Dutch KC introduces tough new rules for Bulldogs

No sex please... I'm Dutch
Congratulations to the Dutch Kennel Club which has just introduced new breeding rules for Bulldogs that cover conformation, fitness and inbreeding.

Most notably, Bulldogs have to pass a fitness test before they are bred.

This is in contrast to the Kennel Club in the UK, the dog's country of origin. Here, there are no mandatory tests for the breed, not even under the KC's 'elite' Accredited Breeder Scheme. The KC merely suggests that Bulldogs undergo an assessment by a bulldog-friendly vet. As of April 2014, this assessment has a pass or fail - but KC registration of Bulldog pups is not dependent on it.

The Dutch KC's move is in response to loud calls calling for a ban on breeding Bulldogs in the Netherlands - loud enough to force the Dutch KC and Bulldog clubs there to act, or otherwise face losing the breed.

But whatever the reason, it's tentatively good news.

As of June 1st, the Dutch KC will only register Bulldog pups if the dam and sire have had a fitness test that requires all breeding Bulldogs to have walked 1km within 12 minutes and recovered from the exertion within a few minutes. (And yep, my dogs could walk 1km in two minutes and their heart-rate wouldn't budge... but still... it's something).

Other requirements for registration demand that the breeding stock:

• has a clear ECVO eye-test
• been judged conformationally suitable for breeding by a judge
• has had patellas tested (only grades 0, 1 + 2 allowed for breeding)
• been DNA tested for HUU
• has had a maximum of two C-sections (this is the same as the UK Kennel Club)

In addition, there is ban on not just first-degree relative matings, but half-sib and grandparent/grandchild matings, too. Also, no dog is allowed to sire more than 15 litters. The limit for bitches is three litters. This will help slow down the rate of gene loss in the breed.

The full guidelines can be found here

Prediction? The world is not going to end. 

1/7/14: edit to correct on number of C-sections allowed

French Bulldogs - from nose to... er...

Yep, no tail.. it's a clear risk for spinal/anal issues and yet Frenchies with no tails continue to be rewarded in the show-ring.

And so do those with no noses.. just look at this:

A dog with such stenotic nostrils should be penalised.  But what did this judge do at Windsor Championship Dog Show this weekend?

Breed specialist Jim Peach (Rosdyke)
Why, he gave the dog the Dog CC - and Best of Breed. Meet Ch Renuar New War Bonnet, one of the UK's current top Frenchies. Like many of the Frenchies at Windsor, he was not comfortable in the summer sun.

Last autumn, the Kennel Club announced that French Bulldogs were to be downgraded from a Category 3 breed (those that are subject to vet checks at champ shows) to a Category 2 breed which is not vet-checked.  (See blog here)

As I wrote at the time, this had nothing to do with the fact that Frenchie health had improved - it was some kind of misplaced reward for the French Bulldog Club appearing to be proactive on health issues. A Frenchie farce.

Because it's all about appearance for the Kennel Club. Always has been and always will be. And, really, it's not good enough.

Here are some more pix of the Frenchies at Windsor. The first three are of Geoff Corish's bitch Ch Boule and Onuba Zinderella at Sealaw who has featured on this blog before. Her noisy breathing was really evident at Windsor. Despite this, she still got placed - 4th in Open Bitch (a class of 10).

No tail

And the other end of the bitch above...what's with the flat skull?

Best Puppy- slightly better nostrils but struggling in the heat - Chelmbull Rumour Has It
And a reminder of what French Bulldogs used to look like before the show-ring got too great a hold of 'em.

They used to have tails, too.

If you feel as strongly about this as I do, please help keep the pressure on by emailing the following asking for stronger action. It makes a difference - it really does. 

• Kennel Club Chairman, Steve Dean - steve.dean@thekennelclub.org.uk
• KC Breed Health Co-Ordinator Penny Rankine-Parsons: honsecfbce@aol.com

I don't have an email for judge Jim Peach. But here's his snail-mail address:

Bankend Cottage
Boston Road
PE11 4NN

As ever, please keep it polite - it gives them less excuse to dismiss it.

Related posts

I say, I say, I say... your dog has no nose

French Bulldogs - an enviable life?

French Bulldogs Removed from KC's High Profile list

RVC opens new clinic for defective dogs

In today's most depressing dog news, the Royal Veterinary College announces it is to open a special clinic for brachycephalic dogs - like this Pug above who, despite being desperate to sleep, is standing in an effort to keep his head up and his airways open.

This of course, is considered "cute" in Pugland (and beyond) where those that breed, buy, register  and purport to love brachycephalic dogs remain stubbornly impervious to the suffering.

The RVC press release pulls no punches.
"This type of breed is one of the most popular pet choices in the UK, but the breeding of brachycephalic dogs has lead to a variety of health issues for the animals. These include problems with their bones and gait as well as eye, heart, ear (including hearing), skin, and breathing complications. 
"Brachycephalic dogs have a compressed skull in the front and in the back, which results in the soft tissues being crammed within and around the skull. In severe cases it can even appear the dog has no nose at all. 
"This means the animals are at especially high risk of developing respiratory problems such as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). The clinical signs include breathing difficulties, noises during respiration, ‘constant smiling’, overheating, gagging and choking. 
"But it isn’t just a dog’s breathing that is severely affected by the condition. The short skull also results in the dog’s skin folding over the front of the face, creating deep crevices which are a warm and moist environment that encourages growth of bacteria and yeasts. These bacteria can then attack the skin causing infection. 
"The flattening of the skull also causes the eye sockets to become shallow, meaning the eyeball protrudes significantly. Therefore the cornea is more exposed than usual, making it more likely to become dry, leading to ulceration or direct trauma. Other health issues can include heart problems, ear and hearing issues and complications with the animal’s bones and gait.

They should have added dental issues to the list too - this picture shows the internal consequence of breeding for a flat face: teeth overcrowding/misalignment that often results in painful infections.

But, of course, despite the litany of life-impairing health problems suffered by  Pugs, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pekes and others, nobody is doing a blind thing to stop it.

And let's be blunt here - these dogs' suffering is a marketing and income-flow opportunity for the veterinary profession.

I suggest if the RVC wants to feel good about this that it also needs to be issuing a  really strong statement saying that breeding dogs this defective is morally and ethically unsupportable.

Almost all vets will admit this privately.

Unfortunately,  neutering/de-barking has always been part and parcel of veterinary training.

The new RVC clinic for brachycephalic dogs opens its doors on July 1st.

PS: The video at the top is from this site.. scroll down to have a look at the comments...

Holler for UK Tollers

UK breed health survey for Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is now live.

This is a breed which has featured quite a bit on this blog - beautiful dogs with very little genetic diversity that often suffer from immune-mediated issues.

This survey  - open to all UK show dogs, working dogs and pet dogs whether KC-registered or not - is hugely important in terms of guiding the Toller's future.

Know anyone with a Toller? Please give 'em this link.

German Shepherds - have they seen the light?

My heart skipped a small beat this morning when David Payne (Videx GSD) sent me an article promising:
"An excellent article by a leading German SV Judge and Kormeister on German Shepherd Dog (GSD) Hind angulation and unsoundness."
Hurrah! They've realised the error of their ways!

I clicked on the link. There,  Leonhard Schweikert has written that the breed sufferes from "over typification, that is, over-angulation in the region of the hindquarter."

Yes, yes!

He went on: "Anyone who still do not wish to face this truth, is sinning, transgressing, against the working dog characteristics of our breed!"


He urged: "It is high time, that we faced this criticism and do not ignore it any further, or even dismiss it as the idle talk of some who criticise the German Shepherd with ill intent.


He even nicks a graphic of a horse that's done the rounds on the internet showing what happens if you give a horse a modern GSD show-line shape.


He then pulls out some recent GSD rear ends and illustrates the problem.

Oh, isn't this great?

And finally, Leonhard Schweikert gives us a picture of the dog that he thinks has the perfect angulation.


You can read the whole depressing thing here.

And then slightly cheer yourself up with this photograph - from a kennel in North Carolina breeding protection dogs.

Eye-popping billboards

Think this ad is OK?

How about now?

Pedigree Dogs Exposed - now on Facebook

Yep, what it says on the tin - a venue for others to contribute to the debate, too.

You can find us here:


Would have been pedigreedogsexposed.

But Facebook doesn't like the sex in the middle of that.

Cavaliers: too little, too late

I meant to include this with the post marking the death of Carol Fowler's Cavalier, Rosie.  So here it is. As the commentary says: from creation to ruination in less than 100 years.

The message has, I'm glad to say, got through to puppy buyers re this breed - KC registrations have halved since the film. 

There was a time, perhaps, when an international effort might have saved this breed. But not now. 

It is too late.

Why genetics and dog training?

I won’t lie to you. When I first started thinking about teaching genetics courses for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, I was mostly excited about the second class, which covers behavioral genetics of dogs. The first class was just something we had to do in order to get everyone up to speed on the basics of genetics, to have the information they needed to understand the second course.

But, of course, basic genetics is relevant to every day life with dogs and is interesting on its own. I don’t blog about genetics much, because I’m shoulders deep in highly technical stuff in my PhD program which is hard to communicate to people who aren’t equally immersed in the field. But when I stop to think, it’s not hard to come up with questions about dogs that you can’t answer without basic genetics.

  • In the past decade, new advances in technology have enabled the discoveries of more and more genes in both humans and dogs. These discoveries get reported in the popular press, such as the gene for small size in dogs (discovered in 2007). What exactly is a gene? What does it do? What does it mean to have different “versions” of a gene? It’s hard to understand these news tidbits if you don’t really get some of these basic concepts.
  • When you breed a lab and a poodle, you get a labradoodle with very predictable appearance. But if you breed two labradoodles, you can't predict what the puppies will look like. Some will look more like labs, others more like poodles. They're all the same genes, so why is one generation so different from another?
  • Why is blue merle color associated with deafness in dogs, so that if you breed two blue merles to each other, you're almost certainly going to have some deaf puppies? 
It’s easy to get caught up in the details of a field and forget that that’s not all there is. I’m trying to remember to get my nose out of the books (or PDFs of articles) once in a while and look around me.

(Genetics is beautiful and fascinating and I’m extremely lucky to have the chance to talk about it, through the lens of a shared love of dogs, in my upcoming classes with the APDT.)

LUA Dalmatians... still the Clubs resist

The Dalmatian Clubs in the UK have blocked an attempt to have the results of a key DNA test for the breed listed on Dalmatian pedigrees.

Four years ago, despite breed club opposition, the Kennel Club agreed to recognise LUA Dalmatians (those dogs that had at least one copy of a gene that ensures the normal production of uric acid). A year later, the AKC followed suit. It was a real victory for common sense.

The problem? 'Regular' Dalmatians don't have a normal copy of a gene that controls the production of uric acid. They only have a version that results in high uric levels which makes them very vulnerable to blockages/stones in the kidneys/urinary tract. These blockages can be painful and, at worst, life threatening.

The normal version of the gene (which exists in all other breeds) had been lost in Dalmatians somewhere along the line. But, in the late 1970s, American scientist and Dalmatian breeder Bob Schaible did an outcross to an English Pointer to restore the normal version of the gene to the breed. The LUA Dalmatians are descendants of this single outcross some 14/15 generations ago. Today, they are identical to any other Dalmatian, just blessed with a gene that prevents suffering from a significant problem in the rest of the breed.

But despite Kennel Club registration, and a growing acceptance within some in the breed, there is a diehard core of resistance in the upper echelons of the Dalmatian breed clubs. There are four in the UK and not a single one mentions the LUA Dalmatians on its website. There is also, very disappointingly, still mutterings ringside about 'mongrels' when LUA Dals enter the show-ring.

Recently,  LUA breeders Julie Evans and Dr Elizabeth Sampson wrote to to the Kennel Club to request that the uric acid status of the LUA Dalmatians be recorded on pedigrees.

The KC replied to say that for this to happen:

1) the DNA test had to be relevant to the breed
2) the Dalmatian Clubs had to agree

The first was a no-brainer. Litters from LUA parents can result in a mix of LUA and 'regular' pups, so LUA breeders always DNA test their pups to determine which ones carry the LUA gene - vital to ensure the onward survival of the gene in the breed.

So Evans and Sampson wrote to the Joint Dalmatian Clubs to ask for their agreement.

The response?

As you can see, it is an unequivocal no - plus they very rudely suggested that the LUA breeders find an alternative way to flog their pups.

But, of course, in doing so, it's clear that the Dalnosaurs know that LUA Dalmatians are more marketable.

Evans, Sampson and the other LUA Dal breeders all have waitings lists for their pups because the public, at least, recognise that they are healthier dogs.

For here's a thing: it isn't just that the LUA Dals don't form stones. There is a lower rate of deafness in the LUA dogs than in the rest of the breed - most likely because LUA Dal breeders will only breed from bilaterally hearing dogs with brown, not blue, eyes.

How about that?

Mission accomplished - a Pug with no muzzle at all

Click to enlarge

Spotted today... a pug puppy with a totally flat face - in fact (if you take away that nose roll) a concave face. Also note the discharge and tearing from the pup's eye, probably due to medial entropion -  a common-enough pug problem.

I have no idea of the provenance of this pup. Could be show-bred; could be pet-bred; could have come from a puppy farm. But it takes pretty determined selection to achieve something so unnatural; so terribly dysfunctional.

No one, anywhere, should be breeding dogs to look like this.  The person buying it should be ashamed of themselves, too.

And if you're struggling to find it as horrific as me, just think back to where it all started; of where a wolf's nose is in relation to its eyes.

Then look again at this Pug.

We did this.

And here's what it looks like from the inside - Pug on the left; a typical normal dog on the right. 

Ronnie Irving - voice of America? Voice of reason?

The prevailing view amongst the Fancy re the recent HBO Sports piece on purebred dogs was that it was a hatchet job. (Watch it here).

The AKC - so terrified of outside scrutiny that it filmed HBO interviewing its representatives - released out-takes which it claimed showed that HBO had twisted the interview but which in fact just showed the AKC reps looking shifty and unable to answer a direct question. (See that here).

Now former KC Chairman, who writes a column for Dog News in the US, has waded into the fray - but instead of bunkering down with the Fancy over those horrid media types with an agenda, Ronnie says the AKC must do more.

He writes:
"All of that rhetoric is just fine and is likely to impress those of the dog fancy who are already convinced that the anti purebred lobby is made of nothing but crazy animal righters. It is found to give a warm feeling to the fancy and is undoubtedly a very effective way of 'preaching to the converted' - that is to those of us who have already committed ourselves to taking part in the sport of purebred dogs and are already convinced that dog shows can be used as  positive lever for change in the interests of canine health and welfare. But does it pass muster with the rest of the world consisting of ordinary members of the general public or even with people who own dogs as pets?"
Ronnie goes on to not just accuse the AKC of rhetoric, but of complacency. He thinks the AKC is:

• wrong to have issued such a vehement statement against the introduction of vet-checks in the UK
• wrong to refuse to oversee the rewriting of breed breed standards that encourage exaggerations, and • wrong in doing nothing to remind judges of their duty to put up sound dogs.

Both the UK and the FCI have moved with the times, says Ronnie, and yet the AKC hasn't, leaving it very vulnerable to charges that it is not doing enough. The HBO piece he suggests, was a car wreck waiting to happen.

Read the whole thing here... it starts on Page 18 of Dog News - this edition of which boasts a cover picture which I reproduce here because it makes me laugh... as if a man proudly gazing off into the distance holding a ponced-up poodle called Pearl is somehow noble.

Related post: AKC sticks knife in - to itself