No breed of dog is without genetic defects. Fortunately, the Australian Cattle Dog
has only a few threatening anomalies that need to be watched for.

HIP DYSPLASIA occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joints (rear legs)
just don't fit together right. HD can afflict just one joint or both joints of a dog.
Dogs are usually x-rayed after two years of age, by a Veterinarian. The x-ray may then
be sent to OFA for certification. For more information, please go to

PRA is an inherited disorder that effects the retina of the eye. We now know that
one form of PRA that affects our dogs is the late-onset Progressive Rod Cone
Degeneration (prcd). PRCD is an Autosomal Recessive form of PRA.
Fortunately, there is a blood test to screen for prcd in our breed. The results are divided
into three categories; Clear (does not carry the gene for prcd); Carrier (carries
the gene-but will not become affected); Affected (has the gene and will most likely
become blind in his/her lifetime. Onset of blindness is usually anywhere from 3 to 6
years of age for affected dogs, although, some affected dogs never go blind in their
lifetime. If the parents of offspring are tested, then you can tell what the offspring
will be. For example:
Clear to Clear will produce ALL Clear offspring
Clear to Carrier will produce some Clear and some Carrier offspring in the same litter
Clear to Affected will produce ALL Carrier offspring
Carrier to Carrier will produce some Carrier and some Affected offspring in the same litter
Affected to Affected will produce ALL Affected offspring

For more information please go to

DEAFNESS  The exact genetic mode of inheritance of deafness in the ACD is to date
unknown. There is currently debate as to whether the mode of inheritance in ACDs
is the same as that in Dalmatians (which are reported to have been used in the development
of the breed). Hearing can be tested by a technique known as Brainstem Auditory Evoked
Response, or just simply BAER testing. The small animal hospital at University Of Florida
in Gainesville, FL does BAER testing. It should be noted, that as in other genetic anomalies,
but especially in the case of deafness (as so little is understood about the inheritance), the
clear testing of the sire and dam of a litter does not mean that the puppies will be full hearing.

For more information about Deafness in ACDs, visit

Dr. George Strain's Deafness Site