Helping dog breeders combat inherited diseases through understanding genetics.

Science and research | Breed standards | Accredited Breeder Scheme

What The Kennel Club is doing to further improve the health of pedigree dogs

The Kennel Club has been tireless in its quest to improve the health of pedigree dogs.

Science and research

  • Kennel Club Charitable Trust - In the last 10 years the Kennel Club Charitable Trust has given more than £1.7 million in health related grants to UK universities and research bodies, such as the Animal Health Trust. Much of this money has been used to help develop new health tests for inherited diseases, directly benefiting pedigree dogs.
  • Promoting health testing – Some examples of health testing schemes run by the Kennel Club are hip and elbow scoring, and the eye testing schemes. The Kennel Club publishes the results of these tests and during 2007 breeders spent £1.5 million on testing under these schemes. Since the scheme began breeders have spent over £20 million on hip scoring alone.
  • Working with breed clubs to eliminate canine diseases –The Kennel Club works closely with breed clubs in order to continue to improve the health of pedigree dogs. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, for example, has taken numerous steps - from heart testing in the 1980s to running seminars and supporting and funding research into disease – to help improve the health of the breed. For a full list and chronology of their work click here.
  • Supporting DNA tests - There are a range of DNA tests and health control schemes that now exist, thanks to advances in science and the work and support of the Kennel Club. For a current list of DNA tests and health control schemes click here. One example of this is the elimination of canine leucocyte adhesion deficiency (CLAD) in Irish and Red and White Setters that caused early death in puppies, which was eradicated through the concerted efforts of both the Kennel Club and Irish and Red and White Setter breeders.The Kennel Club is also working to improve the health of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels – a breed which was focused on in the documentary – by providing grants to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club - who have distributed funds to Royal Veterinary College, Cambridge University and Vet School and neurologist Claire Rushbridge- for research into syringomyelia. Another example of information omitted from the documentary.