Kelpie Health

Kelpies are a relatively healthy breed - as they are shaped quite like a wolf or a "wild dog" type they do not have breed related problems with breathing, breeding, movement etc as some breeds do. However a few kelpies, both working bred and show or obedience or bench bred have been recorded as having problems with hips, elbows, hearts and eyes, amongst other things. Some kelpies also have temperament problems.

I do not believe these are major problems in kelpies, but as a responsible breeder I am now screening my dogs for some of these things - how can we know we do not have them in our lines if we do not test?

Here are the health results for dogs that I own, or of my breeding that have been tested:

Hips and Elbows

Eyes

Temperament Tested

CA

Heart Checks

MDR1


Hips and Elbows

Kelpies are not a breed that are required to have hips and elbows checked prior to breeding, but due to hip dysplasia gradually creeping in to our breed, I have hip and elbow x-rayed and scored all my breeding dogs for 13 years. As you can see below all scores have been low, and are getting lower due to not breeding with any dog scoring higher than the breed average.

Hips in Australia are scored on a scale of 0 - 53, with the best being 0:0 and the worst being 53:53

Elbows in Australia are scored on a scale of 0-5 with the best being 0:0 and the worst being 5:5.

The breed average for kelpies in Australia varies as more dogs are scored, but is currently around 9 (total score) for hips.

Ch Callicoma Leica ET HT - Elbows 0:0, Hips 3:4

Ch Callicoma Linne HT ET - Elbows 0:0, Hips 0:2

Ch Callicoma Lyric HT - Elbows 0:0, Hips 1:3

Ch Callicoma Cosmic - Elbows 0:0, Hips 6:7

Ch Callicoma Merlot ET PT - Hips 4:1

Ch Callicoma Maher - Elbows 0:0, Hips 1:1

German (VDH) Ch Callicoma Blitzen - Elbows 0, Hips B1 (scored in Germany)

Ch Callicoma Blacksmith ET HT - Elbows 0:0, Hips 3:3

Ch Callicoma Ruby Red CCD RE ADX JDX GD SD SPDX ET HT DWDF.S - Elbows 0:0, Hips 3:1

Ch Callicoma Bronze Beauty - Elbows 0:0, Hips 4:4

Callicoma Bronze Rambler - Hips 4:4 

Ch Tegoura King Othmountn ET - Elbows 0:0, Hips 4:4

Ch Callicoma Black Friday ET - Elbows 0:0, Hips 1:1

Ch Callicoma Trump Card ET - Elbows 0:0, Hips 0:0

Ballare Katya - Elbows 0:0, Hips 2:1

Ch Callicoma Orion ET - Elbows 0:0, Hips 3:3 (x-rayed at 6 years of age!)

Estonian Ch, Hungarian Ch Callicoma Serenade - Elbows 0, Hips C (scored in Finland)

Callicoma Sixth Sense - Elbows 0, Hips B (scored in Finland)

NJK NK Int. Ch. Callicoma Katies Blush - Elbows 0, Hips A (scored in Netherlands)

Ch Callicoma Peppermint Twist ET - Elbows 0:0, Hips 1:1

Callicoma Black Tango RE CDX DWDF.A HTM.A- Hips 2:3

Ch Callicoma Liquorice - Elbows 0:0, Hips 0:0

Ch Callicoma Wild Marjoram - Elbows 0:0, Hips 0:0

Callicoma Fox On The Run - Elbows 0:0, Hips 1:0

Callicoma Foxglove - Elbows 0:0, Hips 5:5

Ger (VDH) Ch Callicoma Blackbird - Elbows 0:0, Hips A:A (scored in Germany)

Callicoma Choc Eclair ET - Elbows 0:0, Hips 1:1

Ch Callicoma Fancy Nancy - Elbows 0:0, Hips 2:2

Callicoma Morning Delight CCD RE - Elbows 0:0, Hips 3:3

Ch Callicoma Jalapeno - Elbows 0:0, Hips 2:2

Elbrylach Cinnamon RN AD JD GD SPD - Elbows 0:0, Hips 2:2

Ballare Mugungalyi - Hips A (scored in Netherlands) - sired by Harry

Ballare Stukova - Hips A (scored in Sweden) - sired by Harry

Midnight Spy Kata Tjuta  - Hips A, Elbows 0 (scored in Finland) - sired by Harry

Midnight Spy Parramatta - Hips A, Elbows 0 (scored in Finland) - sired by Harry

Midnight Spy Bandaroo - Hips A, Elbows 0 (scored in Finland) - sired by Harry

Midnight Spy Brindabella - Hips A, Elbows 0 (scored in Finland) - sired by Harry

Midnight Spy Illabunda - Hips B, Elbows 0 (scored in Finland) - sired by Harry

Elbrylach Corduroy (Ch Callicoma Maher x Callicoma Choc Eclair) - Elbows 0:0, Hips 0:0
Eyes

We do not routinely test for eye diseases in kelpies in Australia, but I have started to have a few of mine checked. Two kelpies I have bred have been checked overseas. They were visually examined by an opthalmologist for over 30 conditions including cataracts, glaucoma, persistent pupillary membranes, PRA, entropion, ectropion, nictating gland prolapse (cherry eye) as well as lens and corneal defects. There is no genetic test available for kelpies for eye diseases such as PRA or PRCD despite being available for other breeds.

German (VDH) Ch Callicoma Blitzen - eyes clear (tested in Germany)

Can Ch Callicoma Triumph FM SHDMX - eyes clear (tested in Canada)

German (VDH) Ch Callicoma Blackbird - eyes clear  (tested in Germany)

Ch Callicoma Liquorice - eyes clear Sept 15

Ch Callicoma Trump Card ET - eyes clear Sept 15

Ch Tegoura King Oth Mountn ET - eyes clear Sept 15




Temperament Tested

For a short time we could have our dogs officially temperament tested by Dogs NSW and NSW Department of Local Government accredited testers. Sadly this scheme stopped after less than a year in Australia.

 I had five dogs tested and all passed:

Ch Callicoma Ruby Red CCD RE ADX JDX GD SD SPDX ET HT DWDF.S

Ch Callicoma Bronze Beauty

Ch Tegoura King Othmountn ET

Ch Callicoma Linne ET HT

Callicoma The Tempest ADM JDM ADO JDO GDX SPDX SD ET PT AAD

The temperament test involved scary situations, loud noises (gun shots, rattling buckets), different surfaces to walk over, meeting people (dressed strangely, carrying and opening umbrellas, approaching in a hurried manner), being patted etc and the dogs are marked on how well they cope, that they do not show aggression, do not try to escape and they recover well from frights.


CA (Cerebellar Abiotrophy)

This horrible degenerative brain disease can affect even new born pups. It is a recessive gene that can be carried by dogs that show no signs. It is getting quite common in the working kelpies, but I have only heard of a few show kelpies with it so far. At this stage it is not possible to test for CA, but a study at University of NSW is being undertaken to try to find a genetic marker. Blood from many of my dogs has been made available to the study so hopefully soon I will have proof for my belief that my dogs do not carry CA.


Heart Checks
Recently some kelpies (both in Australia and overseas) have been found to have heart conditions at a relatively young age. Some have suddenly died from heart failure. The Australian Cattle Dog and Kelpie Club of Holland has researched the dogs that died from heart failure at a young age in Holland and have reported on it. 70 - 80% of older kelpies (and other dogs) suffer from heart murmurs (degenerative mitral valve disease), which is considered a normal old-age condition. It is the kelpies that develop murmurs under the age of 5 years that they are recommending should not be bred with. As most kelpies are bred prior to reaching the age of 5 years it is hard to ensure we never breed on with this. For this reason all my dogs have their hearts listened to through a stethoscope by an experienced veterinarian at least annually. Below is a list of my dogs that have been checked by a canine cardiologist. They have undergone auscultation, ECG and Echocardiogram:

Ch Callicoma Liquorice - heart clear Sept 15 (age 4), heart clear May 17 (age 5 and a half)

Ch Callicoma Trump Card ET - heart clear Sept 15 (age 7)

Ch Tegoura King Oth Mountn ET - heart clear Sept 15 (age 10)

German (VDH) Ch Callicoma Blackbird - heart clear Feb 2017 (age 5 - tested in Germany)

Ch Callicoma Wild Marjoram - heart clear May 16 (age 4), heart clear May 17 (age 5 and a half)

Ch Callicoma Bright As A Button - heart clear May 16 (age 2)

Ch Callicoma Jalapeno - heart clear May 17 (age 2)

Ch Callicoma Fancy Nancy - heart clear May 17 (age 2)

Ch Callicoma Clarence - heart clear May 17 (age nearly 4)

Elbrylach Cinnamon RN AD JD GD SD SPD - heart clear May 17 (age nearly 3)

Suthenskys Strikeforce Alice - heart clear May 17 (age 3)

Ch Callicoma Peppermint Twist ET - trivial mitral murmur with no atrial enlargement May 16 (age 6)

Neut Ch Callicoma At Midnight - grade 3 mitral murmur with no atrial enlargement May 17 (age 7)

This is a continual program of testing, as you can see, some have been tested more than once. A heart check only tells you their heart status at that particular point in time.

MDR1 (Multi Drug Sensitivity)
A number of working dog breeds are prone to serious side effects from many drugs. The cause of this drug sensitivity is a mutation in the MDR1 gene. At this stage kelpies are not  a breed known to be prone to the MDR1 mutation, so I have not had any of my own dogs tested, but two dogs I have bred have been tested.

Callicoma Onyx FCh - MDR1 clear

German (VDH) Ch Callicoma Blitzen - MDR1 clear (tested in Germany)

Callicoma Blackbird  - MDR1 clear (tested in Germany)