Respiratory Function Grading Scheme – Crufts 2024

Tuesday April 2, 2024

On the 7th of March this year, one of our clinical directors and European Specialist in surgery, Dr Jane Ladlow and Kate Price, our brachy nurse, spent the day at CRUFTS Dog Show.

Jane is the founder and Chief Assessor of a health scheme known as the Respiratory Function Grading Scheme (RFGS), which was launched in 2019 by the UK Kennel Club in collaboration with the University of Cambridge after many years of ongoing research into the respiratory health of brachycephalic dog breeds.

The Scheme, which is rolling out worldwide, aims to improve the health of breeds that are known to suffer with brachycephalic airway syndrome (BOAS) by reducing the overall numbers of cases within the dog population over time.

At the moment, the scheme is only for Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs, but in the near future, will include many of the other flat-faced breeds of dog.

Being, quick, simple and inexpensive to perform, the Scheme has many uses!

  • Guide breeders on how to lower the risks of producing BOAS affected puppies
  • Allow breeders to work together and make informed choices when choosing dogs to breed
  • Allows owners to make informed decisions about their dog’s health and ongoing treatment
  • Helps to standardise how dogs are assessed for BOAS

At CRUFTS this year, Jane and other assessors tested 127 dogs over the day. This was a higher number than in 2023 which is great news!

There were no grade three dogs and compared to 2023 the overall number of affected dogs was down in all three breeds (Bulldog, Frenchies and Pugs).

The scheme is evolving and, in an attempt to further improve the health of certain brachycephalic breeds, it has been announced that any Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs that are eligible to enter CRUFTS 2025 must have a valid Respiratory Function Grading Scheme result. Any grade three dogs will not be allowed to enter.

We’ll leave you with a lovely picture of Jane with one of our wonderful grade zero dogs!