A Good Breed Club

A breed club should see itself as the guardian of its breed for future generations.

It should be run by a committee whose priority is the health and welfare of the dogs and who themselves are role models for ethical breeding.

Added to the Kennel Club’s general code of ethics should be the breed clubs own rules for ethical breeding. A club’s committee should have the authority to first warn in writing, and then if necessary expel a member for breaking those rules.

A health sub committee should deal with genetic health matters and liaise with other clubs within the breed to draw up an overall health strategy. One person should be elected to liaise with the Kennel Club.

Clear health objectives should be drawn up with consideration to genetic diversity (including, if necessary, out crossing to a related breed); setting limits on the number of times any dog may be used for breeding; the elimination of exaggerated physical traits; prioritisation of genetic disorders and schemes to tackle these; enlisting a canine geneticist’s help and veterinary support; informing the Kennel Club promptly of emerging diseases and requesting official screening schemes or DNA tests.

There should be an open health registry on the club’s website so that all breeders know which dogs are or have been affected by a genetic disease. Results of health screening should also be openly displayed on the club’s website.

Openness and transparency should be the governing principles of breed clubs and to this end all Minutes of Committee meetings should be available to the ordinary membership.

Information about genetic health issues and any screening/testing schemes should be available on line and periodically be sent to members by post. Advice about breeding protocols to tackle a genetic health problem should be expressed simply and assertively with the expectation that the advice will be followed by all breed club members. This information should be regularly updated.

A breed health fund should be established sufficient to fund research into breed related health problems.

Pet owners should be welcomed into the club and their views respected, even though they are not part of the breeding and showing community.

Correspondence from pet owners regarding a dog which has a breed related disease should be dealt with promptly and sympathetically. It should be expected that a breed club member would refund in full the cost of the dog when purchased. Help with vet bills would be discretionary.

A breed club should conduct its own surveys into breed health and co-operate fully with research by supplying health certificates, DNA and pedigree information to researchers if required.

A breed club should be responsible for organising and funding expert seminars on breed related health issues and genetics, encouraging as many members as possible to attend.