Kennel Club enhances Breed Watch

To continue to improve the health and welfare of pedigree dogs, the Kennel Club is enhancing the interactive service - Breed Watch - with a number of improvements.  These changes will ensure that the most accurate and up to date information about the visible health of every breed of dog can be recorded and analysed for the benefit of all dogs.

The vast majority of pedigree dog breeds are happy and healthy, but some breeds do have points of concern which are being addressed robustly by all those who care about dogs such as breeders, dog clubs and the veterinary profession.  The new Breed Watch service ensures that improvements in these points of concern can be recorded and emerging traits in all breeds can be monitored and researched before they become detrimental to the health and welfare of any breed.

The role of dog breed clubs and Kennel Club Judges is key to this process.  From 2014, all Judges at Championship Shows will have the opportunity to report on any visible conditions or exaggerations that they consider detrimental to the health and welfare of any breed. 

Kennel Club Secretary, Caroline Kisko, said "With the gathering of more information from judges and other sources the Kennel Club will be in a better position to understand the health of each breed and work with Judges, breeders and exhibitors to take preventative action with regard to new and emerging conditions. The Kennel Club considers it is important to provide breed representatives with the resources needed to protect and improve the health of their breed."

The new improvements to Breed Watch include changes in the requirements of Championship Dog Show Judges in reporting any visible signs of health and welfare issues. In 2014 it will be mandatory that judges at championship shows report to the Kennel Club their observations of any breeds with a specific categorisation on Breed Watch. Previously only judges of so called 'high profile breeds' were required to report on the health of dogs exhibited under them.  A new breed specific form will be sent by the Kennel Club to judges in advance of their appointments.  The judges' feedback will be monitored by the Dog Health Group.

A further, non-mandatory change has also been introduced for judges.  A simple, straightforward form will be provided in the back of each championship show judging book and all judges are encouraged to take this opportunity to record their expert observations and to be part of breed health monitoring for all breeds. Once the form is returned to the Kennel Club, these comments will also be monitored by the Dog Health Group.

Kathryn Symns, Executive of Canine Activities at the Kennel Club, commented. "With the introduction of new reporting systems, Judges are now at the heart of improving the visible health of pedigree dogs.   Whilst there are already a number of show regulations in place which give authority to withhold awards or suggest or request a dog be removed from the ring or in extreme circumstances to exclude a dog from the ring on the grounds of health and welfare; it is now within their gift to report on any emerging health or welfare issues they pick up on whilst judging."

Breed Watch also allows the Kennel Club to share a clear process to demonstrate how the visible health of breeds is monitored and how breeds are added and removed from Breed Watch.

The Kennel Club has produced a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to address a range of queries which judges, breed representatives and exhibitors might have, which can be found at

Alternatively you can log straight on to Breed Watch at

For general information about Breed Watch, please contact Aimee Llewellyn in the Kennel Club Health and Breeder Services Department at  For questions concerning how the changes affect exhibitors, judges or show managers please contact Charlotte McNamara in the Canine Activities Department at

Related Topics

Breed Watch
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