Breeding dogs that exhibit symptoms identified as creating 'agony' is addressed by governments of some country's animal welfare laws. In Austria the legislators responsible for creating language in their country's Animal Welfare Act assume that characteristics required in the breed standards can lead to these 'agony' symptoms and now calls for organized cynology to take counter-measures. The Austrian Kennel Club ( Österreichische Kynologenverband - ÖKV ) initiated a project, "Konterqual" to address these concerns. All breeds have been under review for some years as the project has developed with the goal of identifying key areas of breed-specific health issues and pursuit of viable solutions to evaluate and improve breed's health.
Here we present translated documentation on the processes by which the Austrian Kennel Club is addressing health and welfare issues in ÖKV registered purebred dogs. We at DWN commend the Austrian Kennel Club for their outstanding work for purebred dog health and welfare. Sharing work like this can help to inform other kennel clubs and countries dealing with similar issues. In addition to presenting the facts and outcomes, it is so helpful to be able to see the process, to follow what steps were taken. Personal experiences, what works, what doesn't ... all these help others. We look forward to further information from Austria on developments and outcomes of this program.
This breeding project is the response of the ÖKV to the amendments to the Animal Protection Act 2005, which entered into force on January 1, 2008.
The attached document above is a Google translated version of ÖKV Projekt Konterqual webpage: http://www.oekv.at/oekv/oekv-projekt-konterqual.html and of the Brachycephalic "Stress Test' PDF: http://www.oekv.at/uploads/media/Belastungstest_%C3%96KV.pdf
The following symptoms are mentioned as agony: "agony". The amendments to the Animal Welfare Act also clarified the term
Inflammation of the skin
Inflammation of the connective and / or cornea
Malformations of the dentition
Additional information on the web page outlines the steps and supplemental documents created for the Konterqual project and the webpage (in German) contains the most up-to date information on the project.
Counter measurers – Interim Report June 2012
The attached document above is a Google translated version of ÖKV Projekt Konterqual 2012 Report: http://www.oekv.at/uploads/media/Konterqual-Zwischenbericht2012_01.pdf
The document contains the original German text for each section which is directly followed by the English Google Translation of the section's passages. We translated the 2012 Report as it clearly outlines the approach taken by the ÖKV at the project's inception. Later Interim Reports are available from ÖKV for the Konterqual project for 2013, 2015 and 2016 - in German only.
COMMENT: A great deal of time and effort have been expended by the Austrian Kennel Club and it's affiliated clubs and their members to address health and welfare in purebred dogs - the Konterqual project represents many years of work by many individuals for the benefit and betterment of dogs. The effort and commitment are notable. However, in addressing health issues and animal welfare along with the laws of any country, one must consider the reach of a Kennel Club's influence over the breeds and breeding populations. Often times the kennel club affiliated breeders represent a small percentage of all dog breeders operating in a country - registered dogs do not represent all dogs, be they purebred or mixed breeds.