Housing and Husbandry


  • Dogs are kept in kennels by a variety of organizations. Examples include: rescue organizations, hunt kennels, quarantine kennels, boarding kennels, police, and assistance organizations. In addition dogs (mainly beagles) are bred and kept in kennels for biomedical research and for nutritional studies. A useful general source of information for housing and care of laboratory dogs is hur. Traditionally kennels were often small, designed to house one dog, and were often devoid of anything to occupy the dog or provide variety. Such environments resulted in timid fearful dogs or dogs with repetitive behavior disorders such as stereotypies, or self injuring behavior. Studies in both shelters and research establishments have shown that the longer dogs spend in sub-optimal environments, the more likely they are to show abnormal or undesirable behaviors. These dogs are likely to make poor research subjects; moreover, since dogs may spend considerable periods in kennels the welfare impact can be considerable. Over the last 15 years or so, there have been some important changes in the conditions considered acceptable for the breeding and keeping dogs used in research and these have also influenced standards for other types of kenneling. There are several recent documents that provide comprehensive reviews and recommendations based on applied research and the natural history of the dog
  • One of the most important changes in the kennelling of research dogs has been in the reduction of single housing. For many years social housing has been the default system in the UK. In the UK minimum enclosure dimensions are sufficient to house one or two dogs, therefore making pair housing financially advantageous. A similar strategy has now been adopted in the recent revision of Council of Europe recommendations (Council of Europe, 2006), and social housing is becoming ever more widely accepted throughout the research community. Even where dogs have to be isolated during dosing in regulatory studies, or feeding during nutritional studies, dogs can still be housed in pairs or groups for the rest of the time. In Europe, it is common for dogs on GLP toxicology studies to be socially housed, but separate them for feeding so food consumption can be better measured. This trend is less common, however, in the United States. Nonetheless, have shown that it can be done, and as UK companies have to comply with either the same or similar regulatory requirements, a more general adoption of social housing would seem to be a relatively easy gain to be made in the USA. Good kennel design is critical in allowing the adoption of social housing and modular designs, allowing animals to be run together as desired, are a useful flexible means of achieving this. Social housing does bring an increased risk of injury, however, and husbandry regimes should be designed to monitor aggression.
Last modified: Tuesday, 5 June 2012, 7:06 AM