Just as we require performance testing data on all our pups, we seek to secure health data on every pup as well. For example, the buyer’s agreement requires that each pup undergo a PennHip evaluation. This procedure provides an assessment for hip dsyplasia potential. Hip dysplasia is a devastating orthopedic disorder that is present in most medium and large breeds. Many breeders reserve getting a PennHip assessment for dogs that they are considering breeding because of the expense involved. We expect it on every puppy because assessing entire litters is the best way to prevent the condition of hip dysplasia. Our policy is to only breed dogs with low risk of dysplasia. Since instituting this policy, we have seen significant improvement in preventing this condition with no dysplastic dogs in the past ten years.
Each pup is evaluated for coat and conformation when it participates in a BWPGCA field test. We assess teeth, bite, gait, size and structure. We also assess temperament—not only gun sensitivity but general disposition, friendliness with people and behavior toward other dogs. We request that each owner regularly complete a health survey so that we can monitor for hereditary disorders.
The BWPGCA breeding committee works to incorporate advances in breeding technology, canine nutrition and puppy development into our program. We provide an annual seminar related to breeding at hunting dog evaluation to our judges and membership.
The Baseline Survey collects data on a wide array of canine disorders that may be associated with genetic factors. We attempt to collect data on all our dogs whether imported or from domestic breedings by having owners complete the health survey about the time their dog is eligible for the Intermediate Hunting Dog Test. The data are used by the Breeding Committee to evaluate outcomes of previous breedings and to select future breeding stock. Note: If you are the owner of a BWPGCA dog, please complete the Health Survey when your dog is in the 18-24 month age range. Go HERE to take the survey. It is helpful to have your dog’s registration and veterinary information available when you complete the survey.
We have developed an International searchable on-line database for pedigrees, health, and test information. This database is new and only in Beta version but is freely available to all worldwide (ceskyfouseknorthamerica.org). We are working with other national clubs to collect and upload data for a more complete dataset. These datasets can be downloaded for analysis upon request. Users can look up data on individual dogs, conduct test breeding analyses, and view breeding statistics. The site is primarily intgended for use by the Breeding Committee, but dog owners and prospective buyers may find it useful as well to examine data on their dogs.
In addition to testing and breeding programs, we also have scholarly collaborative activities. For example, blood from every domestic puppy and all imported dogs is submitted to the Cornell University Veterinary BioBank. This is a DNA bank that can be used for future genetic studies . Along with the blood, each dog owner must supply additional health, morphometric, and temperament information on a regular basis throughout the dogs’ entire life to accompany the stored DNA. These kinds of databases are very rare and extremely valuable scientific research resources for both canine and human diseases. A second project includes the sequencing of the complete genome of 67 of our dogs in a study to search for genetic markers for shoulder Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD). Currently there are only about 500 complete dog genomes available worldwide making the addition of 67 a significant achievement. In a collaboration with Klub Chovatelů Českých Fousků, Česká zemědělská Univerzita v Praze (Czech Agricultural University in Prague), Cornell Veterinary BioBank, TGen (AZ), Queens University, Belfast, UK, and The University of Maine, we have initiated a genetic study of alopecia in dogs that might also be useful for understanding hair loss in humans. These are ambitious collaborations that would not be possible without a strong breed clubs and excellent records.
A non-scholarly activity that we have initiated is to bring together all of the Český Fousek owners in North America, including some of those that imported dogs in the 1960s. It is exciting for us to draw together as a group and begin to archive our history. To this end we are actively exploring submission of our historical information, collected since our inception in 1951, into a University Library Special Collections. This will archive and protect valuable documents while giving access to all, including the AWPGA, with whom we have a shared history.