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THE KENNEL CLUB BREED HEALTH PLAN
In November 2008, the Kennel Club (KC) wrote to all breed clubs (not just Basset Hound breed clubs) describing the difficult times being experienced and the need for real change to highlight the fact that we all care about the health of pedigree dogs. As part of these changes, the KC imposed a newly amended Code of Ethics across the board, to replace any existing codes of ethics. Any additional Clauses must be applied for and agreed by the KC.
The KC also stipulated that all Breed Clubs should establish a breed health committee as a requirement for ongoing health supervision by Kennel Club registered clubs. This requirement has been met in full by the formation of The Basset Hound Health Group. Prior to this time, for many years, each Club carried out its own programme of health studies and investigations.
The Health Plan also included a review of all Breed Standards to ensure that the guidance given within these Standards shows the way to the breeding and exhibition of healthy dogs. Happily, the KC saw that the Basset Hound Clubs were giving serious consideration to any amendments and therefore only minor changes were required to the Basset Hound standard. A new introductory paragraph that must now be applied to all breed standards is as follows:-
'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.'
The KC intends to examine genetic diversity. This matter will be addressed on a breed specific basis once detailed health plans have been issued and feedback has been received on the information provided regarding breed health issues.
The KC wants to ensure that the reporting of known and newly diagnosed conditions in dogs becomes the norm. This will involve regular heath surveys, preferably with no more than a three year gap, so that an up to date picture of the breed emerges in an ongoing manner. That way the breed will have immediate access to its current health status and will be able to act accordingly and in a responsible manner. The KC envisages that one of the important functions of the health group will be to collate and record this health information and feed their data into a central resource which will provide a facility to monitor health across the breed. To achieve this will mean regular health reports from individual breed health groups, presenting the health statistics that have been collected since their previous survey and report.
Their aim is to enable more immediate consultation between the KC, specialists and breed clubs if/when a newly emerging condition is discovered within the breed.