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Mrs Deborah Thomas

As many of you are aware “pedigree dogs” were thrust into the limelight during 2009 maybe a little more than previous years with this in mind The Kennel club has sent out to all breed clubs and councils, the first stage of the health plan for their breed.


It was confirmed during the 2011 that I be duly elected as The Welsh and West of England Breed Health Representative. I personally as a breed heath representative consider it a necessity to health test all breeding stock before adding to the bullmastiff gene pool. I look forward to the day that all dogs are health tested and only those that pass and are proved fit for purpose be allowed to be used in any breeding program!


The kennel clubs plan will be based on three separate areas-the conformation of the breed, the prevalence of certain conditions and diseases within the breed and the diversity of the breeds gene pool.The Kennel Club Breed Standard have been reviewed to ensure that the guidance given therein leads to the breeding and exhibition of healthy dogs.

The revised standards will of necessity become fully effective in January 2009 as ‘Interim’ Breed Standards, pending further feedback in the first six months of 2009 from breed clubs and the veterinary profession. Thereafter the final versions will be published.In addition to any revisions, all standards will include the following introductory paragraph from January 2009:


A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.

In future it is the intention of the Kennel Club periodically to request feedback  from breed clubs and judges on ‘conditions or exaggerations’ which they consider may have the potential adversely to affect each breed. These will be considered and if thought significant and relevant will be published regularly as a further guide for judges and breeders.

Information regarding the presence and prevalence of certain diseases and conditions within each breed has also been included. This information has been obtained from three separate areas:

Once Clubs have had the chance to provide their views on the prioritisation of these conditions, final plans to tackle them will be developed by the Clubs and the Kennel Club.

The third part of the health plan is to examine genetic diversity. This matter will be addressed on a breed specific basis once the health plans have been issued and feedback has been received on the information provided regarding breed health issues.

All breed clubs are being asked to review the amendments to their Breed Standard and respond regarding any fundamental issues at this stage. The standards will come fully into force as ‘interim’ breed standards from the beginning of January but further comments will be accepted until the end of June 2009. Feedback on the health information is requested by the end of the month and every club is asked to nominate a health representative for the breed so here I am, I will endeavour to do my very best, interesting times lay ahead.