Paws 'N Claws Veterinary Clinic

225 N. Lemay Ave., #2
Fort Collins, CO 80524


Information for People Who Want to Breed Dogs



Factors to Consider:

·         Will your dog contribute excellent health, temperament, working ability and conformity to the breed standard?

·         Do you understand that spaying and neutering will prevent some health problems (such as cancer) that you risk by keeping your dog intact?

·         Are you aware of any and all health and temperament problems in your dog's pedigree?

·         Are you willing to search for the best dog to breed your dog to, even if you have to travel out-of-state?

·         Do you have carefully screened buyers and deposits on all the puppies you produce?

·         Do you have money set aside in case the dam or puppies need emergency care?

·         Can you or another responsible adult be present 24 hours a day for the first 3 weeks in case hand feeding is needed?

·         Have you read about what to prepare and expect for canine pregnancy, whelping and puppy rearing?

·         Are you willing to keep and properly socialize all of the puppies until good homes are found?

·         Are you willing to take back any puppies in the event they are no longer wanted by their new owners or there are problems?

·         Are you willing to serve as a lifetime resource for the buyers of your puppies?


Recommended Pre-breeding Procedures:

·         Annual Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) eye certifications

·         Wait until the dog is at least 2-years-of-age before breeding

·         Have the dam and sire's hips certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or by the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Plan (PennHip)

·         Have all breed-specific health clearances performed (may include heart check, thyroid screening, genetic testing and/or many others) - check with the national breed club

·         Have a Brucella canis test performed one month in advance

·         Have a complete physical examination performed on your dog prior to breeding, including a digital vaginal exam to check for vaginal bands/strictures



What is a CERF exam?

CERF is an organization that was founded by a group of concerned, purebred owner/breeders who recognized that the quality of their dog's lives were being affected by heritable (genetic) eye disease.  CERF was then established in conjunction with cooperating, board certified, veterinary ophthalmologists, as a means to accomplish the goal of eliminating heritable eye disease in all purebred dogs by forming a centralized, national registry.


The CERF Registry not only registers those dogs certified free of heritable eye disease, but also collects data on all dogs examined.  This data is used to form a database that is useful in researching trends of eye disease and breed susceptibility.  Not only is this data useful to veterinarians and veterinary ophthalmologists, it is also useful to interested breed clubs and individual breeders and owners of specific breeds.  The individual dog's identities are confidential and will never be released.


How does CERF work?

We will recommend a local board certified, veterinary ophthalmologist to assist you.  After the painless examination of the dog's eyes, the veterinary ophthalmologist will complete the CERF form and indicate any specific disease(s) found.  Breeding advice will be offered based on the guidelines established for that particular breed.  If the dog is certified to be free of heritable eye disease, the form is sent in with the appropriate fee.  Notea permanent identification in the form of a microchip, tattoo or DNA profile must be verified prior to the animal being certified and registered.  The certification is good for 12 months from the date of the exam and the dog must be re-examined and re-certified to maintain its registration with CERF.   



What is the OFA hip registration?

The OFA is an organization with a goal of reducing the incidence of hip dysplasia.  The dog must be 24 months-of-age or older to have the certification done.  The first step is to have a hip x-ray taken.  We are able to take the x-ray here at our clinic.  Your dog will be placed under light anesthesia to ensure they are very still for the film.  This allows us to get better views.  The x-ray is then sent to the OFA for review by several independent radiologists and is graded.  Hips that are rated as "good" or "excellent" receive a registration number.  If the hips are graded as "poor", no registration number will be given.  These animals should not be used for breeding purposes and should be neuter/spayed.  In addition, we can discuss treatment options with you. 



Why get your dog's hips certified?

Offspring of OFA-certified parents would be less likely to develop hip dysplasia themselves, however, it is important to realize that a dog with excellent hips at age 2 may not have excellent hips at age 5, 7 or 10.  OFA certification is no guarantee that a dog will not develop hip dysplasia symptoms in the future and does not guarantee that the offspring will not develop hip dysplasia.



What is PennHip Registration?

Many people with potential breeding dogs do not want to have to wait two years for OFA registration.  This procedure allows another way to predict if a dog will develop hip dysplasia.  For the PennHip certification, the veterinarian taking the radiographs must receive special training and have special equipment.  We do not currently perform PennHip evaluations at our clinic, but we can refer you to clinics that do.  Your dog will be anesthetized and have two x-rays taken.  Special measurements will be done on these films.  Puppies can be certified as young as 16 weeks-of-age with this system.  Again, there is no guarantee the hips will remain good for the dog's entire life.


What is Brucella canis?

Brucella canis is a bacteria that causes a disease called brucellosis.  Brucellosis is a contagious disease of dogs that can lead to illness.  In female dogs it causes infertility and abortion.  In males, the scrotal sacs swell because of the infection and inflammation.  If the infection is chronic, testicular atrophy and infertility may resultTherefore, brucellosis screening is very important prior to breeding for a few reasons.  First, you do not want to exposure your dog or other dogs to this disease.  Secondly, because of the infertility issues associated with the disease, the breeding attempts may be unsuccessful.  A simple blood test is needed to screen your dog(s) for this disease.


If you have any questions, feel free to call us at Paws 'N Claws Veterinary Clinic.