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English Setter Health & Genetics

English Setters

English Setter Health & Genetics


CHIC (Canine Health Information Center)

What is CHIC?

  • CHIC is a centralized health database run jointly by AKC/CHF and OFA.
  • CHIC’s goal is to provide a source of reliable health information.
  • CHIC helps breeders evaluate dogs to use in their breeding programs.
  • CHIC helps buyers pick breeders who do health testing and verifies that a pup’s parents have been screened.
  • CHIC helps researchers track the incidence of health issues over generations of dogs and across all breeds.
  • CHIC helps all of us monitor disease prevalence and measure our progress in breeding healthier dogs!

Do I have to apply for a CHIC#?

  • No, it is automatic.
  • Any English Setter complying with the CHIC requirements for ES will get a CHIC# and certificate.

Does a CHIC# cost me anything?

  • No! Not if you use ESAA or OFA screening tests.  There is a one-time $25/dog fee to submit Normal test results from other sources like OVC.  There is no fee to submit Abnormal test results from other sources.

What does my dog need to do to get a CHIC#?

  • The dog must be screened for all three (3) health items defined as important by ESAA.
  • The dog does not need to have normal results on ANY of the screening tests, it just needs to be tested.
  • The dog must have some form of permanent ID (tattoo or microchip).
  • The dog’s owner must agree to let OFA post the test results “in the public domain” (on their website).

What are the CHIC requirements for English Setters?

  • Check for Hip Dysplasia using either OFA or OVC (a Canadian database).
  • Check for Elbow Dysplasia using either OFA or OVC (a Canadian database).
  • Check for Hearing using the BAER Test. Send results to either the ESAA Database or OFA Database.

Effective 1-01-14, thyroid will be a requirement for CHIC qualification. This means, that to get a CHIC number as of 1-01-14, English Setters must have a permanent identification (tattoo or microchip) and the following tests done and published in the public domain of the OFA Web Site:

  • BAER Testing (hearing)
  • Hips
  • Elbows
  • Thyroid

Prior to 1-01-14, English Setters must have all of the above except the thyroid to acquire a CHIC number.

Once a dog has received a CHIC number, it will not be taken away. So, if your dog has a CHIC number prior to 1-01-14 but does not have thyroid, that CHIC number will remain valid.

My dog had all these tests and I didn’t get a CHIC certificate. What did I miss?

  • Be sure your dog has permanent identification on record with OFA (tattoo or microchip).
  • Be sure you sent the BAER test results in to either the ESAA or OFA Database.
  • Be sure you gave OFA permission to release abnormal Hip or Elbow X-ray results into the public domain. (If your dog has an OFA# for Hips & Elbows = Normal results, you don’t need to do anything.)
  • You can release abnormal results by sending OFA an “Open Database Authorization”. This form is available on their website: (look along the left margin).


BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response)

The standard method of determining deafness in dogs is the BAER test.

BAER testing is primarily for your use as an owner and breeder of healthy English Setters. Test results are always confidential. It is your choice whether you discuss results with other breeders or send your test results in to the ESAA BAER Database.

The scientists studying canine deafness think inheritance is a major factor in the kind of deafness we see most often in English Setters. They believe we can identify the patterns of inheritance if we pool our test results and study them statistically. Especially important is information on entire litters as it reveals the patterns more quickly. It is NOT necessary for the scientists to know the identities of dogs to study the patterns.

The ESAA Health & Genetics Committee has developed a database to collect BAER test results. The results will be shared with veterinary scientists in a CONFIDENTIAL format for analysis. Whatever we learn will be shared with all ESAA members. What you as a breeder choose to do with the information is up to you. It is NOT the position of ESAA or its Health & Genetics Committee to tell you how to design your breeding program.

If you wish to send your test results to the ESAA BAER database, basic instructions are summarized below. They differ a bit if you test an individual dog vs. an entire litter.

Instructions For The ESAA BAER Database

Basic guidelines are summarized below. They do differ for individual dogs and litters. Please also read and follow the more detailed instructions listed directly on the BAER Test Form. Any questions can be referred to:

Database Coordinator Jane Wooding email:
Health & Genetics Chair Dr. Michelle Raisor email:

ESAA BAER Test Form – Format And Content

This form is used for all testing.

  1. If testing an entire litter (including a singleton puppy litter) list one puppy on each line.
  2. If testing littermates but not the entire litter, list one puppy per line.
  3. If testing one dog, or multiple dogs from different litters, use a separate Test Form for each dog.

There is no charge for whole litters with all the tracings submitted. Otherwise, the cost is $5.00 per dog – checks made out to ESAA.

All BAER Normal dogs are automatically submitted to the ESAA BAER Web Site and the OFA Web Site. Abnormal dogs can be submitted to OFA only with the breeder/owner written permission – see Test Form for “Authorization to Release Abnormal Results”.

Canadian dogs must be identified with tattoo or microchip number on Test Form.

All other registries (including FDSB) must have a copy of each dog’s registration form submitted with the other paperwork.

BAER Tracing – Format And Content

Each BAER Tracing must contain:

  1. The Date of the test.
  2. The dog’s identification linked to the testing form.
  3. Diagnosis by the tester.
  4. Signature or stamp of tester.

In addition, it is recommended (although not mandatory) that the following be included:

  • Tester’s address and phone #
  • Dog’s Date of Birth
  • Sex and color of animal
  • Breed of animal

Make xerox copies of the tracings and Test Form to send to the Database. ALWAYS keep the originals for your files.

There has been a significant number of reported cases of puppies testing abnormal when tested prior to 6 weeks then retested with normal results several weeks later. Upon review, the ESAA Board of Directors is suggesting that puppies be tested as close as possible to the age of 7 weeks or older. If tested younger and found to be affected, you might want to do a retest.

BAER Database

BAER Database

Click Link to download current BAER List thru the fourth quarter of 2023.