Loving your pet is not a reason to breed! Loving your pet is great, but isn’t a responsible or ethical reason to be breeding the individual. Responsible ethical breeding involves breeding to the standard and improving the breed. The dog should be proven to be worthy of breeding, all aspects should be considered including pedigree, health testing and titles earned.
Your aim should always be to produce an animal as good as the one you have or better. Choose a mate wisely to improve your dog’s faults.
Make sure your dog is health tested before breeding and also the mate you choose.
Every family deserves a dog with proper temperament, drive, structure and a long healthy life.
Deafness: This breed is prone to deafness. Some dogs are deaf in both ears (bilateral), some in only one (unilateral). Deaf or unilateral dogs should not be bred. Your dog should be BAER tested before breeding so you know hearing status. BAER testing should not be done before 7 weeks of age.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) status: This disease can cause blindness and there is no cure. It most commonly presents between 4-8 years of age. It is a recessive autosomal gene and both parents need to carry the gene for it to show up in the offspring. There are 3 test results for PRA: A-clear, B-carrier and C-affected. Therefore, it is important to know your dog’s PRA status before breeding. Affected dogs and carriers should only be bred to clears. In order to eliminate this mutation from breeding lines and to avoid the potential of producing affected pups, breeding of known carriers to each other is not recommended. Because there are multiple types of PRA caused by mutations in other genes, a normal result in PRCD does not exclude PRA in a pedigree therefore, it is also recommended to have your dog examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist for a CAER eye exam before breeding. PRA testing can be done at any age.
Primary Lens Luxation (PLL): can lead to glaucoma and vision loss. Usually presents between 2-8 years of age. There are 3 test results for PLL: A-clear, B-carrier and C-affected. Therefore, it is important to know your dog’s PRA status before breeding. In order to eliminate this mutation from breeding lines and to avoid the potential of producing affected pups, breeding of known carriers is not recommended. PLL testing can be done at any age.
Breeding blind is never a good choice. Knowledge is never a waste. Joint clearances 100% predict; what they don’t do is guarantee.
Hip Dysplasia (HD): HD is the most commonly inherited orthopedic disease, there is no medical or surgical cure. Dogs with HD should not be bred, as the likelihood the puppies will probably inherit the problem is increased. Because breeding dogs with sound hips has been proven to greatly decrease the risk of offspring being dysplastic and lessen the severity. Rates of dysplasia have drastically gone down in lines/breeds performing hip screenings. It is worth noting that dogs with passing hip scores can still produce offspring with dysplasia. Since hip dysplasia is polygenic with environmental factors, researchers are still working to entirely eliminate the condition. Only dogs that obtain hip scores that certify them free of HD should be bred. There are 2 ways to test for HD: the Orthopedic Foundation (OFA) for animals certifies various levels of HD and grades each case. PennHip is another method used to determine a dog’s HD risk. Based on the results, your dog is ranked within its breed. For the dog breeder this ranking helps in the selection of breeding candidates—dogs in the tighter half of the population are recommended for breeding. OFA test minimum -2 years of age, PennHip minimum-1 year of age.
Elbow Dysplasia (ED): For elbow dysplasia evaluations for dogs, there are no grades for a radiographically normal elbow, the dog is scored as Normal. The only grades involved are for abnormal elbows with radiographic changes associated with secondary degenerative joint disease. Like the hip certification, the OFA will not certify a normal elbow until the dog is 2 years of age or older. Selectively breeding phenotypically normal individuals has been shown to reduce the incidence of the disorder therefore only dogs with normal elbow scores should be bred.
CAER eye exam: used to determine inheritable eye conditions that may be passed on to puppies. Board certified veterinary ophthalmologists of the ACVO must perform CAER examinations. Minimum age for OFA certification is 2 years of age although the exam can be done as soon as eyes open. It is recommended to do an annual exam.
These are the basic minimum tests recommended before breeding. There are still other optional tests. See ofa.org- recommended tests by breed.