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  1. 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. About... 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. Dog health Official Health Examinations Finnish Kennel Club: General Breeding Strategy DWN article: Finnish Kennel Club: General Breeding Strategy The UK: The Kennel Club Links to The Kennel Club's resources were updated on 10-2-2020. What the Kennel Club does for Dog Health This older health PDF report health.pdfencompasses 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. Updated page links: 2020: breed-health-improvement-strategy-toolkit what-we-do-for-dog-health Breed Watch : The info graphic below provides Breed Watch information. Also see: High Profile Breeds Veterinary Health Checks for Best of Breed winners. BREED HEALTH COORDINATORS Breed Health & Conservation Plan -- The Kennel Club To learn more about the Breed Health and Conservation Project see... BHCP PDF.pdf 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.…/vetr…/183/23/722.full.pdf "Breed Health Coordinators 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 Coordinator through the your local Breed club, a list of which is available via the "the Kennel Club's Breeds A to Z TOOLKITS FOR BREED HEALTH COORDINATORS Website Content Toolkit Internal - pre -2020 pdf website_content_toolkit.pdf Website Enhancement Toolkit (internal - pre-2020 pdf website_enhancement_toolkit.pdf BREED HEALTH IMPROVEMENT STRATEGY: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE (internal - pre-2020 pdf) bhcbreedhealthimpstrat.pdf
  2. This article on Pugs is part of a series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare and breeding and to help develop Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for many breeds. See IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative There are many others doing great work to advance heath, well-being, and welfare in this wonderful breed. We reference and link to terrific work, developments, reports, and research from the UK, USA, Sweden, Finland, and more below. Thanks to all of those working on behalf of Pugs. This is a 'living document' - so if anyone has more material to share or point us to - please let us know!
  3. July 2021 - Meet – and consider Pugs – Update Your Knowledge! WSAVA Bulletin July 28, 2021 | WSAVA webpage article June 2021 - Meet the Black Russian Terrier – Update Your Knowledge! WSAVA Bulletin June 2, 2021 | WSAVA webpage article April 2021 - Meet the Bernese Mountain Dog WSAVA Bulletin April 21, 2021 | WSAVA webpage article Dog Breeds_ What you need to know - WSAVA April 21 2021.pdf March 2021 - Meet the breed - The Golden Retrievers – Update Your Knowledge! WSAVA Bulletin March 24, 2021 | WSAVA webpage article Dog Breeds_ What you need to know - WSAVA March 24 2021.pdf January 2021 - Meet the breed - Breed-specific information WSAVA Bulletin January 26, 2021 | WSAVA webpage article PDF: Dog Breeds_ What you need to know - WSAVA Jan 26 2021.pdf December 2020 - Meet the breed - Breed statistics for heart disease – clinicians’ perception of risk. WSAVA Bulletin December 8, 2020 | WSAVA webpage article PDF: WSAVA - December 8 2020 - dog-breeds-what-you-need-to-know-heart-disease.pdf November 2020 - Meet the Australian Shepherds – Not, in fact, Australian! WSAVA Bulletin Nov 11, 2020 | WSAVA webpage article PDF: Dog Breeds_ What you need to know about Australian Shepherds - WSAVA.pdf Also included in the 11 November WSAVA bulletin is an article profiling IPFD's Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD), entitled: Do you know what HGTD can do for you? October 2020 - Meet the Salukis – Few but fine! WSAVA Bulletin October 14, 2020 | WSAVA webpage article PDF: Dog Breeds - WSAVA - What you need to know September 2020 - Meet the French Bulldogs – an extreme conversation WSAVA Bulletin September 16, 2020 Direct link to IPFD article: Meet the French Bulldogs – an extreme conversation PDF: Dog Breeds_ What you need to know - WSAVA Sept 17.pdf August 2020 - Meet the Dachshund WSAVA Bulletin August 19, 2020 Direct link to IPFD article: Meet the Dachshund PDF: Dog Breeds_ What you need to know – WSAVA Aug 19.pdf In addition to the recurring IPFD feature, WSAVA profiled IPFD CEO Dr. Brenda Bonnett in their Meet a Member section of the WSAVA Bulletin. WSAVA Bulletin July 8, 2020: Meet a Member Direct link to article: Meet a WSAVA Partner - Dr. Brenda Bonnett PDF: Meet a WSAVA Partner.pdf July 2020 - Meet the Welsh Corgis WSAVA Bulletin July 22, 2020 Direct link to IPFD article: Meet the Welsh Corgis PDF: Dog Breeds_ What you need to know – WSAVA July 22.pdf June 2020 - Meet the Irish Wolfhound WSAVA Bulletin June 24, 2020 Direct link to IPFD article: 22 June 2020 - Meet the Irish Wolfhound PDF: Dog Breeds_ What you need to know – WSAVA.pdf Related Content on DogWellNet: Get a GRIHP on Australian Shepherds Get a GRIHP on Salukis Get a GRIHP on French Bulldogs Get a GRIHP! on Welsh Corgis Get a GRIHP! on Dachshunds Get a GRIHP! on Golden Retrievers IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative
  4. This article on Black Russian Terriers is part of a series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare and breeding and to help develop Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for many breeds. See IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative There are many others doing great work to advance heath, well-being, and welfare in this wonderful breed. We reference and link to terrific work, developments, reports, and research from the UK, USA, Sweden, Finland and more below. Thanks to all of those working on behalf of BRTs. This is a 'living document' - so if anyone has more material to share or point us to - please let us know!
  5. This Golden Retriever article has been compiled as part of the IPFD's series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare and breeding and to help develop Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for many breeds. The creation of this content has been supported by the Morris Animal Foundation. ♦ Read about the Morris Animal Foundation's Golden Retriever Lifetime Study – the largest prospective, longitudinal study in veterinary medicine in the United States.♦ See IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative. There are many others doing great work to advance heath, well-being, and welfare in this wonderful breed. We reference and link to terrific work, developments, reports, and research from the UK, USA, Sweden, Finland and more below. Thanks to all of those working on behalf of Goldens. This is a 'living document' - so if anyone has more material to share or point us to - please let us know!
  6. Get a GRIHP! on Welsh Corgis This article on Welsh Corgis is part of a series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare and breeding and to help develop Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for many breeds. See IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative.
  7. Get a GRIHP! on Australian Shepherds This article on Australian Shepherds is part of a series to highlight the Big Picture of health, welfare, and breeding and to help develop Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profiles (GRIHPs) for many breeds. See IPFD's Get a GRIHP! on Breed Health Initiative
  8. 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.
  9. "As one of the first countries to notice the clinical significance of hip dysplasia (HD) as a developmental disorder resulting in arthritis, active research, and actions to reduce its prevalence have now been performed in Sweden for more than 60 years." Swedish Experiences From 60 Years of Screening and Breeding Programs for Hip Dysplasia—Research, Success, and Challenges Hedhammar A (2020) Swedish Experiences From 60 Years of Screening and Breeding Programs for Hip Dysplasia—Research, Success, and Challenges. Front. Vet. Sci. 7:228. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00228 The results of the Swedish programs to address the severity and prevalence of HD speak for themselves - the dogs have benefited. "The successful reduction of HD in Swedish dogs since more than 60 years is well-illustrated in Figure 2." Snip from Figure 2 is shown below... Seems an interesting and sensible approach to tie-in information on cost benefit to management of orthopedic conditions. excerpt... "It was concluded that in screening and control programs, based on an open registry with access to family records, a cost-effective decrease in the prevalence of HD can be expected and is related to the selection of the breeding stock (11). The same positive effect was also proven for elbow arthrosis (12)."
  10. Epidemiology and clinical management of elbow joint disease in dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK excepts from the study... This study was conducted in the UK; it "shows that elbow joint disease is a relatively common diagnosis in dogs and has a high welfare impact. There are strong breed predispositions, in particular for large breed dogs." "The current study substantiated some previously reported breed-related variation in prevalence of elbow disease. The breeds with the highest prevalence were mainly large breeds and included Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd Dogs, and English Springer Spaniels." "The current study aimed to fill the information gap on the epidemiology of elbow joint disease by estimating the prevalence and incidence of elbow joint disease in dogs attending primary-care veterinary practice in the UK and evaluating breed as a risk factor for incident elbow joint disease. The study also aimed to report summary statistics on diagnostics, management and outcomes that can contribute to bench-marking for clinical audit and governance [34, 35]." For prospective buyers and owners: recognition that a "high proportion of cases recorded with pain, lameness and analgesic therapy. " Weight management and environmental factors as well as the genetic/heritable nature of orthopedic conditions should be considered. For Breeders: "These findings present a clear case for improved breeding programmes to reduce the burden of elbow joint disease in dogs." (See research below*) O’Neill, D.G., Brodbelt, D.C., Hodge, R. et al. Epidemiology and clinical management of elbow joint disease in dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK. Canine Genet Epidemiol 7, 1 (2020). * Frontiers | Effectiveness of Canine Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia Improvement Programs in Six UK Pedigree Breeds | Veterinary Science excerpts from the study... "This analysis of data from canine hip and elbow dysplasia screening schemes in the UK has demonstrated improvements in participation, phenotypic parameters and/or genetic trends for all breeds considered. Generally, greater progress was observed with respect to hip scores than elbow grades. The largest improvements in hip score data were observed in NEWF, which initially had the highest (poorest) scores. For some of the very popular breeds, for which hip dysplasia is a recognized problem (LR, GR, GSD), steady improvement was observed. In general, the changes observed in elbow grade parameters were less consistent and smaller although there were general increases detected in participation across breeds and an improving genetic trend was detected in five of the six breeds included. However, the genetic trend as determined by elbow grade EBVs was comparable with that for hip score in ROTT and exceeded it in BMD, perhaps revealing selection priorities of breeders." Citation: James HK, McDonnell F and Lewis TW (2020) Effectiveness of Canine Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia Improvement Programs in Six UK Pedigree Breeds. Front. Vet. Sci. 6:490. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2019.00490 Received: 02 October 2019; Accepted: 10 December 2019; Published: 15 January 2020.
  11. Understanding health issues and conditions in dogs is challenging, no matter whether the dog is purebred or of mixed heritage. An individual dog's health and quality of life are influenced by his/her genetic makeup and by the environment. Here we offer resources to assist breeders in making sound decisions about selection of dogs used for breeding.
  12. 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.
  13. The Big Picture - in the Dog World as a Whole and for your next Breeding Decision Note: This topic was prompted partly by IPFD's participation in the Canine Health Summit (videos available) put on by Embark Veterinary. See our Q&A article on breeding and genetics topics here. My last blog in 2020 was on the Big Picture in the dog world - it was about Reframing Discussions, globally. Based on our document...the blog describes a webinar and links to presentations discussing all the stakeholders in dog health and welfare and their individual and collective responsibilities. IPFD's great friend and collaborator, Ian Seath has started 2021 also looking at the Big Picture - and the consequences of ignoring it. 2021: Time to see the bigger picture – my January “Best of Health” article - please, read it! Ian gives great examples from the world of dogs and parallels with the Covid situation. I'd like to focus on his comments on health testing, i.e. that a narrow focus on available DNA tests without careful consideration of other health concerns in the breed or line, getting hung up on one mutation and overusing 'clear' sires, and falling in with the marketing ploy that doing all sort of tests is evidence that you are a 'good breeder' are not best practices for breeders. I have just published another blog entitled 'Inbreeding vs. Linebreeding: Let's be Perfectly Clear' where I discuss that topic in the context of the 'art and science' of dog breeding. I worry that not only have many people strayed from an adequate focus on the Big Picture, they may have also dropped common sense as a key component of decision making. Why do people struggle with really embracing the Big Picture or bringing the broader context into decision-making? Do people shut down when presented with complex problems? Can they just not be bothered to think that hard? Are they pressed for time? Maybe it is 'yes' to all of these. But sometimes it is because they just want to do what they want to do and not be faced with a wider responsibility. For example, when legislators come out with dramatic regulations that do not take into account the full situation and are therefore unlikely to fix the real problem and/or likely to have unintended consequences - was it really an oversight or an accident? Or are they mainly focused on an immediate impact and not concerned with long term effectiveness? Do they admit this - at least to themselves? When breeders focus on simple solutions - does that reflect a lack of understanding or is it wishful thinking? For example, wouldn't it be great if just doing DNA tests would discharge their responsibility as a 'good breeder'? Everyone seems to be looking for a silver bullet, simple instructions, black and white do's and don'ts when, in fact, we all know that health, reproduction, mating of dogs, long-term breeding strategies, etc. involve many aspects of humans, animals, biology, genetics...and the one thing it is not and never will be is SIMPLE! And when things go wrong, it hurts people, dogs, and the dog world. One of the issues raised in the webinar on Reframing Discussions is that even within stakeholder groups there is a wide spectrum of individuals and attitudes, beliefs and actions. And that variability is magnified across countries and cultures. It is often difficult for those with a passionate commitment to their own hobby, lifestyle, and relationship with animals to understand and accept the views of others. Consciously or unconsciously. And this leads to judgmental behaviour and rifts. Although it is often a challenge, I try hard to be non-judgmental. It is very clear to me that how dogs and dog breeding is approached, embraced, and regulated even within the show world is very different across regions, e.g., the USA vs. Sweden. I can understand and accept that some have a passionate commitment that dogs are sentient beings with rights (almost) equal to humans while at the same time there are others who 'love dogs' and yet see them as property. That is just the way it is. There is not - and never will be - one ideal for dog breeding; no one definition of best practices. What frustrates me most, however, is when people say one thing, and do something different. Particularly, when their action or inaction leads to suffering - theirs, that of those who buy their puppies, and especially of the dogs themselves. As the popular saying goes, paraphrased, you cannot keep doing things the same way and expect a different outcome. You cannot do linebreeding and increase genetic diversity. It is extremely unlikely that you can make breeding decisions to maximize the likelihood of a win in the show ring and achieve optimal health and longevity in all your dogs, or the breed. You cannot breed dogs with extreme conformation and think their health and welfare will not be affected. As I talk about in the blog on inbreeding, what I hope for is for people to be perfectly clear. It is obvious that individuals and groups, to varying levels across and within countries or within breeds, have come to accept the impacts - for better and worse - that have happened due to selective breeding. Perhaps most feel that the good outweighs the harm, driven by their underlying attitudes and beliefs. Regardless, they accept the situation, they live with it, they may celebrate the good and lament the not so good. Some do not accept it and drop out of breeding or showing. Others may come in to the sport simply accepting the way it is, that challenges are 'normal for the breed'. When I ask breeders to be 'perfectly clear' I am asking them to look at the Big Picture, and really evaluate where they are in it. To be aware of how they function, how they make decisions, and be realistic about the outcomes. Accept that, in the main, barring unfortunate accidents, what you see in your breeds is what people wanted/prioritized in breeding. If you and your club say you want longer-lived dogs with less cancer and that is not happening - it likely means people are not truly prioritizing those goals. Just to be clear. And of course, this is directed at breeders mainly associated with the dog exhibition world. And we are increasingly aware that in many countries, that group produces a minority of the dogs that end up in pet homes. However, challenges in that regard do not release anyone in the 'Fancy' or show world from their responsibility to their dogs, their breeds and dogs in general. Leadership is needed - to benefit all dogs everywhere. There are not simply either good or bad breeders - there are multiple ways to classify those who produce and sell dogs. But for this and some other issues in dog health and welfare we will be more effective at implementing change if we accept that even if we cannot perfectly define 'best' we can probably identify better vs. questionable, and especially some unacceptable practices, attitudes, or characteristics. Then we can eliminate the latter, and promote the positives.
  14. Focus: Health issues in show dogs and what is being done about them - with specific examples of Swedish data With Westminster starting and Crufts coming soon, people will see many beautiful and healthy dogs in the ring. However, issues will be raised in the media about health problems in pedigreed dogs. Here are some things to think about.
  15. Salukis vary in type and the variation is desired and typical for the breed. The reason for the variation is the special place held by the Saluki in the Arab tradition and the immense size of the Middle East area where the Saluki has been used as a hound of the chase for thousands of years. Photo: Jessica Bolander,
  16. This article is for owners, breeders, breed club health managers and veterinarians. It covers some highlights of breed-specific heart conditions. Take home messages will be: Breed risks of general and specific conditions Health programs, pre-purchase and pre-breeding highlights/reminders Breed specific examples by country Cardiac disease, in many variations and forms, is frequently cited as being a condition of concern across different purebred dog breeds – and it is also a common clinical problem in dogs in general, including mixed breeds. Concern should not be surprising, given the likelihood for life-altering or fatal consequences of cardiac conditions. Clinical exams by primary care veterinary practitioners to detect the presence or absence of a heart condition are essential in management of dogs. Just as in the case of human heart defects/diseases, depending on the specific type, treatment protocols that can extend length and quality of life exist for management of some heart conditions in canines.
  17. Calling All Breed Experts! HGTD’s phenes database and breed relevancy ratings (BRR) are an important source of information for anyone engaged in dog health and breeding, through the harmonizing of scientific data from a wide-variety of experts, research publications, veterinary and genetics researcher contributions, and in-house expertise. Just as important, though, are the contributions from breed experts. Breed experts are individuals with significant knowledge of their breed or breeds. Breed experts are most often breed or kennel club members who work on health and breeding strategies, or veterinarians, researchers, or other dog health professionals who have an interest in a specific breed. Breed experts often provide vital first-hand experience of health issues, are the first to raise awareness about an emerging health concern (or improvement!), directly contribute to research, and give depth and context to the practicalities of dog owning and breeding. Are you a breed expert? HGTD (and IPFD, more generally) has benefited from our breed expert contributors, who have provided breed-specific guidance on diseases important to their breed(s), links to current ongoing research, and feedback on HGTD features that are most beneficial or in need of improvement. These contributions make HGTD unique by being a resource by and for the whole dog health community. Within the Phenes database of HGTD, in addition to the breed-specific researcher provided information, you can find examples where breed clubs have provided links to breeder resources, or highlighted breed-specific mutations - which are important to ensuring you get the right test for your breed. HGTD welcomes input from breed experts in a number of areas. If you’ve got some expertise you can share, help us improve by: Signing up as a Member of IPFD (it’s currently free, and you can access Members-only information) Reviewing the breed relevancy ratings for your breed. We base these ratings primarily on peer-reviewed research and health/veterinary expert input, but contributions from breed experts have helped us refine and add detail to relevance information. This is especially helpful for differences between countries/regions. Providing breed club information related to breed-specific tests and diseases – especially helpful are non-English versions for our world-wide users. Sending us questions! We feature questions related directly to genetic testing on this blog, and more general breeding for health questions in our Ask Aimee blog. Sharing IPFD and HGTD information and resources with your community If you have any contributions or questions, please email them to: Image: Artem Beliaikin via Pexels
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