So the first question that you should ask is "Do the parents have CHIC numbers?"
Most parent breed clubs recommend several health tests for dogs used for breeding. Dogs that have had all these tests done - and the results made public - are assigned a Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) number. The easiest way to see if a dog has a CHIC number is to go to the web site of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), look up the dog, and see if the initials "CHIC" appears next to its name. (For this you will need the registered names or the registration numbers of the parents.) You should feel free to ask the breeder to explain the results of the health tests.
Some breeds are better than others with regards to their breeders putting CHIC numbers on their breeding stock. See the gotchic web site for a comparison of breeds.
If the results of the DNA tests have not been put on the web site of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), then you should ask to see the lab reports. You should feel free to ask the breeder to explain the test results.
If the breeder says something like "I do not have that problem in my line" for a recommended DNA test ... then the breeder is really saying "I do not test." If a breeder does not test, then they do not know.
Breeders too often breed two closely related "good" dogs (by whatever definition of "good" that they are using) in the hope that the puppies will also be "good". This frequently works ... but it also doubles up on recessive mutations that cause genetic illnesses. While breeders may call this by fancy names such as "linebreeding", it is still inbreeding. Geneticists know that inbreeding causes all sorts of problems for a population. There are historical examples in humans that demonstrate this ... Queen Victoria and her descendents (hemophelia), the Hapsburgs (inbreeding depression, "the Hapsburg lisp"), etc.
If you want to get technical, from the pedigree you can easily calculate the "ancestor loss coefficient" and see how it compares with the recommendation of the Finnish Kennel Club. (The European kennel clubs are in general ahead of the American Kennel Club with regards to the health and welfare of dogs.) Click here for an explanation.
Is the breeder a member of the breed parent club? A local dog club?
Last updated 20170101