Belgian Sheepdog Club of America
Belgian Sheepdog Club of America
Belgian Sheepdog Club of America


The Belgian Sheepdog Club of America’s Health Committee urges breeders and owners to avail themselves of all testing possible, and suggests that prospective purchasers inquire about testing that has been done on sires, dams, and relatives. Tests that are particularly important to the Belgian breeds are certifications or equivalents of tests performed on hips, elbows, thyroids, and eyes. Hip and elbow certifications are a one-time test, and thyroid and eye tests should be done on a more frequent basis. It is particularly important to continue testing once the dog has been retired from breeding or has been neutered because both thyroid and eye disorders tend to show themselves in middle age and beyond.

Thank you for visiting this page. We hope you find it educational.
Belgian Sheepdog Club of American Health Committee


Like many breeds that have a low fat to body weight ratio, Belgians are particularly susceptible to anesthesia. These link direct you to very important information which you will probably want to share with your veterinarian. Please feel free to print both the articles and share with any interested parties.

“An Anethestic Primer for the Belgian Owner”, Libbye Miller DVM
“Veterinary Notes on the Belgian Breeds”, Libbye Miller DVM”

Cancer Information:

Tufts University Stomach/Gastric Cancer Study

Stomach Cancer Flyer

Sample Collection Submission Forms/Instructions:
Tissue Collection
Blood Collection

Tufts Research Updates:
2013 Belgian Breeds Stomach Cancer Study Update
2016 Belgian Breeds Stomach Cancer Study Update

Texas A and M Oncology Site with great links: Oncology Links

Purdue Oncology: Purdue Comparative Oncology Program

Center for Cancer Research: Comparative Oncology Program

Joint Disorders

(As well as other certifications)
An explanation of the certification process for the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), as well as a searchable data base
The issues of interest to Belgians that OFA currently certifies are hips, elbows, thyroids, patellas, and cardiac disease.Summary Data (by year) of OFA Statistics for Belgian Sheepdogs

Eye Disorders

OFA Eye Certification Registry (CAER) contains much information about varying eye diseases and a searchable data base.

In November 2012 the OFA implemented its new eye certification registry. The new registry was implemented at the request of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology (ACVO) and is the ACVO’s endorsed eye registry. One of the ACVO’s primary goals of the transition from CERF to the OFA was the timely production and dissemination of statistical data regarding ocular disease and prevalence in purebred dogs. Under CERF, the last edition of the “Blue Book” – the publication summarizing eye examination results – was the Fifth Edition released in 2010 with data through 2009.

In addition to the regular processing of eye clearances, the OFA has assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the ACVO’s statistics and the production of the Blue Book. Working closely with the Genetics Committee of the ACVO, the OFA is pleased to have completed the Sixth Edition – 2013 Ocular Disorders Assumed to be Inherited in Purebred Dogs, with data compiled through 2012. The OFA is committed to producing annual updates, and to providing this information back to the parent clubs at no charge.

Ocular Disorders (pdf)
Ocular Disorder Statistics (pdf)

One of the eye diseases that can afflict Belgians is PRA, or Progressive Retinal Atrophy. PRA robs dogs of their sight, and is a genetic disease. Should you own or know of a dog affected by PRA, please participate in the study being done to locate the gene responsible for this disease.

The PRA study contact is:
Dr. Simon Petersen-Jones
Department of Small Animal Clinical Studies
Michigan State University
D-208 Veterinary Medical Center
East Lansing, MI 48824-1314
Tel: 517 353 3278
Fax: 517 355 5164
Email: ude.u1521886328sm.mv1521886328c@5131521886328retep1521886328
From Dr Petersen-Jones – We can send out blood collection and shipping instructions (including for shipping from outside the USA), information forms for people to complete and return with their samples – these forms can be sent by email.


The University of California at Davis is the site of research being done by Dr. Anita Oberbauer. This research is going to pinpoint the gene responsible for epilepsy. The study has been well supported by owners of Belgian Sheepdogs, and we are very proud of that. Request swabs for the UCDavis Epilepsy Study.

Here is a wonderful article about epilepsy by a Belgian owner

Here is a wonderful site with links to a lot of information about epilepsy

Here is the web site of the Epil-K9 list. On this site you will find a wealth of information as well as instructions to allow you to subscribe to the list.

If your dog should have a seizure, please make sure that your veterinarian draws blood for a thyroid test to be processed at one of the OFA-acceptable laboratories. (See the OFA web site (thyroid section) which is currently at


If you read one thing about thyroid, please make it this particular article. It’s found many places so you may have read it before. If so, please read it again. More thyroid information can be found on the OFA web site (thyroid section)

Poison Control Information

ASPCA Poison Control

Alternative Medicine

Alternative Vet Med Web Site


Color genetics “DNA Testing, Lee Jiles and Libbye Miller DVM”

AND FINALLY, PLEASE contribute to support health research. Send your contributions to support the studies – both epilepsy and PRA. (Check out the web site – ) Checks should be sent to:

251 W. Garfield Rd. Suite 160
Aurora, Ohio 44202-8856

Specify that they’re on behalf of the BSCA and which study they are to be directed to. (Either the UC-Davis Epilepsy study or the MSU PRA study) As long as you send them thru the CHF, they will donate matching funds. If you’re donating, you might as well make it worth twice as much as you’re sending, right??



In 2006, the OFA announced the creation and sponsorship of the “Champion For Health” award. The concept began in January of ’05 when the OFA website featured the AKC/Eukanuba BIS winning Bloodhound, Ch. Heather’s Knock On Wood who had not only just won one of America’s most prestigious shows, but had a full complement of health certifications as well. Each club that participates in CHIC is eligible to nominate three dogs for this award annually. The award will consist of an engraved silver medallion, and a $100 donation to the AKC Canine Health Foundation in the name of the honored dog. The award will be announced and given at the BSCA’s Annual Awards banquet.

OFA Champions for Health (pdf)
OFA Champions for Health (docx)