New Rules for UK Breeders
The Kennel Club of England has announced new rules for UK breeders, starting in 2012.
From a November 22cnd news release on their website:
The Kennel Club has announced that from 2012 it will normally register no more than four litters from any one bitch because of concerns that the current legal limit of six litters can potentially be detrimental to a bitch’s welfare.
The decision was made by the Kennel Club General Committee after receiving a recommendation from its Dog Health Group and will be effective for litters born on or after 1st January 2012.
Six litters per bitch is the current legal limit enshrined in the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999.
Bill Lambert, the Kennel Club’s Health and Breeder Services Manager, said: “The Kennel Club wants to ensure that all breeders put the health and welfare of their puppies and breeding bitches first and foremost, and this decision underlines our commitment to this issue.
“Whilst the law allows bitches to have six litters in a lifetime and our registration system has previously fallen in line with this, the vast majority of responsible breeders feel that this is too high and that there is potential for this to have a negative impact on the welfare of the bitch.
“Very serious consideration has to be given to the matter if a breeder wishes a bitch to have more than four litters but the Kennel Club may grant permission for this to happen if it believes that there is good and justifiable reason for doing so on a case by case basis.”
There are also new restrictions on Caesarian Sections for bitches in the UK.
Excerpt from the news release:
The Kennel Club has had discussions with the major veterinary organisations over restrictions on the number of litters born by caesarean section which may be registered from an individual bitch from 2012.
The Kennel Club has confirmed that it will no longer register any puppies born by caesarean section from any bitch which has previously had two such operations, except for scientifically proven welfare reasons and in such cases normally provided that the application is made prior to mating. Refusal to register a third or subsequent litters of puppies born by caesarean section would occur irrespective of whether the progeny from either of the first two operations had been registered with the Club.
Following discussions with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, the organisations have agreed to advise their members that any caesarean sections which they perform on a Kennel Club registered bitch should be reported to the Kennel Club.
To allow the reporting of such operations by veterinary surgeons, an additional section will be incorporated into the form which is presently completed to notify the Kennel Club of any operation which alters the natural conformation of a registered pedigree dog.
This policy will become effective for all litters born on or after 1st January 2012. Further details relating to the timing of reporting by veterinary surgeons will be announced in due course.
In essence, bitches may have no more than 2 c section deliveries “except for scientifically proven welfare reasons and in such cases normally provided that the application is made prior to mating.”
No one seems to have any idea what defines a “scientifically proven welfare reason” is, or if it will be allowed to be applied to French Bulldogs.
As more and more countries move towards restrictions on routine c sections, it behooves us as breeders to begin breeding intentionally for dogs with the ability to free whelp. I believe that many of our North American bitches could, if allowed, actually free whelp, but fear of complications or uterine inertia causes many of us to consider c sections to be an unavoidable reality.
As someone who has lost a puppy due to uterine inertia, and has also had several successfully free whelped litters, I agree that it’s a hard call to make. C sections are horribly invasive procedures, with copious risks to both bitch and puppies, and yet it’s also true that many puppies have died due to a bitch’s inability to deliver them naturally.
As I said, tough call.
As a breeder who lives in a country where their kennel club actually gives incentives to those who breed more often, I must say that I applaud their decision. Yes I do hope that this does not drive people to try and free whelp without taking into consideration all of the risks but I also feel that it might contain puppy mills more and more. I just wish we were moving towards the same direction too. Oh well, we do what we can to educate people etc… So, hopefully, some day…
It’s the kennel clubs that presided over the slide into reproductive incompetence for many breeds. Now they are scrambling to do damage control (or continuing to ignore the catastrophe). That horse has fled the barn.
Had the “governing” bodies for these breeds taken a look at each reproductive technology as it became available — AI, surgical insemination, hormone treatments, surgical whelping — and promulgated rules meant to preserve the health of the breed and the individual welfare of the dogs, then animals who are already the product of many generations of artificial life support would not now be enduring the risk of what *should not be* a dangerous endeavor.
Our breed club — a mesomorphic, healthy working breed that has never been selected by the show ring — records reproductive data for every registered litter — including the use of technology, (including oxytocin injections), and neonatal mortality.
When I’m looking for a stud dog for my bitch who has never needed to see a vet except for rabies shots, I can find out whether his dam conceived and birthed him naturally, from what size litter, and what her prior and subsequent reproductive history was. Same for grandma, sisters, or anyone else I’m interested in. If he has sired AI litters or natural, I know it — all before I ring up his owner.
We don’t have a problem in the breed with reproductive incompetence. Continued selection for vigor and the systematic availability of information will likely mean that we never will. But if one started to arise, the registry could institute rules for breed health and animal welfare *before* our dogs end up in such a dangerous bind.
I’m sorry that there are breeds for whom basic life functions have become dangerous. If, in the past, a decision to be humane to a bitch or to save a pup’s life had been accompanied by a firm resolve to remove those animals from the gene pool each and every time, they would not be in these straits. Institutions rewarded the opposite behavior, not least with championships for extreme physical type. Now they deserve to be called to task for the results.
I also hate to say this, but there’s an element of ‘convenience’ for some people in having puppies via c section. There’s no sitting on the floor for hours on end, waiting for pups to arrive, cutting cords, watching for placentas – all rather mind numbing, and easy to screw up if you don’t know what you’re doing (and neither does the bitch). With sections, you can drop the pups off in the morning before work, and come back at 5 and pick up mom and the new pups.
The woman who mentored me in Frenchies had a ‘one strike and you’re out policy’ – the bitch had one chance to free whelp, and if she needed a section, she was never bred from again. I think I need to get back into that mind set again.
There’s certainly no question that mothers who free whelp are better dams, with better mothering instincts, more milk and less puppies savaged by disoriented mothers out of it from the anesthesia. I sometimes wonder if we don’t lose as many pups to complications from sections as we would do to complications from natural birth.