KC Hereditary Status Update

22nd July 2022

Following the update published below, I have today received the following clarification from the KC…….

Dear Breed Health Co-ordinator,

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 to yourself as BHC and the wider community. Should there be any queries please do not hesitate to contact us, however we wished to make our guidance on this matter clear in case you receive queries, which of course we are happy to be sent to us for reply.

 

20th July 2022

The Kennel Club have issued the following clarification following on from their announcements, in 2019 and 2021, which are repeated below. Basically the planned changes have been paused for technical reasons so are another casualty of the KC’s ongoing IT issues.

 

HEREDITARY CLEAR STATUS

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.”

18 July 2022

 

Previous KC Statements 

4th September 2019

From January 2022, the Kennel Club will limit the assignment of ‘hereditary clear’ status of registered dogs to two generations. This change will be put in place to safeguard against the impact that dogs with an incorrect ‘hereditary clear’ status could have on health issues within a breed.

Following on from a recent Kennel Club study, published in the journal of Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, the decision to restrict hereditary status was made by the Kennel Club Board on the recommendation of the Dog Health Group.

Hereditary clear status is given to dogs that are determined to be free of specific genetic material linked to a particular inherited disease. The Kennel Club’s registration system assigns a dog this status if their parents are known to be clear, either because they have both been DNA tested as clear, or because they are hereditary clear themselves.

Dogs could be mistakenly given a false hereditary clear status for a number of reasons; for example 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 rather that several generations later many dogs throughout the breed descended from the individual with the original incorrect status will also have erroneous hereditary status, and the well-intended mating of two such apparently hereditary clear dogs risks producing affected puppies.

The Kennel Club research analysed the risks faced by a population following the incorrect assignment of hereditary status and determined that the rate of dogs with false hereditary clear status could rise considerably over a fairly small number of generations, particularly for genetic conditions that are more common.

To reduce the knock-on effect of these errors, and the risk of unintentionally breeding affected puppies, the Kennel Club will be ensuring that from January 2022, the ‘hereditary clear status’ will be limited to two generations, unless lineage is verified by DNA parentage profiling recorded by the Kennel Club. DNA parentage profiling is a separate procedure to screening DNA for disease causing mutations, but can often be carried out at the same time by the same laboratory.

Kennel Club Genetics and Research Manager Dr Tom Lewis said: “Kennel Club advice has always been that even apparently ‘clear’ lines should be retested every few generations. This change to hereditary status reinforces that view and ensures that breeders can remain confident that the puppies they produce remain free from disease. DNA tests are helping breeders eradicate health issues in dogs and we want our registration system to maximise the impact these tests are having.”

 

4th July 2021

Following the announcement that The Kennel Club will limit the assignment of ‘hereditary clear’ status of registered dogs to two generations, the organisation has announced that this change is now set to be implemented as of January 2023.

The decision to restrict hereditary status was made by The Kennel Club Board in 2018 on the recommendation of the Dog Health Group, and followed a Kennel Club study, published in the journal of Canine Genetics and Epidemiology. 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.

Hereditary clear status is given to dogs that are determined to be free of specific genetic material linked to a particular inherited disease. The Kennel Club’s registration system assigns a dog this status if their parents are known to be clear, either because they have both been DNA tested as clear, or because they are hereditary clear themselves.

Dogs could be mistakenly given a false hereditary clear status for a number of reasons; for example 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 rather that several generations later many dogs throughout the breed descended from the individual with the original incorrect status will also have erroneous hereditary status, and the well-intended mating of two such apparently hereditary clear dogs risks producing affected puppies.

The Kennel Club research analysed the risks faced by a population following the incorrect assignment of hereditary status and determined that the rate of dogs with false hereditary clear status could rise considerably over a fairly small number of generations, particularly for genetic conditions that are more common.

To reduce the knock-on effect of these errors, and the risk of unintentionally breeding affected puppies, The Kennel Club will be ensuring that from January 2023, the ‘hereditary clear status’ will be limited to two generations, unless lineage is verified by DNA parentage profiling recorded by The Kennel Club. DNA parentage profiling is a separate procedure to screening DNA for disease causing mutations, but can often be carried out at the same time by the same laboratory.

Originally scheduled to come into effect in January 2022, this has now been postponed to 2023 to allow for necessary development work to be completed and in order for ‘hereditary clear’ status to be as effective and reliable as possible.