The ANKC Ltd is actively addressing recent concerns raised on a review of breeding practices in Australia and would like to provide the following information.
- Australia differs considerably to the UK – we agree there are problems (just as there are in humans, cross bred dogs and other species) but are working hard to improve dog health and welfare across the board.
- We already have Disease Control Schemes running in a large number of breeds and have been doing so for long periods of time, with good results. We have cleared Copper Toxicosis from Bedlington Terriers, Fucocidosis in Springer Spaniels and Haemophilia A from the German Shepherd.
- We annually donate close to $100,000 collectively across Australia to Research into dog diseases and DNA Test Development.
- Breeders are heavily involved in testing dogs and assisting in research often by donating funds and samples.
- With regards to Inbreeding we are collaborating with the Sydney University Faculty of Veterinary Science investigating the status in Australia. We do not anticipate major problems in the numerically larger breeds, smaller breeds may have higher figures, however Australian breeders have a long history of importing new bloodlines, especially due to our geographical isolation.
- Breed Standards were promoted in the BBC Program as the "cause" of many genetic diseases – rarely is this true, many diseases are enzyme or organ based. Breed Standards are an outline guide and breeders and judges are urged to avoid exaggeration.
- Health Control Schemes – there is widespread use of health schemes in Australia by dog breeders – hips, elbows, eyes. The use of DNA Testing is expanding rapidly as tests become available. The ANKC has partnered with the AVA in CHEDS (Canine Hip and Elbow Scheme) and ACES (Australian Canine Eye Scheme). Some breeds have adopted LRL's (Litter Registration Limitations requiring parental screening for certain heritable diseases before a litter can be registered.
The ANKC Ltd and its Member Bodies are committed to the improvement of the Health and Welfare of Pedigree Dogs and where it is presented with scientifically based evidence of health problems in a breed it will consult with relevant experts to work towards a solution.