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  1. This article highlights DogWellNet content and resources that can assist puppy buyers, new or existing owners, dog breeders, breed managers and veterinarians to answer basic questions that pertain to health, welfare, management and breeding of dogs. And to find link to international resources. Do you have a question about a breed - about a breed-specific health condition - about health screening or genetic tests? Are you looking for guidelines or example programs that can enhance practices that improve the quality of human and dog interactions? Through collaboration and working with our partners and breed experts we are continually compiling and collating information that may be helpful to you. Check into DogWellNet.com often... bookmark this page for a list of resources. DogWellNet.com - so much better than a Google search or social media post: Impartial, accurate, evidence-based data, information, and commentary from IPFD consultants and global experts In collaboration with our partners - kennel and breed clubs, academics, specialists and veterinarians; international resources The Big Picture - how the complexities of health, welfare, and human-animal interactions come together. For all dogs.
  2. Finnish report: An investigation would curb problems with dog breeding through monitoring criteria and ethical delegation As we have been reporting, there is a surge of regulatory efforts to address concerns about the health and welfare of pedigree dogs, especially brachycephalic breeds, in several countries. The potential impact on not only dog breeders and pedigree dog organizations, but also on dog owners and even veterinarians may be considerable, as well as on many stakeholders in the pet industry. It is apparent that some of these efforts are proceeding unilaterally rather than collaboratively, however, discussions about these issues have been ongoing for many years, without the change that many think is necessary. See, for example: Challenges for Pedigree Dogs: Regulatory Enforcement of Brachycephalic Dogs in the Netherlands; which includes links to responses from various other stakeholders and kennel clubs. The regulatory body (Finnish Food Authority) in Finland has published the Summary (below) on 02 Sep 2020. This is a brief overview of recommendations based on an investigation (separately reported see links to the original 89-page report and English translation, below). This report follows numerous other investigations and regulatory decisions being undertaken in various countries, prompted by concerns for dog health and welfare, especially, but not necessarily limited to, brachycephalic breeds. IPFD has been following and reporting on such developments, and where possible, adding links to actions being taken by national kennel clubs. The Finnish KC is an IPFD partner. Please see The Finnish KC's website for commentary on the Report at: KOIRIEN TERVEYTTÄ PITÄÄ PYSTYÄ EDISTÄMÄÄN TEHOKKAASTI KOKO SUOMEN KOIRAKANNASSA. (Finnish) Article Title, English Translation: IT MUST BE POSSIBLE TO PROMOTE THE HEALTH OF DOGS EFFECTIVELY IN THE WHOLE OF FINLAND. In her commentary, Kirsi Saino focuses on cooperation and "... emphasizes that health problems must be addressed in the entire dog population if sustainable results are to be achieved."
  3. Artificial Insemination in Dogs - Recent Information and Misinformation A recent post(s) on CRUFFA re: "Good news! Another step in law enforcement in the Netherlands. Standard artificial insemination is forbidden in the Netherlands for dogbreeding." is an inaccurate or, at best, incomplete description of the situation. Even if if were true, celebrating a total elimination of artificial insemination (A.I.) in dogs would be ill-advised and inappropriate. CRUFFA moderator Jemima Harrison wisely suggested that in her repsonse to the comments. We are in the process of tracking down the actual wording of the legislation and will post more information and links to better sources when they become available. I will also post a more comprehensive blog on both the major benefits and ethical concerns in the use of A.I. for dogs. For now suffice it to say: According to my sources, the legislation does not prevent all uses of insemination. Where there are good reasons - e.g., semen is from deceased dogs (hopefully with good health results and some degree of longevity), or imported semen used to improve genetic diversity, A.I. is allowed. Note again that I do not have the official language yet, but have good information that the main intent of this legislation in the Netherlands is to restrict the use of A.I. in breeds that are physically or conformationally unable to breed naturally. In the case cited, action has been taken against a French Bulldog (FBD) breeder. In general, and based on reports from breeders themselves, some (many?) FBD males cannot breed normally due to short backs (which arise from spinal abnormalities known to be common in the breed); females with similar conformation may be unable or uncomortable, for similar reasons. In cases like these, use of A.I. to allow reproduction in compromised dogs must be questioned from an ethical perspective. For more info on FBDs and health conditions see: Get a GRIHP! on French Bulldogs. Although the following link is also not from an official source, it seems somewhat better that the one in the post above: First dog breeder reprimanded for illegal artificial insemination. (Google translate returns an undestandable English version.) Please stay tuned to my blogs for further discussion of this important issue. In general, please: Avoid knee-jerk reactions to limited or inaccurate information. Try to embrace informed, rational, evidence-based discussions more so than emotionally-laced or confrontational conversations. Remember - 'decision-making by Facebook' will not solve the health and welfare issues in dogs! There are essentially no simple, yes-no, absolutes that apply across all breeds and all situations in the issues of dog health and welfare. And essentially all require a more balanced, multi-stakeholder approach to be effective. Please see our discussions on Reframing Current Challenges Around Pedigree Dogs: A Call for Respectful Dialogue, Collaboration, and Collective Actions. Let's work together for the dogs we love, and for the people who love dogs.
  4. Is "tough talk" or "open dialogue" - and why is it a challenge in the dog world? As often happens, the same topic comes up several times in a short space of time - and from different sources and angles. Someone asked me why do many kennel clubs not record or link any health information to pedigrees, when in most countries kennel clubs are under a mandate to not only register dogs, but also to protect the health of those for whom they are responsible? Explanations might include that pedigree people truly care for their dogs and breeds, and may have come to simply assume that because of that they must be acting in the animals' best interest... or, perhaps, they are rather afraid that might not be so, and they are not willing to face open, transparent statistics and information on health... or, it is too time-consuming and expensive. Notwithstanding, the priority for attention to health as part of the responsibility for registration is very evident among many of the IPFD Contributing Partner kennel clubs; but it is certainly not true of all national organizations or breed clubs. Today, Embark (one of our Sponsor Genetic Test Providers (GTP) in the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) posted on Facebook a quote from a panel discussion I participated in as part of their online Summit. Although it comes across as very direct, and might take people aback, it is really just factual. A couple weeks ago I posted a blog called Linebreeding vs. Inbreeding – Let’s be perfectly clear. That post sparked a lot of discussion on Facebook. And yet, the message was very basic. That is, linebreeding is a form of inbreeding and "Linebreeding/inbreeding - by definition - reduces genetic diversity. By how much depends on the closeness of mating pairs and the time/number of generations over which the process is repeated." Really, there should have been nothing surprising or shocking about that blog. But it seems, straight-talk, clear, fact- and evidence-based discussion, seems to startle some in the dog world. Of course, others find is refreshing and welcome it. Bodil Carlsson, in her blog Collie Friends, in Sweden, posted blogs recently with translations from our IPFD document: Reframing Current Challenges Around Pedigree Dogs A Call for Respectful Dialogue, Collaboration, and Collective Actions. In her discussion, she welcomes the 'straight talk' but is somewhat surprised to hear it from someone who is an official capacity in the dog world (i.e. the CEO of IPFD). She says (Google translation to English): "[Is it surprising] ... because plain language is uncommon in the dog world, especially from leading people: they tend to have too many interests to consider to speak out." That may be a very valid, but sad point - except I truly do not think it reflects us! IPFD prides itself on being impartial yet able to talk plainly and practically about issues in the dog world. Because we are an independent and multi-stakeholder organization, one of our great strengths is being able to address challenging issues from a Big Picture view - relatively unhampered by limited or member-focused priorities. Personally, there are many occasions when I endeavour to be somewhat diplomatic, compassionate, and aware of sensibilities. However, I try hard not to let that distract from evidence-based reality. Because, let's face it, dealing with the major issues about pedigree dogs and all dogs requires participation from all stakeholders. The challenges across groups - e.g. veterinary organizations, researchers, breeders, breed clubs, kennel clubs and other cynological organizations, the pet industry, regulators, owners, and society, in general - will not be solved by ignoring the fact that all those groups have a say in the overall health, well-being and welfare of dogs. This is why the Reframing document talks about the roles and responsibilities of people in all sectors and calls on all those who care for dogs to step up. Not just the extremists; not just the loudest voices on social media; but the vast majority (I hope) who represent a sort of 'middle'. For example, those who support the breeding of pedigree dogs - but want a clear indication that the health and longevity of purebred dogs is a priority for all those who breeding them. And those who represent breeds not (currently) highlighted as having health issues who must speak up and demand increased stewardship from those responsible for the most challenged breeds - because it matters - to all dogs. And, as I have said, all this, with a little less emotion and more evidence. As Bodil said in her blog - in response to a quote from the Reframing document about confrontational actions looking like protectionism - it looks like protectionism, because it is. Next steps? A few specific ideas... As others have suggested - read, ponder, discuss - your role and personal responsibility. (Note: The Collie Friends blog, on our Reframing doc is thought-provoking. In my google translation to English there is a term 'reindeer breeds' which I believe should be 'purebreds'.) Encourage open discussion among others - open and brave and realistic. If you are a pedigree breeder or member of a breed club - start making recommendations on how to prioritize health and longevity, and maintain genetic diversity (e.g. limit use of popular sires, use a wider and larger representation of the available breeding population, use tools for health testing, genetic testing, measure of breed health, etc.). And try to move people to prioritize health before appearance or winning in the show ring. Participate in work to further define the Big Picture of health in your breed - see our Get a GRIHP! program, do health surveys, share!! Support leadership in kennel clubs as they try to focus on programs for health - don't fight them. Speak up loudly in support to balance against those in opposition or who embrace avoidance and denial. Veterinarians - look for ways to support the breeding of healthy dogs, without mainly pointing fingers at others; collaborate with breeders, educate owners. Check our out Meet the Breed features in the Word Small Animal Association Bulletin. Legislators - look at the Big Picture, embrace collaboration rather than confrontation, look at the long term implications, not mainly actions that will be popular in the short term. See our presentation to APDAWG in the UK. Check out more ideas in our Think Globally, Act Locally - Promoting Open Dialogue and Collective Actions document that will continue to evolve with more ideas on moving forward - together. NEED INSPIRATION? There are individuals and clubs approaching health in a proactive way and embracing strategies for breed improvement. Find them! Participate. We highlight them in so many areas on dogwellnet.com including in Breed Specific Health Reports, and there are tools and templates to help. If you have something to share - let us know. And let me return the favour to Embark, with another quote from their Summit. I view this as sage advice from someone with great business acumen and a commitment to the health of dogs and dog populations. Is that tough talk? Maybe. Is such talk needed, for the benefit of dogs and dog people? Absolutely. Let's all keep doing everything we can - personally and collectively for these breeds and dogs who give us so much !!
  5. In This Issue: News & Highlights Reframing Current Challenges Around Pedigree Dogs A Call for Respectful Dialogue, Collaboration, and Collective Actions Make a Donation Stay Informed!
  6. At a time when we're rethinking almost everything in our lives, Your Pandemic Puppy will recalibrate your concept of puppy rearing and dog ownership. Author Marty Greer, DVM, JD is a member of the IPFD Board.
  7. IPFD is creating 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!' initiative, i.e. Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles.
  8. What are the Consequences of Inbreeding Dogs? Dr. Aaron J. Sams, Embark Senior Scientist The following lecture was given in February 2021 at Embark's Inaugural Canine Health Summit. More information on the Summit is available on DogWellNet. See: IPFD and the Canine Health Summit Feb 2021 by Embark Veterinary
  9. Here we provide resources and documentation that pertains to the use of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) in selection of dogs used for breeding.
  10. 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.
  11. In 2004, I got my PhD on the subject 'Breeding against hip and elbow dysplasia in dogs'. My conclusion was that it is possible to breed against these traits and that not much has happened though. The reason was that no systematic selection has in practice been made against these defects. Now, 11 years later, I am glad to see that Finnish breeders have managed to achieve genetic as well as phenotypic gain. St Bernards have also increased their lifespan, as their health has been improving. The Finnish Kennel Club started to estimate breeding values (EBVs) for hip and elbow dysplasia in 2002 for 11 breeds, and during the years, new breeds have been included. At the moment somewhat 55-60 breeds have EBVs for hip dysplasia. It is possible to achieve genetic gain if the breeding dogs are systematically chosen from the better half of the population. There is no need to breed only from animals from the very best hips; just those that are better than the breed average. Progress will be slower, but doing it this way helps maintain genetic diversity.
  12. See Brenda's Blog: Responsible Breeding and Sourcing of Dogs - Bonnett Swedish Vet Congress Oct 2020
  13. 2016 Breeding healthy dogs Professor Brenda Bonnett talks about the use of breed specific insurance statistics for breeders, breed clubs, veterinarians and other stake holders. Avl av friske hunder Professor Brenda Bonnett's foredrag om bruken av rasespesifikk forsikringsstatistikk i avlsarbeidet. Foredraget henvender seg til oppdrettere, raseklubber, veterinærer og andre interessenter. Also see: Breeds with summaries of Swedish KC, Finnish KC or Norwegian KC Breeding Strategies (RAS|JTO) Swedish insurance data 2006-2011 & 2011-2016 Breed profiles are available.
  14. Related content: Brenda's Blog: Genetic Diversity: The Big Picture and Challenging Issues https://dogwellnet.com/blogs/entry/146-genetic-diversity-the-big-picture-and-challenging-issues/ Speakers Dr. Kari Ekenstedt, a geneticist from Purdue University in Indiana and IPFD CEO Dr. Brenda Bonnett covered 'everything you need to know to understand genetic testing' in a clear, concise and entertaining series of talks. Interactive discussions with the many knowledgeable, committed attendees were interesting and thought-provoking. While you must always consider the individual health of each dog in your breeding program, you cannot neglect the population (breed-wide) health of your breed. In her presentation Dr. Bonnett explains why genetic testing is not a magic silver bullet, and how to incorporate it as part of your larger breeding program screening. Data on common/major disease issues is shared, along with a discussion of the perils of “decision-making by Facebook”, highlighting additional tools available from IPFD and DogWellNet.com
  15. Practical application of genetic testing for dogs; test results inform breeding decisions.
  16. Breed health managment schemes for breeders and owners present challenges. Genetic health programmes are one of the tools used by kennel clubs and breeders to manage and decrease the incidence of hereditary disease in dogs.
  17. Kennel Clubs provide resources to help educate breeders. Here we feature links to our Partner's breeder education tools and seminars.
  18. The Kennel Club Breeder Tools and Resources For those new to the world of purebred dog breeding, The Kennel Club has a resource called: Introduction to breeding which offers a list of practical considerations people should address before breeding a dog. This article also contains links to other informative Breeder Education resources and materials prepared by The Kennel Club to aid breeders in their management to further the objective of producing sound, healthy purebred dogs.
  19. Overview of Genetic Testing resources on DogWellNet.com. This is not a comprehensive listing - it is a starting point for finding relevant resources. Please visit the various areas of the site using the purple navigation bar and/or the Search function.
  20. Think Globally, Act Locally - Promoting Open Dialogue and Collective Actions Our world is better because we share it with dogs. Let's share responsibly! IPFD has published an article (and done a Press Release) entitled: Reframing Current Challenges Around Pedigree Dogs: A Call for Respectful Dialogue, Collaboration and Collective Actions (see more below). This article aims to build on the call to action in that publication, with further resources and suggestions on moving forward, and eventually to direct stakeholders to tools to help us pursue individual and collective actions. This will be a 'living document' as we add links and resources over time, including reporting on the efforts of others, globally. Our aim is to encourage open and respectful dialogue, collective and collaborative actions, and a global perspective on issues affecting the health and welfare of dogs, including the impact of human dog interactions, the culture of dogs, legislative approaches, and emerging challenges. The goal is to bring together all those individuals and organizations who believe that our world is better because we share it with dogs; who believe that pedigree dogs and all dogs deserve good health and welfare; that people involved with dogs have a responsibility to ensure the well-being of dogs whether they are involved as owners, breeders, veterinarians, legislators, in the pet industry or other; that the diversity of ways in which people interact with dogs varies internationally, and traditions and cultures should be respected, but never at the expense of basic dog health and welfare. We are stronger together. Everyone who wants a great future for dogs has a role to play. IPFD has a mission to bring people together for the good of dogs. Below you will find ways to participate and lots of information, links, resources, and tools. These will expand and evolve over time.
  21. Link to a talk by Dr. Bonnett and to further resources... For additional comments and resources: See Brenda's Blog... Responsible Breeding and Sourcing of Dogs - Bonnett Swedish Vet Congress Oct 2020
  22. Reframing Current Challenges Around Pedigree Dogs A Call for Respectful Dialogue, Collaboration, and Collective Actions For all those who want a sustainable future for healthy pedigree dogs. Author: Brenda N. Bonnett, DVM, PhD, CEO, International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) Note: This article is available in Nederlands, English, Suomeksi, Français, Deutsch, and Español (download below).
  23. Are outcrossing programmes supported by the Kennel Club? Here we feature Kennel Club materials on outcrossing and cross breeding.
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