German Shepherd Dog > Are health clearances necessary before breeding? (79 replies)
by mfh27 on 01 February 2012 - 18:53
|I dont think temperament testing falls under health testing.|
Shepherdhope, how are "GSD is in such a bad way".
by shepherdhope on 01 February 2012 - 19:19
I have now been doing research into getting my next shepherd for the around 8 months. The more I find out the worse it becomes. I am in the UK there is one breeder that I know of doing extensive genetic test on all her breeding stock. Thank god upto now she has had all clear results. I know from talking to various GSD people that finding a good dog is going to be really hard. There are many pedigrees to avoid because of hereditary problems. My next shepherd will be from extensively tested parents. I think ostrich syndrome was mentioned when it came to all the problems with the GSD after speaking to someone very clued up with shepherds.
by Blitzen on 01 February 2012 - 19:45
1GSD1, I don't think that temperament tests are a waste of time or meaningless. I've seen Sch titled working line dogs fail the GSDCA test.
by GSD Admin on 01 February 2012 - 19:52
I have been trying to get Oli to add health checks/DNA testing to all pedigrees. Hopefully in the near future Oli can code it and you will be able to add this vital information to pedigrees.
We have the OFA list but are there any other lists on the web for genetic tests or does the OFA list cover all tests?
by Blitzen on 01 February 2012 - 19:54
|A temperament test is not a physical health clearance, but it can give an owner a look at their dogs mental health by assessing the way they respond to the challenges of the tests. Having lived with a dangerous, unstable GSD for 9 years, mental attitude has become as important to me, maybe more so, than good hips and elbows.|
by cphudson on 01 February 2012 - 20:19
|I've gone through 3 ATT's (American Temperament Test) with different dogs in my area. Each there were SCH titled GSD's there that did not pass the test. They had Champion show dogs that did not pass the test, & they had shelter dogs that did to help prove adopt ability.|
The ATT is not the end all of all to prove temperament but it is a useful tool in helping orders understand their dogs temperament.
I think basic testing of hips, elbows, spine, & DM are important prior to breeding. There are many other health issues more prone within certin lines of GSD's that greatly inflict their health that should be tested. Example a show line breeder in my area tends to produce heart issues in her American line GSD's. I've never even heard of these issues with working line GSD's. That breeder now does cardiac testing with her breeding stock.
The GSD's I started with & loved dearly. They were awesome workers with good hips & elbows. But by the 3rd generation chronic ear infections & skin allergies started showing up. I tried to breed ineffective dog with ineffective studs but still would get at least one pup with the same issues in the litter. I had to spay & neuter my adults then kept them as my SAR partners + pets. I abandoned that breeding / line completely then started over years later. But now I always look for any sign of ear infections / allergies / digestive issues in any new dog or pup's in a litter.
by shepherdhope on 01 February 2012 - 20:48
|OH I forgot to mention the breeder Katrina, Kesyra GSD also hip score and will only breed with 00 elbow scores. In the UK the hip score is 18 and all Katrina's breeding stock are well below this. I wish more would follow in her foot steps in the UK. The Training Club I go to the trainer has stated there are more and more GSD with very poor temperaments coming to her for 1 2 1 training. She said it is defiantly breeding not just environmental. I don't think we have anything like you have in the US?|
by GSD2727 on 01 February 2012 - 22:37
|Curious why the SchH dogs you have seen failed the TC and ATTS TT tests?|
When I have done the GSDCA TC tests with my SchH dogs in the past (4 in total) all passed easily. However, I found a few things pretty stupid. A couple of those dogs were KNOCKED because they did not react to the gun shots. I was told that the GSD SHOULD react to the gun shots and the fact that mine did not brought them down in points. Same with the umbrella test. One of my females did not show much of a reaction, and again was knocked for it. I definately did not agree with those two things.
With that being said, I think the TC/TT is interesting, something fun to do with the dogs and will do them again in the future if there is one available near me.
by mfh27 on 01 February 2012 - 23:02
|Temperament and mental health are two different things. A temperament test would only be valuable if it tested for highly heritable and stable traits that were difficult to alter significant by environmental influences.|
by dAWgESOME on 02 February 2012 - 03:43
The testing I do for dogs I would like to breed is OFA hips & elbows at 24 months and DM.
by starrchar on 02 February 2012 - 06:48
|I agree with Mirasmom (Hips, Elbows, Heart, Thyroid, Eyes, DM, Temperament test), but would add AF and EPI.|
Shepherdhope listed some that I am not familiar with.
If all the possible health clearances have been done and the dogs in pedigrees of the breeding pair have been researched for health issues, it doesn't guarantee that the puppies will be disease free, but at least the breeder has done everything humanly possible to try and produce healthy offspring.
by BlackthornGSD on 02 February 2012 - 07:54
|If your dog isn't having digestive problems and is of good weight, why test for EPI? It's not like a sneaky disease that sneaks up on you.... If they ever create a DNA test for this, I'd use it in a second. Same with AF--does your dog have fistulas? ... no weeping sores on your dog's anus? OK, then. I think there's a DNA test in development (or available in Europe)--so one day, this too will probably be a standard DNA test.|
Again, please clarify what heart problems are commonly found in GSDs that don't show up in a routine vet exam? IOW, what heart problems are you testing for?
I assume--perhaps that is foolish of me?-- that any dog that is going to be bred is in good health and has no known problems with eyes, bowels/digestion, hearing, walking, running, jumping, or eating and is overall a healthy and vigorous specimen of the breed. Testing, for me, is to discover things that are not easy to see or diagnose through routine observation and a normal vet exam.
Thyroid is important to test for if you observe any problems with the dogs' health (too heavy, too thin, dry coat, other symptoms) or if a female has trouble getting pregnant.
by shepherdhope on 02 February 2012 - 12:46
Hear in lies the problem for me. What one breeder deems as a great prospect for breeding another might not. You would hope that only the fitist,healthiest,sound temperament,good character and everything else you want from a mating and future litter. I know of lines still being used that have major heath problems so if testing for ALL conditions mentioned are put into force surely there would be less disease. If these health problems weren't around neither would the tests?
by AmbiiGSD on 02 February 2012 - 12:59
|Just to answer the eye tests question....|
In the UK english line shepherds need to be tested for Hereditory cataracts because it is in the bloodline.
by Blitzen on 02 February 2012 - 13:34
IMO if the test identifies the carrier state of assymptomatic breeding stock or identifies a undesirable heritable disease/condition that has not yet manifest itself in the individual dog, then I think it's a good idea to test. Many dogs aren't lame from HD, UAP, but we still xray. DM is a disease of the elderly, but we are starting to test for that. Eye diseases like juvie and some other cataracts don't cause blindness until the dogs is older, but they are hereditary and some types are often a precursor for PRA, a leading cause of blindness in the dog world. I don't know if there are any eye diseases common to this breed other than pannus. As far as I know, there is no way to detect the possiblity that a dog will develop pannus until it happens. It's probably not a great idea to continue to breed from the same family that is known to have produced pannus.
If the test identifies the presence of a specific disease that can be detected with a physical exam, then I don't see the point of it. I don't know that much about EPI, but I'd think that a dog that had EPI would be symptomatic, so the need to test for that would not be on my short list unless it can detect assymptomatic carriers. There are other conditions that could be used as examples of overkill where tests are concerned, but I won't condemn anyone for doing too many pre-breeding tests.They are doing their due diligence. As far as I know, the AF test determines which dogs are most likely to produce progeny that will develop PF's.
I have to do more research on the cardiac and thyroid tests. I don't know what tests are used or why. When I got my current dog she was already tested for cardiac and thyroid function, so I don't know what tests were used. In some breeds like Boxers, cardiac problems are a very big deal and they can't always be detected with a simple exam. Those dogs are tested using a Holter Halter so their heart function can be monitored for a specific length of time.
by Blitzen on 02 February 2012 - 13:52
Here's the link to the OFA index that lists the details of the different health tests:
by starrchar on 02 February 2012 - 14:35
"I think there's a DNA test in development (or available in Europe)--so one day, this too will probably be a standard DNA test."
by shepherdhope on 02 February 2012 - 19:14
|There is another thread about PF/AF Ruger1 and her dog Prince. She had contacted her breeder to let her know about Prince's condition the breeder told her "I have not heard of dogs with fistulas for years and years". If that had been me "PHEW" would have been my reaction. Dismay someone has posted there are dogs in the pedigree with know PF/AF. This lady owned one and she knew who owned the other with the condition. Just SLAPS you in the face testing must be paramount.|
I hope Ruger1 doesn't mind me using her and Prince's story. I wish these test had been around when Kee was.
by K-9mom on 03 February 2012 - 03:34
|I think what has been forgotten by some is that Health Testing is not only for the breeder to determin if the dogs they are breeding are ok, but it gives some sort of piece of mind to the persons buying your pups. Just because you say your vet didn't find a heart murmur doesn't mean anything to me. I want proof from a Cardiologist. Just because you tell me your dog doesn't have issues with her/his eyes, I want proof of that. With the money some of these breeders are asking for their pups, I think it is only fair that I can get proof from a specialist that the parents are clear at the time of breeding against the MINIMUM of Heart, Eyes, Hips, Elbows, Thyroid, and DM. I have known several dogs who have Cholesterol Deposits in their eyes. I was told it was ok to breed a dog with this as long as the dog is not bred to another with it so YES, there are eye issues in younger GSD's. Can your vet tell yes they can but again having it signed off by a specialist will get me to share my hard earned $$ with you the breeder. Without good health nothing else matters as the dog will be crippled, debilitated or dead.|
Everyone can have their own opinion and this is mine. If you want to breed without tests go ahead it just tells me you are afraid to find out and just want the $$. Those of us who do test are only making a small dent in the improvement of the breed until others follow suit.
by starrchar on 03 February 2012 - 19:13
|Very well said K-9 mom. I totally agree. A friend of mine contacted a breeder the other day, interested in a pup. She asked the breeder about health clearances. They only do hips and elbows. The breeder told my friend that her dogs are healthy and don't need to be tested for the other diseases. Also said DM hasn't shown up in her lines. MY friend is not getting a puppy from this breeder. If more people were educated when looking for a puppy the breeders would be forced to start testing.|