Breeder of Heart Requirements

We are excited to announce the AKC DNA +Health Kit that launched April 2024. This powerful breeder tool tests genetic health and traits combined with AKC DNA identification! The AKC DNA +Health Kit meets AKC registration and Breeder of Merit/Bred with Heart certification requirements and offers AKC DNA profile + over 328 markers for health and traits. This tool uses world class technology to internally validate results and match to each specific dog for verifiable results, which are delivered by Neogen, a reliable service provider with the highest industry standards. Every purchase helps to fund the work of AKC’s non-profit affiliates such as AKC Canine Health Foundation and AKC Museum of the Dog and comes with a lifetime access to canine genetic counselors to help make smart breeding decisions.

Both purebred and mixed breed dogs can have genetic and other health issues. A good breeder should be willing and able to discuss health and genetic issues found in your chosen breed. Conducting certain testing on the sire and dam before breeding is a way to decrease the frequency of or prevent disorders.

Your breeder should also be willing to show you proof of testing before you buy an adult dog or a puppy. They should be able to verify which dogs the tests relate to through means such as microchips or tattoos that correspond to each dogs’ test results. They should be willing to give you copies of the test results for your new dog. Read what the actual test results say, ask questions and do research at sites like https://ofa.org/ (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) and https://acdhew.org/ (Australian Cattle Dog Health, Education and Welfare) to understand what they mean. Even if your breeder does all Breeder of Heart required and optional testing, health challenges may still arise as these are living creatures, not machines. However, as a result of testing the parents and careful breeding based on testing, the likelihood of getting healthy puppies is higher.

Testing as described below should be done on the sire and dam before breeding. Some tests can also be performed on puppies, as noted. With DNA tests, the point is to avoid producing affected dogs. Carriers of disorders can make perfectly fine pets but should only be bred to clear dogs to avoid producing more affected dogs. Sometimes the breeder has done generations of tests to produce obligate clear dogs so the puppies themselves are no longer tested for certain disorders. The breeder should be willing to prove this to you by showing you the testing on past generations in your new dog’s pedigree. DNA testing should be from reputable organizations.

If you have questions about health testing and the Australian Cattle Dog, please feel free to email healthquestions@acdca.org.

REQUIRED TESTING FOR BREEDERS OF HEART

Hip Dysplasia

  • Evaluation of sire and dam by x-raying to check for hip joint disease.
  • A veterinarian takes the x-ray and submits it for evaluation to OFA (min age 2 years) – OR OVC (min age 2 years) – OR PennHIP Evaluation (min age 1 year).
  • Proof: Ask for paperwork corresponding to sire, dam. Results can be registered in the OFA open database and viewed on-line.

Elbow Dysplasia (evaluation at two years or older)

  • Evaluation of sire and dam by x-raying to check for elbow joint disease.
  • A veterinarian takes the x-ray and submits it for evaluation to OFA – OR OVC (Canada).
  • Proof: Ask for paperwork corresponding to sire, dam or puppy. Results can be registered with OFA and viewed on-line.

Eye Examination by a board-certified Ophthalmologist - Min Age 24 months

  • Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) Evaluation of sire and dam for visible signs of various eye diseases. Conducted by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.
  • Proof: Ask for paperwork corresponding to sire, dam or puppy. Results can be registered in the OFA open database and viewed on-line.

prcd form of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (prcd-PRA)

  • Genetic (DNA) test for form of prcd-PRA, eye disease causing blindness usually in middle aged or older dogs. Sire and dam should be tested before breeding. Puppies can also be evaluated because it is a DNA test.
  • Proof: Ask for paperwork corresponding to sire, dam or puppy. Results can be registered in the OFA open database and viewed on-line.

Congenital Deafness

  • A qualified tester (usually a veterinarian) performs a BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) test for hearing in each ear. Sire and dam should be evaluated. Puppies can be evaluated at 6-8 weeks of age.
  • Proof: Ask for paperwork corresponding to sire, dam or puppy. Results can be registered in the OFA open database and viewed on-line.

 Primary Lens Luxation

  • Genetic (DNA) test for a painful eye disease where the lens is displaced or dislocated. Sire and dam can be tested before breeding. Puppies can be evaluated because it is a DNA test.
  • Proof: Ask for paperwork corresponding to sire, dam or puppy. Results can be registered in the OFA open database and viewed on-line.

OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED (less common disorders)

Patellar Luxation

  • A veterinarian palpates knees to check for congenital kneecap dislocation. X-rays can also be done.
  • Proof: Ask for paperwork corresponding to sire, dam or puppy. Results can be registered in the OFA open database and viewed on-line.

Congenital Cardiac Database

  • A veterinarian (preferably a cardiac specialist) does an exam to check for congenital heart disease. May be auscultation only or with an echocardiogram.
  • Proof: Ask for paperwork corresponding to sire, dam or puppy. Results can be registered in the OFA open database and viewed on-line.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy RCD4

  • Genetic (DNA) test for disease that causes blindness.
  • Proof: Ask for paperwork corresponding to sire, dam or puppy. Results can be registered in the OFA open database and viewed on-line.

Radiographic consultation for OCD of the Hocks

  • Check for osteochondritis dissecans (a degenerative inflammatory disease) in this case, of the hock.
  • Proof: Ask for paperwork corresponding to sire, dam or puppy. Results can be registered with OFA and viewed on-line.

Updated and Approved by ACDCA, Inc. Board: April 17, 2024

Questions? Contact Joyce Rowland, AKC Delegate for ACDCA, Inc. AKCdelegate@acdca.org