TThe OFA - or Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is a fantastic organization that can really help you in your puppy search. Whether you are searching for a healthy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or a related hybrid, don't neglect to check the OFA for information on your puppies parents. Here's what you need to know:
OFA VERSUS AKC - WHO DOES WHAT? - There is a huge difference between the AKC and the OFA. The AKC is the American Kennel Club. This organization is responsible for keeping the registry of purebred dogs in the United States. The fact that a dog is registered with the AKC means nothing more than the fact that it was born of two purebred dogs who are also registered. While purebred parents is important (even in hybrids as the point is an intentional cross of two purebred dogs), it is not an indicator of health, solid DNA or anything else. In fact, there are many AKC registered dogs that are the result of overbreeding, are unhealthy and who don't meet the breed standard as recognized by the organization.
On the other hand, the OFA is now the repository for both DNA and medical testing of dogs. Although initially this only applied to orthopedic type testing (hips, patellas), they have expanded their mission “to improve the health and well-being of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease.”
HOW CAN I USE THE OFA IN MY PUPPY SEARCH? - In order to use the OFA to search your potential puppies genetic and medical history, you first need the full name or registry number for both parents. Anyone selling purebred Cavaliers will have this readily available. Those breeding F1 Cavachons and Cavapoos may also be able to provide you with this information. Registry numbers can also be pulled from AKC pedigrees, as can full names. If your Cavalier breeder refuses to provide you this information, this is a potential red flag. If a hybrid breeder doesn't have the information, it's worth a conversation to make sure they are DNA testing their breeding stock as well as having them screened for health issues such as hearts, hips, eyes and patellas.
Once you have the information, proceed to www.ofa.org and follow the instructions below:
We hope this post was helpful in explaining how the OFA can be a great resource for anyone looking to invest in a properly bred puppy. In future posts, we will break down both DNA and OFA testing results by Cavalier, Cavachon and Cavapoo as well. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions on the search for your perfect pet.
Questioning a breeder about a puppy I would like to buy.
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