Hello. Welcome to my website.
The aim of this site is to tell the story of my campaign to improve the health of pedigree and purebred dogs by raising awareness of the problems and trying to bring about change.
I believe the current self-regulatory system of dog breeding has resulted in unacceptable levels of breed related genetic disease in many of our dog breeds. It has also allowed selection for exaggerated physical traits which impact on a dog’s welfare and quality of life.
There is an overwhelming need for reform of the dog breeding system. Current dog breeding legislation is outdated and inadequate and does not reflect the aims of the 2006 Animal Welfare Act (AWA). One of the principles of the AWA is to protect animals from fear, pain, injury and disease. However, local authorities, which are empowered to enforce animal welfare law, fail to do so adequately. In the current climate of ‘self regulation’ it falls on the Kennel Club, breed clubs and individual breeders to breed healthy dogs which are fit for life as pet dogs in the 21st century. Unfortunately, more often than not, the dog breeding industry does not place health and longevity as a priority.
The issue of breeding dogs in so-called ‘puppy farms’, in which dogs are bred in sub-standard and sometimes appalling conditions, is beyond the scope of this website. However, poor husbandry, and breeding dogs which are likely to pass on breed related diseases and traits are two sides of the same welfare coin. Both issues need to be tackled seriously and urgently.
My own experience of these problems comes from owning two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, a breed with a number of inherited diseases. The two most serious and widespread being Chiari-like Malformation Syringomyelia (CMSM) and Mitral Valve Disease (MVD).
The website looks in detail at the health problems facing the Cavalier breed as an example, and shows how health screening and the use of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) can offer solutions.
The experience of owning a much loved dog and discovering that it has a genetic disease can be devastating. It is not something we should just accept. It is ethically wrong to breed dogs which will suffer unnecessarily in order to fulfill business interests or in pursuit of success in the show ring. Dog owners have an important part to play in making sure that this practice is not allowed to continue.
I hope you will find the information here interesting, helpful and inspiring. I hope you will join me in working for a better world for dogs.