CANADIAN KENNEL CLUB PRESENTATION-NATIONAL MESSAGE
The Canadian Kennel Club is recognized internationally as Canada’s authority on
purebred dogs. It maintains one of the worlds most accurate pedigree registries, has
25,000 members across the country with 12,000 in Ontario alone. In this country there
are 700 dog clubs recognized by our organization and in excess of 2,500 dog events
each year organized by these clubs, representing over 250,000 individual entries.
The Canadian Kennel Club registers its dogs under the auspices of the Federal Animal
Pedigree Act. Our mandate is to register and maintain pedigree records for 164 distinct
breeds of purebred dogs that have completed a 19-step process in order to become
recognized and included in our registry as approved by Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada. Registration includes 75,000 new dogs per year, thus making us the voice for
almost 1,000,000 purebred dogs in Canada. As well as maintaining one of the most
accurate registries in the world, the CKC develops the rules and regulations for 19
different types of competitive events including Conformation, Obedience, Field Trials,
Water Rescue, and Agility-the most rapidly growing dog sport in the world.
We are, however, more than just record keepers…we are the strongest canine voice
in Canada and speak on behalf of purebred dogs and their owners across the
country. Diversity of interest keeps the organization unique, but it is the simple
common love we all share of the dog that brings our members together and puts us
before you today. Whether you are a new puppy owner or you are a breeder of
champion dogs, or your dogs compete in events, or simply, you look to your pet for
companionship you can be touched by the issue of Breed Specific Legislation.
We have strong traditions of “encouraging, guiding, and advancing the interests of
purebred dogs, responsible owners and reputable breeders.” We have strong
traditions of promoting the benefits which dogs can bring to our society…and we
have strong traditions of speaking out at times such as this when we believe that
legislation is just not effective in achieving its intended purpose.
The issue at stake today is the suggested banning of ownership for a number of
breeds in a rapidly increasing number of Canadian communities and indeed entire
Provinces. This approach to public safety is by no means a new concept, nor is it
taken lightly by the Canadian Kennel Club. In fact, it is the first solution suggested
when the issue of dangerous dog incidents impacts any community. It is, however,
not the solution! It creates additional problems for owners of dogs that have never
been, nor ever will be, vicious or dangerous. It creates problems for the individuals
responsible for enforcement. It creates funding problems for municipalities. And, it
creates a problem surrounding the accuracy of definition.
Under the Animal Pedigree Act and from a genetic standpoint we distinguish between
distinct breeds, evolving breeds and other randomly bred populations without distinct
breed characteristics or genetic stability. The term “purebred” is reserved for an
animal of a distinct breed that exhibits both a sufficient genetic makeup and breed
characteristics to be labeled that breed. The dogs generically referred to by the
media and general public, as “pit bulls” are nothing more than mixed breed dogs.
Mixed breed dogs have neither a predictable genetic background nor consistent
distinguishing characteristics and as such, are not eligible for registration with any
breed association in Canada recognized by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
operating under the authority of the Animal Pedigree Act. Breeds often targeted and
incorrectly included in the definition of “pit bulls” are the American Staffordshire
Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Our records indicate that from January to
September this year 31 American Staffordshire Terriers were registered in the whole
of Canada and only 104 Staffordshire Bull Terriers. We believe that a breed
restriction will include individual dogs that are not dangerous and exclude dogs that
cannot be defined that are potentially dangerous.
Our position, and we hope ultimately that of any jurisdiction, is that the problem
must be dealt with, but that it is the individual dog and irresponsible owner that
must be dealt with, by making them accountable. The considered and collective
opinion of the National Companion Animal Coalition (NCAC) which consists of the
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the Canadian Federation of Humane
Societies, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada, and ourselves the
Canadian Kennel Club-all of these organizations support Dangerous Dog Legislation,
and NOT Breed Specific legislation.
Breed Specific Legislation has been of concern for many years. An official CKC Policy
Statement was prepared on the subject in 1987. The Canadian Kennel Club is
frequently consulted by national and local media, concerned citizens, municipal by-
law officers and government bodies across Canada for input and thoughtful
perspective. The Canadian Kennel Club supports Dangerous Dog Legislation in order
to provide the most appropriate protection for the general public.
CKC Members adhere to our Code of Ethics, CKC Member Breeders adhere to our Breeder
Code of Practice and both require the development of Responsible Ownership amongst all
of the 75,000 new dog owners each year that they deal with and place puppies with.
The Canadian Kennel Club introduced the first National Program for canine safety the
“Canine Good Neighbour Program” as a direct result of inquest recommendations
from a dangerous dog incident three years ago in Ontario. The CKC recognized clubs
host training and education sessions across Canada for members and new owners.
The CKC Recognized Clubs, throughout the year, hold Obedience events reinforcing
responsible ownership. In Canada it is federal law that registered purebred dogs
must be uniquely identified (tattoo or microchip) and legal ownership is known.
The above is done with all registered purebred dogs and their owners. Legislation in any
jurisdiction should require education prior to dog ownership, but at present it does not
happen with the generic, randomly bred, mixed breed dogs causing the majority of problems.
We encourage the development of legislation that will target dangerous dogs and
their owners and reward responsible dog owners. Please review further information
and sample by-laws on the Canadian Kennel Club website at www.ckc.ca .The
information can be found by clicking the BSL heading on our home page.
Ban the Deed…not the Breed.