Health Committee Description & Mission

Health Committee

Chair: Heather Bondra


Like all dogs, Chihuahuas may have health issues. Health testing enables breeders to screen their stock for these problems. CCA believes it is import to breed dogs that are both beautiful and health. With that in mind, the goal of the health committee is to “Help Chihuahuas live longer and healthier lives by identifying health issues, recommending participation in research studies and promoting education to improve the health of our dogs. “

Information has been gathered to help breeders, owners and Chihuahua enthusiast to understand the health concerns of the breed, health testing, research supported by the CCA,  and other pertinent information.

CCA Health Committee Missions Statement

CCA Health Statement

The Chihuahua Club of America is dedicated to the health of our beloved breed.

The Chihuahua on the whole is a healthy breed that often lives into their mid to late teens; some have been known to live until age 20! But like all dogs, the Chihuahua can have health issues. Health and DNA testing can empower breeders to screen for health conditions to make informed breeding decisions to strive for excellence in their breeding program.


The Chihuahua Club of America (CCA) believes it is important to breed dogs that are both beautiful and healthy. Therefore, we have partnered with the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) in their Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) program. In order for a dog to be issued a CHIC number the dog must be permanently identified (microchip/tattoo) and must have the following tests/forms completed after the age of 1 year old: OFA Cardiac, Eye and Patella. The completed Health Testing Forms are sent to OFA with payment and you will receive your registered CHIC number by email.

• Cardiac Testing:   Breeders/owners are screening for early onset of Degenerative Mitral Valve Disease, a common older age disease in many small dogs. Basic Cardiac Exams are essentially auscultation only exams. The exams can be performed by any licensed veterinarian. The expertise
of the examiner will continue to be noted by a suffix in the clearance number: P for general practitioners, S for specialists, and C for cardiologists. This test is recommended to be done on an
annual basis while the dog is part of your breeding program.

• Eye Testing:   An examination of the eyes for ophthalmic disease. A board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist (ACVO) must perform the eye exam.

• Patella Examination:   This exam will involve gently manipulating the dog’s patella to classify them on a grade scale of (0) zero to (4) four. This exam must be done by a board-certified veterinarian.

Forms for the Cardiac Testing and Patella Examination are available to fill-in online or download to take
with you to your veterinarian. OFA

In addition to the CHIC number which is issued by the OFA, the Chihuahua Club of America (CCA) would like to recognize our Breeders that are screening their breeding stock. We will publish all Chihuahuas that
are awarded a new CHIC number and also annual update testing once a year in the Chi Chatter.

Embark DNA Testing

The Chihuahua Club of America is also offering another tool to our members. We have partnered with Embark DNA Testing. This is a relatively new tool we are able to use in our
breeding program. It allows DNA testing by using a cheek swab to find out a variety of health issues that we were unable to do before. The Embark for Breeders dog DNA test kit provides breed-relevant disease
screening for your purebred dogs. The kit also includes traits testing, (including coat color, body size, and more), DLA diversity testing, breed ancestry breakdown, and genetic Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI)
score. Embark’s test results are accepted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for all conditions where OFA has an established DNA registry, as well as the UK Kennel Club and many other international organizations.

The Embark Chihuahua Breed-Relevant Conditions Tested for Chihuahuas are:

• Progressive Retinal Atrophy, prcd
• Progressive Retinal Atrophy, crd4/cord1
• Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 7, NCL 7
• Spinocerebellar Ataxia with Myokymia and/or Seizures
• Intervertebral Disc Disease (Type I)
Chondrodystrophy and Intervertebral Disc Disease, CDDY/IVDD, Type I IVDD

EMBARK Discount Code for CCA Members, is found on the Chihuahua Club of America Website – MEMBERS ONLY Section.

AKC Canine Health Foundation

The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is the largest nonprofit funder of health research focused solely on dogs. Donations from individual dog lovers, dog clubs, foundations and
corporations are invested in a diverse portfolio of innovative canine health research grants that aim to find better treatments, more accurate diagnoses, and an improved understanding of the mechanisms that cause disease in dogs. CHF works closely with AKC Parent Clubs, dog owners, breeders, veterinarians and
researchers to identify and address health issues in dogs.

Grants submitted to CHF for funding consideration are carefully reviewed by expert peer reviewers as well as by CHF’sScientific Review Committee, a panel of veterinarians, medical doctors, researchers, and canine health experts. Grants are reviewed for scientific merit, impact in the field of study, and the significance to dogs and their people. Through defined research program areas, CHF considers areas of unmet need and immediate opportunity, while looking to apply recent advancements in science and technology to canine health research. This stringent review process allows CHF to be confident that research is doing the best for the most dogs, and making the best use of our donors’ contributions.

We, as the Chihuahua Club of America Health Committee, are given the opportunity from an AKC Fund that awards CCA money each year to use towards CHF Research Studies that we feel are important to the future of the Chihuahua breed.

The CCA Health Committee:
We, as the CCA Health Committee, would like to bring Chihuahua Breed information, testing, and research
to our members.

For more information on Chihuahua health, please visit the Chihuahua Club of America’s Health Section at:

Mission & Goals

To help Chihuahuas live longer and healthier lives by identifying health issues, recommending participation in research studies and promoting education to improve the health of our dogs.


  1. Identify health issues revalent in Chihuahuas by working with Chihuahua exhibitors, breeders and owners.
  2. Research and identify grants particular to Chihuahuas through the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC CHF), and other research which meets our criteria as defined below:
    • Meet highest scientific and educational standards
    • Have the greatest potential for advancing the health of the Chihuahua
    • Has expectations for producing materials, applications, and/or treatments that are reasonable and affordable for breeders and owner.
  3. Educate Chihuahua owners, breeders, and exhibitors abouthealth concerns through written materials,the CCA website, articles, andhealth clinics.
  4. Provide updates on results of research via CCA website and/or publications to CCA members and Chihuahua owners at large.
  5. Provide education on genetics and foster a greater understanding of the role genetics plays in some disease processes.
  6. Facilitate CCA cooperation with the projects and programs of the AKC Health Foundation.
  7. Raise funds adequate to advance CHRI committee projects.
  8. Encourage breeders to test their breeding stock for potential health issues prior to breeding.