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Concept: Kennel club


Previous research has indicated that certain breeds of dogs stay longer in shelters than others. However, exactly how breed perception and identification influences potential adopters' decisions remains unclear. Current dog breed identification practices in animal shelters are often based upon information supplied by the relinquishing owner, or staff determination based on the dog’s phenotype. However, discrepancies have been found between breed identification as typically assessed by welfare agencies and the outcome of DNA analysis. In Study 1, the perceived behavioral and adoptability characteristics of a pit-bull-type dog were compared with those of a Labrador Retriever and Border Collie. How the addition of a human handler influenced those perceptions was also assessed. In Study 2, lengths of stay and perceived attractiveness of dogs that were labeled as pit bull breeds were compared to dogs that were phenotypically similar but were labeled as another breed at an animal shelter. The latter dogs were called “lookalikes.” In Study 3, we compared perceived attractiveness in video recordings of pit-bull-type dogs and lookalikes with and without breed labels. Lastly, data from an animal shelter that ceased applying breed labeling on kennels were analyzed, and lengths of stay and outcomes for all dog breeds, including pit bulls, before and after the change in labeling practice were compared. In total, these findings suggest that breed labeling influences potential adopters' perceptions and decision-making. Given the inherent complexity of breed assignment based on morphology coupled with negative breed perceptions, removing breed labels is a relatively low-cost strategy that will likely improve outcomes for dogs in animal shelters.

Concepts: Selective breeding, Labrador Retriever, Dog, Dog breed, Kennel club, American Pit Bull Terrier, Pit Bull, Collie


Objective-To determine the characteristics of, prevalence of, and risk factors for corneal pigmentation (CP) in Pugs. Design-Prospective cross-sectional study. Animals-295 Pugs > 16 weeks old. Procedures-Ophthalmic examination of the anterior segment of each eye was performed, including determination of tear film characteristics (Schirmer tear test and tear film breakup time) and corneal sensitivity. Digital photographs of the head and each eye were obtained. Corneal pigmentation of eyes was graded as absent, very mild, mild, moderate, or severe. Signalment and medical history information and American Kennel Club registration status were recorded. Results-CP was detected in at least 1 eye of 243 of the 295 (82.4%) Pugs; CP was typically very mild or mild. Detection of CP was not significantly associated with coat color, age, eyelid conformation, or tear film characteristics but was significantly associated with sex of dogs. The severity of CP was not significantly associated with American Kennel Club registration status or age, but was significantly associated with sex, tear film characteristics, and coat color. Iris hypoplasia was detected in 72.1% of the Pugs. Iris-to-iris persistent pupillary membranes were detected in 85.3% of the Pugs. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Prevalence of CP in Pugs in this study was high. Unexpectedly high prevalences of iris hypoplasia and persistent pupillary membranes were also identified. The condition identified in these Pugs was a pigmentary keratopathy, rather than pigmentary keratitis or corneal melanosis. This condition may have a genetic basis, and further studies are warranted to determine etiology.

Concepts: Eye, Cornea, Iris, Tears, Pupil, Schirmer's test, Kennel club, Conformation show


Inbreeding is inevitable in closed populations with a finite number of ancestors and where there is selection. Therefore, management of the rate of inbreeding at sustainable levels is required to avoid the associated detrimental effects of inbreeding. Studies have shown some pedigree dog breeds to have high levels of inbreeding and a high burden of inherited disease unrelated to selection objectives, implying loss of genetic diversity may be a particular problem for pedigree dogs. Pedigree analysis of all 215 breeds currently recognised by the UK Kennel Club over the period 1980-2014 was undertaken to ascertain parameters describing the rate of loss of genetic diversity due to inbreeding, and the presence of any general trend across all breeds.

Concepts: Population genetics, Selective breeding, Dog, Dog breed, Dog health, Kennel club, Conformation show, Pedigree Dogs Exposed


Studies of animals that visit primary and secondary veterinary centres dominate companion animal epidemiology. Dogslife is a research initiative that collects data directly from owners about the health and lifestyle of Kennel Club (KC) registered Labrador Retrievers (LR) in the UK. The ultimate aim is to seek associations between canine lifestyle and health. A selection of data from Dogslife regarding the height, weight and lifestyle of 4307 LR up to four years of age is reported here. The majority of the dogs were household pets, living with at least one other pet, in families or households with more than one adult. The dogs typically ate diets of dried food and daily meal frequency decreased as the dogs aged. Working dogs spent more time exercising than pets, and dogs in Wales and Scotland were exercised more than their counterparts in England. Dogs in households with children spent less time exercising than dogs in other types of households. There was considerable variation in height and weight measurements indicative of a highly heterogeneous population. The average male height at the shoulders was 2-3cm taller than the UK breed standard. Dog weights continued to increase between one and four years of age. Those with chocolate coloured coats were heavier than their yellow and black counterparts. Greater dog weight was also associated with dogs whose owners reported restricting their dog’s exercise due to where they lived. These findings highlight the utility of wide public engagement in the collation of phenotypic measures, providing a unique insight into the physical development and lifestyle of a cohort of LRs. In combination with concurrently collected data on the health of the cohort, phenotypic data from the Dogslife Project will contribute to understanding the relationship between dog lifestyle and health.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Physical exercise, Human height, Labrador Retriever, Dog, Dog breed, Pet, Kennel club


Faces play an important role in communication and identity recognition in social animals. Domestic dogs often respond to human facial cues, but their face processing is weakly understood. In this study, facial inversion effect (deficits in face processing when the image is turned upside down) and responses to personal familiarity were tested using eye movement tracking. A total of 23 pet dogs and eight kennel dogs were compared to establish the effects of life experiences on their scanning behavior. All dogs preferred conspecific faces and showed great interest in the eye area, suggesting that they perceived images representing faces. Dogs fixated at the upright faces as long as the inverted faces, but the eye area of upright faces gathered longer total duration and greater relative fixation duration than the eye area of inverted stimuli, regardless of the species (dog or human) shown in the image. Personally, familiar faces and eyes attracted more fixations than the strange ones, suggesting that dogs are likely to recognize conspecific and human faces in photographs. The results imply that face scanning in dogs is guided not only by the physical properties of images, but also by semantic factors. In conclusion, in a free-viewing task, dogs seem to target their fixations at naturally salient and familiar items. Facial images were generally more attractive for pet dogs than kennel dogs, but living environment did not affect conspecific preference or inversion and familiarity responses, suggesting that the basic mechanisms of face processing in dogs could be hardwired or might develop under limited exposure.

Concepts: Eye, Dog, Dog health, Dogs, Pet, Inverse function, Rod Stewart, Kennel club


Dog communities living in kennels are at high risk of being infected by ticks and fleas. In spite of the indubitable efficacy of several topical ectoparasiticides registered for the control of ectoparasites in dogs, the short period of action and the price of these products limit their use in dog communities. This paper reports on the efficacy of imidacloprid/flumethrin slow release collars to cure dogs highly infested with ectoparasites and to prevent infestations for 8 months in a refuge with a history of unsuccessful environmental treatments.

Concepts: Parasitism, Tick, Dog, Dog health, Dogs, Estrous cycle, Kennel club


The objective of this prospective study was to determine the prevalence of gait abnormalities in a cohort of Swedish pugs by using an owner-based questionnaire targeting signs of gait abnormality and video footage showing the dog’s gait. This study also evaluated associated conditions of abnormal gait, including other health disorders prevalent in the breed. Five hundred and fifty (550) pugs registered in the Swedish Kennel Club, of one, five and eight years of age, in 2015 and 2016, were included in the study. Gait abnormalities were reported in 30.7 per cent of the responses. In the majority of cases, the character of the described gait indicated a neurological cause for the gait abnormality. An association was observed between abnormal gait and age, with gait abnormalities being significantly more common in older pugs (P=0.004). An association was also found between abnormal gait and dyspnoea, with dyspnoea being significantly more common in pugs with gait abnormalities (P<0.0001). This study demonstrated that the prevalence of gait abnormalities was high in the Swedish pug breed and increased with age. Future studies on the mechanisms behind these gait abnormalities are warranted.

Concepts: Prevalence, Dog breed, Gait abnormality, Deviance, Kennel club, Footage, Pug, 2015


In many studies that have investigated whether dogs' capacities to understand human pointing gestures are aspects of evolutionary or developmental social competences, family-owned dogs have been compared to shelter dogs. However, for most of these studies, the origins of shelter dogs were unknown. Some shelter dogs may have lived with families before entering shelters, and from these past experiences, they may have learned to understand human gestures. Furthermore, there is substantial variation in the methodology and analytic approaches used in such studies (e.g. different pointing protocols, different treatment of trials with no-choice response and indoor vs. outdoor experimental arenas). Such differences in methodologies and analysis techniques used make it difficult to compare results obtained from different studies and may account for the divergent results obtained. We thus attempted to control for several parameters by carrying out a test on dynamic proximal and distal pointing. We studied eleven kennel dogs of known origin that were born and raised in a kennels with limited human interaction. This group was compared to a group of eleven dogs comparable in terms of breed, sex and age that had lived with human families since they were puppies. Our results demonstrate that pet dogs outperform kennel dogs in their comprehension of proximal and distal pointing, regardless of whether trials where no-choice was made were considered as errors or were excluded from statistical analysis, meaning that dogs living in kennels do not understand pointing gestures. Even if genetic effects of the domestication process on human-dog relationships cannot be considered as negligible, our data suggest that dogs need to learn human pointing gestures and thus underscore the importance of ontogenetic processes.

Concepts: Evolution, Knowledge, Labrador Retriever, Dog, Dog breed, Dogs, Kennel club, Kennel


Re-homing centres present a range of potential stressors to kennelled dogs which are likely to impact negatively on their welfare. Despite the presence of visitors to the kennel often being considered a potential stressor, empirical investigation into their impact on the behaviour and welfare of kennelled dogs in re-homing centres is lacking. This study investigated the influence of changing visitor access policy from open access to prohibited viewing at kennels (with organised single meetings for viewing dogs outside of the kennel environment) on the welfare of 15 dogs housed in a dog-only re-homing facility. Data was collected across a number of domains comprising kennel noise levels, behavioural measures (activity, repetitive behaviour, response to human approach); physiological measures (urinary cortisol:creatinine ratios); sickness events and faecal scoring. The general kennel noise levels were significantly lower when visitor access to the kennel area was restricted. Furthermore, dogs were found to display behaviour indicative of improved welfare during this time period; dogs spent significantly more time sedentary, less time moving and exhibited significantly fewer episodes of repetitive behaviours. No significant change was seen in the urinary cortisol:creatinine ratio, nor in sickness behaviour, faecal scoring or response to a human approach test. Overall, the results from this study suggest that restricting visitors from viewing dogs whilst in their kennels may be better for the dogs' short term welfare.

Concepts: Time, Psychology, Behavior, Term, Human behavior, Dogs, Evolutionary physiology, Kennel club


BACKGROUND: Hip dysplasia remains one of the most serious hereditary diseases occurring in dogs despite long-standing evaluation schemes designed to aid selection for healthy joints. Many researchers have recommended the use of estimated breeding values (EBV) to improve the rate of genetic progress from selection against hip and elbow dysplasia (another common developmental orthopaedic disorder), but few have empirically quantified the benefits of their use. This study aimed to both determine recent genetic trends in hip and elbow dysplasia, and evaluate the potential improvements in response to selection that publication of EBV for such diseases would provide, across a wide range of pure-bred dog breeds. RESULTS: The genetic trend with respect to hip and elbow condition due to phenotypic selection had improved in all breeds, except the Siberian Husky. However, derived selection intensities are extremely weak, equivalent to excluding less than a maximum of 18% of the highest risk animals from breeding. EBV for hip and elbow score were predicted to be on average between 1.16 and 1.34 times more accurate than selection on individual or both parental phenotypes. Additionally, compared to the proportion of juvenile animals with both parental phenotypes, the proportion with EBV of a greater accuracy than selection on such phenotypes increased by up to 3-fold for hip score and up to 13-fold for elbow score. CONCLUSIONS: EBV are shown to be both more accurate and abundant than phenotype, providing more reliable information on the genetic risk of disease for a greater proportion of the population. Because the accuracy of selection is directly related to genetic progress, use of EBV can be expected to benefit selection for the improvement of canine health and welfare. Public availability of EBV for hip score for the fifteen breeds included in this study will provide information on the genetic risk of disease in nearly a third of all dogs annually registered by the UK Kennel Club, with in excess of a quarter having an EBV for elbow score as well.

Concepts: Better, Gene, Phenotype, Heredity, Dog, Dog breed, Dog health, Kennel club