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The Borzoi Club Health Scheme would like to offer members the opportunity to take advantage of a DNA storage facility operated by the Animal Health Trust. We are fortunate that our breed has no known hereditary diseases, yet.

The taking of DNA samples is very simple and quick. It is taken by a swab from the inside of the cheek. You can swab your own dog at home and if you would like to participate in this scheme please contact us for a swab kit.

THERE IS NO COST AT ALL TO YOU. The aim is purely for the health and welfare of our breed now and in the future. The sample once taken should be sent to the AHT where it will be put go immediately into storage.

The samples are held by the AHT indefinitely until such time they may be required for research if our breed ever shows a pattern of inherited disease, DNA profiling, or any other health issues that may arise within the breed.

* Facilitate more rapid research progress by expediting the sample collection process

* Provide researchers with optimized family groups needed for research

* Allow breeders to take advantage of future DNA based disease tests as they become available

* Foster a team environment between breeders/owners and the research community improving the likelihood of genetic discovery

Approximately 400 inherited diseases have already been identified in dogs and the majority of there have a simple recessive mode of inheritance, such as PRA. Some are more complex caused by problems with more than one gene, known as polygenic diseases, for example heart disease; hip dysplasia; epilepsy.

In future the Kennel Club may also follow the lead of the AKC and introduce compulsory DNA testing for litters from frequently used sires.

A link to information from the AHT about their Open Day on Genetics that took place in 2001. Good information for understanding why DNA sampling is so important and how it can be of future use even going back 4 or 5 generations

Genetic testing: A guide to breeders by Mary Whiteley, Ph.D.

What is a gene?

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a large molecule comprised of four basic units linked together in a long strand. If we assign each unit a letter, then we can envision the chromosome as a long string of letters. Genes can be thought of as long words scattered along the chromosome. These words have special meaning to the worker molecules in the cell, and encode a set of instructions as to what they are to build. Any mistake in a word scrambles the instructions, and either the workers in the cell make no product or a defective one is made. These mistakes in genes are known as mutations.

There are basically two kinds of mutations, dominant and recessive. Every cell in the body (except sperm and eggs) has two copies of each gene (one from the sire, and one from the dam). A dominant mutation is where one defective copy of a gene is enough to affect the individual, whereas a recessive mutation requires that both copies of the gene carry a mutation for the individual to be affected.

The area of genetic testing in dogs is so active that the prediction is that within a decade that there will be genetic tests for most of the genetic diseases in dogs. As well, one can envision tests for behavioral traits. One important note to breeders is that information must be used carefully, to make proper decisions for breeding in order to maintain genetic diversity in the breed. In the case of recessive disorders, if a carrier is bred to a clear, none of the puppies will be affected; however there is a 50% chance that individuals will be carriers. Likewise, there is a 50% chance that the puppies will be normal.

Litters that are DNA-tested can be used to gradually eliminate the problem from the breed, without disturbing the gene pool.