We feel strongly that health testing should be done on all dogs that are going to be used for breeding.  If we are going to improve the breed and do what is best for Great Danes, we need to make sure they are sound.  What good does a dog with perfect conformation do someone if he is crippled with hip dysplasia?  That is why we test our Danes for these genetic abnormalities. The advantage, if you can call it that, of purebred dogs is there tends to be a select group of concerns that may arise.  While any health condition can pop up now and then even from the best bred dogs, breeders can take some action to prevent those genetic problems from occurring.

Here is a summary of some of the testing and some terms common in the health testing field.

CHIC - Canine Health Information Center
In short, CHIC is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources.  Co-sponsored by the OFA and the AKC Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds.  Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.

Great Danes receive a CHIC number when they have completed testing for Hip Dysplasia, Eye Clearance, Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Congenital Cardiac Database.

KEEP IN MIND: Just because a dog has a CHIC number does NOT mean it PASSED the testing, but simply completed and submitted the testing results.  Make sure and check the individual test results!

OFA or OFFA - Orthopedic Foundation For Animals
The traditional screening and database for various maladies that affect the dog world.  The OFA will post the results of health screenings for the public with the owner's permission.

The OFA utilizes a descriptive grading system when assessing the quality of the hips in dogs. The ratings are, from best to worst, Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild, Moderate, Severe.

The photo at the top of this page is an x-ray of a dog with severe hip dysplasia.

PennHIP - University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program
PennHIP is a multifaceted radiographic technology (x-ray) for hip evaluation. The technique assesses the quality of the canine hip and quantitatively measures canine hip joint laxity. The PennHIP method of evaluation is more accurate than the current standard in its ability to predict the onset of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is the hallmark of canine hip dysplasia (CHD).

PennHIP uses a system to assign a value, or number, to the quality of the hips.  In our readings and experience, we would say a PennHIP score of 0.30 or lower on both hips equates to an Excellent/Good rating from the OFA.

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