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This article will be helpful in understanding how CA is inherited. Breeders especially are urged to study it carefully.

Autosomal = a pair of like chromosomes.
Recessive = two copies of a gene must be present before a dog is affected by the disease or trait, thus a carrier would have one copy of the gene to pass on to offspring but would not actually have the disease or trait.

Important points covered:
1. Simple autosomal recessive genetic conditions are inherited only from parents that are carriers for the recessive gene or are themselves affected by the condition.
2. Both affected and carrier parents can pass the recessive gene on to their offspring.
3. Both parents of an affected animal must be carriers of the recessive gene.
4. Breeding carriers will not always produce an affected offspring.
5. Clear bred to Clear will only produce Clear offspring


These articles are helpful to get an overview of the problems we face, how we began, and how far we have come in working together.

Some of the important points:
1. CA is not a single kennel problem
2. CA is an autosomal recessive gene
3. The closest common ancestor in pedigrees is not necessarily a carrier
4. To keep our gene pool diverse, we should not discard dogs from breeding programs simply because they are related to a dog affected with CA.


This short article gives a description of the typical gait of a dog affected with CA.


This article is a great resource for understanding CA in our breed. A must read before you view the CA registry.

Important points covered are:
1. CA is caused by a degeneration of cells in the cerebellum of the brain.
2. CA causes uncoordinated movements of the limbs.
3. CA is not painful and need not shorten a dog's life.
4. CA can be diagnosed through clinical observation, examination of the cerebellum after death, and an MRI in advanced cases.
     *Editor's note: As of October 2012 the CD(CA) Genetic Test will diagnose CA before symptoms may appear.
5. CA is caused by an autosomal recessive gene, which means both parents must carry the gene to produce an affected dog.

How To Request A CA Risk Analysis

  1. Requests for analysis can be made by the AKC registered owner or breeder of any Old English Sheepdog.
  2. Include a copy of the AKC registration(s) and a 3-5 generation pedigree of the dog(s).
  3. A signed release from the owner of the litter or the mate should be included for analysis of proposed matings. The owner of the litter or mate will receive a copy of the analysis at no additional charge.
  4. Enclose a check made out to Dr. Jerold Bell for $30.00 with your request.

For additional information do not hesitate to contact Dr. Bell at:
Dr. Jerold Bell, DVM
Veterinary Genetic Counseling
151 Hazard Avenue
Enfield, CT 06082

Telephone: (860) 749-8348
Fax: (860) 749-4760
E-mail: geneticvet@aol.com

Click to download a printable version.