I have encountered a good deal of confusion, both from my potential clients and from other breeders, as to what exactly is recommended for Anatolian Shepherd owners and breeders when health testing their potential breeding dogs.
I’ve answered this questions many times, and my answer is that I believe in the merits of the CHIC program for Anatolian Shepherd dogs which requires both:
1. HIPS: OFA or PennHIP evaluation for hip dysplasia.
2. ELBOWS: OFA evaluation for elbow dysplasia.
These are the minimum recommended health screenings for any breeding Anatolian Shepherd dog at Apex Anatolians. This is backed by the ASDCA’s recommendations that are endorsed publicly by the AKC, CHIC, and OFA.
In addition to hip and elbow dysplasia screening, other health tests that can be valuable to an Anatolian breeder are thyroid screening, DNA screening for research purposed (none of the current screenings are associated with any disease common in the breed), as well as any DNA, lab-based or phenotypic screening of a disease that has been noted in that dog’s ancestors with significant quality of life consequences.
But given the continued division in the ASD breeding community over this topic, I’m going to address this clearly and give you the sources so you can verify what I’m saying. Even if you don’t agree, you’ll be able to see where I’m coming from.
To begin, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America’s Breeder Code of Ethics makes the following health testing requirement:
“6. All breeding Bitches and Dogs must be certified radiographic free of hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or comparable agency*. Preliminary results are not accepted. Copy of this certification to be provided to puppy buyers upon request.” (1)
Given point 6 of the ASDCA COE, some breeders believe that hip dysplasia is the only required health test for the Anatolian Shepherd breed…
That could hold water until you consider that when the ASDCA partnered with the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) in August of 2013, they specified both hip and elbow dysplasia screening for the Anatolian Shepherd’s program requirements. (2,3)
The OFA, working with the breed’s parent club, recommends the following basic health screening tests for all breeding stock. Dogs meeting these basic health screening requirements will be issued Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) numbers. For CHIC certification, all results do not need to be normal, but they must all be in the public domain so that responsible breeders can make more informed breeding decisions. For potential puppy buyers, CHIC certification is a good indicator the breeder responsibly factors good health into their selection criteria. The breed specific list below represents the basic health screening recommendations. It is not all encompassing. There may be other health screening tests appropriate for this breed. And, there may be other health concerns for which there is no commonly accepted screening protocol available.
ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG
Hip Dysplasia (One of the following)
Recognized Foreign Hip Registry
After eight and a half years of CHIC participation, most Anatolian Shepherd owners and breeders understand that both hip and elbow testing are recommended by the ASDCA for this breed. Just because it’s not a requirement in the ASDCA or ASDI Code of Ethics, doesn’t make elbow testing any less important to the shared databank of breed health screening statistics.
If there were any doubts remaining that elbow dysplasia is a recommended screening test for the Anatolian Shepherd, the American Kennel Club (AKC) lists “Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club: -Hip Evaluation – Elbow Evaluation” (4)
Both hip and elbow screenings are recommended for the Anatolian Shepherd Dog by the OFA, CHIC and AKC organizations, all of whom take their recommendation for both tests directly from the ASDCA. So it doesn’t make sense to me to pick and choose only one health test based on a single document from the ASDCA, when every other source on the matter is clear. This is why I choose to do both Hip and Elbow screenings and participate in ongoing research opportunities with my dogs.
As I always recommend- please ask a breeder or owner questions if you see a dog missing a test you are looking for. For example- their elbow score posted to OFA.org, but they don’t have hip results posted. Never assume a failing score, because most people utilizing PennHIP testing don’t pay OFA their additional submission fee to post those results to the public database.
While Apex Anatolians participates in both OFA hip and PennHIP evaluations for our dogs, that is not the norm!
When you are researching breeders or lines, always ask the question before drawing your conclusions. Some breeders truly believe that elbow dysplasia is not a test worth performing, and they choose not to participate in the CHIC, AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T., and other programs that require elbow screenings. That is 100% their prerogative. Just because another breeder doesn’t draw my conclusions regarding health testing, doesn’t make them a bad breeder.
I believe that breeders of Anatolian Shepherd dogs need to band together and support one another. We don’t have to be best friends or even like one another as humans- but we DO need to show mutual respect and be willing to work with one another in the interest of the breed. I hope to see less competition mindset and more collaboration towards our common goal of functional, healthy, and fulfilled Anatolians for the future.
1. ASDCA Breeder Code of Ethics https://asdca.club/code-of-ethics/
2. Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) https://www.ofa.org/recommended-tests?breed=ANS
3. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs International (UKC Breed Parent Club) Letter from the President Winter, 2013 http://www.anatoliandog.org/CC-CHIC-letter.htm