Breed Health

Canine Genetics Centre Appeal

Please read the appeal from the Canine Genetics Centre.  In addition, an email is being sent (from today) to all Breed Clubs and Canine Societies/Agricultural Societies/Training Clubs/Gundog Clubs etc.

The Border Terrier Breed Health Group will be pledging a donation of £3,500 to the appeal and it is our understanding that Border Terrier LifeLine will also be pledging £1,500 to the appeal.

There is still a long way to go to save the CGC, but every little helps and if individuals can donate and are UK taxpayers, then Government Gift Aid is added to each amount by simply ticking a box on the donation form.

Canine Genetics Centre logo



As Head of the Canine Genetics Centre at the University of Cambridge, I am reaching out to breed clubs, societies and other canine groups seeking your help and where relevant, your members. I very much hope you will be able to share this email and related links with your organisation’s committee and membership, and I thank you in advance for your interest.

You may already be aware that the Kennel Club and Kennel Club Charitable Trust have announced that they are no longer able to contribute financially to the Canine Genetics Centre (CGC). They have been long term substantial funders for the Centre, supporting our joint objective to improve the genetic health of our dogs. However, their withdrawal of funding from April 2024 has placed the Centre in a precarious position. We need to secure around £345k over the next few months, either as pledged support or direct donations, to keep the Centre running. My team and I are determined not to let the Centre close down – and we are appealing to the grass roots for support.

This is why I hope you will be able to help spread this message and engage your “membership” through whatever means possible.


For readers who may be unaware of what we do, here is some context to the appeal:

Sadly, dogs have the highest known occurrence of inherited genetic diseases after humans. At CGC we undertake the genetic research necessary to identify the precise mutations that cause inherited canine disease. Commercial DNA testing laboratories cannot offer tests for specific mutations until the research phase is complete and details of each mutation have been published. Many of you will have had your own dogs DNA tested, but you may not be aware that the tests rely on the research that we, and other research groups around the world, undertake.

Since its inception, the CGC has been at the forefront of canine genetic research, identifying 32 mutations, most of which form the basis of commercially available DNA tests. This output places CGC on par with, or even surpassing, others in the same field – a testament to its dedication to canine health and efficient operation.

Some of the inherited disease mutations identified by CGC include:

  • Primary lens luxation in around 20 different breeds of dogs
  • Progressive retinal atrophy - 7 different mutations in 8 different breeds of dogs
  • Primary open angle glaucoma - 4 different mutations in 4 different breeds of dog
  • Inherited forms of ataxia - four different mutations in 5 different breeds of dog


Given our situation, the CGC has launched an appeal with a target to raise £345k to secure the Centre over the next twelve months. These funds are to fill the immediate funding gap and an advisory group, comprised of unpaid volunteers, has been formed to develop a longer-term funding strategy. So, while we encourage Breed Clubs, individual members, breeders and dog owners to engage with the work of the Canine Genetics Centre and fundraise to help support our research in the future, we do not intend to make an appeal on this scale again.

Our Dogs newspaper has dedicated space this week to our appeal launch, aiming to engage enthusiasts across the pedigree dog world. We hope to amplify this through social media and various other support activities, with my team and I making an appearance at Crufts in the next few weeks too. Stay tuned for updates!

How can you contribute?

Breed Clubs and Societies

Please pledge now

We encourage breed clubs, societies and other groups to support us in any way they can. Recognising that some clubs with smaller numbers may face constraints, we've set up an option to pledge on our website. Clubs can also donate in increments, providing flexibility. Complete our Pledge Form here.

Breeders, Owners & Enthusiasts 

Please donate today

Help us broaden our reach by spreading our APPEAL to a wider audience. While Clubs may face constraints, individuals may wish to contribute directly, benefiting from Gift Aid – turning every £1 donated into £1.25. Please encourage direct donations. Individuals can also pledge directly through our Pledge Form.

Illustrative Example

If 50 breeds could find 40 people willing and able to donate £100 each, we would be able to establish a solid foundation, affording us time to implement sustainable and longer-term funding approaches. We understand that £100 might be out of the reach of many, but this is for illustrative purposes and aims to demonstrate that this challenge is more manageable than it appears. We appreciate any donation, regardless of amount as every contribution will have a meaningful impact.

Donate now

International APPEAL:

Genetic mutations transcend borders, impacting breeds globally, not just within the UK. We urge you to spread this APPEAL far and wide, reaching out to overseas Breed Clubs and enthusiasts. Your help in reaching a broader audience will make a significant difference in our collective efforts to resolve our short-term funding issue.

Sharing is caring - please share the APPEAL within your networks.

Finally, we would like to express our sincere thanks for your consideration and support. We apologise if this email reaches more than one member of your committee, or if you are already familiar with our appeal - we are trying to extend our reach as widely as possible.


With our warmest wishes,

Cathryn, her team and advisory group

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