The Field Spaniel Society

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Field Spaniel Society Health Co-ordinator

Mrs Heather Weeks

The Kennel Club have recently undertaken a Breed Population Analyses, this is taken from the KC Web Site and I have also included the link to the Field Spaniel Data as well:

Taken from the KC Website -

Recognising the importance of managing the rate of inbreeding, the Kennel Club's Population analysis reports allow breeders to review the unique situation for each breed.

If unchecked, inbreeding levels can rise in a breed, and although its effects may not initially be noticeable, this increase can have a significant impact on the health and welfare of future generations.

The breed specific reports below provide a framework to shape discussions on the best ways to improve, or maintain, genetic health.

See the KC Link for more information -

 The Conclusion states:- but really needs to be read in context with the above link


As can be seen from figure 1, the number of animals of this breed registered with the Kennel Club is

very small. The small population size and possible influence of migrant animals mean there may be

large fluctuations in the rate of inbreeding and effective population size. The rate of inbreeding was

at its highest in this breed in the 1980s and 1990s. This represents a ‘genetic bottleneck’, with

genetic variation lost from the population. However, since the mid-1990s the rate of inbreeding has

declined implying a slowdown in the rate of loss of genetic diversity (possibly through the use of

imported animals).

There appears to be moderate use of popular dogs as sires in this breed (the ‘tail’ of the blue

distribution in figure 3).

It should be noted that, while animals imported from overseas may appear completely unrelated,

this is not always the case. Often the pedigree available to the Kennel Club is limited in the number

of generations, hampering the ability to detect true, albeit distant, relationships.

We are at present on the BVA/KC/ISDS EYE SCHEME SCHEDULE B - CONDITIONS UNDER INVESTIGATION  BVA Register for Spaniel (Field) - HC (early developing), MRD - (information from the KC Web Site) so it is imperative that testing is continuously carried out.

See under Health Schemes Eyes for more information on these conditions

The Kennel Club have informed us that the 2016 breed specific data summaries are now available on the Kennel Club website, which includes data summaries of DNA tests, the CM/SM scheme, the BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia scheme, BVA/KC Elbow Dysplasia scheme, and BVA/KC ISDS Eye scheme for 2016.

These summaries can be useful, for example, for finding out breed median scores for hip and elbow, or what percentage of the tested population are a carrier for a particular condition.


Please click here and scroll down to the ‘Health Data’ section.

The Kennel Club have informed us that the COI (coefficient of inbreeding) breed averages have been updated.

To view the new annual breed average online, and to put this figure into context, please click here.

For Information on inbreeding and its impact on health, then information and advice is available here.

The results from the Society’s 2017 Breed Health Survey are now available here

The Kennel Club have now published a more in-depth study of the 2014 Pedigree Breed Health Survey and have provided us with our individual breed report following the survey, available here.

One aspect of the more in-depth study is looking at which breeds have shown a higher or lower prevalence for conditions than the average across all breeds. This paper is freely and publically available in the Canine Genetics and Epidemiology Journal at:

The research aimed to determine the prevalence of health disorders of varying severity, influenced by both genetics and environment, among pedigree dogs overall and, where possible, determine any variation among breeds.

The results of this study will substantially contribute to the current understanding of disorder occurrence in dogs in the UK and contribute towards the evidence base for each breed’s Breed Health & Conservation Plans.

New Canine Genetics Resource on the Kennel Club Academy

There is a new free resource now available on the Kennel Club Academy focusing on Canine Genetics. They have developed this resource to encompass the following areas:

This resource will be useful to any breeders/owners who seek advice who are considering breeding their dogs and want to make informed breeding decisions prior to doing so. It also has several additional resources and a short assessment to test the user’s knowledge.

To view the new resource, please see here. Whilst it asks the user to put in billing address etc. I would like to stress that this is a free resource so please do not be put off by this!

New Longevity and Mortality Paper, October 2018

Please see below a link to a scientific paper


The British Veterinary Association have put together a quick survey to gain valuable feedback from us and our breed with regard to the Canine Health Schemes.

Whilst it does ask for your name you can complete this anonymously should you prefer.

The survey can be found through the following link:

 New initiative to tackle inherited eye disease in dogs

“This new project will involve vets, ophthalmologists and research specialists to make a real difference, particularly to new and emerging eye diseases, that we will be able to stop in their tracks.

The plan is to collect DNA from ANY dog, or ANY breed, with ANY (presumed) inherited eye disease.  We will screen these samples for ALL known eye disease mutations (currently about 80).

This will enable us to do two things:

Identify new breeds that are segregating mutations previously known to segregate in other breeds.  After validation (importantly, not all DNA testing companies do this bit), we will then be able to extend DNA testing to those new breeds and offer bespoke advice to those breeds.

       Identify dogs with a (presumed) inherited eye disease that do not carry any currently known mutation, and fast track genetic investigations in those dogs to hopefully find their mutation and develop a DNA test.  This is the part that will help us halt new diseases in their tracks.

The only eligibility criteria are that dogs MUST have had their diagnosis confirmed by a veterinary ophthalmologist (although this doesn’t have to be one of the consortium ophthalmologists), and the ophthalmologist must consider their eye condition to probably be inherited, or have no obvious antecedent cause.  

The project has a dedicated email address:

CRIEDD has its owner dedicated member of staff, Dr Katherine Stanbury.  Katherine is the main point of contact for all things CRIEDD-related although you may also contact the Kennel Club who will support you in receiving any answers to questions.

How can BHC’s Help?

Breed Health Co-ordinators are vital in supporting this new group with access to dogs and breeders as described above. Please do widely circulate this information and flyer to owners within your breed and contact either the Kennel Club Health & Welfare Department or the Animal Health Trust.”       

CRIEDD Flyer_v3.pdfFlyer