Otterhounds are the most vulnerable British breed
Image by Marc-Henrie for The Kennel Club

Otterhounds are a rare sight in the UK, on a steep decline since otter hunting was banned in 1978. They are the British breed most at risk of dying out in the UK, with only 44 pups registered in 2019 and none so far in 2020. 

The import of Otterhounds or the house of overseas sires can be key to this breed’s survival, but so is ensuring the health of future generations. Now the Kennel Club has announced that, following consultation with the Otterhound Breed Health Coordinator and breed club, all imported Otterhounds or overseas sires must be DNA-tested for Glanzmann’s thrombasthenia before registration of their progeny is accepted.

This restriction will come into effect as of 1 January 2021.

Dr Tom Lewis, Genetics & Research Manager at The Kennel Club, said, “The Kennel Club constantly reviews DNA testing schemes in conjunction with breed clubs to ensure that breeders are supported with resources which help them to make responsible breeding decisions.

“We work alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs and are happy to accommodate a breed’s request to tailor restrictions for a DNA test, for breeds which fit a number of suitable criteria. A formal request from the Breed Health Coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs is normally required to do this.”

This restriction is being applied to “prevent the introduction of this condition into the UK population, whilst allowing breeders to make use of valuable genes from dogs originating outside of the country”

Thrombasthenic thrombopathia is a bleeding disorder first described in Otterhounds in the 1960s, caused by “an inability of the blood to clot appropriately”, resulting in clinical signs such as “bleeding from the gums and prolonged bleeding during surgery”.

This condition is rare in the UK breed population, with most known cases occurring in the US breed population. This restriction is being applied to “prevent the introduction of this condition into the UK population, whilst allowing breeders to make use of valuable genes from dogs originating outside of the country”.

Test results will be added to the dog’s registration details which will trigger the publication of the result in the next available Breed Records Supplement, and also on the Health Test Results Finder on the Kennel Club website.

Results for dogs already tested can also be recorded, but owners will need to submit copies of the DNA certificates themselves. DNA test certificates should be sent to Breeder Services, The Kennel Club, Clarges Street, London W1J 8AB or scanned and emailed to health.results@thekennelclub.org.uk.

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