I noticed that chondrodysplasia is a recessive disease that can be genetically tested for. Are there any other inheritable diseases that havanese are prone to that can be genetically tested for, and do most breeders do this?
As far as I know, there are not any other disease we have genetic markers for. The other confusing thing is that you can have horribly crooked legs without being genetically chondrodysplastic, and you can have a dog who is NOT very crooked (or showing much if any dwarf characteristics) who carries the gene. So the jury is still out on how useful the test will be, I think.
Most of the “problems” in Havanese (and, quite frankly) in other dog breeds, are not as easy as things that can be easily tested for with genetic markers. If they were, they would be easy to remove from the gene pool. So health testing is mostly looking for known “breed problems” in the prospective breeding stock, and trying to breed away from those. And THAT is not easy, because we don’t really understand the way many of these are inherited. The Havanese breeders did a REALLY good job breeding juvenile cataracts out of the breed. While we still test for them, they are REALLY uncommon these days.
I think there are MANY less truly chondrodysplastic dogs around than we used to have, but we still see LOTS of pretty darned poor fronts. A number of not great ones, even in the show ring.
I’m not sure why the emphasis on testing for hip dysplasia in the breed, because I have never met a clinically dysplastic Havanese, even an old one. Maybe there were in older generations. There are CERTAINLY still Havanese with bad patellas, but this tends to be an over-all problem that needs to be watched for in ALL toy breeds, so no surprise.
While HCA does not require it, all my dogs have been tested for thyroid function. (all are normal) Thyroid problems are HUGE in Havanese, and, IMO, this is something Havanese breeders can and SHOULD be addressing in their breeding programs.
And, of course, while we are blessed with more genetic diversity in our breed than many, I think breeders should be VERY cognizant of the need to KEEP that genetic diversity to as great an extent possible, and not get sucked into genetic bottlenecks caused by the over-breeding of popular sires. No dog is THAT good.