"Learn Before You Leap"

Polish Lowland Sheepdog OFA EYE & HIP, CHIC

Obviously not all health issues in every puppy can be addressed, but there are tests  which are known and recommended . If a PL Sheepdog CHIC number is given, you PON has had both required tests.   Among the health issues that have surfaced in Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies , which often do not manifest until they are adults, are hip and eye issues.  Conscientious PON  breeders who have concern for their dogs offspring should have their adults breeding PONS tested and use this information to avoid these health issues .Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies carry genes from both parents and thus you should be able to see the test results of both from PON Breeders. Regardless of your breeder, it is it is important to get your PL Sheepdog OFA test results. Your PL Sheepdog CHIC test will give you the results of testing, or at a minimum ask to see the results in writing for both OFA eyes and hips.
OFA stands for the Orthopedic Foundation for  Animals.

"Founded in 1066, our mission is to promote the health and welfare of companion animals through a reduction in the incidene of genetic disease.  The OFA website and datebases provide the tools, whether you are a veterinarian, breeder, or perspective owner."

 The required PL Sheepdog OFA tests  have to do with hips and eyes.  Good breeders will now often be testing for late set PRA which may lead to blindness as a dog  ages.  Other tests may be done as well, but   all breeders should be doing the required testing.   Your newly acquired puppy will probably be too young to test, however, you may be able to find your PONS parent' listed and see if his eyes and hips were both done and/or rated.    If both hips and eyes  were done you will find the breeder also has chic next to their name indicating both were done (may or may not have passed)  and that person will get a chic number for that PON.  Not finding the parents of your potential puppy may indicate the hips  were not tested by OFA ,but Penn Hip, and you should ask to see that documentation,  or it may mean the parent PON  did not pass or for some reason the breeder chose not to register certain test. . However tested your PL Sheepdog OFA or Penn hip,  the breeders should have legal documentation from one of these organizations for both parents.   Eye  testing results may or may not be sent to OFA, but do ask for paper documentation from your breeder.  By getting this testing done your breeder is saying they are concerned and want to make sure  to the best of their ability that they don't breed and pass along PONS with bad hips or eyes.  Additional testing of other genetic problems may be required in the future.    To see if your PON's parents or your PON  have a CHIC number go to ChIC and you will be able to look up PONS that have CHIC clearance.

(Previously CERF)
Previously known as the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) which  was established by a group of purebred owner/breeders  who realized their dog's lives were being compromised by eye disease.   They joined with a group of  certified veterinary opthalmologists  to form a centralized registry where eye problems could be monitored and  utitilized to try and find ways to prevent further problems.  PRA ,known as progressive retina atrophy late onset, which can lead to blindness, has shown up in the PONS.   Therefore, all breeding parent dogs and dams should be tested and certified to be free of eye problems before they are bred.  OFA testing should be repeated every two years, while the PRA test is a genetic test only needing to be done once.   This information is made available to those studying eye problems as well as interested parent clubs, etc.    Bottom line is that before you buy a puppy ask to see the OFA Eye Certification papers (previously CERF) of both the dam and the sire .You should also be able to see the test results of the PRA testing, which PONs can be inflicted, carriers , or clear.  Your breeder should be able to explain the differences to you and what that means.     For more information go to

PennHIP is a not-for-profit veterinary health service which is found at the U. of PA. It is a multifaceted radiographic screening used to evaluate the laxity of the hips in dogs.   It is useful in predicting osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint disease that often manifest in hip dysplasia.  However, it may be more difficult to interpret the results of this type of testing .  For more info



"The CHIC Repository, co-sponsored by the  OFA and the AKC/CHF, collects and stores canine DNA samples along with corresponding genealogic anfd phenotypic  information  to facilitate future research and teting aimed at reducing the incidence of inherited disease in dogs. "    In its objectives as stated on its website it in brief terms wants to
"1.  Facilitate more rapid research progress by expediting the
      sample collection process
  2. Provide researches with optimized family groups needed
      for research
  3.  Allow breeders to take advantage of future DNA bases disease
       test as they become available
  4.  Foster a team environment between breeders/owners and
       the research community improving  the likelihood of genetic
Right now the PONs community is  only required to be involved in  OFA eye and hip research but it should soon become more involved as other possible genetic problems surface.   Ask if your breeder is taking part in this research
and remember you can check the OFA website to see if they have
chic next to their name.All  PONS should have a PL Sheepdog CHIC number . Some breeders may not opt to send all results because of financial reasons but the results should always be available.  You may not find this certification for dogs that have passed  or are no longer being bred because this is a fairly new data base.  For more information about chic visit
NOTE: Not yet required but highly recommended is the test to see whether the Polish Lowland Sheepdog Puppies will have, are carriers or are clear of PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), a genetic late onset  issue in which the dog may well become blind as it ages.  Good PON breeders are now doing this testing and you should be able to see the results.  Ask for the  test results and discuss this further with your breeder...late onset blindness may not be a big issue but one in which you should be made aware.
Remember to ask the PON breeders that are considering buying from  to produce documentation that their breeding stock has been tested.  They should be very willing to speak about any problems they have found in their lines.   Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies are meant to spend their lifetime in your home and you have the right to know what to expect. Remember you can check the OFA site.  Not all PONS are OFA'd but some will be PennHip.  CERF certification  should  have been done within the last two years and should be available. You can always check OFA for chic.