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A Breeder Evaluation at a Glance:

Health Clearances

Hip Dysplasia:  OFA or Penn Hip evaluation.  OFA is more traditional method but also more subjective. Penn Hip is an objective measurement of hip laxity but is a much more expensive.  It is GOOD if breeders do OFA hip evals, GREAT if they do Penn Hip and EXCELLENT if they do both.  Breeders should be able to trace hip ratings through their pedigree.  An OFA Excellent bred to an OFA Excellent means they got really lucky if everything behind it in the pedigree is Fair or dysplastic! 

Elbow Dysplasia: Not a standard health clearance in every breed, but becoming more commonplace.  VERY IMPORTANT for hunting dogs.  The front end breaking down will end your hunt just as fast as the backend breaking down.  OFA is the standard evaluation for this.

Eyes: Even though our Upland Athletes are bred for stellar scenting abilities, their eyes are also important.  Besides everyday life, Upland Athletes are VERSATILE.  It is hard to mark that retrieve if they can’t see correctly.  Traditionally CERF was the place to go but they have fallen out of favor as OFA now offers eye exam certification.  You need a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist for this exam.

Check out for a full list of recommend health clearances for each breed.  These include breed specific genetic tests as well. 

Titles and Performance

Breeders should know their pedigrees inside and out.  It is OK to breed a dog without titles, but the breeder should be able to not just tell you they are good enough, but be willing to SHOW you.  Titles are a way to prove it on paper, but not necessarily the end all be all of a hunting dog. 

DON’T IGNORE THE BITCHES!  Hate to see well decorated stud dogs used on bitches that are only whelpers.  It is harder to trial the girls around heat cycles and litters, but a good breeder will find hunting, training, and trialing their brood bitches just as important as doing so with stud dogs. Remember, GIRLS HUNT TOO!


These are Upland Athletes. These are sporting dogs.  Hunting season is short.  These are family dogs.  These are house pets.  If someone tells you they are not good with kids, other pets, in the house, with people, etc.  Ask them to re-evaluate the temperaments in their pedigree and then walk away.  Your Upland Athlete will not reach his/her full potential sitting ignored in a kennel 9 months of the year.  We want 12 months a year dogs!

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