Breeding fully health tested gundogs since 1983

Health Matters


BVA Hip Certificate

Dogs must be at least one year old before being x-rayed. Each hip attracts a total score between 0 and 53.
0:0 is perfection and 53:53 is no hip joint at all. The ones shown above are the WORST hips I have ever personally known with a total score 95. None of my breeding - thank goodness. You should always try to breed from animals with a score of less than the current mean average for the breed, unless there is something else very, VERY special about the animal. All my Stud Dogs (apart from Jake) are under the BVA's BMS and Median scores.

Below are all the health test certificates for my younger Yellow Lab

Top - BVA Hip (green), Elbow (orange). Immediately above adult Eye Cert

Below - Optigen Certs for NARC, PRA, RDOSD and AHT CNM Cert


Eye Certificates - Puppies can be screened "Clear" [or not] of congenital defects at 6 weeks old before leaving their breeder. It is then preferable to have annual checks on all adult breeding stock to make sure no other condition manifests itself in later years, for example PRA (Progessive Retinal Atrophy). All my stock is DNA screened wherever tests are available.

Elbow Scores - Fairly recently introduced. Zero is perfect 3 is the highest grade (each elbow scored).

Fucosidosis in ESS - I now test all my ESS for this condition. Please see for the list of tested dogs clears / carriers. I have done my homework. The two working bred carrier's sire (Surefly Bluebottle) is by FTCh Clarburgh Art and out of a Moonreed bitch. One dam is by a Birdrowe dog and the dam’s bitch line has Larford on one side and Rytex on the other. I think you will agree that that covers a fair bit of the UK’s top names in Field Trial breeding??? Where is this gene coming from?? And now.... Sh Ch Gleadsbury Whatadestiny JW Sh CM is a carrier. By a Mompesson dog and out of one of a Gleadsbury bitch... That must be a blow to them BUT all credit to them for having the test done!

If it is ever doubled up someone's dog will have a truly horrible fatal condition that will slowly creep over and overwhelm it. An unnecessary and avoidable death. "Pedigree" dogs don't breed themselves. It's the owners that choose the sire and dam. For a few extra £££ the pups could be assured as genetically clear.

My breeding stock is now also screened for any condition that a DNA test is available for in that breed... e.g. PFK deficiency and PRA cord 1 mutation in ESS, Centroneclear myopathy in Labs... etc

Sadly, as yet, The Kennel Club still checks no-one's credentials; they do not check that the animal I (or anyone else) says is Dog A was mated to the animal I (or anyone else) says is Bitch B. Neither do they check that the Puppies C were born. They don't check how many, what sex, colour... zilch. To be fair, it would be impossible for them to do so so it left to the buyer to beware! The Kennel Club is doing it's best to catch up with the loopholes. It all takes time.

Until very recently the Kennel Club [nor anyone else] checked that the dog taken for any DNA or Health Screening (hips/eyes etc) was the same dog as shown on the documents accompanying it.  So much was done on trust... 
These days, thank goodness,  microchipping is compulsory before hip or eye screening is done.

The KC Assured Breeders, as shown on the KC's Website, may have never owned a dog before never mind bred a litter. They may never do so again. They just pay a fee and sign a form to say that they promise to be bound by a code of ethics. Very creditable in principal, no use in practise. The KC are trying to visit all Assured Breeders but are tending to target people that have bred for years, like me. I passed my inspection with flying colours.

The KC do listen to constructive criticism and have been known to change a policy if justified... most recently the KC will now add the word "docked" to descriptions on their puppy sales register.

As you can see - there is still a great deal left to trust. Make sure you TRUST whoever you buy a puppy from.
Good hip scores and clear eyes cannot guarantee a puppy's health for life but do give a good indication of the health of their parents / grandparents.


Recommended Health Links

Eye Tests

Hip Scoring

How to become a KC Assured Breeder

KC Assured Breeder list of required health tests



English Springers



BBC Documentary - Pedigree Dogs Exposed

When you have seen this, ask me to send you my thoughts
I was so furious at the biased views expressed in this BBC programme that I wrote letters all over the place in support of the Kennel Club - "Pedigree" does NOT mean "Kennel Club registered"


If you really want to feel nauseated look at DEFRA's recent advice....

But then what comes naturally to me and seems like simple common sense does need spelling out to some people. I guess in the way that I hope my FAQs help the more novice people out there.





Roundworms passed in faeces




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