Despite researchers working hard to improve our understanding of health issues in dogs, there are still many conditions we know little about. Some of these conditions may be inherited, while others may not. So if a health test is not available, what steps can breeders take to ensure they breed puppies that are as healthy as possible?
Examples of conditions suspected of being inherited where no test is available.
Ask for help
If you are concerned about a particular condition in your breed, you may be able to find out about the latest research and data from:
- your local breed club, or breed health co-ordinator
- your vet
- your dog’s breeder
- The Kennel Club health team
It is possible that little is known about how the condition is inherited, but it is nevertheless worth checking.
If your dog is affected
If a dog is affected by the condition you are concerned about, we do not recommended that this dog is used for breeding. By using this dog for breeding you may be putting any puppies produced at risk of developing the condition and you could be perpetuating “risky” genes within the breed as a whole.
If your dog is unaffected, but has produced an affected puppy
If two dogs have previously produced affected puppies, then you shouldn't repeat the mating. If the dogs are not affected themselves but have other excellent qualities, you might consider mating them to different dogs. If you choose an alternative mate for your dog, you should ensure that there is no history of the condition in their line, particularly with close relatives. Taking these steps should reduce the risk of puppies affected by the condition.
If your dog is unaffected, but has an affected sibling or parent
Your dog should only be considered for breeding later on in life, after ensuring that it is not affected and does not develop the disease later. When choosing a mate, you should ensure that they have no record of the condition in their line, paying particular care to close relatives.
If your dog is unaffected, but has an affected distant relative
The risk of this dog producing affected puppies appears to be low. When choosing a mate, you should ensure that they have no record of the condition in their line, paying particular care to close relatives.
If your dog is unaffected and has no history of affected relatives
There seems to be no indication that your dog is at risk of developing or passing on the condition you are concerned about.
Making balanced breeding decisions
As well as considering the implications of the condition you are concerned about, there are other equally important factors to consider when deciding whether two dogs should be mated together, such as temperament, genetic diversity, conformation, other available health test results, the general health of the dogs etc.
Your breeding decisions should always be well balanced and take into consideration the qualities and compatibility of both the sire and dam that you are considering.