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This page is to assist future owners in understanding why breeders CERF test a breeding dog.

CERF stands for Canine Eye Registration Foundation
For all information - see the CERF website at   www.vmdb.org

CERF was started by a group of owners and breeders who were concerned about the loss of quality in the lives of their dogs due to heritable eye diseases.  Working in conjunction with cooperating Veterinary Opthamologists, CERF was established with the goal of eliminating heritable eye disease in dogs.

CERF maintains a registry for dogs tested by certified ACVO (American College of Veterinary Opthamologists) opthamologists for major heritable eye disease.  Its mission is two-fold.  It offers immediate and thorough feedback on the condition of the eyes of any particular dog, which is valuable for breeding information.  It also accumulates data, all the results are compiled and used by researchers to study possible trends.

CERF tests for a large variety of conditions and diseases -

Category A
Ectopic cilia
Category B
Third Eyelid:
Cartilage anomaly/eversion
Prolapsed gland
Category C  
Corneal dystrophy-epithelial/stromal
Corneal dystrophy-endothelial
Exposure/Pigmentary Keratitis
Category D
Iris/Ciliary Body Cyst
Iris Coloboma
Persistent pupillary membrane iris to iris
Persistent pupillary membrane all others
Iris Hypoplasia
Category E  
Punctate cataract*significance unknown
Category F
Persistant hyloid artery
Vitreous degeneration syneresis
Vitreous degeneration ant chamber
Category G
Retinal dysplasia-folds
Choroidal hypoplasia
Retinal hemorrhage

Information above is from the CERF website at   www.vmdb.org


CERF tests are annual exams.  Each test result is separately listed on the CERF form and all the results are looked at as a whole in order to determine whether the dog will pass.

CERF testing is very helpful to breeders - it provides a wealth of information about their dogs.  It's largest drawback has been it's accessibility.  Many kennels are in remote country and there are no permanent Veterinary Opthamologists nearby.  Hopefully the demand for these specialists will cause an increase their number.

If you would like to check some CERF numbers, CERF provides CERF Certification Online Verification on this page -

* Purebred dogs are certified / registered in the CERF registry.  Hybrids were certified / registered under CERF until Fall of 2005.

Between Fall 2005 and December 31, 2006, a hybrid could be given a CERF exam, but there was no certification or registry available.

As of January 1, 2007, hybrids can again be certified / registered with CERF using a new registry set up specifically for hybrids and using the same Veterinary Opthalmologists and exams as the purebred CERF registry.


Thanks to Jan for graphics

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It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.