Dog health and welfare is the core of NKC’s activities. At the first NKC general assembly, held on January 24, 1989, the 40 members present approved of the NKC charter, which states that our purpose is to improve dogs, and protect the cynological interests.
Today, some of the NKC’s activities includes the following:
Hosting a broad range of trials and shows (approx. 1,700 annually, including 11 international shows with approx. 20,000 entries)
Maintaining the register of pure-bred dogs (approx. 30,000 annually)
Maintaining the register of non-pure-bred dogs (this register, called the NOX-register, now includes a total of approx. 1,000 dogs, and the intention of the register is to allow participation in certain competitions/activities)
Educating judges and ring personnel
Implementing a broad range of health programmes (such as DNA-testing, HD/ED)
Hosting seminars and workshops focusing on dog health for breeders and dog owners
Publishing a broad range of printed materials focusing on breeding and dog health, much of which is available for free download
Informing potential dog owners, so that these are able to make informed choices when buying a dog, and informing inexperienced owners, so that these are able to ensure the welfare of their dog
The NKC aims to include all dog owners, and our member clubs host a broad range of classes and activities suitable for all dog owners, with the intention of educating and informing them.
Educating dog owners and breeders
Educating and informing breeders and the general dog owner is an important area of focus for the NKC.
The NKC administration has therefore published a broad range of books and brochures. We have two separate set of ethical regulations and guidelines – one for the training and keeping of dogs, and one for breeding, and both are available for free download online and via the NKC webshop.
In 2013, a larger brochure regarding dog breeding was also published. This brochure gives new breeders a broad introduction to dog breeding, dog health and genetics, and the NKC health programmes. The NKC is concerned with the increasing number of unregistered dogs in Norway, and is therefore working to inform all breeders about the benefits of breeding your dogs in compliance with the NKC ethical rules and regulations, and registering them.
The NKC hosts several seminars and workshops on dog health and welfare. Examples of these are:
The NKC Breeder’s School – suitable for both experienced and less experienced breeders
The NCK Research Forum – an annual event presenting new research regarding dog health; this free event is open to everybody, and has been hosted for the past 20 years
In order to improve dog health, it is crucial that new dog owners have necessary knowledge and information, and are aware of what they need to require from breeders when it comes to health information and testing. The Norwegian Kennel Club therefore has two separate brochures made for first-time dog owners, called “So you want to be a dog owner?” and “Welcome home, puppy!”. The first focusses on awareness in the selection process – which breed suits you and how do you find the best breeder? The second focusses on what happens when you collect your puppy – what kind of documentation you should receive, and what is particularly important for your puppy during the first weeks in its new home.
In February 2015, a new website was launched, where people interested in buying a puppy can find all necessary information. The intention with the site is to offer an exclusive arena for experienced breeders looking to sell their puppies (only registered puppies can be advertised). In addition, the site will be an arena where inexperienced buyers can be confident that all puppies are bred in accordance with NKC breeding rules, giving an extra sense of security.
Becoming a judge is a long process. Through the NKC educational programmes, the judges must demonstrate solid competence in anatomy. They must also show an ability to combine this competence a with sound understanding of the breed standards, which is what will enable them to pick the soundest dog complying with the breed standard – health is beauty!
The NKC administration also hosts regular seminars for all judges, focusing on general education and challenges facing all judges. In addition, our member clubs host seminars for judges, focusing on health challenges particularly relevant for their breeds.
In 2014, the Nordic Kennel Union, of which the NKC is a member, published a joint BSI-document (BSI: Breed Specific Instructions regarding regarding exaggerations in pedigree dogs). BSI identifies areas of risk related to breed type with the intention to increase the awareness of judges of problems related to exaggerations in breed type.
The NKU BSI is founded on the experiences in the Nordic countries regarding identification of areas of risk in a selected number of high profile breeds during the last decade. These instructions are the result of inventories made possible through extensive collaboration between dog show judges, breed clubs, veterinary surgeons and supported by veterinary health insurance statistics. This constitutes the basis for the selection of listed breeds and for the written directions for each breed.
Collaboration with breed clubs
The NKC administration works closely with the breed clubs to improve the health of all breeds, and in 2012, work was started to ensure that all breeds should have its own breeding strategy.
The breed clubs have crucial knowledge and experience when it comes to their breeds, and the responsibility for drafting the breeding strategies was therefore delegated to the clubs.
The purpose of the breeding strategy is to outline the qualities and assets of each breed, as well as the challenges and areas of improvement for those working with the breed today. The breeding strategies describe the historical background, today’s situation, short and long-term goals, and a strategy for achieving said goals. The main focus areas are population, health, mentality, working qualities and exterior.
The strategies are to set clear definition and purposes for the breed, and be a tool in the breeders’ work to ensure healthy dog breeding also in future.
Registration of dogs and health data
There are an estimated 500,000 dogs in Norway today. An estimated 80% of all new dogs are registered in the NKC database. In the 1990s, this estimate was as high as 90%.
The NKC register approx. 30,000 dogs annually. This number has been sinking in recent years.
In the NKC database DogWeb, available online, health information and pedigrees are available. So far, access to DogWeb has been restricted to members. For the sake of transparency, and for enlightening potential members, the database will in future also be available to the public.