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There is no doubt about the seriousness of the current issues in breeding and welfare of purebred dogs. This was highlighted in the Pedigreed Dogs Exposed documentary which showed how some practices have negatively impacted on dog’s health and welfare.
These practices which put form (how a dog looks) over function (what a dog can do) has meant some breeds have seen an increase in severe negative consequences on the dog’s quality of life.
For more than a century the traditional system used in purebred dog breeding has resulted in the restriction of gene pools, the selection of some dogs with inadequate regard to their or their progenies health and welfare and sometimes the desire to win championships taking priority over health and welfare issues and causing these negative consequences.
The Master Dog Breeders and Associates has listened to debates about who is to blame for the situation and we don’t believe that possible solutions tendered by traditional systems and Canine Registries are the answer to the problem. If things are done the same as they have always been done then little will change and dogs will still suffer.
We are determined to be part of the solution and we always have the focus on what is best for dogs over and above any other objective and we deliver new, innovative, practical and exciting solutions to move our breeders and our breeds into the future.
1. Our breeder member application and approval system.
Our entry process ensures any breeder member applicants share our objectives and will always focus on what’s best for their dogs. We screen them to find out their motivations and how they think and feel about their dogs and dogs in general. We examine their goals, their management plans and breeding plans to ensure that they do not compromise on what is best for their dogs. We believe that getting the right people involved will lead to producing only the best dogs with their welfare at the core of any decisions.
We know that individuals general attitude to dogs reflect on how they treat their own dogs. People who genuinely love dogs, see them as part of a family, who see them as needing love, attention, comfort, care and socialisation are less likely to compromise on their breeding dog’s living conditions.
Breeders who have this outlook and attitude to dogs are less likely to compromise on the homes they choose for their puppies nor compromise on decisions they make, regardless of other’s opinions. Their primary focus is on the health and welfare of their dogs. They do not make decisions that would impact negatively on their dogs nor would they breed dogs with the sole purpose of making money. It is people with this attitude and outlook that we want as our members and our application and screening process is designed to identify them.
Our breeder members agree to deliver genuinely high welfare standards and place their primary focus on what is best for their dogs. Their stated goal is to breed healthy happy puppies now and for future generations without any compromise in the quest for ribbons, conformity or money. This sets them apart from other dog breeders. We believe such breeders should be rewarded for their stance and we help identify them to their peers, the public and in the market place for their efforts, and achievements in their chosen field.
When a breeder member applicant is approved they can apply for a kennel prefix. We do not have an exam, inspection or wait period as our application process is thorough. Our breeder members can begin breeding and registering their dogs and puppy’s pedigrees as soon as they are approved.
2. Member Checks and accountability
We have checks and balances in place to ensure that through the course of their membership our members continue to uphold our values. Their puppy buyers get free MDBA membership which ensures our breeders are accountable and responsible. The puppy buyers become MDBA Smart Dog Owner Club members and have our support in the rare event that something goes wrong.
Our members know that the MDBA expects high standards and ethics and understand that one bad breeder can have enormous impact on the entire MDBA fraternity. The MDBA will take swift action when required if any breeder is reported to us and after investigation we find they are not compliant with our codes and regulations.
3. Providing education, resources, communication, and support
We help our members to excel by empowering them with education, resources, communication, and support to increase their skills and knowledge to change the world for dogs. By making a positive difference to their knowledge base and practices we show how a standard of excellence in dog breeding, dog ownership and canine care is achievable if they focus on what’s best for dogs.
We provide a wide range of courses to help breeders become more knowledgeable and to be recognised for their studies in their field.
We provide a variety of methods to keep our members informed and supported, we encourage our members to participate in open discussion, be innovative, to think outside the square and to challenge traditional practices, conventions and methods that may not be in the dog’s or the breed’s best interest.
4. Provision of an alternate pedigree stud registry.
The MDBA registry is different from the traditional registries in two major areas.
a. We not only record a dog’s ancestors and any championships, we also record the dog’s DNA and health results; any recognised achievements, the working heritage of the dog’s ancestors, the dog’s ancestor’s temperament and idiosyncrasies. Our pedigrees have all of this information on them for all to see.
By showing this detailed information on the pedigree it allows our breeders to make breeding decisions based on correct information and science and ensures negative genetic and heritable issues are less likely to be passed from parent to offspring. It gives puppy buyers a good indication of the health and temperament of their puppy and demonstrates that the puppy’s breeder had detailed information when selecting their puppy’s parents. It also demonstrates that the breeder places a priority on health and temperament in their breeding program and is trying to reduce the risks associated with breeding and owning a living being.
b. Our stud books for all breeds are open. This helps to increase the genetic diversity of the breeds. This can be a dog of the same breed without papers, or with papers which are not recognised by traditional registries, or with limited register papers, or a dog of a different breed (Where this has been done as with the LUA Dalmatians, it has been done to counteract the high uric acid problem that affects all Dalmatians). By opening our stud books we provide greater choices for breeders to make in their breeding programs and we increase the genetic diversity within the breed’s genepool.
Breeders can register their dogs on the MDBA stud registry in addition to registering them with traditional registries. This helps them track more ancestry information than the traditional registries provide.
Some breeders only use the MDBA stud registry as they do not want to use traditional registries. Our registry is also open for breeders to register dogs of breeds in development.
5. Breed Standards
The ability to have a predictable dog to share you and your family's life is the main attraction and benefit for people who wish to own a dog of a particular breed.
To attain this predictability, breed standards are introduced as a breed is developed to give breeders guidelines and goals to aim for so that all dogs in the group will look the same and have the same management requirements.
The majority of breed standards were written over 100 years ago and have changed very little since then. Some were submitted and accepted without regard for how the conformation may negatively impact on a dogs quality of life. Problems have developed over time as breeders and judges have favoured a particular type that they thought was more attractive or that was more likely to win a ribbon at the time. This can have a negative impact on a dogs quality of life and can develop into more exaggerated physical features which is now seen in some breeds.
The MDBA believe that breeding toward a standard is important for attaining predictability however, whilst we encourage our breeders to breed toward producing dogs which are good representatives of their breed, without moving toward selection of extremes and without compromise on health, temperament and a dog's quality of life.
6. Encouraging more people to become MDBA registered breeders.
The more people who become involved in the breeding of purebred dogs in an ethical, responsible manner with the primary focus on what is best for dogs the better the outcome is for the breeds.
If you share our belief that we can all make a difference to dogs lives, agree with our philosophy of focusing on what’s best for dogs and agree with our Code of Conduct then you too could become a MDBA member and set yourself apart from others in your chosen field.