OK, so you thought you were going to meet our girl this week, but WAIT!!!!! We have to talk about pre-breeding testing to be sure she is healthy prior to breeding and that she is, in fact, a good candidate!!
The first thing to consider when you want to breed your girl is, “Why am I doing this?” There are many reasons for breeding dogs including:
- Improving the conformation of the breed
- Hunting and sporting usage
- Supplying dogs for therapy organizations
- Scent dogs/Protection work
- Placing excellent pets into homes
Whatever the reason, first and foremost you should be striving to produce HEALTHY, genetically sound dogs with good temperaments that can be used for any of the above mentioned categories. There is no perfect dog (except mine, of course!) as every dog has things that can be improved upon like us humans!!
Most of the breeding dogs belong to a canine registry organization called the AKC, or the American Kennel Club. There are other registry groups, as well, such as the UKC, or United Kennel Club. Since the AKC is the largest registry in the United States, we will focus on this one. Within this group, is another organization called CHIC, or Canine Health Information Center. You can reach this group on-line at: www.caninehealthinfo.org
Once you are on-line with the CHIC group, click on “Breeds” above on the dropbox and you can look up your specific breed of dog and there will then be a list of recommended health tests that should be done prior to breeding your dog. Each breed has specific health issues more common to their specific breed. For example, large breed dogs (St. Bernards, German Shepherds, etc.) are more prone to hip dysplasia than small breed dogs. I have German Wirehaired Pointers and if you look this breed up you will find the following tests recommended:
- Hip dysplasia/Elbow dysplasia
- Eye exam by boarded ophthalmologist
- Cardiac evaluation
- Von Willebrand’s-optional test
- Autoimmune thyroiditis
Here at UVS, we have the capability of running a wide range of health clearance testing such as OFA hip/elbow clearances, OFA thyroid testing, and genetic disorder testing for specific breeds just to name a few.
Our next blog will discuss hip dysplasia, one of the most common orthopedic problems in numerous breeds and how we diagnose it on a pre-breeding screen!!