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  1. Sources of accurate and relevant COVID-19 information for your dog, your puppies and you. In the face of the great uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on pets and pet owners, many veterinary and regulatory organizations have been providing excellent information and advice, as have kennel and breed organizations. It is important to remember that recommendations and restrictions vary depending on location and owners need to access and follow local recommendations, especially as to issues around accessing veterinary care. An additional challenge is that the advice and situation continue to change rapidly and what was known, thought or suggested last week may not hold next week. There are some aspects that apply regardless of location... including what we know (a little) and don't know (a lot) about possible transmission to or from animals and humans. As with all information about this novel corona virus there is a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19 and pets; basically we simply are leaning as we go. Be very cautious about discussions and dire predictions on Facebook and social media from those who likely do not have the appropriate level of expertise. Putting your trust in the types of sources described below is your best bet. At a local level, dog owners can look for information from their regional veterinary association and even your own veterinarian maybe providing updates. For an example from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, you can see a short video and article here. Prof. Scott Weese of the Ontario Veterinary College is referenced in that article and he has a recent blog post where he suggests that, in the face of the uncertainty and with an abundance of caution, "Social distancing and dog walking are compatible… with some common sense". Dr. Weese says, "To me, social distancing is a whole household activity, not just a human activity. If I wouldn’t go and shake someone’s hand, why would I let the same person pet my dog, and then touch the same spot on my dog myself right away? " It is all about doing everything we can to reduce risk. Be sure to keep up to date on recommendations and restrictions in your area. For breeders, there are all the issues as for owners in addition to some major concerns about breeding, and rehoming litters. Many of our partner national kennel clubs have been providing information and updates. We have been sharing these on our channels, as again, some issues are the same globally; others are defined regionally. See, e.g. Breeders and coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs from The Kennel Club in the UK, or Placing Puppies in the Age of COVID-19: Safety Advice for Breeders from the American Kennel Club. There are many broader impacts for dog welfare and human-dog interactions that are developing with the COVID-19 situation. Please check out Brenda's Blog: "DOGS ARE FOR LIFE, not just for Coronavirus." Within that blog you are also directed to an excellent discussion of unintended consequences from IPFD collaborator Ian Seath. Our IPFD Board member and President of the German Kennel Club, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, has posted a heartfelt statement that discusses many of the current challenges and those that we have left to face, even when we think things are starting to return to normal. (In German, but perfectly understandable with google translator.) Below are some links to sites and organizations that are doing a great job with information at an international level pulled together by our IPFD COO, Monique Megens, a Dutch veterinarian, living in Spain, and former president of FECAVA, one of the organizations on the front lines in Europe. Mid-April 2020: What do we know about dogs and COVID-19 virus? Although several dogs have tested positive to COVID-19 virus following close contact with infected humans, to date, there is no evidence that dogs play a significant role in spreading the disease. Therefore, the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) states there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals, which may compromise their welfare. When people are sick with COVID-19, when possible, close contact with dogs should be avoided; the dogs should preferably be taken care of by another member of the household, taking appropriate hygiene measures into account. Studies are underway to better understand the susceptibility of and risks for other dogs. To stay up-to-date and for more information regarding dogs and COVID-19, go to the OIE website. Can I still visit my veterinary surgeon In many countries, veterinarians are considered to be an essential profession by their national authorities; therefore in most countries you can still visit your vet. However, some vets only see urgent cases; you should always call beforehand. For more information: IPFD’s collaborating partner the Federation of European Companion Animal Practitioners (FECAVA) together with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) have published advice for pet owners for visiting the vet. Information for veterinary teams can be found locally and regionally at, for example from American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and at IPFD’s collaborating partner the World Small Animal Veterinary Association's (WSAVA) website. In all the craziness and concerns of this pandemic, dogs are a great support to their families. Let's remember them in all the changes, planning and considerations we have for ourselves. We are all in this together. Stay safe . OTHER RESOURCES: En Francais - La Newsletter de la Centrale Canine - beaucoup d'excellentes ressources auf Deutsch - und weiser Rat von unserem IPFD-Vorstandsmitglied und Präsidenten des Deutschen Kennel Clubs, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, Präsident des VDH. Corona virus
  2. English bulldogs have been in the spotlight of authorities and media for a long time. The breed has a striking appearance and is often mentioned when health issues in pedigree dogs related to their appearance are discussed. With this background and as a starting point the Swedish Kennel Club in collaboration with the Swedish Club for English bulldogs have recently launched a new breeding strategy for the breed. The strategy presents hands on advice for breeders on how to make visible progress over the coming five year period by focusing on the main health issues associated with the breed.
  3. Ian Seath hosted a webinar on Breed Health Improvement Strategies for the Danish Kennel Club on June 11th 2020. An important subject that is more current than ever, where some breeds are faced with a difficult time in relation to health and considerations for the future of the breed. Many thanks to Ian for sharing the video and accompanying slideshow with the DogWellNet community! Thanks goes to Katrine Jeppesen, from the Danish Kennel Club for permission to share this DKK webinar!
  4. 4th International Dog Health Workshop (2019) Poster .............................................................................................. Breeding dogs in Sweden – SKK’s tools and efforts for improved canine health Sofia Malm's presentation given at the 2015 Tufts' Canine and Feline Breeding and Genetics Conference... "The Swedish Kennel Club (SKK) owes its existence to the work of breeders and the results of their efforts. This is why breeding issues are given such prominence within the organization and why SKK dedicates substantial resources to helping breeders breed dogs in a way which benefits both the individual dog and the development of the various breeds." This article provides an overview of the SKK's structure, working programs and strategies to improve health in purebred dogs. Genetic health programs, use of Molecular genetic tests as well as a focus on the need for an international approach to management of health are discussed. ARTICLE AVAILABLE IN DOWNLOADS: Breeding dogs in Sweden - SKK's tools and efforts to improve canine health
  5. "The IPFD's signature event, the International Dog Health Workshops (IDHW) bring together decision makers from kennel and breed clubs, professional, regulatory, national and regional, welfare and other organisations that are stakeholders in dog health, well-being and welfare and human-dog interactions under the tagline 'From Information and Collaboration to Action'." We are excited to report the online publication of the report on the 4th International Dog Health Workshop. We are particularly excited to report that actions prioritized at that meeting are underway and outcomes are being realized. Links to come.... Open Access - thanks to our Collaborators at Canine Medicine and Genetics Author details: 1 The Royal Veterinary College, UK; 2, 3 CEO, IPFD Canada and Sweden; 4 Svenska Kennelklubben, Sweden; 5 Queen’s University Belfast, UK; 6 The Kennel Club, UK; 7 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden; 8 Université Paris-Saclay, Inrae, AgroParisTech, France; 9 Project Director, IPFD, Oregon, USA; 10 Chairman Dachshund Breed Council, London, UK. View Full Article at Canine Medicine and Genetics Here Download PDF: Report on the 4th IDHW Canine Medicine and Genetics May 2020.pdf
  6. Thanks to our co-hosts, The Kennel Club, the 4th International Dog Health Workshop was a great success. The consensus seems to be that the IDHWs just keep getting better and better. This is due in great part to the efforts of the attendees - decision leaders from 18 countries, representing all stakeholders in dog health and welfare - including representatives from research, the veterinary world, welfare organizations, kennel and breed organizations, and more. Stellar plenary speakers set the tone for intense and productive breakout sessions in the various themes. The themes were: Genetics, Breed-Specific Breeding Strategies, The Concept of Breed and its Impact on Health, Supply and Demand, and Extremes of Conformation. Below you will find links to fantastic pre- and post-workshop materials. Be sure to check in to DogWellNet.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for important updates from the several working groups who are already moving ahead with needed actions. As seen in the word cloud from our participants, a key aspect of this meeting is collaboration and networking. Coming together with others who are dealing with similar challenges and who share a commitment to health dogs provides a boost of energy for both cooperative efforts as well as the day to day work by these committed dog people. Below you will also see reports and write ups about the 4th IDHW, and there will be more as the work continues. Thanks to all who attended, and we will keep you informed on developing plans for the 5th IDHW in 2021. 4th IDHW Pre- and Post-Meeting Resources From pre-meeting reading material to posters and slide presentations from the workshop, we've compiled materials from the 4th IDHW, so that participants can refer back to them - and so that those who were unable to attend can also benefit from this impressive collection of downloadable resources. Pre-Meeting Resources | Post Meeting Resources Articles on the 4th IDHW Vet Record News: 4th IDHW workshop - "Improving the health of pedigree dogs" Lance Novak, Executive Director, Canadian Kennel Club: From My Side of the Desk: Canine Health and Wellness Several articles by Ian J. Seath of the Dachshund Breed Council (DBC): My report on the 4th International Dog Health Workshop for Our Dogs My presentation to the 4th International Dog Health Workshop (IDHW4) Breed Health Strategies – Addressing the challenges: My July 2019 “Best of Health” article The why and how of Breed-specific Health Strategies – “Best of Health” June 2019 Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi's Report from the Genetic Testing Theme, from the 4th International Dog Health Workshop Canine Genetics and Epidemiology Journal. As following the 3rd IDHW, we are compiling a report on the 4th that will be review and published by our collaborating partners at CGE. If you haven't seen the previous article, check it out here. Global Pet Obesity Initiative After an overwhelming show of support by attendees of the 4th IDHW, IPFD has confirmed its support of the Global Pet Obesity Initiative Position Statement (launched by The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP)) calling for the veterinary profession to adopt uniform nomenclature for canine and feline obesity. IPFD is currently in discussions with APOP to look at ways to collaborate on the important issue of canine obesity.
  7. Once again our IPFD friend and collaborator Ian Seath has come out with a thought provoking but practical article. In BREED HEALTH AT THE START OF A NEW DECADE – WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR 2030? on the DOG-ED: SOCIAL ENTERPRISE site, Ian does several things: Makes it personal - by sharing what he himself is doing - as a breeder, as chair of the Dachshund Breed Council in the UK, as the leader of the Breed-Specific Health Strategies theme at the IPFD International Dog Health Workshops (IDHW). In the description of his efforts, he provides great information on the process and structure of building health strategies for any breed, and he shows himself and the Dachshund groups in the UK as role models for other breed clubs. And he credits others who are doing good work. He 'walks the walk' (definition: 'to show that something is true by your actions rather than your words'). I know Ian well, and he is not doing this for personal acclaim. He passionately cares about the health and well-being of dogs - all breeds - and he does everything he can to say to all of us - "C'mon... we can do this!!" Ian challenges everyone to look ahead to 2030 and to seriously consider how what they are doing will impact the breed over that period. And he says: "It’s that time of year when New Year Resolutions have either already been forgotten or are well on the way to become good habits." I would encourage everyone to do as he says and to look ahead - not just breed club health committees but individual breeders, judges, veterinarians, researchers, owners... all stakeholders in the dog world. Too often we look to others to take responsibility... too often we give up because we don't see the potential for change (or just think it is too much work). And I would also like to stress the mention of good habits. It isn't just about knowing, it is about doing. Saying one thing and doing another is a very bad habit. I will risk offending you by suggesting some examples, all in the spirit of improving the health, well-being and welfare of dogs over the next 10 years. Health committees, breeders, individuals say: 'We want healthy, long-lived dogs!'. But do their health programs, recommendations and ACTIONS! truly reflect that goal? If the tendency is to select for the physical characteristics that are being rewarded in the show ring... you are not going to just accidentally get health and longevity... in fact, it's more likely you will get the opposite. Every individual breeder's decisions impact the whole breed! In another blog I described an interactive session at the Canadian Kennel Club genetics symposium, where a breeder, after listening to Dr. Kari Ekenstedt and I talk about many issues, including inbreeding, wanted us to specify 'what level of inbreeding was ok?'. In other words, sure, father X daughter was out... but what was okay? I challenged her to consider why she wanted to do inbreeding? Was it because she thought this would improve health and longevity in the breed? Almost undoubtedly it was not - it was to as quickly as possible achieve 'a look'. We all need to think about the big picture. Veterinarians - what are you doing within your practice, one on one to stop the normalization of health issues - genetic and otherwise? Do you make clear to your devoted owners of brachycephalic dogs that snorting and snuffling and bug eyes are not 'cute' or 'funny' but serious concerns? Do you work hard to counteract the rampant obesity problem in pets? No, your clients may not want to hear the messages... but what is your personal responsibility? Pet industry - are you focusing your marketing to profile healthy dogs... or still using challenged but popular breeds? So, at IPFD we continue to promote international efforts on the challenges for dogs; we work to bring together stakeholder groups and organizations that can undertake actions and make decisions that can impact the dog world in beneficial ways. But I urge people to read and hear the messages in Ian's article - at both a group and individual level. As he says, echoing the wide focus of the 4th IDHW in Windsor, "The final element in making progress is engagement with breeders, owners and buyers. They are the primary groups whose behaviour needs to be influenced if the plans are to be implemented. There are others to engage with (e.g. vets, KC, researchers, judges) but taking action on both the supply and demand side of the dog population is essential." I am an impatient person... 10 years is too long to wait for an improvement! But I know how fast it goes. Get going on those good habits for dog health so that when Ian writes another article you can say, with great honesty: 'Yes sir! I am doing my bit!'
  8. Is COVID-time the Right Time to Kon Mari Your Genetic Testing Plans? a blog by Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi, MSc; Project Director of the IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) initiative. “People around the world have been drawn to this philosophy not only due to its effectiveness, but also because it places great importance on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking.” -Marie Kondo, Founder of the Kon Mari method. If you’ve already, like so many of us, used the Kon Mari de-cluttering method of “sparking joy” and being “mindful, introspective, and forward-looking” in cleaning out your garage, re-organizing your closets, and finally hanging those shelves, then it is no surprise you might be feeling like your breeding plans could do with a little refresh and reorganize. Sometimes in life, it is really valuable to assess our habits and old ways to see if they still “spark joy” or in this case, are still working effectively to achieve breeding goals. With many breeder organizations encouraging caution when planning litters, or recommending delaying mating plans, (click here) this could be the perfect time to reflect on dog breeding, and be mindful, introspective, and forward-looking with genetic testing! Being Mindful: Identifying what you want to achieve with genetic testing is critical in ensuring that the tests you use are fit for your purpose, and that you are making informed breeding decisions. There are a number of potential goals: confirming a litter’s parentage, using disease/trait test results to guide breeding plans to reduce risks or promote desirable characteristics, or providing a genetic permanent identification for your breeding dogs or puppies. Genetic tests fall into a few different types. For breeders, you might mainly be interested in parentage testing (providing confirmation of a puppy’s parents), permanent identification (a panel of markers that provide a unique genetic “fingerprint” that cannot be removed), and disease/trait tests (individual tests, or packages of tests that give risk or inheritance information on a wide-variety of inherited diseases and traits, such as coat type or color.) There are also genetic tests that are diagnostic or used to assess clinical risks, and increasingly, tests that investigate breed diversity or breed determination. What types of tests you use is determined by what your goals are – it is easy to confuse testing options, and you don’t want to order a parentage test thinking you’re getting a permanent ID, or health information. If you have a number of goals, many genetic test providers offer packages of tests, or reduced costs when purchasing multiple tests and test-types. When choosing disease or trait tests for your breed, you can start by searching the breed-specific tests listed on HGTD. The HGTD project has recently launched Breed Relevance Ratings (BRR) as a guide to what research and evidence (or not) supports available breed-specific tests. BRR uses a “traffic light” system to indicate what we currently know about a specific test for a specific breed. You can use this information in a number of ways, but it is useful when assessing how well-understood a specific disease test might be in your breed. These ratings are dynamic, and will change over time as more information becomes available. As HGTD also provides information on each disease/trait test, you can see the original research for many tests, and use this in conjunction with any information from your test providers to better interpret and understand test results. This is especially valuable when balancing a number of different test results in your dogs, with other breeding considerations. As more breed-specific tests become available, more dogs will of course have a variety low/medium and high-risk results. There is no such thing as a genetically “perfect” dog! We have recently heard from a number of kennel clubs who are either already starting to incorporate parentage testing and genetic permanent identification into their databases, or making plans for this in the future. It can be really reassuring to both breeders and pet homes to have genetic confirmation of parentage – and if you have a genetic permanent identification, it can’t get “lost”, be removed, or be changed. When choosing a parentage or ID test, look for ISAG accreditation to ensure that your test results are interpretable internationally. The ISAG panel used by many GTPs is considered a “gold standard.” They have recently released a new ISAG 2020 panel for SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) testing, in addition to the 2004, and 2006 STR (short-tandem repeat/microsatellite) panels. Once you’ve decided on your goals, and what test(s) you might want to achieve them, who is your best test provider? The Search by GTP/Lab option lets you review test providers, including what tests they offer, any accreditation, and special expertise they have. Many genetic test providers are able to perform and provide test results completely remotely and only require you to use a home kit to test your dogs. Keep in mind that during the COVID-19 pandemic that any tests that require a blood sample, or being sampled by a veterinary professional may not be recommended at this time. Other considerations for choosing a test provider might be which GTPs are “accepted” by your kennel club, what reports look like and any after-care, and what types of tests are offered. (click here) Genetic test providers are increasingly offering breed-specific “panel” tests, which can be really cost effective. It is worth checking to ensure the panel they are offering includes all the tests you’re interested in, or be ready to buy additional tests. In addition, it is recommended that if you are using a panel test, you take your time when reading breed-specific reports. Some panel test providers like to provide all results, irrespective if the test is yet known to be breed-relevant, and others prefer to report only results that are known or suspected to be relevant. Responsible genetic test providers have clear risk information in their reports, whichever style they use. There is a risk that making breeding decisions based on results from irrelevant tests (e.g. where the mutation in your breed has no known correlation with disease risk) could lead to an unnecessary reduction in genetic diversity, false-confidence in disease risk reduction, or welfare issues if a dog’s results are mis-interpreted as a diagnosis for a disease they will never have symptoms of. Introspective/Self-reflective: what to do when you get your test results? Unless you are only interested in parentage or permanent ID, you will almost certainly have more than one genetic disease/trait result to consider in your breeding plans. You will also have other aims outside of genetic testing such as conformation, behavior, and clinical test results, as well as, perhaps the health and longevity of dogs related to the breeding pair. There are many resources that can provide a wide-variety of breeding advice for your breed. (click here) It can be helpful to divide the genetic test information on the dam and sire into a number of categories – what test results do I have? Which are high, medium or low risk? Any that are no risk at all? And, with what I know about the disease test results, how important are they to the health and welfare of my dogs when balanced against other concerns in my breed? Part of what makes genetic tests such a valuable tool, is that you are able to make fairly confident decisions when it comes to paring dogs to reduce or eliminate disease risk, i.e. it may be strongest for rejecting certain pairings. In other words, after eliminating certain potential mates due to genetic incompatibility, you can go on to look at the pros/cons, benefits and risks of the options remaining. Even if genetic testing offers some solid information, do not get lulled into making false assumptions about the over-all suitability of mating pairs or the health of a dog or its progeny (see: Health tested does not mean healthy). Genetic testing is a core breeding tool, but breeders must not get complacent or allow the popularity, simplicity and ‘high science’ of using ‘DNA’ results to distract them from tackling the greater challenges of informed breeding decisions, e.g. prioritizing health, conformation or behavioral traits that don’t come with genetic tests. No one analytic tool or test can replace the broad knowledge and experience that is needed in order to adequately consider the big picture for breeding decisions. Take time to reflect back to your original goals, with your gained insight into the tests and results…“I want to eliminate this mutation from my breeding plans, but doing it slowly will be better for my breed as a whole” vs “this is a really rare disease with high welfare-impact, so trying to get it out of the breeding population quickly is important” vs “I have 20 important considerations, and this genetic test is only one of them.” This is a really useful way to keep your eye on the end-goals, use genetic tests to help hone your breeding plans, and focus your energy. Forward looking Genetic testing technology, including what tests are available and advances in interpretation and advice (as well as confusion!) are only going to increase over time. Most kennel and breed clubs are already including genetic test results in breed records to some extent , and as the genetic technology advances and becomes more accessible, the future is likely to include genetic testing as standard practice, especially when it comes to registration – with parentage testing, and/or health testing regulations. Being informed now will help you to be prepared for the future, and improve your breeding plans moving forward. As a final note, a key part of the Kon Mari method of organizing includes the concept of “thank you, and good bye.” This philosophy allows you to reflect on what worked in the past, be okay with it, and also say good bye to move onto better things for your future. This is the same in dog breeding – you might have tried something in the past that doesn’t work now, or you might have had something that worked okay but could be better. Or you may have old habits and attitudes that could be dropped. Say goodbye, and move on. Learn the lessons from the past experiences, but only take with you when moving into the future, what is right for you and your breeding strategies now and moving forward. References: Kondo, Marie. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
  9. National Kennel Clubs are major stakeholders in the governance and regulation of dog breeding. As such, they have been the targets of major criticism related to dog health issues. It is therefore interesting to investigate to what extent health and welfare is a priority for kennel clubs (KCs), and what are the capacities and actions implemented to deal with those issues. A survey was sent in 2017 to 40 KCs with 15 answers received from 11 European (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK) and 4 non-European countries (Australia, Mexico, Uruguay, and the USA) aimed at describing and comparing information across countries in dog breed health management (Wang et al. 2018). First, in order to determine the population of dogs under the responsibility of KC, the percentages of all dogs being registered as ‘pedigree’ dogs were estimated considering the 15 surveyed KCs, as well 35 other countries, using sources such as the FCI online statistics. Across countries, the average and median percentage of the entire dog population that were registered pedigree dogs, respectively was 20% and 14%. However, there was a large variation across countries, with European Nordic countries showing, in general, a larger proportion of pedigree dogs (see Figure 1). This aspect is of importance, since it is expected that the responsibility toward general dog health, as well as the capacity to improve the situation, relates to the proportion of dogs that are at least to some extent under the influence of the KCs. When asked about the current challenges, KCs ranked exaggerated morphological features and inherited disorders as the most important issues, showing those two problems are now clearly identified as priorities (Figure 2). By contrast, issues such as economic constraints to breeding were rarely viewed as problematic for dog breeding. Kennel clubs also commented on challenges related to the difficulty to find balance between increased regulation and the risk of losing members; to achieve consensus and compliance of breeders and clubs toward breed health strategies; as well as lack of capacity regarding information provision and education. Surveyed countries showed great diversity in terms of information management, implementation of breeding strategies, recommendations, requirement, restriction and tools. Most KCs indicated that information on genealogies, breed standards and dog shows were recorded in their data base for most, if not all breeds; however, health information (e.g. screening examinations, genetic tests) was more sparsely recorded and provided to the public, both for breeds within countries and across countries (Figure 3). For instance, KCs from Austria, Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the USA provided health information status on pedigrees and in online data bases, but in general, not all breeds were covered. When considering implementation of breeding strategies, six countries indicated that there were no breeding strategies implemented by any breed clubs, while in three countries (Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands) it was reported that each breed club had its breeding strategy. Several countries indicated that they were planning to develop breeding tools and provide health information to users, and for instance, France and Belgium reported having ongoing work to develop tools to provide online pedigree with health information or estimate breeding values for complex disorders such as hip dysplasia. Although limited by the relatively low number of countries considered, this survey showed that despite large differences in their approach to breeding policies and management, the awareness to improve breeding and health of pedigree dogs was strong among the surveyed Kennel Clubs. The dog breeding world is increasingly global in scope. The understanding of both the diversity of health initiatives and the potential for coordinated actions internationally is key to further efforts to promote dog health and welfare. There is probably still a lot of progress to be made in term of information provision and collection, as well as planning breeding strategies considering dog health. In particular, finding a consensus in terms of constraints and priorities for breeding, is expected to be particularly challenging for Kennel Clubs and breed clubs in order to implement those strategies. Although the situations differ across countries, exchanges of experiences may surely help to find the most adequate solutions toward improvement of health and welfare. Reference: Wang, S., Laloë, D., Missant, F. M., Malm, S., Lewis, T., Verrier, E., ... & Leroy, G. (2018). Breeding policies and management of pedigree dogs in 15 national kennel clubs. The Veterinary Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2018.02.018
  10. As many of you may know, there has been a lot of focus of health and welfare issues in brachycephalics and in the spring information about Pugs in the Netherlands. The situation of government regulations on dog breeding is a complex one, and without appropriate inclusion of all relevant stakeholders, we cannot be sure that the best interests of dogs will be served. Our partners the Dutch Kennel Club have been working intensely with various groups and have come out with their thoughtful and evidence-based recommendations in the attached breeding strategy document. Thanks to veterinarian Laura Roest for sending us this communication. Dear reader, Enclosed you find the translated proposal the Dutch Kennel Club ‘Raad van Beheer’ has sent to the Dutch Government. This is not a certified translation, but gives us the opportunity to inform the international community. Please feel free to ask questions regarding the document. In March 2019, the report “BREEDING BRACHYCEPHALIC DOGS*" was published in The Netherlands (in Dutch) with enforcement criteria for the breeding of brachycephalic dogs. These criteria were active from that day onwards. The Raad van Beheer concurs with almost all criteria and wishes to adapt them in its own regulations, in close collaboration with the involved breed clubs. The Raad van Beheer does not agree with the Craniofacial Ratio (CFR) as a prohibiting criterion for breeding. This criterion would make it impossible to breed certain breeds while the prognostic value and the reproducibility of the CFR are being questioned among scientists. The Raad van Beheer wants an exception for the regulated pedigree breeding, so these breeds can be bred in The Netherlands in a healthy form and with the effort to achieve a longer muzzle. We hope to receive soon a positive reaction on our proposal from our Government and we will keep the International Dog World posted! Kind regards, Laura Roest, DVM and Gabri Kolster Board Member Raad van Beheer Breeding Commission Dutch Kennel Club ‘Raad van Beheer’ Translated version: English... Breeding strategy brachycephalic dogs in the Netherlands.pdf Also see: background articles/resources: Stricter rules for breeding brachy dogs https://dogzine.eu/en/newsarticle/stricter-rules-breeding-brachy-dogs *FOKKEN MET KORTSNUITIGE HONDEN (Dutch) Fokken_met_kortsnuitige_honden_.pdf Utrecht University posted an article in January 2019... Criteria for breeding healthy short-nosed dogs https://www.uu.nl/en/background/criteria-for-breeding-healthy-short-nosed-dogs "New animal welfare criteria The report Fokken met kortsnuitige honden ["Breeding with short-nosed dogs"] by the Expertise Centre Genetics of Companion Animals outlines a limited number of enforcement criteria and describes numerous additional criteria that can further help vets and breeders to select for healthy parent animals. The report is available Dutch and has been translated into English and German." Internal English - eng_breeding_short-muzzled_dogs_in_the_netherlands_expertisecentre_genetics_of_companionanimals_2019_translation_from_dutch.pdf Internal German de_zuchten_mit_kurzschnauzigen_hunden_-_kriterien_zur_durchsetzing_-_ubersetzung_aus_dem_niederlandischen.pdf
  11. The 4th International Dog Health Workshop - follow-up... Presentations (Plenary Talks) from the workshop are available below and accessible in DogWellNet Downloads. Posters are available HERE. More presentations will be posted as they become available.
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    ON THE ORIGINS OF BREED TYPES BY MEANS OF HUMAN ACTION Slides from Peter Friedrich's plenary talk from the 4th IDHW, Windsor, 31 May 2019 Also see: Friedrich, Peter, 2018, Questionable Phenotypic Traits in the Rottweiler - which offers information on valuable breed traits, comments on the "Redesigned Rottweilers with extreme characteristics..." i.e. the impacts of trendiness supported by media and human motivations to possess special, extravagant and innovative dogs."
  13. Jerold S Bell DVM (jerold.bell@tufts.edu) Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University presented this article at the 2019 AKC Canine Health Foundation National Parent Club Canine Health Conference. The article has been reprinted here with the written permission of the author.
  14. I was honoured to again be invited to speak at the 2019 AKC Canine Health Foundation National Parent Club Canine Health Conference August 9-11 in St. Louis, Missouri. This is a great event that brings together breed club health committee members, other interested breeders, stellar researchers, and others from the dog community. There was a broad coverage of CHF sponsored research topics, as well as a definite focus on genetics and genetic testing, reflecting the continued need for information and support for the dog community on these issues. In addition to lectures, there were two panel discussions which allowed attendees to ask questions of the scientists. The first was on Saturday afternoon. I gave my talk on Sunday, and that session was also followed by a panel discussion. A pdf copy of my talk, with post-talk notes, is attached: BONNETT CHF Harmonization of Genetic Testing and Breed Specific Resources 11Aug2019_with notes.pdf As I note in this document, I heard a lot of frustration from those asking questions, and others who approached me over the weekend. As I said to all of them, "It is not surprising that you are confused and frustrated... the world of genetic testing IS confusing and frustrating!". Although many exciting developments in genetic research were presented over the weekend, and other talks focused on application of testing, there were few if any simple, yes/no, black and white answers. 'Genetics' underlies all life in our universe, is the basis of all evolution... it is not now, nor will it ever be, simple, uncomplicated and, perhaps, never really fully understood. Even while we are struggling to get a hold on the appropriate use of the many tests available for single-gene disorders, some researchers are moving ahead on diseases with a more complex inheritance. And even now the research world is moving more and more into whole-genome sequencing, which may be available at a reasonable price within a couple of years. And then what? We will know more and more about the genetic makeup of individuals and breeds. But will we have the detailed information needed on the meaning of all these results? The key information for properly integrating genetic testing into best breeding practices? Probably not. As is the current situation, the technology will likely advance faster that our ability to deal with it in a practical sense. And, for all the potential good, there are significant risks to applying tests in the face of insufficient clinical/population-based information. This same situation is also arising in human medicine; a topic I touched on in my recent talk at the American Veterinary Medical Association meeting. Leigh-Anne Clark from Clemson University gave a great talk on risk across the various combinations of a three genes associated with dermatomyositis - combinations which highlighted the added complexity of multi-gene disorders. (see abstract: pg. 68) Her work also showed the kind of explicit risk percentages that are needed to really understand the results from genetic testing. We recently posted on Facebook a link to a video of a previous talk Dr. Clark gave which is well worth viewing. Another recurring challenge brought up by attendees involved breed clubs' frustrations in communicating health strategies to their members and in achieving compliance with recommendations. I mention in my talks 'Decision making by Facebook'. Unfortunately, the latter drives a lot of the focus for many in kennel and breed clubs. Several clubs brought up instances where rare diseases, or diseases with unknown importance in their breed, were being pushed forward to have a genetic testing strategy, sometimes taking emphasis away from common, known, important conditions in the breed. Several of the experts recommended not basing testing strategies for such condition just because a test was available, but rather looking at the big picture of health in the breed. It became quite clear that many of breed club's frustrations stem not from a lack of research or information or having complex information, but on an inability to effect behaviour change in their members through traditional channels of education. This was a common theme at the IDHW as well and we brought in experts on Human Behaviour Change for Animals to educate us. I personally think that learning how to communicate more effectively is desperately needed. All these concerns and experiences underlie IPFD's work on improving and expanding the tools needed to deal with genetic testing and health strategies in breeds. See my talk from the CHF meeting for information on the latest work on the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD), a coming development, the Health Strategies Database for Dogs that will catalog all conditions in breeds (not just those for which there are genetic tests based on identified health issues from breed clubs, kennel clubs, and others worldwide. We are starting a project in Golden Retrievers as a prototype of our Get a GRIHP! tool to pull all relevant information together for a breed. It is so wonderful to meet with those people so passionate about health in their breeds. Thanks to AKC-CHF and all the attendees for a great experience.
  15. Many of our colleagues, collaborators, members and readers have a special interest in their own breed(s) and on DogWellNet.com we try to provide extensive breed-specific content. However, a key underlying tenet of IPFD and our platforms is that there is great deal of information and experience that is relevant across breeds, across activities and across regions. Therefore our emphasis on sharing. Thanks to Barbara Thiel who recently shared a presentation on Actual challenges in breeding show type Greyhounds by Dr. med. vet. Barbara Kessler, scientist at the Chair for Molecular Animal Breeding and Biotechnology Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Notwithstanding the title and the information on some Greyhound-specific diseases, much of this talk is about challenges of selection, inbreeding, and impact on diversity that applies to all breeds. Barbara Kessler has makes some strong statements based on her academic and personal experience. She lists, e.g. some autoimmune diseases associated with reduced genetic (sic) variability, including allergies, diabetes, and hypothyroidism - conditions seen, perhaps increasingly in some other breeds. There are great graphics provided by veterinarian Barbara Thiel highlighting the breeding separation of Greyhounds based on their activities. And Barbara Kessler contrasts the breeding approaches of 50 years ago to more recently. Some of the challenges they highlight exemplify discussions at the 4th International Dog Health Workshop on 'The Concept of Breeds and its Impact on Health'. This recalls to mind a discussion I observed at an international meeting of Springer Spaniel Clubs at the time of the World Dog Show in Sweden in 2008. There were passionate and conflicting claims that the breed was first and foremost a working/hunting breed or now a show breed; long time breeders and experts were adamant that it was a breed with strong working capabilities that was also beautiful - just as it was (i.e. without a long, silky coat or other adaptations to the show ring). I do not want to imply that any one approach is the only or right one. However, I can concur strongly with one of Kessler's messages, specifically that people who are applying strong selection, breeding rapidly and intensely for specific appearances, need to be very aware of the larger and longer-term consequences of that approach. These issues are fraught with emotion, attachment to certain ideals, and even well-established human behaviours. Many accuse anyone of providing this type of information as being anti-dog shows or anti-purebred dogs. However, in many cases those who are calling for awareness, change and addressing challenges head on are themselves passionate about these breeds and fully committed to their preservation, health and welfare. The talk goes on to an interesting and thought-provoking section on genetic diversity and I hope our working group on this topic from the 4th IDHW will find it useful. As stated in this box... we depend on breeders to 'keep their 'eye on the whole dog' ... but then it must be that - and not getting swayed into too much focus on appearance, extremes, the latest fashion. or what judges are awarding Let's keep the lines of communication open. It seems that many are taking increasingly extreme and opposing views on challenges in dog breeding and the world of pedigree dogs. Perhaps this stems from sincere and increasing concerns... whether it is veterinarians and researchers who are more worried about the health and welfare of the dogs ... or breeders and exhibitors and judges feeling that their pastimes, culture and even livelihoods are under attack. But regardless, confrontation is not likely to be best for the dogs or their humans. Thoughtful awareness of the impact of our actions; compassion more than judgement: and a willingness to listen are all good to consider. And let's keep sharing the wonderful material and resources from around the world. Original link: http://katrin-und-joachim.de/2019/07/24/actual-challenges-in-breeding-show-type-greyhounds/ "On occasion of the Finnish Greyhound Club Show, Dr Barbara Kessler was invited to talk about Greyhound health"... The Greyhound Show website: http://katrin-und-joachim.de Also see: DWN's Greyhound page
  16. Following on from my blog on the Seminar for the FBDCA we are thrilled to find that the French Bulldog Club of England has shared their Breed Health and Conservation Plan (BHCP). Link here; PDF attached, below. These plans are being assembled by the health team at The Kennel Club, until recently spearheaded by Katy Evans (now the Jane H. Booker Chair in Canine Genetics at The Seeing Eye in the USA). Similar to coverage in my talk (video link here), the focus is very broad in the BHCP and makes clear the challenges ahead for this breed, internationally. The BHCP incorporates statistics from Sweden and Britain, from our IPFD Partners Agria Pet Insurance/Agria Djurförsäkring and VetCompass. Work like the BHCPs in the UK, Breed-specific Breeding Strategies from Sweden (RAS) and Finland (JTO) and others will be incorporated into our new development, the IPFD Health Strategy Database for Dogs (HSDD) coming soon. Then we will be able to provide an interactive resource where 'all' health information can be accessed to inform the great efforts being made by groups throughout the world. Congrats and thanks to The KC and the French Bulldog Club of England. breed_health_and_conservation_plan_-_french_bulldog_final__1_.pdf Blog Disclaimer The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and represent the opinion of the author(s), and not that of the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD). This is not intended to be a substitute for professional, expert or veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, providers, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on, or linked to from this blog.
  17. Many national kennel clubs, other cynological organizations (e.g. breed clubs) have developed guidelines, approaches or programs to: describe and evaluate the health of specific breeds outline guidelines or regulations for screening tests or other assessments on potential breeding dogs raise awareness about issues in a given breed. These programs take different forms in different countries. In this section we will provide information on various approaches and programs and direct you to online resources. For general guidelines (not breed-specific) see also: country-specific General Breeding and Ethical Guidelines. Countries: Austria: Austrian Kennel Club - Response to Animal Welfare Legislation The Austrian Kennel Club ( Österreichische Kynologenverband - ÖKV ) initiated a project, "Konterqual", to address legislative concerns. Sharing work like this can help to inform other kennel clubs and countries dealing with similar issues. In addition to presenting the facts and outcomes, it is so helpful to be able to see the process, to follow what steps were taken. Personal experiences, what works, what doesn't ... all these help others. We look forward to further information from Austria on developments and outcomes of this program. Nordic Kennel Union: The Nordic Kennel Union is a cooperative organisation for the Kennel Clubs of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Below we list efforts made to address exaggerations in breeds through the NKU country's BSI. There are six basic criteria defining if a breed should be listed as a high profile breed. Breeds which fulfill these and are thus listed are particularly paid attention to at dog show judging by the judge. Sweden: Svenska Kennelklubben (The Swedish Kennel Club) Breed-Specific Breeding Strategy Program For Judges see: Breed Specific Instructions Initiative for Judges Special Breed Specific Instructions (BSI) regarding exaggerations in pedigree dogs: A health protective project initiated by the Swedish Kennel Club. Breed Specific Strategies BSI - Presentation DHW, Dortmund Germany - Göran Bodegård SKK "The BSI program has been routinely applied in Sweden from 2009 – and at present generated more than ten thousand reports. From 2012 the program is embraced and worked through by all the Nordic countries and the latest edition ( NKU BSI 2014) is founded on the compound experience in the Nordic countries regarding the identification of areas of risk in a selected number of high profile breeds during the last decade. The structure of the NKU BSI is thus actually an inventory which allows for a continuous follow up and dynamic revisions of the BSI." SKK Genetic Programmes "Genetic health programmes are one of the tools used by the SKK (the Swedish Kennel Club) to manage hereditary disease. The SKK implemented the use of screening programmes to improve health in Swedish dogs more than 30 years ago. The first programmes concerned hip dysplasia and hereditary eye diseases. More recently, programmes for other heritable conditions, such as elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation and heart disease have been developed. Health programmes are based on breed-specific needs and have been introduced on request from and in consultation with the breed clubs." Finland: Breed Specific Instructions (BSI): Finland 2015 The Finnish Kennel Club has published new Breed-Specific Instructions for dog show judges. The instructions were drafted with the purpose of steering dog show judges to pay closer attention to exaggerated breed types. The new instructions entered into force on 1 June 2015. The Finnish Kennel Club's breeding strategy applies to all breeds. It outlines the main principles and objectives in breeding, and aims to improve genetic health of dogs. Find out what the breeding strategy means in your breed Finnish Kennel Club: General Breeding Strategy The UK: The Kennel Club What the Kennel Club does for Dog Health The report encompasses much of the work undertaken in recent years and includes detailed sections on: How The Kennel Club promotes health through education Initiatives designed to improve health awareness in dog shows How The Kennel Club promotes and progresses scientific research How The Kennel Club encourages responsible breeding of healthy dogs. Breed Watch The info graphic below provides information. Also see: High Profile Breeds Veterinary Health Checks for Best of Breed winners. BREED HEALTH COORDINATORS September 2016 News -- What is the new project at The Kennel Club? Breed Health & Conservation Plan -- The Kennel Club To learn more about the Breed Health and Conservation Project see... BHCP PDF.pdf Kennel Club Launching Breed Health And Conservation Plans The Kennel Club is launching its Breed Health and Conservation Plans project, a dynamic new resource to support breed clubs and individual breeders. This exciting new project will use evidence-based criteria to help identify common breed specific health concerns. Breeders will be provided with information and breeding resources to help them improve the health of their puppies and breed. We at DWN look forward to learning more about the good work done by Dr. Katy Evans and Bonnie Wiles and the UK Breed Clubs! 15 December 2018 - VET RECORD... The UK: Being a breed health coordinator Liz Branscombe describes what the role is and how it can help improve breed health for pedigree dogs,,, Perspective as well as links to DBRG's and The Kennel Club's resources for owners, BHC's, researchers and veterinarians. https://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/…/vetr…/183/23/722.full.pdf "Breed Health Co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed." If you have a health related questions concerning a particular breed, we recommend contacting the Breed Health Co-ordinator through the your local Breed club, a list of which is available via the "Find a dog club" link on the Kennel Club's Breed Information Centre. TOOLKITS FOR BREED HEALTH COORDINATORS Website Content Toolkit Website Enhancement Toolkit BREED HEALTH IMPROVEMENT STRATEGY: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
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