Funding research


As well as providing practical solutions to canine welfare problems happening right now, we invest in securing better dog welfare for years to come, through the work of our Canine Welfare Grants Committee. We welcome grant applications from students, post-graduates and practicing vets and behaviourists associated with an academic institution for projects which will positively impact dog welfare, however we do not fund any research which requires a Home Office licence.

We currently fund over 20 individual research projects of varying timescales.  Key areas for the standard and larger fund applications include:

  1. The genetic basis of disease or reduced welfare in dogs.  In particular, Dogs Trust will prioritise applications that offer a “solutions-based” approach to conditions or welfare issues, including those associated with conformation underpinned by a genetic component.
  2. Healthy Ageing in Dogs*: This is linked to other areas that Dogs Trust has identified as priorities but may include the biology of healthy ageing and how an understanding of healthy ageing may influence improvements in canine welfare.
  3. Epidemiology of Disease: Dogs Trust recognizes the importance of data to underpin research into canine health and is looking for applications that will help to address the current dearth of information available, including those that use big data sets.
  4. The Welfare of Dogs suffering from chronic disease*:  Dogs Trust will accept applications that cover the spectrum of chronic diseases in dogs and can include applications that help us understand the biology of important canine diseases and ways in which outcomes and quality of life can be improved.

Success stories


Since the programme’s launch, CWG projects have expanded our knowledge of dog health and welfare enormously. We have funded numerous projects to date with many success stories along the way, here are just two examples:


  • Although short muzzles are an increasingly popular face shape in pet dogs, Royal Veterinary College researchers demonstrated that flattened faces greatly increase the risk of a dog developing a debilitating, lifelong breathing condition. Breeds shown to be at high risk include the Pug, French Bulldog and English Bulldog, but findings are relevant to any dog with a shortened muzzle. The researchers found that as muzzle length becomes shorter, risk of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) becomes ever higher, with over 90% of dogs being affected at the shortest extreme. Although the research demonstrates the need for UK breeders to be aware of the risks of breeding for shorter muzzles, there is an equally pressing need for buyers to be aware of BOAS. 


  • University of Cambridge researchers proved that Labradors are more likely than other breeds to become obese partly because of their genetics. The gene affected is thought to be important in controlling how the brain recognises hunger and the feeling of being full after eating. A change in this one particular gene was found to be strongly linked with weight, obesity and appetite in Labradors and Flat-Coated Retrievers. In both breeds, if the dog carries a particular variant of the gene in question, they are on average 2 kg heavier. With around a quarter of pet Labradors carrying the gene difference, that’s a lot of extra kilos!

If you are interested in applying for funding for research which would lead to direct benefits for dog welfare then please get in touch by emailing us or fill in the form below.

CWG 2022 Call letter PDF 143 KB

CWG 2022 Preliminary Application Forms DOCX 202 KB

CWG 2022 Guidance Notes 2022.PDF 126 KB

CWG 2022 Terms and Conditions PDF 206 KB

Our Terms and Conditions have been revised so please read through them carefully.