(Part of the presentation to BCCA Board of Directors, October 1998
and Lay Summary of March 1999 Progress Report to AKC CHF)

As Malcolm Willis said about health databases (AKC Gazette, August 1996), "as breeders we cannot simply sit back and wait for harmful genes to be located. On the contrary, we have to take action. Perhaps the most important contribution we can make is to collect information about our dogs. . . All this information can serve as the raw material for figuring the Mendelian ratios used to assess the mode of inheritance of some defects. If they haven't already done so, parent clubs need to set up open databases for members to submit data on every bitch mated, every litter bred, listing consequences of matings and the fate of litters".

"Lean, active dog..." These are the first three words of the British standard for the Bearded Collie. The AKC standard is a bit more diffuse, but the first paragraph begins: "The Bearded Collie is hardy and active, with an aura of strength and agility characteristic of a real working dog." In the second sentence of the second paragraph it continues: "The body is long and lean, and though strongly made does not appear heavy." Now while, as we know, standards are definitely open to interpretation, can we be honest? Go over to the couch and take a long and careful look at Fuzzface. Don't prevaricate. Can you honestly feel all his ribs? Or are his hip bones padded with fat? Yes hair can hide a multitude of sins, and it often seems to do just that in Beardies which are tending to being overweight. While it would seem that the British judges prefer a leaner dog to the majority of Americans (only on this side of the ocean have I heard mention of dogs being too lean and muscular), one thing is clear - dogs which are leaner and fitter will in general live longer and healthier lives than their fatter counterparts.