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Should You Join A Dog Breed Club?

Virtually every recognised dog breed in the UK has at least one breed club associated with it, and several non-pedigree dog types also have their own organisations dedicated to them too.

Breed clubs are often, but not always, affiliated with The Kennel Club, and may work closely with The Kennel Club in a number of different areas specific to the breed in question.

You don’t necessarily have to own a dog of the breed that the club is associated with to join either – but breed clubs can be very helpful if you do. If you are wondering if you should join a specific dog breed club for the breed of dog that you own, or if you are wondering about the benefits of membership and what breed clubs actually do, we will answer all of your questions within this article. Read on to learn more.

What do breed clubs actually do?

Every single breed club (even different clubs that serve the same breed) is different, and they all have different missions and goals. However, some of the uniting factors across virtually all formal breed clubs are:

  • Breed clubs define the breed standard that they set as the normal or desirable traits of dogs of the breed that they represent. This breed standard might not be exactly the same as The Kennel Club’s breed standard, and may vary from club to club.
  • Breed clubs for non-pedigree dog types like the Labradoodle and Cockapoo often form to try to design and normalise a breed standard that can be used as the foundations for the dog type being awarded pedigree status in the future.
  • Breed clubs may keep a record of member breeders or member dogs, which may or may not be searchable by other members or the general public.
  • They will sometimes serve as a directory of member breeders, and advocate for choosing puppies from their approved member breeders.
  • Breed clubs often keep records on breed health, health problems and potential issues, and mandate certain criteria for their member’s dogs as part of this.
  • They may advocate for health testing protocols, or make certain health tests mandatory before a dog owner can be awarded membership for their own dog.
  • Breed clubs may lobby The Kennel Club or other authorities on issues pertaining to breed health, improvement, and registration.
  • They serve as advocates for the breed that they represent, aiming to improve their public profile and potentially, take part in lobbying for the breed and dogs as a whole.
  • Breed clubs may run breed-specific dog shows, which may in some cases serve as heats for Kennel Club shows.

Kennel Club affiliated breed clubs

Kennel Club affiliated breed clubs are clubs that are recognised by The Kennel Club as an umbrella organisation for a specific individual breed. Generally, only one bred club is accepted for each breed.

Affiliated breed clubs and The Kennel Club often work closely together in terms of setting and updating breed standards, working towards breed improvement, and establishing, mandating or advising on breed-specific health tests and breeding for health.


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Finding out a breed club’s policies

As mentioned, many dog breeds have two or more British breed clubs representing them, and while you can potentially join more than one, you should compare their policies and goals side by side to make the appropriate choice.

Different breed clubs for the same breed will sometimes have markedly different goals – one may support and advocate for dogs that fall in line with The Kennel Club’s breed standards and health testing protocols, while others may seek to change the breed standard to make it more or less specific, or lobby for particular breeding practices and health testing protocols.

Differences between breed clubs are often particularly acute when it comes to controversial, high-profile breeds like the French bulldog and the pug. Additionally, when it comes to non-pedigree dog types like the Labradoodle and the Cockapoo, different breed clubs might cite significant differences in the breed traits that they consider to be the standard or norm.

Do plenty of research before joining any breed club, particularly if there are two or more options.

Why join a breed club?

There are a number of advantages to joining a breed club, as long as you choose the right one. If you breed from your dog or are thinking of becoming a dog breeder, breed club membership and meeting all of its criteria, including health testing protocols, might allow you to market your litters to the club’s potential buyers, and provide an added layer of reassurance for buyers who choose you.

As a club member, and particularly if you decide to try to join the club’s committee or overseeing panel, you will also be able to help to influence the club’s policies and mandate, and be able to have your say in the breed’s future development and improvement.

Breed club membership may also allow you to enter the club’s dog shows, and also provide you with access to fellow owners of dogs of the same breed to connect with, chat to, and get advice from.

Finally, breed clubs often use their bulk buying power to gain incentives and discounts for their members on anything from health tests to food and accessories, which can be handy too.

How to find a breed club

You can check out the details of Kennel Club affiliated breed clubs via The Kennel Club’s find a breed club tool, but remember that this will only return results of Kennel Cub affiliated clubs, not all of them, and that you won’t be able to find non-pedigree clubs there at all.

Entering a Google search for your breed and terms like “club” or “organisation” will help you to build up a list of all of the available options.

Again, do plenty of research – anyone can set up a breed club with a basic website, so find out the club’s background, reputation, mission and goals before you apply to join, or pay a membership fee.


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