This partnership has made significant improvements to dog health and welfare over the last 10 years. With the knowledge that can now be gained from analysis of DNA sequenced data in the canine genome bank, we could very quickly accelerate forward another 20 years. Scientists in the KCGC at the AHT aim to get better and faster at identifying mutations using smaller numbers of dogs and improved technology.

One of the key benefits of finding mutations in this way is that a disease can often be stamped out before it takes hold in a breed.

The KCGC team also plan to tackle complex genetic diseases, such as epilepsy, as these diseases potentially compromise the health of the greatest number of dogs. Of the 489 currently known genetic diseases in dogs, 72% are believed to be complex.

Raising awareness of health testing among puppy buyers is also key. There are still too many people unaware of what health tests are available and not checking that parent dogs have been tested for known conditions. The partnership wants to ensure potential puppy buyers know what they should be asking, so they purchase not only an appropriate puppy for their lifestyle, but also one that has benefited from health testing and will have the very best start in life.

Cathryn Mellersh summarised: “The last ten years have been incredibly important to dog health. Thanks to the partnership with The Kennel Club so many dogs are benefitting from DNA tests, and that’s improving the lives of generations of animals. Great things can and are being achieved through genetic research. With humans suffering many of the same diseases as dogs, there is always the possibility that our research is going to help human medicine as well.

“We are incredibly grateful to The Kennel Club Charitable Trust and its members for its ongoing support, and look forward to continuing to make life better for thousands of dogs.”