Open Health Registry
Although they are among the healthiest large breeds, Leonbergers do occasionally suffer from certain known conditions, some of which do appear to have an element of hereditary predisposition. Research is underway to eventually unlock the genetic markers for some of these conditions, but we do not yet have the means to know for certain if a dog carries an affected gene or not. We therefore can do no more than try and make the most informed choices we can in our breeding, based on whatever information we can gather. Often, it is difficult for both breeders and new puppy buyers alike to get accurate details on lines that may potentially be affected. Occasionally, it is because people do not wish to share this information; Sometimes the information has been made public, such as through a posting on a web discussion forum, but then gets lost, distorted or forgotten over time. Often it is simply a matter of there being no clear method for honestly sharing these matters.
As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the health of our breed, the Leonberger Club of Great Britain has decided to create a public health registry where owners who's dogs have been diagnosed with specific illnesses can - if they so choose - add their dog's names to a public list on our website. It is our hope that this open list will help to both document the current health of our breed, as well as to highlight areas of concern for the benefit of all - breeders, research programmes and owners alike. Being open about these concerns not only helps to provide an invaluable insight into the genetic health of our UK lines, but also to assist us all in improving on their health, longevity and most important of all, the quality of life enjoyed by our beloved Leos. It is not our intention to point fingers of blame about the past - much of what we know about these conditions has only come to light in the last handful of years. But what we can do is to take advantage of what knowledge we now have available to us and use it to move the breed forward towards a healthier future - together.
Hearsay is at best unhelpful and at worst can be terribly damaging to the breed as a whole. Therefore, only registered owners may submit a dog's name for addition to one of the lists. It is important that only dogs with a clear diagnosis of one of the named conditions be added, and for this we will need a photocopy of a veterinary diagnosis, (this can be based on a clinical examination or through more comprehensive diagnostic tests or post-mortem examinations). Without documented proof of positive diagnosis, a dog's name cannot and will not be added.
It does not matter when the dog lived, for how long, or whether or not the listed condition was the actual cause of death in the end. In fact details of dogs from past generations will prove as valuable as those from dogs still among us. If you wish to be a part of this important effort, please send the following information to:
Sharon SpringelChair c/o Health Sub-Committe
The following must be included: A photocopy of the registration document showing both the dog's “kennel name”, as well as your own name as the dog's owner. A photocopy of some form of veterinary diagnosis of the condition named.
Finally, it is extremely important that we all remember that genetics are a puzzle; The genetic causes of the conditions listed here are NOT KNOWN at this time- it is not even known for sure if there is a genetic factor involved – only that this is thought to be likely. Until the research provides us with a clear set of genetic tools, we cannot say whether a line is or is not carrying an affected gene, or even whether that gene or combination of genes will be harmful to future generations. All we can do is offer to share what we have at present in the hopes that it will help advance vital research into these conditions, as well as providing owners and breeders alike with the knowledge they need to make the most informed decisions that they can.