The Master Dog Breeders and Associates statement and action plan regarding Brachycephalic breeds.
The RSCPA and the AVA have launched a campaign to raise public awareness about the health issues associated with brachycephalic head shape in dogs.
The Master Dog Breeders and Associates have always acknowledged the suffering of dogs with exaggerated features and we are committed to working with breeders and vets to prioritise good health and welfare above physical appearance of any breed.
We have worked on strategies to assist in resolving those breed problems.
We have determined that there is no one single way to solve those problems. However, the MDBA believes that breeders can have the greatest impact in solving any breed problems.
If the breeders don’t accept the responsibility that they have to select for good health over the way the dog looks and focus on what is best for the dogs and the HEALTH and welfare of the breed then the right to breed and own dogs with extremes will be eventually removed from them.
All breeders from all groups and philosophies have an obligation and a responsibility to ensure the dogs they are breeding do not have a high risk of suffering. Breeders must make decisions that will produce more appropriate welfare outcomes by selecting parents that have the potential to produce puppies that have increased health outcomes.
If, over a very short period of time, breeds with extreme features do not show measurable improvements and there are less dogs suffering due to their conformation then breeders cannot say they were not warned about the consequences if breeding dogs [and cats] with extremes in conformation, particularly extreme brachycephalic head types, are banned from being able to be bred.
To be clear, the MDBA view is that unless breeders stop selecting for such extremes it will be unlikely that there will be an increase in better welfare outcomes for these animals. If breeders continue on as has been done without change and with a continued focus on how a dog looks over the health of the dog they will continue to compromise the welfare of the dogs they breed.
We feel this is a completely unacceptable situation and must be actively dealt with by breeders now. If this means that breeders must breed away from current interpretations of the breed standards then they must do this.
One of the major differences between someone who breeds pedigreed purebred dogs and someone who breeds other dogs is their interest in more than one generation. Anyone can allow two dogs to mate and have cute puppies but to consistently breed predictable, healthy and long lived animals, generation after generation with great quality of life takes knowledge and skill. More importantly it primarily takes an understanding and dedication to what really is best for the dogs and the breed far into the future above any other goal.Based on the current traditional pedigree registration it is very difficult if not impossible for a breeder who is looking at selecting a dog without problems which may impact on their next litter or future generations to know what the best choice is. The information which would let breeders know which ancestors and relatives have had surgery or had health problems is non-existent. Breeders cannot accurately profile a pedigree and select dogs which are best for the breed without this information.Accurate data is required to develop accurate estimated breeding values for stud animals and if this information is limited the best result for breeds cannot occur.The MDBA Breed Registry provides a service and a tool for our members that enables them to provide a pedigree registration that tracks health and temperament throughout the pedigree. It allows the MDBA to provide information to breeders regarding what future health tests and screening may be required for the wellbeing of dogs and the breed when or if we see patterns over generations. Decisions are always based on what is best for the dogs and not politics, third party agreements or financial considerations.The health and welfare data collected from dog owners and breeders is added to the pedigree of the dog, its parents, grandparents and its siblings free of charge. This information is shown on the pedigree to enable people to know what health and temperament records are in the ancestry of the dog.Into the future our breeders will see the information they need to profile a pedigree and select dogs which are best for the breed's health and welfare. As we do not only rely on breeders to provide this information we are better placed to have accurate health information on our pedigrees. Only capturing on a pedigree whether a dog is a champion does not help with health and welfare problems and much more information to produce good estimated breeding values when breeding for health and temperament is required.
1. Our Breed Standards will discourage breeding to extremes.
2. We will not judge dogs primarily on their looks but on their health and with better, less extreme conformation.
3. Our Judges Training Scheme is focussed on health and fitness with an assessment against the updated breed standard rather than dog competing against dog.
4. We have Fitness Tests to ensure dogs are fit for their original purpose.
5. We have mandatory and Recommended Veterinary Health Testing for breeding dogs
6. Some breeds of dogs will not be registered in our Stud Registry unless they meet our mandatory registration requirements
7. We provide Educational Resources for breeders and dog owners.
8. We are committed to widening the gene pool to ensure health issues can be reduced and more genetic viability.
9. We have Outcross Breeding Programs using research registration tools to measure and ensure a breed's health outcomes are improved.
10. We collect Health Data on all breeds in our registries.
11. We set DNA profiles to reduce and eliminate diseases within the gene pool of a breed.
12. We use Pedigree Analysis and Estimated Breeding Values to assist our breeders to choose the healthiest match when breeding dogs.
13. We survey our breeders and their puppy buyers to assess the state of dog breeds.
14. We collaborate with professionals in the veterinary field to proactively assist our breeders to produce healthier puppies.
15. We provide incentives to our breeders who participate in our research breeding programs.