Good structure, movement, type, and health are all vital qualities to want in your pup's ancestors. It is very important that the Sire (Dad) and Dam (Mom) have had health checks to determine whether or not the dog/bitch should be bred. Each breed has their own breed requirements or recommendations for health tests for reputable breeders to adhere to.
The most widely used and required tests are tests for joints, and eyes. There are a number of conditions that are hereditary and should be tested for before a dog/bitch is used for breeding. There are other tests that may be breed specific for particular problems that are genetic. Thyroid testing is becoming more common.
The joints, in particular,the hips and elbows, should be tested at the age of two years or older. Hip Dysplasia is a painful joint disorder, and it is hereditary. Dysplasic dogs should not be bred. A rating of Fair, Good or Excellent is considered Normal on Orhtopedic Foundation for Animals tests. There is also another test called Penn-Hip which can be done for hips.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a serious eye problem that should be screened for on an annual basis. For young dogs APONC recommends exams at least every two years. A board-certified Veterinary opthalmologist should examine the eyes and certify they are normal. The results are then sent to the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) or to the Orthodpedic Foundation for Animals (OFFA.org) for certification.
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