Health testing of Belgian Shepherds has progressed from just hip scoring, to now include elbow scoring, eye testing and DNA. The Belgian shepherd is comparably healthier than other breeds and cross breeds of dogs, and we intend to enable future bloodlines to remain as genetically healthy as possible by eliminating any undesirable health traits.
A hip score is a measure of evidence of hip dysplasia (abnormal development). Scores for each hip are added together to get an overall hip score for a dog. Scores range from 0 to 106, with the lower the score the better. As a breeder we ideally breed only from dogs which score below the breed average.
An elbow grade is a measure of any evidence of elbow dysplasia (abnormal development). Both elbows are graded (between 0-3), but only the highest grade is used as an overall elbow grade for the dog. The lower the grade the better, with the advice given to breeders to ideally breed from dogs which have an elbow grade of 0 or 1.
There is a set list of breeds and eye conditions, known to be inherited in those breeds and that are certified under the Eye Scheme. A dog is certified as unaffected or affected for each condition known to be inherited in the breed.
There are DNA tests available for specific conditions in some breeds. A result or status will show only if the dog has been DNA tested or is hereditarily clear of the condition for which there is a DNA test.
DNA tests can show whether an individual dog is genetically clear (no copies of the disease gene), a carrier (one copy of the disease gene) or affected (two copies of the disease gene) for a particular condition or disease. This is very useful information for breeders, and breeding advice will vary according to the disease/condition in question.
DNA Includes the following: