The Kennel Club has launched its innovative Colour Watch initiative, aiming to enhance communication and education regarding the significance of breed standard colours in pedigree dogs.

This initiative, proposed by The Kennel Club’s Non-Breed Standard Colours Working Party (NBSCWP), stems from a comprehensive review addressing the challenges associated with the registration of dogs with unrecognised colours.

Addressing Concerns Through Colour Watch

The Colour Watch initiative mirrors the existing Breed Watch and focuses on shedding light on breeds where trends in non-breed standard (NBS) colours might be a cause for concern. It serves as an indicator of colour trends within breeds, while health-related matters remain under the purview of Breed Watch and/or Breed Health and Conservation plans.

Colour Watch categorises breeds based on the prevalence of NBS colours in registrations. The categorisation considers both percentages and numbers, ensuring a comprehensive approach to safeguarding breed standards. The five categories include:

  • Category 0: Breeds with no NBS colour registration options
  • Category 1: Breeds with 0 to 2% registered NBS colours
  • Category 2: Breeds with >2 to 10% registered NBS colours
  • Category 3: Breeds with >10% to 30% registered NBS colours or between 500 and 1,000 NBS registrations per annum
  • Category 4: Breeds with >30% registered NBS colours or more than 1,000 NBS registrations per annum

This comprehensive system allows for nuanced monitoring, for instance, in breeds like the Retriever (Labrador), where the percentage of NBS colour registrations is relatively low (2.8%) but equates to 1,247 NBS colour Labradors registered in 2022.

Engaging Breed Clubs and Website Integration

The Kennel Club will directly engage with registered breed clubs encompassing the 26 breeds falling within categories 1-4. The Colour Watch category for each breed will be accessible on The Kennel Club website under the ‘Colours’ tab on the Breed A-Z page, accompanied by a link providing additional details about the initiative.

Moving forward, Colour Watch will rely on registration data from the previous calendar year, with the first update using 2023 data scheduled for August. The Kennel Club plans to notify relevant breed clubs of their breed’s category based on the most recent registration data before the annual public announcement each June.

As part of its ongoing Transformation project, The Kennel Club is exploring further initiatives, including the adoption of a clearer approach to differentiate between breed standard and NBS colours, and the promotion of breed standard colours alongside health test results. Details of additional initiatives will be announced at the appropriate juncture.