OFA and German Shepherd Breeding

(Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) OFA


Beware some websights and websight groups spout breeding for good health but have members who do not OFA

The people on this websight actually "prove it " and OFA

ASK- before you buy ! It's a simple Question . Do you OFA?

What is OFA? A very necessary hip evaluation that guarantee's parent dogs to be free of hip-dysplasia.... who ever you buy from support breeders who OFA,OVC or Penn -Hip.

Unfortunately alot of breeders say they OFA and do not. Or x-ray and say they don't OFA? Here's a question every puppy buyer should ask your breeder! If you payed 200-300$ for the x-rays why not spend 30$ to send them into OFA to be evaluated? If a breeder doesn't OFA there is normally a reason, his or her dogs don't tend to pass! Because puppies with OFA parents sell better so most kennel advertise up front OFA or Penn -hip, or OVC and offer proof of that on their web-sight.

Arguments against OFA? It does not guarantee my puppy to be free of Hip-Dyplasia.

**True, but with a strong "good-hips" background its alot less likely ! Sorry not a good enough argument . The fact is if a breeder that has dogs that pass OFA he will ofa if he even cares to x-ray!

Argument two- don't want to put my dogs under anethesia because I could loose them > OK yes but the chances are less then 1 out of a thousand and a vet hospital probably 1 out of ten thousand , sorry who are ya kiddin? Not to mention alot of vets don't require anesthesia! in 20 years of breeding I have never lost one dog due to an OFA x-ray and I dare anybody to prove that they have! It's just a mild sedative now adays. For a spay or neuter the dog is completely under so really theses surgeries are much more dangerous.

Another way to check your breeder is to type in the breeder you are researching to OFA, just type kennel name and breed and you should come up with a list of certified dogs, if your breeder OFA's and encourages it from puppy buyers before they breed they should have a long list (more then one page) if there is a small list often the only people that OFA'd are those that bought a puppy from that breeder, not the breeder him self.... Remember OFA only puts up "passing results" until just recently, now the dog owner can sign a special place to show all results including -not normal- Most long time breeders may have one or two of them as well.

Check your breeder out at http://www.offa.org/search.html type in the kennel name and check any part of name, select breed , skip everything else and hit (begin search at the bottom)

If you want to check a particular dog just type in his name or his registration number.

to see the whole list of royalair dogs at OFA click here

What AKCand OFA say about why you should buy from only breeders who certify



Breeder Guidelines
Breeders and the OFA

Progress in hip joint phenotype of dogs in the United States between the 1970's and early 1990's has been shown through results of a retrospective study using the OFA data base. This improvement was evident as an increase in the percentage of dogs classified as having excellent hip joint phenotype and a decrease in the percentage of dogs classified as having hip dysplasia (HD). The increase in percentage of dogs classified as having excellent hip joint phenotype was greater for German Shepherd dogs, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Rottweilers than for all dog breeds combined. In addition, the submission screening rate for these four breeds was higher than the screening rate for all dogs. Within these four breeds, the improvement was greatest for Rottweilers, which also had the highest screening rate.

Overall, low screening rates for breeds found in this study offer some insight into the problems involved with reducing the incidence of HD. The typical dog breeder is involved in breeding dogs for about five years. Thus, informed, experienced breeders are continually replaced with uninformed, inexperienced breeders who may not be as aware of the problems associated with HD or of the importance of participating in a screening program. In addition, many breeders choose which dogs they breed on the basis of the hip phenotype of individual dogs without knowledge of the phenotype of related dogs or previous offspring. It can be very difficult to get hip information on siblings and previous offspring due to the overall low number of dogs radiographed in a given litter (most dogs in a litter end up in pet homes). This is the slowest method of reducing the incidence of an undesirable trait or increasing the incidence of a desirable trait. The use of preliminary radiographs as early as 4 months of age can be used by breeders to add valuable information on the hip status of dogs they choose to use in a breeding program.

What can breeders do?

Hip dysplasia appears to be perpetuated by a breeders imposed breeding practices, but when breeders and their breed clubs recognize HD as a problem and establish reduction of HD as a priority, improvement of the hip status can be accomplished without jeopardizing other desirable traits. Prospective buyers should check pedigrees and/or verify health issues with the breeder. If suitable documentation is not available, assume the worst until proven otherwise.

Do not ignore the dog with a fair hip evaluation. The dog is still within normal limits. For example; a dog with fair hips but with a strong hip background and over 75% of its brothers and sisters being normal is a good breeding prospect. A dog with excellent hips, but with a weak family background and less than 75% of its brothers and sisters being normal is a poor breeding prospect.

OFA's Recommended Breeding Principals
• Breed normals to normals
• Breed normals with normal ancestry
• Breed normals from litters (brothers/sisters) with a low incidence of HD
• Select a sire that produces a low incidence of HD
• Replace dogs with dogs that are better than the breed average

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals—1966 to 2006

Forty Years of Dedication to the Advancement of Canine Health

Founded and originally incorporated as a private not for profit foundation in 1966, this year the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) celebrates its 40th anniversary. 

Credit for the formation of the OFA is generally attributed to John M. Olin, well known inventor, industrialist, philanthropist, conservationist, and sportsman. John Olin was an avid sportsman, hunter, and field trial participant. When hip dysplasia began to impact the performance of Olin’s dogs, he organized an initial meeting with representatives of the veterinary community, the Golden Retriever Club of America, and the German Shepherd Dog Club of America to discuss means of limiting the disease. This ultimately led to the formation and incorporation of the OFA in 1966.  Its initial mission: To provide radiographic evaluation, data management, and genetic counseling for canine hip dysplasia.

While the OFA continues to focus on hip dysplasia, today’s OFA Mission, “To improve the health and well being of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease,” reflects the organization’s expansion into other inherited diseases and other companion animals such as cats.

The OFA is guided by the following four specific objectives:
• To collate and disseminate information concerning orthopedic and genetic diseases of animals.
• To advise, encourage and establish control programs to lower the incidence of orthopedic and genetic diseases.
• To encourage and finance research in orthopedic and genetic disease in animals.
• To receive funds and make grants to carry out these objectives.
The OFA Databases

The OFA databases are core to the organization’s objective of establishing control programs to lower the incidence of inherited disease.  Responsible breeders have an inherent responsibility to breed healthy dogs.  The OFA databases serve all breeds of dogs and cats, and provide breeders a means to respond to the challenge of improving the genetic health of their breed through better breeding practices.  The testing methodology and the criteria for evaluating the test results for each database were independently established by veterinary scientists from their respective specialty areas, and the standards used are generally accepted throughout the world.  The following databases have been developed and are maintained by the OFA today:
• Hip Dysplasia
• Elbow Dysplasia
• Patellar Luxation
• Autoimmune Thyroiditis
• Congenital Heart Disease
• Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
• Sebaceous Adenitis
• Congenital Deafness
• Shoulder OCD
• Several DNA Based Databases such as von Willebrand’s Disease and Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Following John Olin's original intentions to promote animal wellness, the OFA also supports studies on animal wellness through financial contributions. The OFA has contributed nearly $3 million to researchers through the Morris Animal Foundation, the AKC/Canine Health Foundation, and occasionally, direct funding. Through its support of such projects, the OFA hopes to provide resources for the further understanding of, and ultimately prevention of genetic diseases.