GCCF Breeding Policy

The GCCF operates a genetic based register. It is therefore fundamental to the spirit and ethos of the organisation that it should seek in every way to safeguard the genetic health and integrity of all breeds recognised for inclusion on that register. The General Breeding Policy outlined below offers advice and guidance for the dedicated and ethical breeder to (1) develop and progress any pedigree breed whether for show or companion purposes; (2) improve the quality of phenotype (appearance) of any given breed, through a robust process of selective breeding, towards the ideal described in the breed standard; and (3) maintain a robust, healthy and viable breeding population of any given breed through consideration of the genetic outcome of any breeding programme.

To be successful in this endeavour such work must be undertaken in a planned, considered and structured way, within a framework of reasonable limits and through a carefully managed breeding system. This policy seeks to avoid extremes of physical type and minimise the extent of inbreeding that may lead to deleterious consequences for a cat's health and affect its ability to live a natural healthy life.

Selective breeding by definition aims to increase homogeneity (similarity) and reduce random variation within a given breed gene-pool. In doing so it increases the chance that undesirable, and even harmful, genetic anomalies will begin to express themselves. It is vital that breeders pay particular regard to such a risk and monitor each successive generation for evidence of such anomalies. Recent advances in science and technology mean breeders can now increasingly take advantage of rapid developments in genetic testing and in the understanding of the cat genome, and to test for a range of specific genes and DNA markers. Following a practice of genetic testing wherever possible will increase confidence in the health of any potential offspring, offering benefits for both the breeder and new owner by reducing any necessity for unfortunate and costly veterinary interventions.

There are four key rules must be followed:

« Health must be the overriding consideration in any breeding programme.

« The good (positive) and bad (negative) features of the individual cats should be assessed and weighed against each other before any mating. This includes the risk of passing on genetic faults/anomalies.

« When planning a breeding programme, breeders must realise that doubling of the good traits in a cat may also result in doubling any defects; the breeding of cats with similar faults should be avoided at all costs otherwise there is a danger of fixation (i.e. creating a characteristic which cannot subsequently be eliminated).

« Breeders must make themselves aware of the nature of the characteristics they wish to promote or avoid, whether these are due to a dominant gene (which will always be expressed when present) or a recessive gene (only expressed in the homozygous state i.e. where the cat inherits the gene from both parents).

The GCCF is very concerned about close mating's and thus requires any kittens bred from these mating's to be placed on the non-active register in order to prevent the inheritance of any detrimental genetic traits by subsequent generations, unless there is a specific purpose which has been advised by veterinary or genetic counselling and is supported by the relevant BAC and/or approved by Executive Committee:

i) Mother to son; ii) Father to daughter; iii) Full siblings.