New DNA testing reporting scheme to combat inherited disease in the Rottweiler

In a move designed to combat inherited disease in the Rottweiler, The Kennel Club has approved a new official DNA test reporting scheme for Leukoencephalomyelopathy (LEMP), following consultation with the breed’s health co-ordinator on behalf of the breed clubs.

LEMP is a neurological disorder that affects the white matter of the central nervous system. The condition usually appears when dogs are young (around one to four years old). Signs of LEMP include slowly worsening problems walking, not walking in a straight line, spontaneous knuckling and dragging of the paws. Dogs may become increasingly immobile over a few months and their quality of life can quickly decrease.

The disease is described as an autosomal-recessive condition. This means that a dog must inherit two copies of an abnormal gene (one from its mother and one from its father) before its health is affected. 

Please note, there are other similar, neurological disorders in Rottweilers, such as NAD (Neuroaxonal Dystrophy), which are not determined by this mutation.

Tested dogs will be recorded on The Kennel Club systems as one of the following:

The dog does not have any copies of the abnormal gene associated with the disease. The dog is highly unlikely to be clinically affected and will only pass on a normal copy of the gene to a puppy.

The dog has one copy of the normal gene and one copy of the abnormal gene associated with the disease. The dog is highly unlikely to be clinically affected, but may pass one copy of the normal gene, or one copy of the abnormal gene on to a puppy.

The dog has two copies of the abnormal gene associated with the disease. The dog will likely be clinically affected by the disorder and will pass one copy of the abnormal gene on to any potential offspring.

To find out which laboratories The Kennel Club is able to record results from for this test, and which labs will send results direct to The Kennel Club, please refer to our page about LEMP.

Please note that this listing is not necessarily comprehensive and other labs may offer the tests. To find out which DNA tests are relevant to your breed, visit our Breeds A to Z page

Dr Joanna Ilska, Genetics & Research Manager at The Kennel Club, said: “The Kennel Club constantly reviews DNA testing schemes in conjunction with breed clubs to ensure that breeders are supported with resources which help them to make responsible breeding decisions. The Kennel Club works alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs and is happy to consider a club's request to add a new DNA test to its lists. A formal request from the breed's health coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs is normally required to do this.”

Test results will be added to the dog’s registration details which will trigger the publication of the result in the next available Breed Records Supplement and also on the Health Test Results Finder on The Kennel Club website.

Results for dogs already tested can also be recorded, but owners will need to submit copies of the DNA certificates themselves. DNA test certificates should be scanned and emailed to  Health (The Kennel Club)
Owners are reminded that from August 2018, it is mandatory that the dog’s microchip (or tattoo) number is recorded along with either the dog’s registered name or registered number on any DNA certificates. Any test results issued after that date that do not carry these identifying features will not be added to The Kennel Club systems.