Interpreting The Numbers

Breeding dogs is a big responsibility. Creating dogs that are long lived, wonderful family companions means doing a lot of homework before a breeding ever takes place. I take health, structure, temperament and pedigree very seriously, and utilize science, research, and international networking to learn as much as possible about prospective breeding pairs. The following tests and philosophies apply to my breeding program:

CHIC: Canine Health Information Center. CHIC is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club's established requirements, and who have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers. For the Barbet, CHIC registration is given to Barbet who meet the following criteria:
  • Hip Dysplasia:  OFA evaluation OR PennHIP evaluation OR OVC evaluation
  • Elbow Dysplasia:  OFA evaluation OR OVC evaluation
  • Eye examination by a Board Certified Canine Ophthalmologist, minimum age 12 months, recommended CERF eye exam prior to breeding, and then periodically thereafter (every two years suggested)
Barbet who have completed required testing and who have received CHIC numbers can be found here.

OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals  OFA radiologists read submitted xrays to grade a dog's elbows and hips. Hip Dysplasia is a terrible genetic disease because of the various degrees of arthritis (also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis) it can eventually produce, leading to pain and debilitation. By breeding dogs who only have Normal hips and elbows, the chances are much greater that the resulting offspring will also have normal hips and elbows.
  • Physically perfect elbows are given a rating of Normal. Dysplastic elbows are given a grade of Level 1, 2, or 3 Dysplasia.  
  • Hips are a scored by 7 word grades, not letter grades as is used in Europe. Normal hips are either Excellent, Good, or Fair. Borderline hips usually warrant another xray in 6 months to determine either Fair or Mildly Dysplastic. Mild, Moderate, and Severe describe levels of Dysplasia in dogs that do not pass their clearances.
The OFA database also stores CERF, cardiac, and thyroid testing. Barbet who have submitted results to OFA are listed here.
CERF: Canine Eye Registration Foundation. CERF cooperates with the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) to maintain a registry of purebred and hybrid dogs that ACVO Diplomates examine and have found to be unaffected by major heritable eye diseases. All Barbet should have their eyes checked before being bred, and at least every two years thereafter. My bitches will have their eyes checked again prior to each breeding. To search for a list of CERF recorded Barbet, click here, and select Barbet from the drop-down breed list.

PennHIP: Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program is an organized collaborative effort consisting of the Veterinary School at the University of Pennsylvania (VHUP) and a worldwide network of nearly 1200 certified PennHIP-trained veterinarians from 24 countries. PennHIP's primary objective is to reduce the frequency and severity of hip dysplasia in all breeds of dogs. The PennHIP method is a different way to assess, measure and interpret hip joint status. It consists of three separate radiographs: the distraction view, the compression view and the hip-extended view. The distraction view and compression view are used to obtain accurate and precise measurements of hip joint laxity and congruity, respectively. The hip-extended view is used to obtain supplementary information regarding the existence of DJD in the hip joint.

OVC: The Ontario Veterinary College is no longer doing hip and elbow evaluations, but dogs who have been tested by OVC can have these results entered into the OFA/CHIC database. Some Canadian dogs will have OVC hip and evaluations, which were given a pass or fail rating.

DNA: All of our sires and dams have DNA on file with the AKC. Because of this, there can be no question as to actual parentage of a puppy. Microchips are scanned to determine the permanent identification of a dog, and DNA is swabbed from inside the dog's cheek. This DNA is sent to the AKC lab for interpretation. DNA from the mother and father is easily matched with the puppy's DNA.

COI: Coefficient of Inbreeding  Because we are working with a very small and limited gene pool with the rare Barbet, it is my belief that a low COI is vital for the long term health of the breed. When one studies the Barbet pedigrees available on Pawpeds, it is easy to note that many Barbet have been linebred and inbred on the same pairs of dogs. I want the COI on dogs that I breed to be 5% or less at 5 generations, and near or below 10% for all known generations. For example, the pedigree of my Claire/Bango puppies is 3.61% at 5 generations, and the complete inbreeding for all known generations is 8.89%.  By researching prospective breeding dogs, I am able to find dogs who are not closely related and  I am able to keep COI numbers reasonable, and I am not knowingly doubling up on problem genes.

Waiting List: When I breed a litter, I select from the prospective families who I have had contact with. Our puppies will never be advertised online as most are spoken for before a breeding ever takes place.

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