Health clearances – what to know and what to look out for

When a breeder says and advertises “parents are fully health tested” that sounds great, but what does it mean? 

Well, it doesn’t mean much without more information to back it up! Let’s dive into the what and why on the importance of proper health clearances.   

While many breeders online have wonderful social media, marketing and beautiful websites that sound and look good (not to mention adorable puppy photos) many, dare we say most, are irresponsibly breeding dogs.  It’s very difficult to do the research and know what to look for.  

So let’s get into it!

First and foremost, simply stating a dog or a puppy is ‘fully health cleared’, has ‘AKC papers’, is purebred or otherwise uses flowery wording about the health of their puppies is not sufficient when looking for a responsible breeder.  

All responsible breeders should be following the recommended health clearances that each breed is assigned.  These recommendations are a baseline for determining a responsible breeder.  This is to say that all responsible breeders should have no problem listing or providing proof of all clearances they do for their sires (dads) and dams (moms).  There are very few (and we mean very few) times that there may have been a working/life related injury that could prevent a health clearance from passing.  In these occasions a breeder should also be able to provide you with evidence of such exceptions.  For example, if a hunting dog injured his eye from a scratch or other permanent injury, they may not receive a passing eye exam clearnace from the current year. However they could likely provide a past eye exam which clearly shows that the dog had their eyes cleared and/or they should be able to provide photo or vet evidence of such an injury occasion.   Though these occasions are rare, it is worth noting that there are some exceptions DOGG!T would consider if a sire or dam does not have a passing health clearance.  These exceptions are verified by our board of experts which include vets, top breeders and subject matter experts. 

Let’s talk about what health clearances are and why simply stating “parents are fully health tested” is a dead statement.  Simply put, when an officer pulls you over for speeding, what’s the first thing they ask for?- PROOF of license, insurance, registration.  It’s the same principle.

Irresponsible breeders will claim ‘health tested’ dogs on their site, but not have any clearances to back that statement up.  There is NEVER a time where it’s acceptable for a responsible breeder to refuse to show a prospective puppy buyer the health clearances they have performed on their dogs.

Researching the health clearances for the parents of a puppy is the easiest way to find out if a breeder is breeding responsibly, or if they have ulterior motives, ie. are in it for the money.  

Health clearances are all different for each recognized breed and have been established by each breed club in America. Likewise in Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, and all around the globe.  These groups are experts in their breed, who have shown commitment to the betterment of the breed and spent the time to understand their breeds’ current strengths and weaknesses.  They are commissioned to maintain a standard of a breed in order to continue making the breed healthier, more consistent in temperament and with sound structure in order to do what the dog was bred for.  This is called purposeful breeding.  

Purposeful breeding is the only type of breeding that should occur.  There is no other reason to breed a dog then to have the next generation be healthier, happier, sounder, and more capable to do what they were bred to do.  Sometimes, a breed can be ‘overbred’ in a gene pool that is rather small, this can lead to the opposite of the desired effect.  This is why it is so important to consider where you get a puppy from.   If you are not interested in finding a responsible breeder that follows our responsible breeder criteria, then we highly encourage you to rescue a dog from a breed club, rescue program or local shelter.  When going this route, you should be prepared to potentially handle difficult times with health and temperment.  This path is much riskier and in most cases the dogs that end up in shelters don’t have records of where they came from or what issues they could potentially have.  This decision should never be made hastily. Know that a dog from a rescue or shelter could easily become a very large financial commitment in vet and safety related bills.  The likelihood of incompatibility is overwhelmingly more than that of a properly matched puppy from a responsible breeder.  

While DOGG!T supports all responsible homing for any dog on our planet, we will never encourage breeders who do not follow our standards.  Setting a standard in breeding practices is the first step in helping the current problems our dogs face today: overpopulation in shelters, major health problems and extreme inconsistent temperaments making dog ownership stressful and potentially unsafe. The health and happiness of all dogs is our #1 priority and we will never waver for profits or personal gains.  This is our promise to our dogs. 

Please do the right thing and shop or adopt RESPONSIBLY.  

DOGG!T can help in that journey with you.  If you’d like us to do the brunt of the work, our White Glove service will provide you with all of the insights on a breeder you are looking at, and give them a passing or failing grade, so to speak. We will also help you along the process for applying, reserving and securing a responsibly bred puppy that you can be confident has the most reliable temperament, health and support for the duration of their lives.  

DOGG!T provides support in vetting all breeders in our network and our White Glove service will provide you with all of the insights on any external breeder you are looking at, and give them a passing or failing grade with all the reasons why we approve or disapprove of their breeding practices.  Our goal is to prevent the irresponsible breeding of dogs.  We are dedicated to the wellbeing of dogs, and committed to creating the first ever health regulated breeder resource.  We are a team built up of the country’s leading experts on dog breeding, health requirements, and dog behavioral psychology. Backed by science and generations of responsibly breeding healthy dogs.  We are people who advocate for the health and wellbeing of dogs.  Our mission is to prevent dogs who end up in shelters, decrease health issues in all breeds, and prioritize the importance of responsible dog breeding. Our mission is to prevent any and all irresponsibly bred dogs from having a life of potential health and temperament problems.  We are dedicated to the wellbeing of dogs, and have created the first of it’s kind health verified breeder resource.