Health Screening of the Working-Bred Brambledales


DLA Analysis (see also sub-page 'Genetic Testing')

and Coefficients of Inbreeding (COI)

In order to give the widest picture possible, ALL Beardies retained here (currently twelve - 2/12/2010) are rigorously health screened, regardless of whether they are likely to be included in the breeding programme.  When a litter is planned, I then consider not only the health records of the parents and grandparents but of the whole family. 


Sources : Hip Scores and Eye Tests are under the BVA/KC Schemes, thyroid tests by Idexx Laboratories, COI by BeaCon Open Health Registry. For eyes and thyroid, the date of the most recent test is given. In addition to the regular screening of all the adult Beardies retained here, all puppies born since 2004 have been eye-tested at seven weeks old and all have been certified normal. Elan Jim and Lester have also tested normal under the BVA/KC scheme.



In 2010 we also began submitting blood samples for DLA analysis by Genoscoper of Finland, starting with Brambledale Breeze, her daughter B Blodyn and our unrelated stud dog, Briery Glen.

The results are very exciting as they prove that my dogs do indeed have the genetic diversity that I have tried to breed for. Breeze and Blodyn have haplotypes 3+5 and 3+6 respectively, while neither of Glen's haplotypes have been identified in any of the 139 KC Beardies tested in Finland to form the database for further work. Since every individual dog inherits one haplotype from its mother and the other from its father, the fact that Glen's are both 'new' means that all his offspring - even from a homozygous KC dam - will be heterozygous in their DLA make-up as well as having at least one of these precious 'new' haplotypes.  

The Finnish research into the registered Beardie population found  that an alarming number are homozygous for either parta1 or parta 2,  ( the two most common haplotypes) so there is obviously a very real risk that breeders who do not test their dogs may inadvertently mate together two dogs which are both homozygous for the same haplotype.  That this risk is not confined to the Finnish population is made clear by the fact that among the dogs found to be homozygous for parta 1 or parta 2 were several imported from Britain's top show breeders.

A report on the Finnish Study can be found at: 

http://www.suomenpartacolliet.info/DLA_raporttiEnglish.pdf              (For a click-on link go to  our 'Links' page.)

Update 18.1.2011 Also on our Links page is an excellent explanatory article by Minna Kellomaki, who has also provided a table of the DLA results - and pedigrees - of all the dogs tested in Finland so far. Sincere thanks to Minna for sharing the results of her painstaking  work, which will help us all to understand this vital subject. 

 Update 25.1.2011 New on our Links page today! Minna's analysis of the correlation between AI disease and DLA types.

 For more information on DLA testing, go to www.genoscoper.com


First generation working-bred Brambledales : by Butler's Don x B.Brighde  - two bitches retained:

 Name..........Hips.. ...........Eyes.... ......Thyroid..........COI 

1) B.Brianna . 0:1 .Normal 17/3/08. Not tested 6.6%

2) B.Briony.0:0. Normal 18/9/2009. Normal 18/3/09  6.6%

Second generation : by Elan Jim x B.Brianna: five bitches retained:

1) B. Brianella  3:3. Normal 16.3.2011 .Normal 18/3/09. 0%

2) B.Blue Merle  3:3. Normal 16.3.2011. Normal 18/3/09. 0%

3) B.Blue Motley 3:4. Normal. 16.3.2011.Normal 18/3/09. 0%

4) B.Breeze 3:4. Normal 16.3.2011. Normal 18/3/09.   0%

5) B. Bright Blue  3:3. Normal. 18/9/2009. Normal 18/3/09. 0%

 Third generation : by Lester x B.Breeze : two bitches retained:

1) B.Blodyn 2:2. Normal 16.3.2011. Not tested. 2.8%

2) B.Breezanna. Normal 16.3.2011. Not tested. 2.8%

More third generation: by Glen x B. Breeze : born 14/4/2010

Whole litter eye-tested at 8weeks - all normal.

More third generation: by Glen x B Blue Motley ;Born 25/1/2011

Whole litter eye-tested at 7weeks - all normal.

Fourth Generation; by Glen x B. Blodyn : born 23.4 2010:

Whole litter eye-tested at 7weeks - all normal.

Briery Glen : by LeBruns Jack x Briery Nan :

 Hip Score; 4:5. Eyes: Normal; 16.3.2011



Although the above list is limited to the working-bred Brambledales, the test status of the last of my KC Breed Register Beardies is also relevant. This was Brambledale Brighde, dam of my first working-bred generation. Her hip score was 3:4 and her eyes were tested normal at nine years old.


The UK hip-scoring scheme is run jointly by the Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association. The lowest possible score is 0:0, which denotes perfect hips. For hips that are less than perfect, points are added according to the degree of abnormality in each hip, up to a combined maximum of over 100.  For those not familiar with the British system, it is important to remember that the lower the score the better!

The  hip scores of my home-bred Working Beardies  ( see table above) give an average of 4.5 (four and a half)  ( ie sum of both hips per dog) . The breed average score  is 11, although this may not reflect the true situation as it is based on a sample that excludes many of the worst scores. By contrast, my own average is from the scores of ALL the working-bred Brambledales retained here. (Plus Brighde, as explained above.)  Having had my Beardies' hips x-rayed since the mid-1960s (I was the first Beardie breeder to do so), I am delighted with our working-bred results- the scores are not only much lower but also much more consistent than I have ever had before. When breeding under the KC system I found that, although always selecting for good hips, I had several cases of litter-mates showing a great disparity of hip scores, ranging from the very good to the very bad.  Again, the contrast with my working-bred dogs is striking. So far the scores of littermates have not varied by more than one point! Given that my puppies are reared with the freedom to explore, run, climb and jump from their earliest weeks, my results explode the myth that growing hips are damaged by such exertion! I am most grateful to Marilyn Baker, who;very kindly examined some of my old x-rays from the pre-scoring days when the BVA/KC scheme certified dogs as "Normal", "Affected" or " Borderline". By estimating the scores that these old plates would probably be given if they were submitted today, Marilyn enabled me to compare them with my more recent results. This was a fascinating exercise! Marilyn estimated all my "Normals" and my one "Borderline" as scoring 4 ( sum of both hips per dog), while the "Affecteds" ranged from 2 to 60!  Several of those listed as "affected" under the old scheme were judged by Marilyn as having scores well below the current "Breed Mean Score". There are a number of conclusions to be drawn from this exercise, one of which is that the scoring scheme is certainly a vast improvement on the original.



 The average COI of UK Beardies is 25% (figures supplied by BeaCon). The majority of my present dogs have a 0% COI and our highest COI is 6%, for my first working-bred litter ( figures from Beacon).


Mouths + teeth : not one of the working-bred Brambledales has any dental abnormalities.


 Pulse Rates :The vet who recently gave all my Beardies a thorough health-check was interested to find that they all have remarkably low pulse rates, which she attributed to a combination of an unusually high level of physical fitness and exceptionally steady temperament.



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