Published on15 July 2022 at 9:13am
The Kennel Club has announced that it is unfortunately necessary to pause the changes to its policy on ‘hereditary clear’ status, which were due to become effective from the start of next year.
The Kennel Club previously announced that, from January 2023, the assignment of ‘hereditary clear’ status of registered dogs would be limited to two generations, unless lineage is verified by DNA parentage profiling. Unfortunately, technical challenges have meant that we have needed to pause this complex project, which requires extensive testing before it can be implemented, and allow further development work to be carried out.
Therefore, The Kennel Club’s current policy for assigning ‘hereditary clear’ status to progeny – if their parents are known to be clear for the same autosomal recessive condition, either because they have both been DNA tested as clear, or because they are hereditary clear themselves – will remain for the foreseeable future.
‘Hereditary clear’ status is given to dogs that are determined to be free of specific genetic material linked to a particular inherited disease.
Following on from a Kennel Club study, published in the journal of Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, a decision to restrict hereditary status was made by The Kennel Club Board on the recommendation of the Dog Health Group. This change was put forward to safeguard against the impact that dogs with an incorrect ‘hereditary clear’ status could have on health issues within a breed. Dogs could be mistakenly given a false ‘hereditary clear’ status for several reasons e.g., if there has been a failure of laboratory protocols, pedigree errors or incorrectly recorded parentage.
In these instances, it is unlikely that the inaccuracies would be noticed immediately but instead several generations later, and the well-intended mating of two apparently hereditary clear dogs risks producing affected puppies. To mitigate the risks faced by a population following the incorrect assignment of hereditary status, The Kennel Club previously announced that, from January 2023, the assignment of ‘hereditary clear’ status of registered dogs would be limited to two generations, unless lineage is verified by DNA parentage profiling.
The Kennel Club continues to strongly recommend that all breeding dogs, including apparently ‘clear’ lines, are retested every two generations to reduce the impact of errors and ensure the ‘hereditary clear’ status is as effective and reliable as possible, thereby reducing the risk of unintentionally breeding affected puppies.
Bill Lambert, The Kennel Club’s Health, Welfare and Breeder Services Executive said: “DNA tests help breeders to eradicate health issues in dogs and we want our registration system to maximise the impact these tests are having. Therefore, we still plan to implement the limitation of ‘hereditary clear’ status and will release further communications regarding this in due course. In the meantime, we encourage all breeders to DNA test their dogs to ensure that they can remain confident that the puppies produced are free from the relevant inherited disease.”
Following the recent announcement pertaining to the hereditary clear status being put on hold the Kennel Club wish to clarify that upon implementation this will be for every third generation, i.e. after two generations the next will need to be DNA tested in order for the hereditary status to be enacted. At the time where we are able to give a timeframe for launch we will issue regular communications .