United Barbet Club

Interpreting the Numbers 

It’s important to understand the meaning behind the numbers that are referenced with regard to a dog’s health clearances.  One of the many benefits to adopting a purebred dog from a reputable breeder is that he or she will have thoroughly health tested their breeding stock.  They may also have DNA’d their dogs and bitches and they should have a thorough understanding of their dog’s bloodlines. They should be willing and able to share with you their knowledge about the dog’s pedigrees and the co-efficient of inbreeding on each prospective litter.  The following outline has been put together to help you make sense of the various terminology.

Note: If you click on the underlined words you will be taken to internet pages with more detailed information on the subject. 

CHIC: Canine Health Information Center.  CHIC is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club's established requirements, and who have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers. The United Barbet Club encourages the recommendations for health testing as outlined by the Canine Health Information Centre.   For the Barbet, registration is given to Barbet who meet the following criteria:

Hip Dysplasia: OFA evaluation OR PennHIP evaluation OR OVC evaluation 
Elbow Dysplasia: OFA evaluation OR OVC evaluation 
Eye examination by a Board Certified Canine Ophthalmologist, minimum age 12 months, recommended CERF or OFA eye exam prior to breeding, and then periodically thereafter (every two years suggested). 

Barbet who have completed required testing and who have received CHIC numbers can be found 

Some breeders may simply list OFA certificate numbers on a website or in an advertisement. The OFA has prepared a
key to help you decipher what these numbers mean.  

OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.  OFA radiologists read submitted x-rays to grade a dog's elbows and hips. Hip dysplasia is a terrible genetic disease because of the various degrees of arthritis (also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis) it can eventually produce, leading to pain and debilitation. By breeding dogs who only have normal hips and elbows, the chances are much greater that the resulting offspring will also have normal hips and elbows. The OFA recommends that all breeding dogs be radiographed and graded after the age of two in order to receive a final grading.  X-rays that are taken and graded earlier than 2 years of age will receive a preliminary grading only.

Physically perfect elbows are given a rating of normal. Dysplastic elbows are given a grade of Level 1, 2, or 3 dysplasia.
Hips are a scored by 7 word grades, not letter grades as is used in Europe. Normal hips are either excellent, good, or fair. Borderline hips usually warrant another x-ray in 6 months to determine either fair or mildly dysplastic. Mild, moderate, and severe describe levels of dysplasia in dogs that do not pass their clearances and are not issued a certificate number. 

Among other health testing results the OFA database also stores CERF/eye, cardiac, and thyroid testing. Barbet who's results have been submitted to OFA are listed here

CERF: Canine Eye Registration Foundation. The CERF organization is no longer providing clearance certificates or maintaining a database.  For many years they had cooperated with the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) to maintain a registry of purebred and hybrid dogs that ACVO diplomates examined and have found to be unaffected by major heritable eye diseases. 

ECR: Eye Certification Registry: The new ECR (CAER) is a joint effort between the OFA and the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) and has the full endorsement of the ACVO and their member diplomates.  Submitted results are listed on the OFA database. All Barbet should have their eyes checked before being bred, and at least every two years thereafter.  

PennHIP: Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program is an organized collaborative effort consisting of the Veterinary School at the University of Pennsylvania (VHUP) and a worldwide network of nearly 1200 certified PennHIP-trained veterinarians from 24 countries. PennHIP's primary objective is to reduce the frequency and severity of hip dysplasia in all breeds of dogs. The PennHIP method is a different way to assess, measure and interpret hip joint status. It consists of three separate radiographs: the distraction view, the compression view and the hip-extended view. The distraction view and compression view are used to obtain accurate and precise measurements of hip joint laxity and congruity, respectively. The hip-extended view is used to obtain supplementary information regarding the existence of degenerative joint disease in the hip joint.

OVC: The Ontario Veterinary College is no longer doing hip and elbow evaluations, but dogs who have been tested by OVC can have these results entered into the OFA/CHIC database. Some Barbets will have OVC hip evaluations, which were given a pass or fail rating.

DNA: Some Barbet have DNA on file with the AKC and/or the UKC. Because of this, there can be no question as to actual parentage of a puppy. DNA is swabbed from inside the dog's cheek. This DNA is sent to the AKC/UKC approved lab for interpretation. DNA from the mother and father is easily matched with the puppy's DNA.

COI: Coefficient of Inbreeding The Barbet has a very small and limited gene pool. For this reason many breeders feel that a low COI is vital for the long term health of the breed. Most Barbet will trace back to a small number of founder dogs. Because the breed’s population is small, many breeders are trying to preserve its remaining genetic diversity as much as possible. To achieve this they try to select dogs that do not have many common ancestors. Here is an article that may help you understand the challenge in greater detail.   Barbet pedigrees are available on Pawpeds where it is possible to look up the COI of individual dogs as well as potential matings.

(c) United Barbet Club, Stephanie Dixon, Judy Descutner