We influence the international community through the Nordic Kennel Union and the World Canine Organisation FCI with the aim of promoting greater knowledge of and competence in dog breeding.
The breeding of healthy and good-tempered dogs calls for cooperation between different parties – when breeders, breed clubs, the Finnish Kennel Club, veterinarians and researchers as well as puppy buyers pull together, the results are much more effective than the efforts of individual actors could ever be. A puppy buyer acquiring a pedigree dog can influence the well-being of dogs by buying a puppy from a responsible breeder operating under the Finnish Kennel Club, and thus ensure that the actions taken by the Finnish Kennel Club and the breed clubs are as efficient as possible. To promote the health and welfare of dogs, the Finnish Kennel Club has:
- A General Breeding Strategy that each joining member commits to follow. The content of the breeding strategy has been shaped by a multifaceted working group and approved by the Council of the Finnish Kennel Club. The breeding strategy provides detailed recommendations on how to select dogs for breeding in order to produce optimally healthy and good-tempered pups.
- Dog Registry Guideline, which defines the grounds on which dogs can be included in the Finnish Kennel Club's registers as well as impose requirements on breeding dogs that apply to all breeds with the aim of promoting the welfare of dogs. The Dog Registry Guideline applies to all litters being registered, regardless of whether the breeder has a kennel name or has signed the Finnish Kennel Club Breeder's Commitment Declaration.
- Breed-specific breeding strategies (JTO), in which breed clubs set focal points for the breeding of their dog breeds as well as present recommendations for desirable characteristics in breeding dogs in order to make future generations as healthy as possible. Breeding strategies are inspected and approved by the Finnish Kennel Club's Scientific Committee.
- Programme for Combating Hereditary Diseases and Defects (PEVISA), which enables the Finnish Kennel Club to, at the initiative of a breed club, monitor the health and welfare of dogs that are used for breeding. A breed can be included in the PEVISA programme on the basis of a decision by the breed club's general assembly. The PEVISA programme requires all dogs used for breeding to be examined for specific hereditary diseases. PEVISA health examination protocols are created by working groups, which include the best specialist veterinarians for each disease.
- The public Breeding Database, which offers access to all official dog health examinations. The system accumulates data on some 70,000 health examination results per year. New breeding tools and statistics are constantly being developed for the system. For example, the breeding database contains BLUP indexes (Best Linear Unbiased Predictions) for hip and elbow dysplasia. The Finnish Kennel Club is a world pioneer in calculating breeding indexes as well as in the openness of health examination results.
- Basic and advanced courses for breeders as well as courses for the breeding counsellors of breed clubs. Our courses go over the basics of breeding, bitch and pup care as well as current news and research findings about dog health, temperament characteristics and breeding.
- The course Dog breeding today, an advanced course for breeders who already have some experience in breeding.
- Guidelines for show judges regarding exaggerated features in breeds. According to the Finnish Kennel Club's General Breeding Strategy, the structure and appearance of a dog, which is used for breeding, must not demonstrate welfare-reducing defects that are mentioned in this list of unhealthy features.
- Health research funds. The Finnish Kennel Club supports research, which provides information on hereditary diseases affecting dogs. The information helps identify diseases and select the right breeding methods.
- Canine Health Care Programme. The programme aims to disseminate information and thus improve dog welfare in relation to dog keeping as well as improve the health of dogs.
- Breeders Commitment Declaration, where the breeder makes a commitment to, among other things, only use healthy dogs that are in good condition for breeding as well as to openly disclose information about the characteristics of his or her dogs. The breeding database shows whether a breeder has signed the commitment.
- Volunteer-based kennel counselling activities.
- Basic Rules for Dog Owners and Keepers that binds all Finnish Kennel Club members. Among other things, it stipulates that the results of health examinations and information on hereditary diseases must be submitted to the Finnish Kennel Club, which is entitled to make this information public. Furthermore, if a dog is used in breeding, the dog must be healthy, good-tempered and breed-typical.
Please note that only breeders who register their pups with the Finnish Kennel Club have made a commitment to the breeding programmes and dog-health-promoting registration requirements of the Finnish Kennel Club. Pedigree dogs should always be registered to ensure, for example, that a bitch has not been used to produce litters too frequently or too many times and that the parents of a litter have been subjected to the breed-specific health examinations defined in the PEVISA programme before mating. There is no good reason to not register a pure-bred dog – the motivation is almost always avoidance of health regulations.