A document leaked to pedigreedogsexposed by an insider at the Kennel Club reveals that the KC plans to extend its register to provide ancestry data for all dogs, whether purebred or crossbreed.
The Kennel Club does, of course, already register crossbreed dogs on its Companion Dog Register, but this does not include pedigree data. This new move is the first step to a database which will allow people to track their dog's ancestry regardless of their dog's provenance.
The confidential report makes no bones about the likely opposition. "Many KC breeders feel very strongly that the KC should be the preserve of purebred dogs only," it says. "However, there is much to be gained from embracing responsibly-bred crossbreeds."
The report goes on to spell out the benefits:
- it is important that the Kennel Club is seen as a modern, inclusive organisation, representing all dogs.
- an increasing number of responsible cross-breeders produce health-tested puppies that deserve our support
- pedigree/health-test information for crossbreeds is of clear value to both breeders and buyers.
- an inclusive register detailing a dog's ancestry regardless of breed will be particularly useful in the outcross projects that are necessary in order for some breeds to survive.
- registering crossbreeds will provide an additional revenue stream for the Kennel Club
The report even discusses the possibility of recommending that the conformation show-ring is opened up to the more recognised crossbreeds such as the Labradoodle and Cavapoo - but admits this may be for the future.
A company search reveals that the Kennel Club registered the Kennel Crossbreed Club as a limited company on 20th August 2008, suggesting the move has been on the cards for some time. This might mean that crossbreed dogs will be KCC-registered rather than KC-registered - a small sop perhaps to the many breeders who will object to the KC legitimising crossbreeds. I would imagine over time, however, that this is a distinction that will be lost.
The report finishes by stressing that the announcement will need to be handled with tact and diplomacy to prevent alienating core breeders.
The move is not a complete surprise. During a chat with KC Chairman, Steve Dean, on the way back from the recent DogHealth Workshop in Germany, Professor Dean mentioned the desire of the Kennel Club to be "more inclusive".
But may I be the first to offer my congratulations to the Kennel Club for this forward-thinking initiative. It's a bold move and makes sense - not something I say very often about the KC.