What you need to know

There are a number of known diseases found in the border collie and as responsilbe breeders we ensure all of our dogs are DNA tested for these dieseases prior to breeding. Some border collies may carry a gene for any one of these diseases and if joined to another carrier will produce affected puppies. To ensure this never happens responsible breeders will only breed a carrier dog to a clear of the disease mate. This is why it is VERY IMPORTANT to choose your breeder carefully.

You may ask why even breed with a carrier animal?

The answer is simple, geneticist advise against restricting breeding to only animals completely free of disease as it can result in a loss of genetic variability, loss of valuable breed standard traits and the emergence of other genetic problems. By keeping carriers in breeding programs it avoids these problems.  

There are diseases known that currenlty do not have a genetic DNA test availble (such as epilepsy and lupus). This is why its important to seek breeders who know and research their pedigree lines when making breeding decisions.

We currently undertake a full DNA panel test for all our of dogs (for a full list of known diseases that we currently test for, please do contact us) Some of these diseases are listed below.

Further to DNA testing, always ensure your breeder hip and elbow scores. Dysplasia in dogs is a disease that is characterised by instability of the joint, pain and eventually degenerative joint disease. Recent studies state that hip dysplasia (although It is considered to be inherited and influenced by many genes) is prodimanantly caused by many nongenetic factors.  These non genetic factors include diet, rate of growth, body weight and exercise. Reputable breeders will score their animals prior to breeding.  It can never be guaranteed that puppies will not develop hip or elbow dysplasia but by doing so contributing genetic factors should be reduced. 


Collie Eye Anomaly is a developmental defect of the eyes that is inherited in a simple recessive manner. It affects the retina, choroid, and sclera and can be a mild disease or cause blindness. The disease can be detected by a vet specialist at 6-8 weeks of age and the disease can cause retinal haemorrhages that may lead to retinal detachment.


TNS is an immune deficiency in Border collies. This results in a susceptibility to infection and tendency to ill-thrift and repeated infections. Some pups are small and fine-boned in appearance, while others appear normal. Pups will often react badly to vaccination, developing severe fever and illness. Most affected animals die or are euthanised by the age of 6 months.


CL is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, and is seen infrequently but regularly in Border collies. A defect in metabolism leads to a build up of a pigmented toxin called ceroid lipofuscin within cells, including those of the brain and retina. This causes death of brain cells, as they cannot function normally as this waste product continues to build up. Affected dogs will have an acute onset of neurologic signs around the age of 2 years, with common signs including abnormal behaviour, dementia-like changes, central blindness, circling and seizures. There is no treatment available and affected dogs will die quickly. Euthanasia is the only option.


Glaucoma is a condition caused by the abnormal development of the eye which can result in excessive pressure buildup, eventually causing permanent damage to the optic nerve, resulting in blindness. Most forms of glaucoma can be placed into two categories, primary and secondary. The term primary glaucoma is used to describe those types of glaucoma caused by an inherited physical or physiological trait that an animal has been predisposed to. (Secondary glaucoma is a term referred to when the disease is triggered by something other than genetics). Many dogs affected by glaucoma will become blind in the affected eye within the first year. Symptoms of glaucoma include: severe pain, sensitivity to light, winking spasms, sunken eyes, raised third eyebrow, dog winces when you touch the head, watery eyes, pain-related behavioral change (hiding, refusal to eat), red eye, and dilated pupils.


Affected dogs are unable to make adequate amounts of a protein that plays a role in absorption of certain nutrients from the intestinal tract and kidneys, including the B vitamin, cobalamin. Affected dogs can show signs from as early as 14 weeks of age, but symptoms of disease may not be recognized by owners for months or years. Symptoms of disease include anorexia, lethargy, poor weight gain, poor muscle mass, and in rare circumstances, a severe neurological dysfunction called hepatic encephalopathy that can lead to altered mental state, seizures, coma and death.


Canine dental hypomineralization or Raine Syndrom is a disorder that causes severe tooth wear resulting in pulpitis and requiring extraction of those teeth. Dental hypomineralization is a canine model for human Raine Syndrome. Dental examination of the affected dogs reveals a significant wear. Lower incisor teeth can be worn close to the gingival margin. The enamel shows a light brown discoloration and appears dull. Some worn teeth can have a pulp exposure and pulpits as a result of the wear.


Ivermectin Sensitiivity causes a mutation on the MDR1 gene (which stands for Multi Drug Resistance 1) and makes affected animals sensitive to certain drugs. The first drug that this defect was found to be present for was Ivermectin, used to treat mange and prevent heartworm. Affected dogs suffer seizures when given this drug as the brain is not able to efficiently pump some drugs out of its protected environment the way normal brain vessels do. This results in a toxic build up and seizures result.