KUSA statement on developments in the Netherlands affecting brachycephalic breeds
20th of June 2020
The Kennel Union of Southern Africa (KUSA) stands in solidarity with the National Canine Organisations (NCOs) around the world in advocating for the health and preservation of purebred dogs. The circumstances that have led to the recent decision by the Raad van Beheer op Kynologisch Gebied in Nederland (Dutch Kennel Club), to limit the registration of twelve purebred brachycephalic breeds, and further allow cross-breeding to increase muzzle length, is most disappointing. The impact of this decision will affect many responsible breeders in that country, making it impossible for them to continue improving the health and conformation of these breeds, within the framework of their breed standards.
These restrictions will have the greatest impact on the responsible breeders who focus on breeding healthy dogs, which best represent the breed standard, with no impact on those who breed indiscriminately.
The prevalence of health problems in brachycephalic breeds is of concern to KUSA, particularly those pertaining to respiratory function and temperature regulation. These conditions related to Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) can have a serious and lasting effect on the welfare of affected dogs.
In this regard, KUSA welcomes the recent agreement between The Kennel Club in the UK and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) to consolidate their efforts to promote the Respiratory Function Grading Scheme developed by the University of Cambridge. This scheme seeks to advise breeders and owners if a dog is affected by BOAS and the level of the risk, while giving guidance to breeders on how to lower the risk of producing affected puppies.
It is KUSA’s intention to enter into discussions with The Kennel Club with a view to securing permission to implement the Respiratory Function Grading Scheme in South Africa in conjunction with South African Veterinary Association (SAVA). As part of its commitment to improving the health of BOAS-affected breeds, KUSA will engage with SAVA at the earliest opportunity to explore matters of the practicability around implementation.
Once the necessary groundwork has been done, the KUSA Breed Health Committee should be able to provide the necessary guidance to Clubs eager to support the implementation of the Grading Scheme.