The vast majority of the UK’s pedigree dog breeds have their own formal breed clubs, as well as of course falling under the umbrella of The Kennel Club for the registration of dogs of the breed. Some breeds that are not actually recognised by The Kennel Club have their own breed clubs too, and a large part of the reason for the formation of many of the newer breed clubs is to bring some uniformity and cohesion to the breed, as part of getting formal recognition.
If you have read some of our other articles on breed club health testing for different hereditary health conditions, you may also have noticed that breed clubs often recommend and mandate testing for registered dogs of their breed, among other things.
Regardless of the breed in question, most UK breed clubs have several common goals and mission statements that are designed to serve the wider betterment of the breed-and in this article, we will look at some of the various roles that breed clubs fulfil, and how they may be able to benefit you and your own dog through membership. Read on to learn more.
One thing that most dog owners have in common is wanting to know as much as possible about their dog and the breed it comes from, including their background, core traits and behaviour. Another thing that dog owners generally share is a love of talking about their dog with other enthusiasts too!
Breed clubs often run online forums and chatrooms, as well as sometimes organising meet-ups, shows and advice sessions as well.
One of the core roles for most breed clubs is to improve the breed itself, in terms of the health, conformation and breed standards. Whilst breed standards are ultimately set and amended by The Kennel Club, formal breed clubs often have a large amount of input into these decisions, and also, often collate information that The Kennel Club uses. You can read more about breed club improvement in this article.
Most breed clubs also keep databases of member breeders, and provide details of these approved or well-respected breeders to potential puppy buyers. This helps to enable would-be puppy buyers to buy from recommended breeders who work with the breed club on the improvement and welfare of dogs of the breed.
Monitoring any hereditary or conformation issues within the breed itself is another job that breed clubs fulfil, and often, breed clubs will be the first to recognise potential issues in the making or the spread of hereditary health conditions within the breed.
Many breed clubs recommend their own testing protocols for their own breed, on top of tests that are mandated or recommended by The Kennel Club, and they monitor the ongoing improvement or development of problems within the breed on a wider scale.
Most breed clubs that recommend certain health tests for dogs will also have a formal testing protocol in place for it, and often, negotiate discounts and offers for their members with laboratories and veterinary surgeons, as an incentive for testing.
This works in favour of both the dog owner and the club itself, as the dog owner makes a potential saving and the breed club receives a copy of the test results.
Lobbying and advocating for the breed in question is a large part of what many breed clubs do, and this can take many different forms. Breeds that historically may have developed a bad reputation may benefit from a PR campaign to raise public awareness and improve the public profile of the breed, whilst breeds that are rare or in decline may benefit from promotion.
Additionally, for breeds that are borderline in terms of health and conformation and problems such as inbreeding and ultra-typing, breed clubs often lobby against these practices, in order to improve the breed’s general health.
Some breed clubs also run and organise their own breed-specific dog shows, either for fun or as qualifying events for Kennel Club shows, and in many cases, your dog will have to be a member of the club in question in order to be permitted to compete.
Finally, it is not only KC-recognised breeds that have their own breed clubs-a large number of hybrid breeds that are not actually recognised by The Kennel Club, such as the Labradoodle, have their own breed clubs too.
In order for The Kennel Club to begin the long process of recognising a new breed, various stages have to be completed and different criteria fulfilled, such as having a breed standard in place that dictates the traits of the breed, and that enough dogs of the proposed breed are present and match the standard.
Breed clubs for up-and-coming breeds provide a centre point and foundation for this, and often, are vital in the ultimate formal recognition of the breed itself in the future.