Health & Genetics

The Health & Genetics Committee continually evaluates and recommends funding for studies that are of great importance to the health of breed.  Recent studies include the important health issue of degenerative myelopathy.

The Committee objective is to have more GSD testing performed and to have results published so that information is available to breeders and researchers.  Contact chair Carolyn Gerganoff for more information.

CHIC Program & Certificate

The CHIC program is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC Canine Health Foundation and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. 

GSD Specific Requirements for  CHIC Certificate:
  • Hip Dysplasia through OFA evaluation
  • Elbow Dysplasia through OFA evaluation
  • Temperament Test – Passing results of GSDCA Temperament test submitted to OFA

Read more:  CHIC Program & Certificate

GSDCA Health Award of Merit

The GSDCA Health Award of Merit is presented to current club members whose GSD has passed the parent club’s comprehensive set of required health tests and evaluations.  Tests are verified on the OFA Database.

The current requirements for the Health Award of Merit include passing: OFA Hips & Elbows, GSDCA Temperament Test, OFA Cardiac and Thyroid tests.  The requirement to perform and publish the DM test is also included, but because of continuing research, the dog’s DNA status/results will not disqualify a dog.

Read more: GSDCA Health Award of Merit


The American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation provides support to health studies and research for German Shepherd Dogs.

Prior to the Annual Meeting on Thursday at the 2023 National there was a presentation on GSD Genetic Research being done at Cornell and University of Georgia, studying Megaesophagus, Pannus, EPI and other health issues.  DNA Samples are Needed, both from affected dogs of any age as well as healthy dogs aged 6 or older!  The flyer is below, SCAN the code with your phone to participate!

Links to Additional Health and Genetic Research Articles

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) Research Abstract & Form

Degenerative Myelopathy Study in Need of Participants

The Status & Predictability of Current Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) Testing

Genetics of fibrotic myopathy in the German Shepherd Dog

Is Canine Epilepsy Associated with Gut Dybiosis?

Targeted Therapies in Canine Hemangiosarcoma

Genome-wide Association Study for Multiple Diseases of the GSD submitted by Dr. Jean Dodds . This informative study of certain GSD health and genetic issues is also published in the GSD Review.

Test for Degerative Myelopathy A DNA test is now available for use by vets, breeders and pet owners through the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals –

Hemangiosarcoma – Information on canine hemangiosarcoma from the University of Minnesota veterinary school.