Does the number of Breed Clubs make a difference to breed health improvement?

It’s nearly three years since Philippa Robinson published her KarltonIndex review of the work being done by Breed Clubs to safeguard and improve the health of their breeds. You may recall that the work of the Dachshund Breed Council and our clubs resulted in us coming out at number 1 in 2013 (having also “won” in 2011).

Breeds were assessed against four parameters:

  • Leadership (having a strong health team and plan)
  • Communication and engagement (of breeders and owners)
  • Participation (in health improvement activities)
  • Impact (on breed health)

I thought it might be interesting to see if there was any link between the number of clubs in a breed and their score on the KarltonIndex. I’ve done the analysis for the Hound Group and this is what I found:

hound_group_clubs_vs_ki_index_2013

On average, Hound breeds with fewer than 5 breed clubs scored 12 on the KI, while breeds with more than 5 clubs scored 26 on the KI. (For the number jockeys reading, this was a statistically significant difference).

The chart shows an exponential line of best fit, but a linear fit also confirms the trend: breeds with more clubs tend to have a better KI score.

I don’t have the time to do the analysis for every breed and it would be unwise to say there is a direct cause and effect relationship between the two variables.

I have, however, looked at the Top 10 KI scoring breeds and compared them with the 14 breeds that scored zero points in 2013. The top breeds have an average of 7 breed clubs per breed, whereas the zero-points clubs average 2 clubs per breed. Clearly, there is a relationship between the number of breed clubs and the number of dogs registered. The top-scoring breeds accounted for around 56,000 registrations in 2015 (about a quarter of the KC’s registrations). In comparison, the zero-scoring breeds only accounted for 5,400 registrations (approx. 2% of the total).

There are, of course, good examples of breeds with few clubs who are also doing a great job (as measured by the KI). However, you just need to look at what Philippa found in her top-performing breeds to draw some conclusions about why Hound breeds with more clubs might be making more effort and progress on health matters:

  • There are likely to be more people on committees who are passionate about making a difference for their breed
  • It is easier to find people willing and able to join their Health Committee
  • There are more people to call on to help run health seminars, screening sessions and to promote health initiatives
  • There are more clubs who can fund-raise and make donations to research programmes
  • There are more events at which health matters can be communicated and owners can be engaged in learning how to breed healthier dogs
  • There are more Facebook Groups, Club websites and social media channels being used to reach and involve owners and potential owners in health improvement

I know there will be people who think the KI approach is meaningless management-speak, but it’s based on well-proven approaches used in the private and public sectors to assess how well organisations are doing.

Ultimately, the KI score that a breed achieves is not that important; what matters is are there enough people who feel passionate enough about their breed to get up and do something. Breed Clubs are the catalyst for most of the good work being done across numerous pedigree breeds.

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