Crufts will be assessing the health of 15 high profile breeds of dogs at the Birmingham NEC in 2012 before handing out any awards, the Kennel Club announced.
The move aims to improve health in pedigree dogs and protect the sport of dog showing, which have both come under prolonged scrutiny in the wake of a BBC documentary which claimed dogs bred for shows were suffering a high degree of genetic illness.
The Kennel Club, which runs Crufts, said all Best in Breed winners at the world famous dog show in 2012 and at all the club’s championship shows after that will need a clean bill of health from the event’s vet before their award is confirmed and they are allowed to continue to compete in the final.
And any dog which becomes a champion – for which it needs three wins at championship shows – will also need to undergo a successful veterinary examination.
The 15 high profile breeds to which the rules will apply include basset hounds, bulldogs, German shepherds, mastiffs, pugs and Chinese crested dogs, which have been chosen because of concerns the breeds can suffer from health issues.
Vets will be looking for clinical signs of pain or discomfort such as breathing difficulties when taking moderate exercise, skin disorders, damage to the eyes and lameness.