About usSunčana Škrobonja



Our kennel was registered in 2013. under the name “Epicyon”. Love for dogs and animals was generally born while I was still a child. Animals have always been an integral and indispensable part of my life and this has never changed. Since I graduated at Veterinary College and after graduating I started to work in a veterinary clinic, my love for animals is also present in professional part of my life.

I chose English Springer Spaniels and Australian Shepherds primarily because of their wonderful character. Both breeds are very mild, attached to his owner, enjoy working and spending time with people and other animals. Our kennel is not a commercial type, so we don’t breed for money. We don’t have puppies very often and when we have them we try to find them the best possible homes where they will live happily for the rest of their lives.

We try to keep our dogs constantly in the best possible shape, whether physical or psychological, whether they are breeding, show dogs or simply pets. My plan is to breed in a way to get the best possible puppies in terms of health, in the first place, but also exterior and temperament, puppies that will one day be first of all, if not with us then in some other suitable home, beloved pets, and then a good show and / or breeding dogs. All of our dogs, used in breeding, are health-tested for hereditary diseases that are characteristic and most common in English Springer Spaniels and Australian Shepherds.




Breed is of ancient and pure origins, oldest of sporting gundogs; original purpose was finding and springing game for net, falcon or greyhound. Now used to find, flush and retrieve game for gun.

General appearance is symmetrically built, compact,
strong, merry, active. Highest on leg and raciest in build of all British land Spaniels.

Their temperament is friendly, happy disposition, biddable. Timidity or aggression highly undesirable.


While there are many theories as to the origin of the Australian Shepherd, the breed as we know it today developed exclusively in the United States. The
Australian Shepherd was given its name because of the association with Basque Sheepherders who came to the United States from Australia in the 1800’s.

The Australian Shepherd’s popularity rose steadily with the boom of western horseback riding after World War II, which became known to the general public via rodeos, horse shows, movies, and television shows. Their inherent versatile and trainable personality made them assets to American farms and ranches.



Why a dog with a pedigree?

Here are some of the most common myths when it comes to buying a dog with a pedigree or without it:


OK, you don’t plan to go to dog shows or breed and that’s why you think your dog does not need that piece of paper that doesn’t mean anything to you. Most owners believe that people buy dogs with pedigree only to satisfy their ego. It is true that there are such people, but the purpose of the pedigree is much more important. Pedigree is a document issued by the cynological association of the country where the dog was bred. It is not just a paper that allows the owner to go to exhibitions and breed dogs. This is the place where are basic information about dog description and identification, the number under which it was registered in kennel club and its ancestors up to four generations.

Now the layman will think that it is completely irrelevant to know the names of some dogs he never heard about, but to the one who understands the breed and communicates with other breeders, this information is very much worth. A true breeder will be familiar with most dogs from pedigree and kennels from which these dogs come from, because of that he will know about eventual flaws or hereditary diseases that can be transmitted to their offspring, but he will also know what virtues some dogs have. Furthermore, he will know how those breeders carefully breed and how they think. Breeders communicate among each other, they cooperate, meet at dog shows, they know dogs from other kennels and they know the virtues and flaws of other breeder’s dogs. It is absurd that some person thinks that pedigree is not needed just because he doesn’t understand it contains.


The price of pedigree in Croatia is around 15 Euros. So according to that theory dog ​​without pedigree should be 15 Euros cheaper. So, we can conclude that it is not true that “breeder” has not made a pedigree for his puppies because pedigrees are expensive. In order for puppies to be able to get their pedigrees, their parents must have their pedigrees, must have a breeding exam or a natural ability test, breeder must be a member of a kennel club and have to pay a fee for current year, must register litter in kennel club and enclose all documentation that goes along with it. A skilled person from kennel club must come to kennel to look at that litter and evaluate that those are actually puppies that belong to that breed, to see under which conditions puppies and mother live and check all the documentation. And finally, the breeder must pay all expenses that go along with it. From buying a bitch to getting litter with a pedigree is a long way and it requires a lot of work and effort, even if puppies will not be show dogs.


If a dog has a pedigree, that does not necessarily mean that it is suitable for shows or breeding. Of course, you can show every dog ​​with a pedigree even if that dog is not a perfect specimen of its breed. Nobody prevents you from doing that. After all, shows exist to keep the dog’s owners together, so they can exchange experiences and give advice to each other.

But if you want to breed with a certain dog you should be much more careful. A dog, male or female, used for breeding should be healthy. What does that ​​mean? A healthy dog ​​in terms of breeding must be tested on genetic hereditary diseases that often occur in certain breeds. Each breed has some of its specificities and diseases that often occur within that breed. According to the rules of Croatian Kennel Club for certain breeds, it is necessary to take x-rays of hips and it is recommended to do also elbows, although elbows are not mandatory. And that’s all that is needed to get breeding permits with regard to health, let us place exterior and temperament aside for now. However, the responsible breeder will also make additional health tests that are not mandatory, but his conscience tells him to do so to eliminate from breeding a dog carrying possible hidden disease. Health tests exist because many diseases are not symptomatic, especially at the beginning of disease development, and such a dog looks healthy at first, but this disease can be transmitted to its offspring. Furthermore, besides the health, a responsible breeder will select dogs according to exterior and temperament. From all above mentioned it can be concluded that not every dog ​​having a pedigree is necessarily a dog for breeding.


If a certain breed is not important to you and you want to give your contribution and give your help to the abandoned dog, I definitely agree with that. Adopting is a very nice gesture and should be supported. My advice to future dog owners is always that they prefer to adopt dog rather than buy puppy from irresponsible, unregistered breeder for a small amount of money. Although, disadvantages of adopting a dog are that you most likely will not know how much your dog will grow if it is still puppy, where he has been and how he was raised and what to expect from his temperament and health.


Purebred dogs exist, not because someone could brag about having a purebred dog, but because the dog’s exterior, temperament, working abilities should comply certain standards and serve a certain purpose. In addition, such dogs are bred to be as healthier and as possible to lessen the possibility of hereditary diseases. Problem appears when individuals use for breeding dogs that should not be used for breeding, just because they have bitch with or even without pedigree, and their neighbor by chance have the same breed, so why not to have a puppies. And from such litters, besides other problems, dogs often become prone to various illnesses. Dogs from quality and controlled kennels are obtained by selective breeding and carefully selected and tested parents and there is reduced the risk of hereditary diseases.


There is no guarantee of health when it comes to a living being. Health tests are used to detect an eventual disease that can’t be seen from outside and breeder can only guarantee that he has made health tests and that parents were healthy according to diseases they were testing for. This doesn’t mean that in later period of their lives parents or their offspring will not show clinical signs of some disease for which currently there is no DNA test available. Now someone could ask: “So why should I buy more expensive puppy from tested parents when I don’t get guarantee that it will be healthy?”

The answer is that if you buy puppy from the tested parents, the risk of hereditary disease is much smaller than when taking puppy from non tested parents. Breeder who commit to test parents and register puppies, in most cases, will take good care of litter, take care to good nutrition of puppies and mother during pregnancy and weaning, take care of socialization of his dogs, will not mate his bitch at every season and before two years of age, he will keep his dogs in good condition and finally if some dog develops some disease or transmit it to his offspring, such dog will be excluded from breeding. It is not a shame if you get sick puppy in your litter, it is a shame to allow such litters to be repeated. Responsible breeding of dogs with pedigrees and health tests speaks about seriousness of breeder. From such breeder, you will have lifelong help, support, useful tips, and everything that you’ll ever need for your dog.


When you go to see puppy, what you must see is mother of puppies and the conditions in which they all live. If mother has not died at birth there is no justified reason for her not to be there, especially if puppies are still very young. Sometimes you will see some half-siblings, possibly a grandma or a great-grandmother. If breeder always mates his bitches with with male he has at his kennel, he probably didn’t try to go out of his kennel to find better male for his bitch. He didn’t do anything to bring something new to his breeding, and he always uses the same dog from his breeding because it is cheaper.

Traveling to mate bitch is expensive, especially if male lives few countries away, cost of fuel, food, accommodation, and mating charges are not cheap. But, to a good breeder this will not be an obstacle and he will do whatever it takes to mate her bitch with best possible male. Beware of a breeder who always repeats litter from same parents again and again, claiming that this combination has proven as excellent. Sometimes you will have a chance to see father in good kennels too, and that does not mean that this dog is not good and that litter is not good, but if that dog constantly mates same bitches, it is most likely that there is not much effort been invested in raising such litter.


What does expensive means? How much money is required to invest in one litter? In this text we will describe what is needed to do and how much is needed to invest in raising one litter.

We will not take into consideration the purchase of bitch, veterinary costs, feeding, socialization and show expenses, which means taking care of her up to two years of age when she is capable of having puppies.
So when time comes, bitches should be taken to breeding examination or a test of natural abilities for hunting breeds, we should make an exterior evaluation if we have not been at dog show so far and if we have been, we have probably spent more money. At some breeds it is obligate to do test of socialization, with official dogs bite on sleeve and check of temperament and so on. For some breeds it is necessary to do an X-ray of hips. To access breeding exam at all, we should be a member of Kennel Club and pay membership fee. So this is just a breeding exam and conditions that need to be met for bitches or dogs to get a breeding permit.

Further health tests needs to be done, those are not mandatory but responsible breeder will make them. Responsible breeder will, if necessary, give up from breeding with certain dog if it is shown that dog should be excluded from breeding for any reason.

When time comes for breeder to detect those days when bitch is fertile, he will take blood from bitch and do progesterone test. That would be best to do as often as possible, but at least two times. Of course, this costs money, blood-sampling at veterinarians, and blood test for progesterone in lab. If he also do a vagina smear then it will pay some extra money.
So we have already invested a lot of money, and we have not even mate our bitch.

Finally we did everything we needed, we know that our bitch is ready and we are on the way to male. Suppose that mating will be natural or at least artificial insemination with fresh semen as it gives best results, so we will have to go to male. We are very happy if we have found a good male in our country or a neighboring one because I often have to travel several countries away. Fuel, hotel, food and price of mating are high, and we do not even know if bitch is pregnant and there is no guarantee that she will ever be. It happens that bitch does not stay pregnant and all this effort was in vain. But let’s suppose it’s been successful and we expect puppies. If we are lucky, puppies were born naturally and we didn’t have to go to the c-section. Bitch needs good nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, we should allow her enough exercise, provide a clean and peaceful place for whelping. In beginning puppies suckle and there is not much to do if bitch is good mother and has enough milk. Sometimes it happens that bitch does not want or can’t take care for puppies, so breeder must do the work, which is a pretty hard. It is necessary to buy blankets, towels, washing and disinfecting agents and similar things for maintaining hygiene and health of puppies.

Every puppy needs microchipping and passport, deworming, vaccinatiton against infectious diseases at least once, or more depending on the age when it will go to a new home. Puppies should be fed with quality food since mother’s milk is sufficient only for first 2-3 weeks of life. In some breeds, some additional tests has to be done while puppies are small, such as the BAER test on deafness, eye examination etc.

Breeder must call a person from kennel club to come to look at litter and make a report, and breeder must pay for his arrival and pay for pedigrees drafting. Besides to all expenses, raising puppies requires a lot of love, sacrificing, knowledge, consulting with colleagues, other breeders, veterinarians, and not to mention adjusting other private and business obligations that breeders have and should have them if they can afford all this above stated. So many other things that can’t be measured with money.


There is no reason why your bitch should have puppies regarding her health and mental condition. It is true that after the pregnancy, a bitch can mature a little bit more physically and mentally, but this reason is not good enough for mate bitch which is not for breeding. It is best to spay your bitch before her first heat since at a later stage of her life it is less likely that she will develop a mammal tumor. Spayed bitches, apart from mammal tumors, may get pyometra, and then she will need to go to surgery. If you have decided to have litter you must keep in mind what is the responsibility of raising a litter.

How to contact a breeder?

You have chosen a breed and you have decided which breeder you want to take a dog from. Here are some guidelines on how to contact a breeder and find out all you need to know:

1. Send an e-mail or make a phone call

Most breeders will leave available phone number or e-mail, or both. It’s all the same which one you will use. If you have decided to contact by phone do not call late in the evening, to avoid an awkward situation to awaken the person you are calling. Do not send sms messages, most breeders doesn’t like it and in most of the time they will not answer to you. If you have decided to e-mail do not write stories. Introduce yourself shortly, write what you expect from your dog and ask what interests you. Don’t leave your phone number in the email and ask the breeder to call you. If you are seriously interested and you are really going in the direction of buying a puppy, in the end, this conversation will most likely continue on the phone and after that in live.

2. Introduce yourself

Say a few words about yourself. You don’t have to tell your whole resume, tell your name, where you are from and what are you interested in. Over time you will probably need to tell under what conditions do you live, do you have any other pets, how many family members does there live, do you have children, are you employed… These are all the information that will help breeder to get a picture of what kind of puppy would best suit you.

3. Don’t ask for the price first

Of course you want to know about puppy price, but still hold back from this question being among the first ones. Instead, show your interest for parents, breeding, ask for health tests, what kind of puppy you are interested in. Tell if you want a pet, show dog, breeding, if you have affinity for a certain color, etc. Let the breeder know that you have been researching the breed, that you have visited his website, he will be glad, and you will leave impression that you are not overnight decided to buy a dog. Maybe breeder tells you price by himself or you can ask about it politely at the end of the conversation.

4. Be honest and polite

Honestly tell to breeder what you expect from your future pet, so he can help you to choose a puppy that will best suit you. Don’t be offended and angry if breeder decides that some puppy is not for you. A good breeder wants what is best for puppies from his breeding and will try to find them a best possible home. Don’t be offended even if he have some questions about how you live. Breeder doesn’t know you and he doesn’t know where will puppy go and he wants to be sure as much as possible that you can be able to take care of it. Even on the contrary, consider whether you want to take puppy from a breeder who does not ask you any questions and he doesn’t care where will puppy go. If you are looking for a pet and you are not interested in shows or breeding, don’t comment on how you are not interested in puppy’s pedigree. Many breeders have been working very hard to produce puppies of certain parents and they are very proud of their breeding, and such comments can be considered as insult. Listen to what he have to say, then ask questions about things that you want to know. Don’t look for a puppy for a pet by lower price and then expect it to be perfect. Perfect dog does not exist. Let him know that you will take care of your dog no matter what. If you have a big complaint on something don’t comment it out loud, you can simply say thank you and you can always decide to contact another breeder.

5. Focus on important things

Instead of talking long stories about what kind of dogs you had in past, what kind of dog has your brother, sister, neighbor, and how your pets are the smartest in the world, rather talk about things what are important and which will help you and breeder in choosing the right puppy for you. Do you want dog dog for shows, breeding, sport, or just a pet, what kind of household do you have, do you have children, other pets … These are all important things that are directly related to the puppy you are interested in. If you are planning to attend to obedience, say that, breeder will be glad to hear that you plan to spend extra time on training your dog.

6. Do not insist on a certain color

You picked a breed that shows in different colors and you really like this specific one color. And that’s fine. Notice to breeder that you have affinity for a particular color, but do not required from him that you want exclusively puppy of that color. Puppies are not produced by color, health and character should be of greater importance.

7. Ask breeder to visit him

If you are seriously interested and if you don’t live too far away, show interest in visiting breeder and look at kennel and the conditions in which dogs live. You don’t have to come to kennel just at moment when you come to pick up puppy. When visiting, be polite and don’t stay there for hours, you have to be aware that you are probably not the only visitor and breeders always have lots of work to do.

8. Don’t be impatient

If all puppies from current litter are reserved, wait for the next litter. Don’t call all the time to ask if someone has gave up. Breeder will keep you in mind. If you have been able to reserve a puppy, don’t constantly call, send messages and ask for photos to be sent to you. Occasionally ask to show interest, but don’t overdo it. Many breeders will not allow you to visit puppy before a certain age, because they are trying to reduce the risk of possible diseases that visitors can transmit to their puppies. When your breeder says you can come, arrange visiting, don’t insist come earlier. Many breeders will not allow you to choose puppy immediately, and in some cases you will not be able to choose at all. Don’t hurry up with that decision. While puppies are still small it is difficult to see and know how they are going to grow and develop, especially if you are taking puppies for shows, you may have to wait up to 6 weeks of age or maybe longer. Don’t insist to come every weekend to see the puppy. Probably other future owners are coming to visiting too and breeder has also to deal with other visitors. When you are visiting, don’t stay too long and stick to what breeder says. In some kennels you will have to wash and disinfect your hands and shoes, and in some you will not be allowed to touch puppy if it is still too small. Don’t take this personally, agree with what is being said to you, breeder does what he thinks that is best for his bitch and litter. Better to worry too much about hygiene than not to worry at all.

9. Don’t bargain

Most breeders have a certain price for their puppies that are mostly constant. If you go to bargain, breeder probably won’t like it. Even more don’t ask for a replacement for a some kind of device. If puppy is too expensive for you, find another breeder where you can get it for less money. But remember, breeder who sells the puppies at a lower price is certainly less invested in his litter.

10. Hold up the deal

If you have taken puppy and signed any contract or just agreed to some conditions, hold up to it. If you don’t like something from the contract, you can ask for that part to be changed or you just don’t have to take a puppy from that breeder, but if you agree to certain terms then stick to it. Breeders, most of all, hate owners who don’t comply with agreement. If you bought a dog as a pet, there is probably a certain reason why breeder decided that this dog is not for breeding. Don’t cheat and use such a dog for breeding.

11. Transport of puppy

Don’t ask for breeder to send you puppy by bus, no serious breeders will agree to it.
Go yourself by car to the take puppy or arrange transport in a way that puppy will have adequate transporting conditions and an adequate escort, a person who will take care of puppy during the trip.

12. Stay In Touch

Once you have taken puppy, occasionally contact breeder to let him know that everything is fine and from time to time send some photos too. He will be glad to hear how puppy is progressing. If you have any problems with socialization and health of your dog, let him know about it, maybe he can give you some good advice. Don’t be tense and call because of nonsense, for example, he has peed in a house, he whines at night, he bites my hands etc. Don’t attack breeder if puppy gets ill or develops some hereditary disease. There is no guarantee on live beings and even if all health tests have been done, no one can guarantee you that puppy will always be healthy. Love and take a good care of your dog no matter what happened.

How to find a good breeder?

You’ve decided to buy a puppy and you don’t know where to look. There are bunch of breeders, advertisements full of cute pupies and they all look the same to you. It is important to investigate, learn, read and consult with knowledgeable breeders. Don’t decide that you whant puppy and buy it immediately, no matter from where, because you have now decided that you whant a dog as soon as possible. Make your homework before. If you are reading this text you are probably on the right way buy you still got a lot to go.

Here are some things you should pay attention to:

Age of puppies when they leaving breeder

Puppy which is going to a new home should be at least two months (8 weeks) old. Why? The first 8 weeks of a puppy’s life are important period in which puppy learns from his mother and siblings how to deal with other dogs, how to adjust his bite when playing, how to play and share things. Breeder who sells puppy earlier, it is likely that he only tries to get rid of puppies as soon as possible. Sometimes breeder will also have available older puppies or even adult dogs. It is generally recommended to take a puppy at the age of 2-3 months but this doesn’t have to mean that adult dog is a bad choice. It depends on how was dog kept and raised.


As more documents you get with your puppy as better. So, the basic thing you have to get is pedigree and passport (veterinary book). Responsible breeder will also give you or at least show you photocopies of parent’s health tests, pedigrees, breeding licenses, champions and work exams if they have them, and possibly some health tests that are made on puppies.

Vaccination and deworming

If they go in new home at age of 8 weeks, puppies should have at least one vaccination against infectious diseases, which should take place between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Deworming means treating dog against internal (intestinal) parasites and puppies should already be dewormed 2-3 times.

Arrival at kennel

Don’t buy a puppy from breeder who does not allow you to come to visit his kennel. And especially don’t buy a puppy from the one who is willing to send it to you by bus. So, do not be lazy, go to kennel, look at conditions under which dogs live and under which the breeder lives if a kennel is inside his home. Pay attention to whether dogs are clean, if they are kept in boxes, whether these boxes are big enough, whether they have option of going to regular walks, how are dogs fed, whether they use special food for puppies, adult dogs, older dogs or if he is using the same food for all dogs. Pay attention to condition of dogs, the looks of their skin and hair.
Ask to see mother of puppies and see in what condition is she.
Pay attention to how many puppies does breeder have at the moment of your visiting. If breeder often has a few litters at one time he is probably not able to take adequate care of all puppies.
Pay attention to how many dog breeds breeder have. As less number of breeds, as better. Kennels where you have a chance to see 4-5, and even more breeds, are certainly commercial type and probably work as a dog farms.
Check how often he has litters. Bitches should start with breeding at the age of about two years and end up with eight years. There should be no mating more than once a year. Breeders enthusiasts and dog lovers who don’t breed for money, will usually mate one bitch once in a two to three years.

Parent’s achievements

Good results from dog shows or work exams don’t necessarily mean that breeder takes good care of puppies, but they are certainly a positive indicator. Competitions are very expensive and the only thing we can get form them is satisfaction that our dog has won some prize and recognition for our effort and work, and finally a good advertisement for our dog and kennel. We don’t get any money for winning prizes. It is more likely that someone who goes to exhibitions and invests in development of his breeding will also invest in raising litters.
Don’t be fooled by parent’s champions in beauty. Championship does not necessarily shows dog’s quality. For some breeds to become a champion is easier than layman can imagine. In any case, it is better for dog to have a championship than not, but it’s not the only and main dog’s value indicator.
Working achievements are a valuable and indispensable indicator of the dog’s value, along with health and exterior.

The way of advertising litter

If breeder has advertised litter, read the text that he wrote. From text itself, if you know how to read it, you will be able to learn a lot, without even being at kennel. Immediately skip those who give you the choice to buy puppies with or without pedigrees or those who offer puppies in exchange for some kind of a device or whatever you already offer and they will need it.
Advertisement must be clear, with specific data. What kind of breed, how old are puppies, who are parents, which documentation will be made, what kind of health tests, results from shows and working trials and possibly a few words about the breed, about temperament of parents and wishes of breeder for the purpose of selling a puppy and contact. Some unnecessary chatter about how much puppies are cute and similar text just to fill up an advert indicates to unprofessionalism and ignorance. Pay close attention to photos of puppies and parents. Good breeder will try to make best possible photos where puppies look nice, although maybe they are not the perfect puppies, breeder at least has a vision of how puppy should look and how to take photos to get the best out of them. Blur photos taken in the mud, barn, at straw, behind the cage fence or with a bunch of rotting waste in backyard don’t look good. In fact, on the contrary, that shows that breeder didn’t even try to make things look better at least on photos.

Knowing the breed

Ask questions about breed, appearance, temperament, health tests. Breeder should have answers to all these questions and he should show some knowledge about the breed.

Signing a contract

Some breeders will ask you to sign a contract, some will not. Contract is drawn by breeder and it contains terms about what breeder wants in the future for certain puppy. Regardless of whether you have a contract signed or not, breeder should be concerned about where puppy goes, how it will live and how you will take care of it. Breeder should ask you questions that will help him decide if you are going to be suitable future owner for his puppy.

Giving help after buying a puppy

Responsible breeder will offer you help even after you take puppy from him. He will be interested in how puppy is growing and you will always be able to contact him if you have any kind of problem. If he will not know how to solve it, he will at least try to advise you where to look for help. If you, for any reason, will not be able to take care of your dog anymore, responsible breeder will take it back and find him a new, suitable home.

What do we expect from puppy owners?

We, in our kennel, take a lots of care of our litters, which involves our entire family. We always try to find the best possible home for all of them. Whether they will be show, breeding, working dogs, or simply pets, we want every puppy to be a member of its family.

From future owners we also expect such a conditions. We expect that he will take care of quality nutrition, socialization, recreation, care for dog’s hair, health, and that he will visit the veterinarian regularly.

In case of any problems in the upbringing or health of the dog we always stand at disposal for help and we always like to get feedback about how puppy is progressing. We like to stay in touch with future owners throughout the entire life of dogs from our breeding.

Genetic diseases in English Springer Spaniels

English Springer Spaniels are generally quite healthy breeds and they rarely develop serious health problems at early age. However, there are some diseases that we should pay attention to. The Croatian Kennel Association does not oblige breeders of this breed to any health tests, but responsible breeders will make them. Here are the exams and tests that we do:


Hips and elbows dysplasia are frequent disorders in many breeds and the only way to detect them is taking x-rays the age of one year. This exam does not need to be repeated any more if dog does not show any clinical signs of this disease. Dogs with severe signs of dysplasia should not be used for breeding.


Ophthalmic examination is done to detect possible eye diseases that are not visible from outside. There are also diseases in eyes visible from outside, but since those are easy to notice and diagnose, a bigger problem is inside of the eye. This examination is performed by an ophthalmologist using special methods and devices. The most commonly occurring diseases in the English Springer Spaniels are progressive retinal atrophy (PRA-CORD1) and retinal dysplasia, but ophthalmologic examination encompasses the entire eye examination, no matter which diseases most often occur in certain breeds.

For PRA-CORD1 there is a DNA test that can be used to determine whether a dog has this disease and whether it can be transmitted to his offspring. Both of these diseases can sometimes be present without clinical symptoms, and sometimes some problems with vision of a different degree my occur, until total loss of vision. Dogs with these diseases should not be used for breeding, and the ones that carriers this diseases should be carefully used and mated only with healthy individuals.


Fucosidosis is a hereditary disease which appears due to storage disorders in lysosomes, constituents of body cells. Storage disorder is caused by +deficiency of the alpha-L-fucosidase enzyme, which leads to excessive accumulation of fucosis in lysosomes. The disease manifests as a mainly neurological syndrome with mixed motor and mental function deficits including progressive ataxia, proprioceptive difficulties, apparent blindness, change in temperament, dysphagia, dysphonia, and loss of learned behavior.

There is no treatment against this disease and after some time dog dies or must be euthanized. Disease is clinically manifest only after 1.5-2 years. Fortunately, there is a DNA test that can detect this disease even at the earliest age and such dogs should not be used in breeding. Disease is transmitted autosomal recessive, meaning that only individuals with both recessive genes will develop clinical symptoms. Heterozygotes will not show signs of illness, but they can transmit disease to their offspring and therefore they should only be mated with healthy individuals.

Genetic diseases in Australian Shepherds

There are several hereditary diseases that can occur in these breeds, but since for most of them there are DNA tests, and there is possibility of their early detection, most of these diseases don’t appear at breeders who test their dogs. If this diseases are excluded and if breeding is responsible, Australian sheepdogs are fairly healthy breeds.


Hips and elbows dysplasia are often hereditary diseases which occurs with a large number of breeds. Degree of dysplasia may be different and can be manifested differently. From the lowest where we don’t notice any clinical signs, to the highest degree where dog is completely disabled to move. Severity of dysplasia can increase by the age of dog, which can also lead to increases of clinical symptoms of disease.

Disease can be diagnosed by taking x-ray of hips and elbows at age of not less than one year. Dogs that shows a significant degree of dysplasia should not be used for breeding.


PRA-PRCD includes a group of eye disorders, more specifically disorders in eye retina. In this case, it is due to the degeneration of retinal photoreceptor cells.
The main symptom is visual impairment that can later lead to blindness. Onset and progression of disease depend on the different forms of this disorder. Progressive degeneration of photoreceptors is one of forms of progressive atrophy of the retina which symptoms appear later in life.

PRA-PRCD is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. Which means that affected dog must carry both mutated genes. Dogs with only one mutated gene will not be affected but it is carrier and can transmit this gene to its offspring and should be carefully used in breeding. For this disease there is a DNA test that easily detects dogs that carry this mutation.


Eye abnormalities in collies are disorders which are characterized by regional hypoplasia of choroid. Choroid is a layer of eye that consists of blood vessels and its function is to supply the retina with blood and nutrients. Clinical symptoms are different in each dog. Some dogs don’t develop vision problems, while in some complete loss of vision may occur. Disease is most common in collies but occurs in other shepherds, and also in Australian Sheepdogs. Disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. The DNA test is available for this disease.


Hereditary cataract is one of the most common genetic disorders on the eyes and the most common cause of blindness in dogs. Dominant form of the hereditary cataract Australian Shepherd type is caused by a single nucleotide deletion in the HSF4 gene. The disease is transmitted autosomal dominant, meaning that dogs that carry only one mutated gene can develop clinical symptoms. Dogs with one mutated gene will develop milder symptoms than those who carry both. There is a DNA test for this disease. Dogs carrying a mutated gene should not be used for breeding.

For all these eye diseases, we also do an ophthalmic examination which is performed by a specialist ophthalmologist. With help of this exam, we can further control condition of the eye and presence of the above listed diseases, but also we can control some diseases that are not common in Australian shepherds and there are no DNA tests for them but they may appear in minor cases.


Some dogs show hypersensitivity to certain drugs, most commonly antiparasitics, but also some other medications too. After administration of such medicines, in those dogs which are hypersensitive, nervous system disorders and even death may occur. This disease causes degeneration of P-glycoprotein, a protein normally found on the endothelial cells of the capillary in the brain. This protein, in non-hypersensitive dogs, limits the passage of drugs into the central nervous system. Dogs with gene deletion have increased brain concentrations of drugs.

The disease is transmitted autosomal recessive. A DNA test for this condition is available. There are numerous controversies about whether dogs who are affected by this deficiency should be used in breeding since it is a disease that will not develop and manifest if dog does not receive a particular drug, and alternative treatments are available. One thing or another, we should strive to breed dogs that will not carry this mutation and avoid the use of medications that could cause this condition.