What’s being done about: the high profile breeds?

In response to the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animal's 1995 appendix, the Kennel Club has over time made a number of changes to support health in dog showing. There are currently 14 breeds which are termed "high profile" breeds, which are being monitored for exaggerated physical characteristics that may cause, or lead to, pain or suffering. This article aims to provide an update on High Profile Breeds to Vet Practices.

What are the 12 breeds?

Currently: Basset Hound, German Shepherd Dog, Pug, Dogue de Bordeaux, Mastiff, Bulldog, Bloodhound, Chow Chow, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, St. Bernard and Shar-Pei.

Changes to the Breed standards

In 2009 the Dog Health Group reviewed all 210 breed standards, to ensure they contained no wording that could encourage the breeding of dogs with exaggerations detrimental to its health. Following widespread consultation, 78 of the breed standards were amended.

Working with the breed clubs

The Kennel Club always work closely with breed representatives to promote and develop health initiatives and in 2012, it appointed the role of High Profile Breed Coordinator, to provide specific support to High Profile Breed (HPB) health groups. Many HPB Breed clubs now run breed-specific health testing schemes with veterinary surgeons to collect and monitor health information and data on an on-going basis.


Events are regularly held for KC registered Judges, to provide information and support on existing and emerging visible health issues. High Profile Breed Education Day's are run each year for judges, vets and breeders to raise awareness of health initiatives undertaken by the HPBs. The events enable representatives from each breed to showcase improvements that had been made and to discuss their progress with each other.

Breed watch

In 2009 the Kennel Club launched Breed Watch, an online resource which outlines breed-specific visible health conditions and exaggerations, with the aim of assisting judges and breed clubs to monitor and address these issues. In 2014, Breed Watch underwent additional changes enabling Judges at Championship dog shows to report visible health conditions or exaggerations seen in the show ring. These changes will advance Breed Watch as an early warning system for emerging issues and become an additional method of monitoring health and breed progress.

High Profile Best of Breed Veterinary Checks

At Crufts 2012, the Kennel Club launched mandatory veterinary checks for all HPBs wishing to enter Group competitions at dog shows. These checks enable independent vets to check for visible conditions that may have resulted from exaggerated conformation. Any dogs that do not pass these checks are not awarded the highest accolades at dog shows, which it is hoped will be an additional step forward to discouraging the breeding of dogs with exaggerated conformation.

How can you be involved?

Veterinary professionals can help us to collect information on the progress of the HPBs by reporting any procedures that they carry out to correct defects that alter the natural conformation of a dog (see article in general news) or by contacting the Kennel Club about any thoughts or concerns you may have about specific breeds. For more information on the High Profile Breeds and how breeds can be removed from the HPB list please see the high profile breed removal criteria guidance.

Source: www.thekennelclub.org.uk



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