Breeders and puppy buyers are rightly concerned about the future health of their dogs, and since 1966 the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has worked to provide a means for breeders to improve their lines and to record health information about the dogs they breed.
It began with efforts to limit hip dysplasia in a few breeds. Today, their motto, “To improve the health and well-being of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease,” reflects the organization’s expansion into other inherited diseases in all breeds.
The CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) program works as a partnership between OFA and AKC breed parent clubs. The OFA has established a recommended protocol for breed specific health screenings. Dogs that are tested in accordance with that protocol, and whose results are released to the public domain, are recognized with a CHIC number and certification.
The CHIC number will now appear on AKC documents such as Certified Pedigrees, Registration Applications, and Registration Certificates. This will make it clear to potential puppy buyers and fellow fanciers that the recommended tests and screenings have been performed on a breeder’s dogs.
If you think you should see a CHIC number on your documents, please contact OFA. They provide information to the AKC.
You can provide puppy buyers with instructions on how to easily see that the health screenings have been done. It’s a good starting point for discussion on why health testing is so important.
The CHIC number does not imply normal test results, only that all required breed specific tests were performed, and that the results are made publicly available. It may be necessary to explain how some dogs have clearances for genetic diseases by heredity, and in other cases you may need to explain to a potential buyer why it is okay to breed a dog who is a carrier to one who is not.
The recommended health screenings to qualify for a CHIC number are listed by breed on www.ofa.org. Meeting these requirements and having the CHIC number displayed shows that you are doing all that you can to breed the healthiest possible dogs.