the Black Russian Terrier.
      • Building on our 2019 Annual Report: A Growing Voice, IPFD publishes a "milestones" document to update our Partners and Sponsors on our activities to date in 2020.
      • IPFD calls on stakeholder groups – including dog show enthusiasts, kennel and breed clubs, legislators, dog owners, veterinarians, welfare advocates – from all regions and countries to come together to address issues currently impacting the health, welfare, and breeding of dogs.


      • IPFD publishes IPFD Annual Report 2020: A Year Like No Other, highlighting our accomplishments during an unprecedented year.
      • Complementing Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) Breed Relevance Ratings (BRR), a new Key Comment feature highlights in the breed search any tests that have important information related to the relevance of the test for that breed.
      • Updates improve the look and feel of HGTD searches by displaying simplified paw-print Breed Relevance Ratings (BRRs), as well as beautiful illustrations of the breeds and links to more breed resources.
      • IPFD hosts its first virtual workshop on 28 September, with more than 35 Genetic Test Providers, kennel club and IPFD representatives and other experts from across the globe discussing and sharing information around challenges relating to standardizing genetic reports.
      • Dr. Brenda Bonnett steps down as CEO on 31 October and continues to share her expertise with the international dog community as IPFD’s Veterinary Science Officer until July 2022. Katariina Mäki joins IPFD as Business and Project Coordinator in August, 2021 and assumes the role of Acting CEO as of 1 November, 2021 (see bios here).
      • IPFD publishes new Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for 7 breeds in 2021 including: Golden Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Black Russian Terriers, Pugs, Finnish Spitz, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Rottweilers.
      • Supported initiative out of the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW): the creation of the International Collaborative on Extreme Conformation in Dogs (ICECDogs), an independent group (but hosted on supporting national multi-stakeholder organizations.
      • IPFD contributed information for veterinarians on breeds and breed health for eight breeds in the WSAVA Bulletin in 2021.
      • Jenni Uski from Finland joined our team as a Content Assistant to assist in breed-specific work. Jenni's initial priorities are to assist us in the creation of new GRIHPs, development of the Health Strategy Database, and updates to our Breeds database.


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