Breed-related health problems in dogs have received increased focus over the last decade. Responsibility for causing and/or solving these problems has been variously directed towards dog breeders and kennel clubs, the veterinary profession, welfare scientists, owners, regulators, insurance companies and the media. In reality, all these stakeholders are likely to share some responsibility and optimal progress on resolving these challenges requires all key stakeholders to work together. The International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD), together with an alternating host organization, holds biennial meetings called the International Dog Health Workshops (IDHW). The Société Centrale Canine (French Kennel Club) hosted the 3rd IDHW, in Paris, in April, 2017. These meetings bring together a wide range of stakeholders in dog health, science and welfare to improve international sharing of information and resources, to provide a forum for ongoing collaboration, and to identify specific needs and actions to improve health, well-being and welfare in dogs.
The workshop included 140 participants from 23 countries and was structured around six important issues facing those who work to improve dog health. These included individualized breed-specific strategies for health and breeding, extreme conformations, education and communication in relation to antimicrobial resistance, behavior and welfare, genetic testing and population-based evidence. A number of exciting actions were agreed during the meeting. These included setting up working groups to create tools to help breed clubs accelerate the implementation of breed-health strategies, review aspects of extreme conformation and share useful information on behavior. The meeting also heralded the development of an online resource of relevant information describing quality measures for DNA testing. A demand for more and better data and evidence was a recurring message stressed across all themes.
The meeting confirmed the benefits from inclusion of a diverse range of stakeholders who all play relevant and collaborative parts to improve future canine health. Firm actions were set for progress towards improving breed-related welfare. The next international workshop will be in the UK in 2019 and will be organized by the UK Kennel Club.