CHIC: Kooikerhondje Health Testing STEP by STEP

If thinking about breeding your Kooikerhondje, you are undertaking a lengthy journey that requires preparation and collaboration. Long before making meaningful inquiries into a possible mate, it is crucial to test your dog for health conditions that might restrict the choice of mates or exclude your dog from the gene pool altogether. Historically, Kooikerhondjes are known to be susceptible to von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) and Hereditary Necrotizing Myelopathy (ENM), both of which can be detected by genetic markers, and may be managed by appropriate mate selection. Subluxating patella, other orthopedic abnormalities, and certain diseases of the eyes, represent lifelong health challenges that may be serious enough to  exclude a dog from the breeding population. Completing the tests for all these conditions is the first step on the road to being a responsible breeder of Kooikerhondjes.

Kooikerhondje Health Testing STEP by STEP

by Susanne Martin, MD

Before beginning testing: Your dog is required to have a permanent ID, in the form of a tattoo or microchip, and should have a registration number through AKC or FCI.

  1. DNA Testing for vWD and ENM Carrier Status

(July 2016: new information on DNA test used for ENM) The turn-around time is less than 2 months. There are no age restrictions as long as the dog is big enough for the blood draw, for example, around age 8 weeks. Send a vial of your dog’s blood to Utrecht University (use the form DNA Test Application). Take your dog to the vet for a draw of 1­–4 cc of blood into an EDTA tube and mix well. Send the blood (by FedEx or US post) through your vet or privately to:

DNA Diagnositics
PO BOX 85422
NL 3508 AK Utrecht

Tip: Label the package as “Lab sample from healthy animal for routine genetic testing.” A package declared as blood can cause difficulty with customs!

The tests are currently run every 2 months; you will receive the result by mail (The DNA Test Application will be returned with the result boxes checked, indicating that your dog is either a carrier or non-carrier) +/- email.

You will receive a bill from the University, and you can pay by money transfer or directly (Account NR: NL61 INGB 0002 2522 32, BIC: INGB NL2A, subject: “Vereniging Het Nederlandse Kooikerhondje”).

Send 2 copies (one vWD, one ENM) of the result from Utrecht, plus 2 copies of the form vWD ENM OFA * to the OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, 2300 E Nifong Blvd, Columbia, MO 65201-3806.


  • testing: approximately $130 for both vWD and ENM tests
  • submission of results to OFA: $15 each

The results will be listed on the OFA website shortly and you will receive an OFA certificate for each submitted DNA test.

  1. Patella Exam

For dogs age 12 months and older. Ask an experienced exhibitor of toy dogs for a recommendation of a vet with the requisite expertise. Take the form Patella OFA * to your vet, who will grade the patella stability and should send it in to OFA; clarify whether your vet sends it in or you do!


  • veterinary exam: ~$40, depending on your veterinarian
  • submission of results to OFA: $15

The result will be listed on the OFA website shortly, and you will receive an OFA certificate.

  1. Eye Exam (CERF)

Make an appointment for CERF testing with a certified veterinary ophthalmologist when your dog is 12 months or older OR watch for an Eye Clinic at a local dog show; the exam fee is typically half the cost of an office exam. Breeding stock should be re-evaluated prior to breeding if the last CERF testing was more than 2 years ago. The vet will fill out the form (usually the ophthalmologist has this form ready for you) and he/she submits it to CERF; clarify whether you need to send anything in yourself. attachment 4 how toThe diagram on the right provides instructions for filling the CERF form your vet provides.


  • eye exam: approximately $50
  • submission to OFA: $12

The result will be listed on the OFA website shortly (they work together with CERF), and you will receive an OFA certificate.

  1. Hip Exam for Hip Dysplasia

Ask a breeder experienced with Sporting Breeds or large breeds who he/she recommends in your area for OFA x-rays. Make an appointment for OFA hip x-ray when the dog is 24 months or older. Dogs younger than 24 months can receive a preliminary hip test; the result will be published on the OFA website only if the dog has a permanent ID, is older than 12 months, and the box allowing abnormal results to be made public is initialed. The form Hip OFA will be sent to the OFA by your vet for final evaluation; clarify whether you or your vet is sending it in! Experienced veterinarians do not need to sedate your dog for this exam, which will be better for your dog and will be less expensive.


  • exam: approximately $100–350
  • submission to OFA: $35

The result will be listed on the OFA website shortly, and you will receive an OFA certificate.

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After completing ALL 5 TESTS, your dog will have an official CHIC number and will receive a separate CHIC certificate, and will be listed on the CHIC website.

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* Forms for submitting results to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals/OFA can also be found here.