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Leaping Ahead from the Past

In 1998, I decided to start health certification (initially Hip Dysplasia, later more) on all my breeding Chow Chows. At the time no other ZA breeders were certifying all their breeding dogs. Internationally the trend was growing but not yet mainstream.

Why certify when I know evaluations are limited in scope thus only a partially accurate measure? After much research it was apparent that when using these evaluations in making breeding decisions, marked benefits appeared in the whelping box.


As perfection does not exist, there would be no complete solution. The ideal I am striving for as a breeder is the lowest incidence, currently possible, of health concerns.

At first this decision seemed to set me back, as I decided to exclude certain dogs from my breeding program and include those which others would not. Excluded ones may be really beautiful doing well at dogshows but health evaluations are not acceptable, others test clear in health evaluation but have temperament issues, and so forth. Breeding is about an entire picture.


When evaluations are used in a balanced way, it is the Chow Chow breed that ultimately benefits.

I have been blessed with wonderful puppy owners who work with me, providing regular feedback, positive and not so positive. This feedback is imperitave to future decisions, as the flesh and blood results from a breeding give the most accurate (though still only partial) picture of the genetic load breeding dogs carry.

May the sustainable future of the breed - true to its original type and history, combined with the well-being of the individual, mute dogs - remain the priority of all breeders. The side benefit is that pet owners also get a great Chow Chow!

About author

Bernice Leroy

Chow Chows have been part of my life since 1997. More details can be found when you visit the Ciao Chows website . Information in this blog is derived from my years of personal experience and is in no way prescribing to anyone. All dogs are individuals, therefore information shared here may/may not work for, or be a solution for each individual Chow Chow/Owner. Where advice is sought, onus remains upon each owner to find the best solution for their dog/s.


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