Member News

All the latest news and press releases from the Australian National Kennel Council
    • 11th March 2022
    • Afghan Hound Survey Results

    • A survey was conducted by Dogs Australia last year to ascertain the feedback from all owners of registered Afghan Hounds in relation to the Minimum Breeding Age for Afghan Hound bitches being 24 months at the time of mating (unless a veterinary certificate is produced stating that for health reasons the bitch should be mated before 24 months).

      The response received indicated support.

      As this was an amendment to current regulations, the result of the survey was referred to the Dogs Australia Board of Directors for consideration at their February 2022 Special Board meeting where it was endorsed.

      As a consequence, the following new clause will be added to Regulations Part 6 – The Register & Registration which will be effective from 1 July 2022:

      8.16     Afghan Hound (Added 02/22 – 6.1. Effective 01/07/2022)

      The Minimum Breeding Age for Afghan bitches is 24 months at the time of mating (unless a veterinary certificate is produced stating that for health reasons the bitch should be mated before 24 months).

      Breeders of litters whelped on or after 1st June 2022 will be required to comply with the requirements as a prerequisite to registration of any litter on the ANKC Ltd Main Register. Litters which do not meet the above requirements will only be able to be placed on the Limited Register and will be flagged not to be upgraded.

       

      Tracey Barry
      Administrator
      11 March 2022

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    • 14th February 2022
    • Dogs Australia Statement: Breed Ban Response

    • Please click here to read the response from Dogs Australia to calls for some of Australia's most popular breeds to be banned.

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    • 07th February 2022
    • Dogs Australia Statement on Norwegian Government Breed Bans

    • Dogs Australia response in relation to recent court decision in Norway

      NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT BANS BREEDING OF BRITISH BULLDOGS AND CAVALIERS

      The recent court decision in Norway to ban the breeding of British Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, has resulted in debate and concern that a similar situation could occur in Australia. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), of which Dogs Australia is an Associate Member, has stated that: “The FCI community – which represents not less than 98 countries and thousands of breeders worldwide – truly hopes that the verdict would not provide a privileged position to the unregistered, backyard uncontrolled puppy farmers who perform their activity without making use of any of the available scientific methods aiming at improving the general health of dogs.”

      “To the contrary, registered breeders, with the assistance of responsible veterinarians, have been adopting quite an opposite approach for decades, getting very good results in terms of health.”

      These sentiments reflect the approach taken by Dogs Australia/ANKC over many years. In response to media inquiries, we have formulated the following statements.

      Do Dogs Australia currently hold any concerns over the breeding of 'flat-faced' dogs in Australia based on animal welfare?

      We have concerns for all breeds of dogs, flat-faced or not. All breeds should be bred with due care to inherited diseases, especially where there are proven methods of disease testing whereby the incidence of severe disease can be minimised. This equally applies to flat-faced breeds and is based on animal welfare. Dogs Australia Breeders of British Bulldogs and Cavaliers use health testing regimes that ensure that breeding stock are suitable for breeding, as Australia has a large gene pool of both breeds, and other brachycephalic (flat-face) breeds.

      What is Dogs Australia doing to improve the lives of dogs in Australia?

      Dogs Australia breeders are bound by a Code of Ethics on frequency of breeding (basically one litter per year), maximum number of litters in the bitch’s lifetime (6 with the average bitch having 3 litters or less) and health testing for recognised diseases.

      If breeds and their breeders operate outside of Dogs Australia control, there are usually no basic health testing requirements and no limits on frequency of breeding or litter numbers. The challenge in Australia is to sideline these breeders who do not address health and welfare in their breeding programs; their only motivation to breed is for a quick profitable sale. The health and heritable disease status of their breeding stock is not central to their business plan, many crossbreed to obtain exotic colours, which can introduce significant health problems into a breed. All breeders of dogs where heritable diseases have been identified should be compelled by legislation to conform to a breeding code of ethics as Dogs Australia breeders are.

      Would Dogs Australia back a call for banning breeds on welfare grounds?

      For several reasons, Dogs Australia do not see any need for breeding bans. This would not stop backyard breeders or puppy farmers, and where breeds have a large population, there is sufficient genetic variety to gradually breed away from diseases and structural abnormalities. Each breed has within it a very wide range of structure, temperament, and health components. For the sake of a few severely affected individuals, why should the whole breed have to be banned. Our approach is to address the major problems, consistently remove any adversely affected individuals from breeding programs, and the breed can change over time to an overall healthier breed. With a large gene pool and access to DNA and other regimes to ensure the health of breeding stock, it has been proven that responsible breeders can reduce the incidence of heritable diseases.

      Given the obvious 'line in the sand' approach taken by the Oslo District Court (which has the impact of significantly raising the profile of the welfare of certain breeds), in response to the concerns of Animal Protection Norway, where is the line for Dogs Australia on this issue?

      The Norwegian response is a basic full stop. This should have been a considered response as mentioned previously, targeting specific diseases or construction issues, and giving breeders time (5-10 years minimum to improve breed averages, preferably longer). Many breeders have spent lifetimes preserving these breeds and need to be allowed to gradually adapt as breeds take generations to change without causing further conditions to occur due to a sudden narrowing of the gene pool. Outcrossing is of limited value unless to correct a fixed disease or an extremely limited gene pool such as numerically restricted breeds. Dogs Australia is confident that observing of the Breeding Codes of Ethics and using international diagnostic programs will ensure that people who purchase any breed, including brachycephalic breeds, from Dogs Australia breeders can be assured of a healthy, long-lived puppy.

      Has enough been done in Australia – both about irresponsible and/or illegal breeders but also the actual welfare and health of breeds?

      Dogs Australia has no control over rogue puppy farmers or backyard breeders. The problem in Australia is that state and territory legislation only targets responsible breeders who can be easily identified. The illegal breeders advertise on the Internet and are usually only contactable by mobile phone, which makes it virtually impossible for the regulators to find them; and they ignore government requirements to obtain a Breeders Identification Number because they know that they are untraceable, which means that there is no pressure on them to observe health and welfare issues regarding their breeding stock. We have well developed health testing schemes for hips, elbows, hearts, eyes, and DNA breed specific testing for a wide range of diseases. Some of these tests are national requirements for all litters bred (LRL’s – litter registration limitations) where all parents much be health tested, as well as numerous additional health testing requirements within breed clubs.

      Is the Respiratory Function Grading Scheme a thing in Australia? Or something similar? Is it of use?

      Dogs Australia are licensed to the Kennel Club (UK) / Cambridge University Respiratory Function Grading Scheme. We have appointed Dr Arthur House, a Veterinarian Specialist in brachycephalic diseases to head the RFG Scheme in Australia; however, due to COVID restrictions in his home state, Victoria, the implementation has been delayed, but we expect to be underway shortly. There are pockets within several states where this testing is being done (unofficially at present). Dogs Australia would prefer the scheme to be official so the results are internationally acceptable. We feel this system is the best possible means of moving forwards in validating healthy breeding dogs within the brachycephalic breeds.

       

       

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    • 12th December 2021
    • The ANKC officially announces Dogs Australia today

    •  

      DOGS AUSTRALIA: NEW TRICKS FOR OLD BREEDS

      -- Educating and Creating Communities Enriched by Dogs --

      Today’s launch of the not-for-profit organisation, Dogs Australia coincides with a spike in dog ownership1 and an eagerness to find the most suitable breeds from ethical breeders.

      Dogs Australia is the new consumer face of the internationally recognised Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) and unites the expertise of an estimated 60,000 members2, including 11,000 registered breeders, 350 breed clubs and almost 500 sports for dogs clubs across all states and territories.

      “The launch of Dogs Australia draws on the strength and experience of all the state and territory-based member bodies to advocate for dog welfare and responsible dog ownership,” said Dogs Australia President, Hugh Gent, OAM.

      With a surge in dog ownership during lockdown and an alarming rise in online puppy scams, Dogs Australia is promoting the benefits of buying through its network of registered breeders.

      “Our registered breeders follow a strict code of ethics, conduct health and DNA tests, provide a certificate of pedigree and give the owner on-going support,” said Mr Gent. “Our breeders are passionate about finding the right homes for their dogs.”

      The rebranding of the 63-year-old ANKC includes the launch of a national education campaign in February to help potential dog owners find the most suitable breed to fit their family and lifestyle.

      The campaign includes a video series showcasing more than 180 breeds categorised into seven distinct groups:

      • Toys
      • Terriers
      • Gundogs
      • Hounds
      • Working Dogs
      • Utility
      • Non-Sporting

      “A dog is a big commitment. It should never be an impulse buy,” said Dogs Australia ambassador and veterinarian, Dr Rob Zammit. “We recommend people thoroughly research their dog choice and they can start with our online questionnaire to determine whether it’s the right time to buy a pup, which breed and breeder to choose.”

      Dogs Australia aims to safeguard the future of pedigree dogs through ethical breeding and canine health research while promoting conformation shows and sports for dogs that fulfil a breed’s natural instincts.

      For media enquiries:
      eckfactor, Julia Reynolds +61 (0)412 089 778 julia_reynolds@bigpond.com

    • Read more
    • 25th October 2021
    • ANKC Member Update

    • On Sunday October 24, the ANKC conducted an important update to its members detailing its plan to rebrand the public face of the Australian National Kennel Council to Dogs Australia and take a more proactive role in communicating to dog lovers nationally. The update also demonstrated the scale and strength of the combined member bodies across Australia. The purpose of the presentation was to brief members for feedback ahead of a public launch of Dogs Australia which will take place later this year. The official Dogs Australia launch date will be advised to members in the coming weeks. To find out more join the Bush Telegraphh by emailing your organisation name, key marketing contact email and mobile to bushtelegraph@ankc.org.au

      A replay recording of the update is available to watch below and a transcript can be viewed here.

      * Apologies were received from Mrs Carol Beckett (Dogs NT) who was unavailable for the record of this Member Update.

       

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    • 16th July 2021
    • Emerging Disease - EHRLICHIOSIS IN DOGS

    • Ehrlichiosis is a tick borne disease affecting primarily dogs. It is not transmitted from dog to dog, transmission only occurs through infected ticks, the main one being the brown dog tick.

      The brown dog tick is widespread throughout mainland Australia. No brown ticks have been found in Tasmania. While ticks are mostly coastal, they can be found further inland.

      Ehrlichiosis is the disease that is caused by a tick borne bacteria called Ehrlichia Canis. Once a dog has been bitten by an infected tick, there are 3 stages of infection: -

      1. Acute or early phase (3-4 weeks)
      2. A subclinical phase (months to years)
      3. Chronic or long term stage. (months to years)


      Symptoms include fever, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes, loss of appetite, discharge from the eyes and nose, weight loss, anaemia and bleeding disorders such as nosebleeds or bleeding under the skin that looks like small spots, patches or bruising.

      The severity of symptoms varies considerably between dogs. The incubation period is 1-3 weeks after the tick bite, but the chronic form may not manifest for months or years following infection. PCR and ELISA tests give the most accurate diagnosis along with comprehensive blood tests. Affected dogs require veterinary treatment and supportive care, the earlier this is diagnosed and treated the better. Usually these dogs are treated with tetracycline drugs for a minimum of 4 weeks, shorter treatment periods may result in subclinical carriers. Seronegative PCR tests will indicate if the infection has cleared.

      If not properly treated these dogs can and do die.

      Distribution

      This disease can be found worldwide, particularly in tropical and subtropical areas. Once the disease is in the brown dog tick population, it is very difficult to control. German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies are predisposed to develop more severe signs of disease with a worse prognosis (reduced cell-mediated immune response).

      In extremely rare cases, infected ticks may infect people, however the species of Ehrlichia that affects humans have not yet been detected in Australia.

      Ehrlichosis is a nationally notifiable disease and the Government is conducting surveillance testing of dogs, particularly in the far north of Western Australia, Northern Territory and far north Queensland. The Kimberly and Pilbara regions are two areas affected in WA, along with Katherine and Alice Springs in the NT.

      Dogs from affected areas are being monitored and their movement limited. Dogs moving from these areas could be required to be tested prior to movement and only travelling with healthy dogs that are on an effective tick control program.

      Prevention

      Maintain dogs on a tick control program – ensure you do not run over time before treating again, even 2-3 days late could cause issues.

      Avoid taking dogs into tick infected areas such as the bush and long grass, especially on coastal areas.

      Inspect you dogs for ticks daily for 5-6 days after being in tick infested areas.

      Travelling

      The most likely way this disease will spread is by the transport of dogs interstate. Dog exhibitors like to travel far and wide for shows, often interstate. We should all be vigilant with providing tick control measures and renewing these before we travel!

      Do not take dogs running along beaches, through the bush etc without adequate tick prevention. Be aware at some shows, the grounds may back onto bush, do not walk your dogs through these areas.

      Long Term

      We have to be aware that this disease will in all probability become far prevalent and widespread over the next 10 years. Tick prevention should become second nature especially when travelling.

        

      Dr Karen Hedberg BVSc
      ANKC Canine Health & Wellbeing Committee Chairperson
      16 July 2021

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    • 01st December 2020
    • How much for a puppy?

    • To the person who writes an email to simply ask the price.

      To the person who calls and after hearing a price surprisedly states: “I can buy a cheaper puppy elsewhere”.

      To the person who doesn’t care about papers because I want “just a pet”.

      No puppy is “just a pet”.

      Behind every pure bred dog is a BREEDER.

      We are using capital letters to differentiate a breeder from a pet factory or mill.

      A reputable breeder does not breed puppies without papers because that does not protect the integrity of the breed. Registration (papers) are records of lineage that document bloodline and allow one to research any possible health issues present in the lineage.

      When you tell a Breeder you don’t care about papers what you’re really telling them is you couldn’t care less about the health of the puppy, you just want the cheapest thing you can find!

      When you select to buy a puppy from a reputable and quality breeder, this breeder is responsible for the health of every puppy; both puppies they choose to keep themselves and every puppy they’ve sold for its lifetime.

      This breeder, will skip holidays, miss sleeping, and most of their personal house space has been turned into space for their dogs.

      The truly passionate breeder who loves what they breed, puts their whole heart and soul into it.

      Not only in puppies that are sold, but also in each client who owns a piece of their heart and now is a member of their extended family.

      This does not take into account any puppy/adult dog who might get sick or need extra help to thrive.

      Breeders worry about their babies after they leave and will take one back without question.

      A breeder will get their hands dirty, often covered in everything accompanied with birthing, because that’s what life is about...

      In the middle of birth and death is life.

      It’s the wheel that keeps turning.

      A breeder will do tests, echos, xrays, analysis, emergency c sections, vaccinations, register puppies and litters, research pedigrees, deworm, as well as microchip their puppies and get them evaluated by specialists.

      Last but by no means least, a breeder CHOOSES the family lucky enough to have one of their puppies. Yes, you read that right.

      A true breeder chooses who they sell to because they are not making money off the sale. There is no compensation that can offset the investment a Breeder has made so they need to be confident its the right fit. Many times saying more no’s then yes...

      A good Breeder will have different criteria for those wanting to carry on their bloodline, why?

      Because breeding is not a responsibility to ever be taken lightly, it’s a lifestyle choice set aside for ONLY the few devoted people willing to sacrifice.

      Because a dog is never “just a pet” it’s the Breeder’s legacy, a little boy’s best friend, a little girls protector, an elderly persons therapy, a member of the family, someone’s whole world!!!

       

      Written in part by: Sr. Eduardo Loredo Muller
      Translated into English by: Angel Sophia Nogga
      Modified for those who wish to use it.

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    • 25th November 2020
    • Turkish Shepherd Dog Survey Results

    • A survey was conducted by ANKC Ltd earlier this year to ascertain the feedback from any Member of a Canine Control affiliated with the ANKC Ltd and who was the owner of a registered Anatolian Shepherd Dog or Kangal Shepherd Dog to the following questions:

      1) Do you agree to the renaming from Anatolian Shepherd Dog to Kangal Shepherd Dog?
      2) Do you agree to the FCI Standard for FCI CACIB shows?
      3) Do you agree to an Australian Kangal Shepherd Dog Standard for non-CACIB shows?

      The response received indicated support.

      As this was an amendment to current regulations, the result of the survey was referred to the ANKC Board of Directors for consideration at their October 2020 Special Board meeting where it was resolved that the status quo remain where there will be two breeds with the Anatolian Shepherd Dog using the current Anatolian Shepherd Dog breed standard and the Kangal Shepherd Dog using the FCI Kangal Shepherd Dog breed standard and that owners may transfer the affected dogs from one breed to the other up until the 30 June 2021.

      The ANKC urges those owners who want to take advantage of the transfer moratorium to ensure that they are satisfied that the dogs they are moving to the Kangal Shepherd Dog Register comply with the requirements of the Kangal Shepherd Dog Standard.

      As a consequence, the following new clause will be added to Regulations Part 6 – The Register & Registration:

      6.2.4.9 Anatolian Shepherd Dog/Kangal Shepherd Dog

      The status quo will remain where there will be two breeds with the Anatolian Shepherd Dog using the current Anatolian Shepherd Dog breed standard and the Kangal Shepherd Dog using the FCI Kangal Shepherd Dog breed standard.  Owners may transfer the affected dogs from one breed to the other up until the 30 June 2021. (Added 10/20, 5.5)

       

       

      Tracey Barry
      Administrator
      24 November 2020

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    • 22nd May 2020
    • ANKC Statement regarding the status of the brachycephalic breeds in the Netherlands


    • ANKC Statement

      The Open letter from the President of the FCI, related to the status of the brachycephalic breeds in the Netherlands, has been widely viewed and applauded around the world, ANKC Ltd will be sending a message of support to the FCI and the Dutch Breeders, the statement will carry far greater weight if it has the declared support  of the breed clubs and National Breed Councils (where they exist) of the threatened breeds, Affenpinschers, Boston Terriers, British Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Griffon Bruxellois, Japanese Chin, King Charles Spaniels, Pugs, Pekingese and Shih Tzu.  Do not think that your breed is safe from this kind of Government Legislation, it may be at present, but who knows what may happen in coming years, some organisations whose objectives include prohibition of people owning animals, are gaining representation in State and Territory Governments and may reach the stage where they hold a balance of power and introduce restrictive breeding regulations, be assured that these political parties plus the RSPCA, AVA  and individual Veterinarians will be inspired by such statements as “in the future, breeders must demonstrate that brachycephalic dogs are proven free of conformation related problems” and “the core of the report is a set of criteria about the conformation. When one is exceeded, this will lead to a prohibition of breeding, regardless of the other criteria. The criteria describe exaggerated conformations, which are not desirable within the breeds”. Brachycephalic breeders in Australia must work to ensure that their breed cannot be targeted for exaggerated features, and be able to demonstrate that, where recognised health schemes are available for their, breed they have embraced them.

      For clubs to be included in the ANKC letter of support to the FCI and Dutch Breeders, please write to your Member Body or National Breed Councils so they can forward to the ANKC.

       

      Mr Hugh Gent OAM                                        Dr Karen Hedberg (BVSc) Sydney
      President & Chairman of the Board            Chairperson, ANKC Canine Health & Wellbeing Committee


      22 May 2020

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    • 11th May 2020
    • Pre 1987 British Bulldog Standard - Why did the ANKC amend it?

    • Pre 1987 British Bulldog Standard - Why did the ANKC amend it?

      Recently there has been a great deal of comment on Facebook, regarding the decision by the ANKC to amend the British Bulldog Breed Standard, much has been made of what was done, without any mention of why it was done, the ANKC Directors believe that both sides of the story need to be told.

      Until 1992, it was ANKC policy to adopt only The Kennel Club (England) Standards. Around 1987, the Kennel Club (England) urged all English Breed Clubs to revise their Standards, this was completed around 1994.

      Due to Breed Clubs and breeders/owners in Australia disagreeing with many of the revised Standards, the ANKC agreed to allow Breed Clubs and/or owners, where there were no breed clubs. to choose between the Pre-1987 Standard, the revised Kennel Club Standard, the FCI Standard or the Country of Origin/Development Standard. The process to choose one of the above standards, the Breed Clubs, and owners where there were no breed clubs were required to conduct a survey of all registered owners of each breed, these results were then ratified at the May 1998 ANKC Conference, arising from the surveys a number of breeds, including the British Bulldog opted to retain the Pre 1987 Standard.

      In the UK in 2008 the BBC aired a documentary “Pedigree Dogs Exposed”, it was a hard hitting expose of congenital defects in pedigree dogs, some of which were allegedly caused by poor breeding practices associated with exaggerations required in Breed Standards, one of the outcomes of the documentary was that during 2009 the Kennel Club held a comprehensive review, conducted in conjunction with a large body of experts, including vets, to ensure that they encouraged the breeding of healthy dogs. In this review every Breed Standard was rewritten to make it explicitly clear that the process of exaggerating features because they are seen to look good, when this at the expense of the dog's health, was not in any way acceptable.

      Following the UK review, a recommendation from the ANKC Breed Standards Committee, that the ANKC cancel the current ANKC Policy of allowing breeds to adopt the Pre 1897 Kennel Club (England) Standards, and for the ANKC to adopt the current standard from the Kennel Club (England) or from the Country of Origin/Development, was endorsed by the Delegates to the October 2009 Conference, however after submissions from Breed Councils, the 2010 Conference resolved that no action be taken to implement the action from the 2009 Conference in relation to the Pre 1987 Breed Standard.

      In 2009, “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” was broadcast in Australia as part of the ABC “Catalyst” Program, thanks to pre-work by the ANKC with the AVA and RSPCA, who were provided with information on health testing programs adopted by a large number of breeds, the impact was not as great as it had been in the UK, however a focus in the “Catalyst” program was on the British Bulldog, in particular the words in the Standard that required the head to be strikingly massive and large in proportion to the dog's size, and the skull to be very large - the larger the better, and that most British Bulldog Bitches were unable to whelp naturally due to the size of puppies heads. This was the start of concerted efforts by parties such as, the RSPCA, the AVA and the ABC the vehicle for prosecuting the case attacking brachycephalic breeders, without input from the National British Bulldog Breed Council (NBBC) , ANKC found great difficulty in counteracting the criticism of over exaggeration in the breed standard, when engaging with aggressive interviewers who were aware of the changes to the standard made by the Kennel Club (UK), and who could not understand why Australian British Bulldog Breeders would not follow the actions of the country that was considered the home of the British Bulldog and where it was developed.

      In a follow up article to “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” in the Sydney Morning Herald in December 2009, Assoc Professor Paul McGreevy from Sydney University commented that with many judges and breeders, asking them to change breed standards is like asking them to rob a granny.

      From this time forward the ANKC was continually under attack, by the AVA, RSPCA, ABC and Academics from the Faculty of Veterinary Science at Sydney University, and individual Veterinarians. The main objective of these campaigns was to get ANKC to modify words contained in the British Bulldog Breed Standard head and skull description, such as “the head strikingly massive and large in proportion to the dog's size, the face extremely short, the skull should be very large - the larger the better”.

      The crusade against breed standard exaggerations was ramped up in 2016, with the Australia wide release of the “Love is Blind” video, promoted as an animal health and welfare campaign between the Australian Veterinary Association and the RSPCA, to raise awareness of the problems caused by exaggerated physical features, such as brachycephaly, short limbs and excessive skin wrinkling, and calling for a fundamental shift in the way purebred dogs are selected and bred in Australia.

      After the “Love is Blind Campaign”, the call for change in breed standards was joined by Academics from Sydney University Veterinary Science Faculty, Professors Nicholas and McGreevy who challenged ANKC to respond to such media statements as:
      “In some cases, traits that are best regarded as defects, have actually been included in breed standards, e.g. brachycephaly in the British Bulldog. Breeders compete with one another to see how well they can produce phenotypes that conform to a written standard, including traits that have, at best, questionable welfare benefits. The British Bulldog is required to have a curved ‘roach’ back, it is therefore not surprising that British Bulldogs are sometimes born with twisted spines, i.e. hemivertebrae. For the British Bulldog, the skull should be very large, the larger the better’ (Pre-1987 Kennel Club, London). This is a breed in which, large foetal head size commonly leads to dystocia (difficulties in birthing)”.

      Professor Nicholas also wrote:
      “Of course, many of the members and governance personnel of Kennel Clubs are pedigree dog breeders. It is right therefore to pause and consider the extent to which welfare may have become subordinated to certain breed practices. It is not difficult to see how, after generations of owners have spent years focusing on the morphology of their dogs, some find it hard to see the proverbial wood for the trees. Breed standards can easily become entrenched in the minds of breeders, buyers and fanciers, as well as those (often interested parties) who are involved in the judging (and so promotion) of a breed and its ‘established’ characteristics”.
      Until 2014 the ANKC had been meeting, on a regular basis, with the RSPCA National Office regarding health issues in pedigree dogs, despite being presented with overwhelming evidence, that many breeds had introduced health screening programs to reduce the incidence of known inherited health conditions, the RSPCA would not back away from their position that ANKC should remove breeding exaggerations required in Breed Standards, including of course the British Bulldog, as this issue dominated every meeting and, as ANKC was unable to provide a logical answer as to why British Bulldog Breeders would not agree to Standard changes, we terminated the meetings.

      Faced with continuing criticism for indecision in addressing exaggerations in the British Bulldog Standard, and with no positive information to address the adverse commentary, the ANKC Directors felt that they had no alternative but to take action to resolve the situation.

      Subsequently, the ANKC wrote to the NBBC suggesting changes to modify the exaggerations in the head and skull description, the suggestions were rejected, later ANKC Directors were informed, by some British Bulldog owners, that they had not been consulted on the proposed changes to the head description.
      In December 2017 the Board wrote to the NBBC, expressing their disappointment at the decision not to endorse the head changes, and as a result asked them to provide a rationale, as to why, they should be allowed to retain the Pre-1987 Standard with the head and skull exaggerations that were the cause of continuing censure, in April 2018 the Council replied with a series of statements, which the Board did not consider provided a rationale that could support the retention of the Pre 1987 Standard, and satisfactorily address the ani-brachycephalic campaigns.

      In December 2018, the NBBC wrote to the ANKC with a proposal for a National Health Scheme, the ANKC Health and Wellbeing Committee considered that although the proposal was a promising start to control health issues with the British Bulldog, it did not address the concerns that had been raised in regard to the exaggerated head and skull descriptions, but agreed that if the NBBC wished to proceed to implement this scheme, they should do so under their own umbrella. In view of this initiative, the Board resolved to delay any further action on Standard alterations until the scheme was in progress.
      At the October 2019 ANKC Board meeting, it was reported to the Directors, that the proposed National Health Scheme had not gone ahead, coupled with the Boards determination that the statements made by the NBBC, in April 2018 for retaining the Pre-1987 Standard, did not answer the December 2017 request for a rationale, it was resolved to give the NBBC a choice of adopting the Kennel Club (UK) current breed standard or the amended Pre 1987 breed standard, as proposed by the ANKC Board of Directors.

      At the February 2020 ANKC Board Meeting, after reviewing the response from the NBBC, the Directors agreed, that the Council had still not addressed whether they wanted to adopt the Kennel Club (UK) current breed standard or the proposed amended Pre 1987 standard, and resolved to implement the amended Pre 1987 standard.
      The NBBC have written to all Breed Councils seeking support for an approach to the ANKC to rescind the decision, as the NBBC have indicated that they are seeking legal advice, ANKC will only comment on why the amendments were made, and wish to restate that the changes were made solely due to health concerns within the breed, and to meet its obligation under ANKC Objective (e) “to promote the health and welfare of Canis Familiaris”, and to demonstrate, that the ANKC Ltd has taken seriously, the global commentary on health problems associated with the exaggerated requirements in the Pre 1987 British Bulldog Standard.

      It is now 30 years, since the NBBC opted to retain that Standard rather than adopt the revised Kennel Club Standard, over those years there have been huge advances in research into morphological exaggerations in canines, and the British Bulldog has been a main focus of these studies, the consensus of the scientists is, that problems in the British Bulldog are directly related to the standard for the breed, and this has been adopted as the mantra for those who seek to alter or even ban the breed.
      In coming to its decision, the Board took into consideration, that Veterinary research has identified that the shorter the face the more changes occur within the nasal cavity with septal deviations, stenosis within the nasal cavity as well as just the nares, elongation of the soft palate .... to mention the main ones, added to that within the British Bulldog is a narrowing of the trachea that is seen, and can considerably affect breathing.

      The width of the neck can be fairly directly linked to the size of the head, so asking for a relatively large head, rather than one that is as large as possible, is common sense and moving in the right direction.

      ANKC has invited the NBBC to work with the ANKC Health and Wellbeing Committee to institute health programs that will demonstrate that Australian Breeders are working to improve the health of the British Bulldog, who remains hugely popular, as a family companion for his great character and loyalty, the fact that the breed is so popular makes it all the more important that we find ways to improve and protect its health as a priority.
      ANKC want to see the breed prosper and develop, rather than seeing it banned in its entirety, which is still on the global agenda of many Veterinarians and Animal Rights Organisations who masquerade as Animal Welfare Societies.

      In conclusion, after 12 years of attempting to defend the indefensible exaggerations in the Pre 1987 British Bulldog Standard, and 3 years of unproductive consultations with the National British Bulldog Council, to ensure improvement in the health and the future of the British Bulldog in Australia, the ANKC Board of Directors had no alternative but to modify the exaggerations in the Pre 1987 Standard.

      Tracey Barry
      Administrator

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