April 10, 2009, Newsletter Issue #41: The ACA Puppy Registry - Health Trumps Appearance

Tip of the Week

If you are concerned about the potential health of your new puppy, you may want to look for a breeder who uses the American Canine Association's puppy registry. Unlike many other breed registries, the ACA seems to put less emphasis on the appearance of the dog's parents than it does on their health.

When you look for an ACA registered litter, don't assume the parents are free of hereditary defects. Ask to see a copy of the ACA health form and look at the results listed. The ACA enables breeders to have dogs certified as being free from hip dysplasia, knee dysplasia, thyroid conditions and many other hereditary issues, but that doesn't mean the breeder has had all the tests done.

If you are concerned with the appearance of your puppy, too, you will want to take a close look at the confirmation of the parents. Also, if this isn't the first litter of puppies, ask if there are pictures of older puppies from other litters. People who are delighted with their new puppies often send pictures of them to the breeder during milestone events over the first year or so. Seeing these puppies gives you a better idea of what your puppy will look like than looking at the parents, since the puppies are a combination of both parents' characteristics.

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