Sunday, 10 July 2011

New health test requirements for ABS breeders

Better late than never...eye testing now recommended for Neapolitan Mastiffs

The Kennel Club has recently added 29 new breed health test recommendations and requirements for dogs bred under the Accredited Breeder Scheme - and made some changes to some existing requirements/recommendations.

The list includes:

Add requirement – DNA test for PRA cord 1.

This good to see - and an indication of the Dachshund Breed Council's growing commitment to health. Now, let's just stop the weighing of the mini-dax at UK shows and introduce some other measure that does not encourage exhibitor to withhold food or water from their dogs to ensure they make the desired weight.

Add requirement – DNA test for GPRA-crd3.
Change from a requirement to a recommendation – eye testing.

Could any Glen breeders explain why eye testing has been downgraded to a recommendation rather than a requirement - especially when Peter Bedford states expressly on the Club website that "the presence of the [crd3] test does not mean that regular eye examination should stop...As a breed you have already developed the discipline of eye examination and you should continue to be certain that another problem does not become entrenched within the breed. Without the crd 3 test the Glen was in a mess, but the feeling of euphoria that the test`s advent has created should not allow common sense to be thrown out with the bathwater. Eye examination is essential to ensure that our delightful breed remains free from other potential ocular disease."

Add recommendation – hip scoring.
Add recommendation – eye testing.
Add recommendation – seek breed club advice on heart testing.

And about time too, is all I can say... And hopefully these tests will be mandatory before long for the Neapolitan. Only two NMs were hip-scored in the whole of the UK last year; only 36 have ever been hip-scored and the five-year breed mean is a whopping 45, meaning that many breeders are continuing to breed from untested stock that very likely have dreadful hips.  Mastino eyes are often poor, too (cherry eye/entropion/ectroprion) and heart problems are the reason for the very high number of young deaths in the breed.

Add recommendation – seek breed council advice on hemivertebrae checking.

Pug Breed Council? Absolutely no web presence as far as I can find, so not sure how anyone is supposed to check with them. And as for the UK Pug Dog Club - there is no mention there whatsoever of hemivertebrae - other than a tiny snippet of a legacy document that pops up if you do a search on the site for hemivertebrae. This indicates that the club used to advise that dogs with slipping patella, cleft palate, entropion, hip dysplasia and hemivertebra should not be bred from. Sadly, that advice has now been removed.

Add recommendation – eye testing.

This is added to hip-scoring (mandatory) and an existing recommendation to DNA test for PDP1. I note that the Clumber Spaniel Club says: "The results of KC/BVA eye tests for Clumber Spaniels are not published therefore the Club has established a voluntary database for the results".  And how many dogs are on that database? Nine. (Five of them from one kennel - Michelmess - who should be congratulated for their openness despite two of their dogs have less than perfect results).

Perhaps now that eye-testing is officially recommended for ABS breeders, the results will be listed on the KC Health Test Finder?

Add requirement – DNA test for PRA cord 1.
Add recommendation – DNA test for PFK.
Add recommendation – bitches under 20 months not to produce a litter.
Upgrade from a recommendation to a requirement – gonioscopy testing.
Upgrade from a recommendation to a requirement – DNA test for fucosidosis.

A sign of how health conscious Springer breeders are - or of the increasing number of health concerns in the breed? Or perhaps both? Any Springer owners want to comment?

Add requirement – DNA test for NCL.

Pleased to see this, knowing some of the back story of a pet owner of Tibetan Terriers who lobbied both the breed club and the Kennel Club to get this DNA test added as a requirement.

The updated list of all requirements and recommendations for the Accredited Breeder Scheme can be found at:


  1. Wow! The KC have a long way to go but its a start. Thank you for keeping us updated on this. I think they should all become requirements but maybe that will happen in the future.

  2. As an owner of working springers with a keen interest in their show counterparts and a vet I don't think the increase in requirements for springers indicates an increased level of disease. I am certainly not seeing dogs clinically affected by Fuco or PFKD (though I have my suspicions it is behind some of the dogs which collapse when working) and very few develop eye diseases. I hope the breed club is simply being sensible and pushing breeders towards best practice rather than waiting for a crisi to occur. Bravo! Sadly the working springer world is very much behind the show world and very few dogs are tested. Those of us who do test our working breeders fully are ridiculed on other forums by the field trial set. Sad really, I'd love the option of a health tested field trial champion to use on a bitch one day.

  3. Awesome....a good step in the right direction. I dearly wish AKC would do the same!!!!

  4. Well, remember that the dogs don't actually have to pass the tests, Janet...

    Does the AKC require any health-testing at all as a condition of registration? I thought they had something similar to the UK's Accredited Breeder Scheme?

  5. Not at all Jemima. AKC has NO health requirements of any kind of ANY breed for registration or for championship status or other titling.

    There are also NO husbandry safeguards. Breed a bitch every heat from six months of age until she drops dead, they'll happily register the progeny. And they have a special committee set up to court the puppymill business that they've lost to the newer papermills.

    When the AKC accomplishes a hostile takeover (they call it "recognized.") of a breed that has had a club registry with such requirements -- as has happened with, for example, the Leonberger and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel -- those who find health testing and breed surveys a nuisance standing between themselves and lucrative puppy sales and easy-peasy championships have a bonanza.

    The original, legitimate breed club and its health and welfare safeguards finds itself locked out because the FCI refuses to honor their registrations once the AKC has claimed the breed. So if the bulk of the gene pool is in Europe, owners are forced to decide between maintaining their standards in isolation (slow death by gene-pool throttling) or watching their health safeguards thrown in the crapper.

  6. The AKC is a paper mill registry that has claimed for itself the title "the dog's champion."

    It has claimed responsibility for many things, yet it does not step up to the plate.

    And when it gets called out on it, it will release a statement that it's just a registry.

    Well, there are plenty of "just registries" in the United States, some of which are nothing more than openly-promoted puppy mill paper mills.

    Of course, the AKC is also quite in bed with the mass production industry.

    That's not something it wants known either.

    1. From what I keep reading the AKC is going bankrupt so I wouldnt expect any changes coming from them.

  7. Regarding the Glen of Imaal: Glen people have already enquired as to where the "new" ABS requirement came from?

  8. A requirement to 'pass' tests to breed is a difficult issue. Carriers of all DNA tested diseases, and even DNA affected dogs in a non fatal disease can all be valuable to a breeding programme; especially in a breed with a restricted gene pool. Buyers must not be afraid to buy carrier puppies; these dogs won't get ill themselves. Even in hip scores we don't have a pass/fail system and there may be good reason to breed from a dog with a slightly higher than average score, especially in a low scoring breed. Breeders just need to be able to justify all aspects of their breeding programme and be honest with buyers.

  9. Regarding the Glen of Imaal Terrier ABS Requirement for DNA testing for GPRA-crd3 from 1st July 2011
    Glen breeders and owners are pleased that DNA testing has been given the ABS status of Requirement.
    I think Liz meant to say that enquiries have been made by Glen people regarding the downgrading of eye testing from Requirement to Recommendation.

  10. "Does the AKC require any health-testing at all as a condition of registration? I thought they had something similar to the UK's Accredited Breeder Scheme? "

    No, they do not. Nor can a dog that is deemed affected by any condition be barred from breeding, nor is an affected dog required to state they are so publicly through OFFA. Most breed clubs here do not require health testing as part of their code of ethics either. It's all pretty disgusting.

    The new Breeder of Merit program does ask that recommended health checks are done but I have no idea the compliance rate with that request or if ongoing compliance is ever checked. Far more important to AKC is a 100% registration rate and a participation in dog show events to combat their failing business model.

  11. I am not a breeder just a concerned pedigree dog owner (Tibetan Terriers). I read this blog and through health issues and comments on Dog World.

    Although there is still a long way to go within some breeds, how does the KC and UK breed clubs stack up against other countries? From what is said here, we appear to be well ahead of the Americans.

    Please don't think this comment in anyway represents an opinion of complacency. They are mans best friend and we have a duty of care for them.

  12. Hi Geoff,
    I cannot speak for other breeds but here's an interesting comparison when it comes to health info, research info etc.

  13. In answer to Vicky on 10th July who says she has an interest in the show side the English Springers, unfortunatey I have to tell you that there is eye disease in the show type. I bought a bitch in and bred from her (this is six and a half years ago now) and I wasn't aware that she had goniodysgenesis. The gonioscopy was only on the B list of tests so was deemed not a 'must.' However, 4 out of the 7 puppies that she had either had goniodysgenesis or glaucoma one of which was a puppy I kept. The referral Vet took pictures of the back of the dam's eyes in case her breeder wanted verification and the Vet was quite qilling to talk to her about it. Needless to say the puppy I kept is still with me, but of course, there is no intention to breed from him (which is why I bred in the first place - I only breed when I am looking fro something myself). So yes the disease is there.

  14. The Non-Sporting Group includes dog breeds that don't seem to fit well in any other group. The name doesn't really fit the group and they would better named "Specialty Dogs" as the group includes some of the most interesting and exotic breeds.