Before You Buy...
You have decided to purchase a puppy, and have narrowed down which breed it is you want. Next is to find a great breeder. I have created a document which I feel are important questions to ask potential breeders, but that is only the first step. When talking to a breeder, it is so important to find out about the health tests required for the breed, and to then look that testing up. Do NOT take what somene says at face value, always request the registered names of both the sire and dam, and do your own research.
Each breed parent club has suggested health tests required for each breed. For the Keeshond, the absolute basic testing to be done would be testing for Hip Dysplasia, Luxating Patellas and PHPT (primary hyperparathyroidism) negative. However, the recommended health tests as set out by the Keeshond Club of America (which has worked with the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), includes: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Luxating Patellas and Eye testing.
How this works: For Hip and Elbow dysplasia, 'final' xrays can be completed once the dog is at least 2 years of age. Anything before this time would be considered a preliminary grading, which is not something that should really be done with bitches, but is acceptable on males who are at least 18 months of age. The xrays are taken and sent directly to OFA, where a panel of 3 specialists evaluate the films, and come up with a majority grading. Anything that is Excellent, Good or Fair is a passing grade. Borderline, Mild, Moderate and Severe mean there is evidence of Hip Dysplasia, and those dogs should NEVER be used in a breeding program. Passing results are automatically uploaded onto the OFA site, the breeder does not have the option to withhold. The same can be said for Elbow results - if they are normal, they are automatically uploaded to the database.
THEREFORE, if a breeder says they have had their dogs tested for Hip and Elbow dysplasia, a simple search on the site should be able to verify that. If it's missing, and they said they did it - it means they didn't pass.
Patellas are a form that is completed by the veterinarian, and either the vet or the owner have the option to have the results recorded onto the public database. I don't understand people who do no submit the information, but it would be a red flag of caution, and require more probing questions if the results are not public on the database.
Eye exams are completed by licensed ophthalmologists, and again, it is the responsibility of the owner to submit the completed form to OFA to upload into the database.
Only if all 4 of these tests/results are submitted to OFA, with all results released to the public, will the dog get what is called a CHIC number, showing the recommended testing has been completed, as outlined by the National Breed Club.
PHPT is the ONLY genetic test available to our breed, and breeding 2 negative parents cannot produce a positive offspring. Please make sure to ask for the certificates from Cornell University, or a link to the Open Register Database in order to look up if the dogs are negative by descent, or by testing.
Other recommended health testing:
Cardiac/Heart testing - This is perhaps one of the most overlooked tests that I believe should be done in our breed. There are too many of our Kees who are showing up with heart issues, when it is an easy test.
Hypothyroidism - Full Thyroid panel for OFA certification (not part of a regular CBC panel)
Disclaimer: No amount of health testing can guarantee your dog will never develop anything that his/her parents tested clear for, but it greatly decreases your odds of serious orthopaedic/health problems, precluding injury. That being said, if there are tests available, why are we not using them to make the most educated decisions possible?
CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) and Federal Laws
According to the CKC By-Laws, which are governed under the Animal Pedigree Act, breeders are required to provide certificates of registration for all purebred dogs they sell. They are not allowed to charge more for these certificates, nor are they allowed to give the option of 'papers' or not. Failure to provide papers for a purebred dog, could result in that person being charged by the police.
Here is an excerpt from the CKC By-Laws:
No person shall:
(a) Advertise or otherwise present a purebred dog for sale on the understanding that the pur- chaser will pay a higher price for the dog if he wishes a certificate of registration, or a lower price if he does not want a certificate of regis- tration; or
(b) Sell or attempt to sell, a purebred dog on the understanding that the purchaser waives or is required to waive his right to a certificate of registration; or
(c) Sell a dog as purebred on the understanding that the purchaser will pay the required registration and/or transfer fees; or
(d) Sell a dog on the understanding that the pur- chaser pay a fee or provide other consideration, over and above the purchase price of the dog, in order to obtain a certificate of registration.
More information to follow
Questions to ask Breeders is coming soon