All pure bred and cross bred dogs carry the genetic traits that they inherit from their parents. Most breeds are affected in some measure by inherited health conditions.
Some common conditions can be easily avoided by buying from a registered breeder that can give a health guarantee against the following, identified conditions for which testing is available.
1. Progressive Retinol Atrophy: This disease causes blindness in grown dogs. The most common form of PRA is prcd-PRA and there is a simple DNA test available to breeders who do test their breeding stock and in turn can give a guarantee to their puppy buyers that that there puppy will not be affected by the known form of the disease. Buyers should ask to see test results of both parents. Bi—annual eye certificates issued by a canine ophthalmologist help breeders to identify any other eye anomalies. If you are considering becoming a breeder you should also ask for an eye certificate history.
2. Deafness: the Stumpy shares this hereditary condition with many breeds. Puppies are born deaf in one or both ears and they are difficult to detect at 8 weeks without a BAER (Brain Auditory Evoked Response) test. This is not a test that is conducted by a regular vet, it requires specialized equipment. Many breeders will be able to furnish you with certified evidence of the test. If you are considering becoming a breeder, you should ask to see a certificate for the puppy, both parents and preferably from previous generations. To date there is no genetic test available.
3. Hips and Elbows: Hip and elbow dysplasia create crippling pain and shortened lives for dogs and depending on the seriousness of the condition can appear at an early age. Again, this can be easily avoided as most reputable breeders have their breeding dogs x-rayed and scored by a specialised veterinarian, which identifies affected individuals and therefore reduces the occurrence in breeding programs. Most commonly x-rays in Australia are sent to a specialist in Western Australia. X-rays can only be taken of dogs over 12 months of age, so the incidence in parents is used to control the incidence in progeny. This condition is not commonly reported in the ASTCD so a minimum acceptable breed average for hip and elbow scores for the breed is yet to be established. A low combined hip score is preferable and elbows should be zero. Scores on individual hips and elbows should not have a large difference.