Health Test Results Explained

When looking at the online Kennel Club health information for individual dogs, it can be difficult to ascertain what the individual scores/ results mean. This document is intended to give an overview of the information recorded.

As you will be aware, there are mandatory tests for Kennel Club Assured Breeders and all other breeders are advised to do these tests. There are also tests that are strongly recommended and other tests that breeders/ owners chose to do. 

Mandatory/ strongly advised tests

BVA/ KC Hip Dysplasia Scheme

DNA test – EIC

Strongly recommended tests

DNA test – PDP-1

Eye testing

Other tests/ information available

BVA/ KC Elbow Dysplasia Scheme

Inbreeding Coefficient

This is how the information is presented on the Kennel Club website

BVA/ KC Hip Dysplasia Scheme 

(British Veterinary Association / Kennel Club)

Hip Dysplasia is a common inherited problem that literally translates into ‘hip abnormal growth’. Being overweight or having intensive exercise can cause the disease to develop, particularly during puppyhood Although symptoms can begin at any age, problems often begin in the first year as a dog's skeleton matures.

The hips are X-rayed and the image is sent to the BVA/KC for scoring. Each hip is assessed for 9 differing aspects and is given an individual score out of 53. Combined, this will give a total score out of 106. You will see on the example above, one hip was scored 9 and the other 10, giving an overall score of 19/106.

The median 5 year average hip score recorded in 2015 by the KC for a Clumber Spaniel was 11 and the mean average for this period was 19.7.

DNA test – EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse)

This condition causes dogs to lose muscle control following periods of extreme exercise. Symptoms generally occur after 5-25 minutes of extreme exercise. 

Attacks often begin with rocking, then the rear legs become weak and unsupportive. Severity of these attacks may differ as some will continue to attempt to retrieve, dragging their hind legs along, whilst other dogs may be unable to move, acting disoriented. Attacks usually last between 5-25 minutes, although in extreme cases could be fatal. 

EIC is a recessive disorder and a dog must have two copies of the mutation in order for the disease to manifest. A dog can have one copy of the mutation and not experience any signs or symptoms of EIC and this dog would be known as a carrier. The carrier can then pass on either the normal gene or the mutated gene to any offspring. If two carriers are bred, a dog could potentially receive the mutated gene from each parent and be affected by EIC.

Distinguishing between clear, carrier and affected dogs

Clear dogs have no copies of the mutant gene responsible for the condition and will neither develop the condition nor pass the gene on to their offspring.

Carrier dogs have one copy of the normal gene and one copy of the mutant gene; they will not develop the condition, but will pass a mutant gene on to approximately half of their offspring.

Affected dogs have two copies of the mutant gene that causes the condition and will develop the disease.

To avoid confusion, the term unaffected is a dog that is untested or a carrier. The EIC result should be confirmed before deciding to buy or use the Clumber.

DNA test – PDP-1 (Pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphate 1 deficiency)

Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Phosphatase 1 (PDP1) is an enzyme that has a key role in cell metabolisation, which is essential for the conversion of food to ATP (the main energy source of cells).

As EIC, this disease is described as an autosomal recessive condition. This means that a dog must inherit two copies of an abnormal gene (dam and sire) before its health is affected. A dog that inherits only one copy of the abnormal gene will have no signs of the disease, but will be a carrier and may pass the gene on to any offspring.

Eye testing

The two more common eye conditions found in Clumber Spaniels are ectropion and entropion.

Ectropion is an outward rolling of the dog’s eyelid edges. This is a common condition in dogs with loose facial skin. The conjunctival sac accumulates particulate debris and is often chronically inflamed. 

Entropion is an inward rolling of the eyelid edges. This is a common eye problem and can be present soon after birth or acquired later in life. It most commonly affects the dog’s lower eyelids.

BVA/ KC Elbow Dysplasia Scheme

Elbow Dysplasia is abnormal development of the elbow that causes problems by affecting the growth of the cartilage which forms the surface of the joint or the structures around it. 

The elbows are X-rayed and the image is sent to theBVA/KC for scoring. Each elbow is assessed and given an individual score out of 3. Combined, this will give a total score out of 6. You will see on the example above, both elbows scored 0, which is normal for a Clumber Spaniel. 

Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI)

The Clumber Spaniel has a high average COI due to population size. However, new blood lines are being used to try to reduce the average score. You will see above the example used is 7.9% which is well below average. The COI it measures the common ancestors of dam and sire, and indicates the probability of how genetically similar they are. 

Parent/offspring:  25%

Full sibling:  25%

Grandparent/grandchild:  12.5%

Half sibling:  12.5%

Great grandparents/great grandchild:  6.25%

First cousin:  6.25% 

The above values are predicted COI scores for each mating, therefore it highlights the need to look for a lower than average score. Although it may be argued that inbreeding (sometime called line breeding) will enhance good traits, it could possibly also lead to negative traits such as smaller litter sizes, fertility problems and weakened immune systems.  These effects have documented in other species and are known as inbreeding depression in the farming community.

General Health

Clumber Spaniels are considered to be a vulnerable native breed. To be in this category, there are less than 300 registrations per year. In 2017, 265 Clumber Spaniels were registered, which was a significant improvement on the 171 in 2016.

In addition to this, Clumber Spaniels are Category 2 within the Kennel Club Breed Watch scheme. Points of concern are:

• Excessive amounts of loose facial skin with conformational defects of the upper and/or lower eyelids so that the eyelid margins are not in normal contact with the eye when the dog is in its natural pose (e.g. they turn in, or out, or both abnormalities are present).

• Obvious ear irritation

• Overweight

• Weak hindquarters 


BVA (Hips), 2016. British Veterinary Society/ Kennel Club Hip Dysplasia Scheme, Breed Specific Statistics – 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2016 [online] accessed 25 October 2018. Available at:

BVA (Elbows), 2018. British Veterinary Society/ Kennel Club, Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs

COI, 2018 Dog Breed Health, A guide to genetic Health for dog breeds -

KC (Hips) Kennel Club, Dog Health Group report 2015[online] accessed 25 October 2018. Available at:

KC (EIC), 2018 -

EIC, 2018 Animal Genetics Exercise-Induced Collapse (EIC) [online] accessed 25 October 2018. Available at:

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