First and foremost, we examine a dog’s natural behavior, temperament and intelligence to determine whether to breed him (We do not “train” him or her to “behave.”) We want to see how calm and intelligent he is naturally. Why? Because as the theory goes, naturally obedient males bred to naturally obedient females will produce naturally obedient puppies. Male dogs requiring professional behavior modification bred to females who require professional behavior modifications are not going to produce sound, calm, and intelligent puppies.
Most people looking for a puppy aren’t professional dog trainers. To ensure we’re breeding the best possible companion dogs, we only breeds parents that are naturally obedient.
Genetic eye diseases in Poodles fall into two categories, those that should be tested for on a yearly basis by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist and those that can be tested for by a DNA test.
The clearance that is given after a dog is examined by an ophthalmologist is called a CERF clearance. CERF is a company that was founded with a goal of “eliminating heritable eye disease in all purebred dogs by forming a centralized, national registry”. In order for a dog to get a CERF clearance, he/she must be examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist who will screen for a wide variety of genetic eye problems. See CERF’s link http://www.vmdb.org/categories.html which gives the list of conditions that the ophthalmologist is required to screen for. In order to be screened for CERF, a dog must be clear of all the eye conditions on this list and the ophthalmologist must send the report to CERF. A CERF certification is only valid for a year because genetic eye conditions can develop at any age. Therefore, CERF, OFA, and the Golden Retriever Club of America all suggest that breeders have their breeding dogs reevaluated every year so that if an inheritable eye disease develops, the breeder knows it and can remove the dog from his/her breeding program.
Once a month, CERF sends a list of dogs who were recently cleared for their CERF certification to OFA and OFA updates their database with that information. OFA’s primary function is to evaluate hip and elbow dysplasia and making these results available to the public, but they also provide a place for breeders to report to the public eye and cardiac clearances. With CERF making their database available to OFA, it makes it easier to research most all of the health clearances of a dog in one place.
In recent years, genetic tests were made available to the public for a group of diseases called PRA that causes retinal atrophy. Atrophy of the retina does not normally show up until after a dog is old enough to have been bred. This condition starts off with limited night vision and then progresses to eventual blindness. These DNA tests will enable a breeder to identify dogs that have this gene before the dog is bred, before the dog ever develops symptoms, or even before an ophthalmologist is able to see evidence of it. This test will also enable breeders to identify dogs who are carriers of the disease. With this information, breeders can make sure that when they plan breedings, all dogs who are either carriers of or are genetically predisposed to be affected by PRA will be bred only to dogs that are clear. Because the PRA gene is a recessive gene, one clear parent guarantees that none of the puppies will be affected.