BTHG Report - 2013


As with 2011 and 2012, for various reasons the BTHG was unable to hold any formal “round the table” meetings and as in previous years, matters requiring attention were generally resolved by email.

However, the BTHG constitution requires that  two meetings be held each year but does not stipulate the “format” of these meetings.  Since it would seem that it is becoming increasing difficult to convene formal meetings, the BTHG have considered other options, i.e. telephone conferencing or an “email meeting”.  The consensus was that “email meetings” would be more acceptable providing a strict “meetings protocol” is adopted.

Action:  An “email meeting” protocol has been agreed.

Breed Health Survey.

In 2003 the Kennel Club carried out their Pedigree Dog Health Survey, the results of which were published in 2004.  The results from this survey can be viewed on the Kennel Club website.

Following a request from the Kennel that breed clubs should carry out a survey in order to ascertain the current position regarding health, the BTHG conducted a Breed Health Survey during the summer (2013).

The data from the returned questionnaires was analysed and a report produced.  This report has now been posted on the BTHG website.  In summary, the results seemed to be more or less in line with those obtained in the Kennel Club survey although there does appear to be increasing concern within the breed about Cushing’s Syndrome.

The initial impression was that the response rate was quite low but both Nick Sutton (KC) and Philippa Robinson (Karlton Index) have expressed the view that it was considerably better than average for this type of survey.  One point from the report that Nick Sutton commented was the seemingly high number of “aasisted deaths” where “old age” was given as the reason for euthanasia.  Apparently the question of mortality (age, cause, natural/assisted etc) is something in which the Kennel Club has expressed interest.

Action: To consider the feasibility of carrying out a survey specific to this topic.

Breed Watch.

The Breed Watch initiative was launched in 2009 as an on-line tool that outlines breed specific visible health conditions and exaggerations.  Its declared aim is to assist judges and breed clubs to monitor and to address the conditions which were identified as being pertinent to each specified breed.  For Bedlington terriers there is only one specified condition, namely “cracked pads and corny feet”.

Towards the end of 2013 the Kennel Club introduced changes to the initiative as a result of which all the KC recognised breeds were allocated to one of three categories, Bedlington terriers being placed in Category 2 (Breeds with Breed Watch Points of concern).  This means that as from 2014 it will be a mandatory requirement for judges of the breed at Championship shows to file a report on the condition of the “feet” to the Kennel Club.  The reports will be monitored and if it becomes apparent that there is no problem then the breed will be re-allocated to Category 1(Breeds with no current Breed Watch Points of concern).

The Health Group felt that the statement in relation to “feet” used in Breed Watch documentation was too general and did not reflect the nature of the problem (Footpad Hyperkeratosis) in Bedlington terriers and, incidentally, in Irish terriers.

Action:  To contact the Kennel Club with a request that the wording of the statement be amended to make it more specific.

This request was considered by the Kennel Club Health sub-committee who considered that the current statement was adequate for the purpose.

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