He owns both the sire and the dam. Although both gun dogs are registered with the Kennel Club, neither have been hip scored or eye tested.

Although the parents of this litter seem to be sound and healthy dogs I have started to think that I may be taking a risk buying one of these pups.

I’ve read some interesting things about the kinds of health problems labradors are being tested for.

JEREMY HUNT SAYS: Many novice puppy buyers are now realising that just because pups are from Kennel Club registered parents doesn’t automatically mean the sire and dam have passed all the important health tests which are now being used by responsible breeders.

My advice would be to look for a puppy from Kennel Club registered parents, but bred from a sire and dam that have also at least achieved acceptable hip scores and have current eye test certificates (breed average for the two-combined scores of each hip per gun dog is 15).

Hips are scored once in a gun dog’s lifetime but eyes should be tested annually to check for any deterioration.

Don’t believe that elbow problems are restricted to show lines; working labradors can just as easily succumb to osteochondritis (OCD), which is lameness in the elbow joint, so puppy’s from parents that have had their elbows X-rayed and scored are enabling you to buy with more confidence (elbows are scored up to 3 per elbow; a 0.0 score indicates perfect elbows).

The Optigen test, a DNA test indicating a gun dog’s genetic status concerning Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is also now being undertaken by many breeders in addition to annual eye testing.

If the sire and dam of the litter have achieved clear Optigen tests, all the pups in the litter will be genetically clear of PRA. If the bitch is untested you cannot guarantee the genetic status of the puppies regarding PRA even though the sire has a clear Optigen test.

For a full explanation on the DNA test visit www.optigen.com

The latest test concerns Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM) and many breeders of working labradors are now testing their gun dogs for this problem.

This heritable, disabling disease causes muscle weakness, intolerance to exercise and imparts a difficulty to natural movement.

It has been widely identified in labradors throughout Europe and the USA and has probably been occurring in the UK for many years but has largely been un-diagnosed.


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