What is the Hearing Registry?
The Hearing Registry is a Congenital Deafness Database of BAER test results. It is designed for
use by breeders and researchers and can be thought of as the library of hearing statistics.
Why use an open registry?
Contrary to a closed registry, which lists only normal animals, an open registry lists both affected and unaffected
individuals. This is especially valuable for breeders in their efforts to predict how a prospective breeding dog
will produce. In the absence of an open registry, breeders are frequently working with very limited information.
They can generally find out about the hearing status of an individual dog. Often the owner of a dog knows the
hearing status of the parents and littermates as well. If the dog has been bred before, the hearing status of the
pups is also known. Beyond that, information becomes scarce. Unless you have been breeding for a long time, or are
dealing with someone who has, you will be in the dark. The average person who becomes involved in breeding or
showing purebred dogs stays involved for five years or less. Longtime breeders are rare and in-depth knowledge of
pedigrees is just as rare. The information in an open registry survives any individual's involvement in the breed.
In order to be effective, the registry must record data on as large a group of animals as possible,
both hearing and deaf. As the registry grows, more and more information will be available on specific lines. It is
not a quick fix but a resource that will grow in value over time. The more data that is gathered the more useful
such a library of information will be.
Unlike breeders, researchers do not generally need to know the identity of individual dogs in
their studies. How the dogs are related is much more important to researchers than who the dogs are. The registry
offers researchers the opportunity to study multigenerational hearing statistics. This is an important next step in
uncovering the mode of inheritance of deafness. All of the studies done in the United States so far have been
limited to one generation of information with only the hearing status of the parents and offspring being noted. The
information gathered in the registry will be useful for a variety of studies and will not be lost when any one
study is concluded.
How is the Registry managed?
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) manages the Congenital Deafness Database. A Not-For-Profit
Organization, OFA maintains registries for a variety of genetic conditions including hereditary eye disease, thyroid
disease, and orthopedic diseases of the hips and elbows.
OFA maintains hard copy files of the BAER tracings that are submitted and computer files that link
the dogs to their relatives. Together with DCA and a leading researcher in the field of canine deafness, Dr. George
Strain, OFA has established a standard BAER testing protocol. The protocols are listed on the
How do I register my dogs?
Thousands of dogs were BAER tested prior to the establishment of the registry. With the
cooperation of breeders, the BAER results of those dogs will form the foundation of the database.
The owner or breeder of any dog may enter them into the registry by submitting an
application form and a copy of the BAER test tracing directly to
OFA. This allows breeders to register the important ancestors of the dogs of the future. Applications will only be
accepted for dogs that are tested by an approved tester. The
signature of the tester is required and each dog or puppy must be identified by at least one of the following - AKC
number, microchip or tattoo. If there is no Microchip or Tattoo the dog's OFA identification number will have a
number ending with the letters "NOPI" to let people know there is No Permanent Identification. This also
means that you must have the puppy "blue slips" in hand at the time of the BAER test if you do not
microchip or tattoo the pups.
What is the cost?
The charge for an individual bilaterally hearing dog is $15.00. To encourage the registration of
the many dogs that were tested in the past OFA will accept individuals at $7.50 each with a minimum of 5
individuals submitted as a group and owned or co-owned by the same person.
There is no charge to register a unilaterally or bilaterally deaf dog. An authorization to release
abnormal results must be initialed by the registered owner on the application form for unilaterally or bilaterally
There is a special litter charge of $30.00 for breeders who submit an entire litter of 3 or more at one time.
Information on entire litters is crucial to the success of the registry. We need to know the hearing status of
whole litters, the sex, color, number of patches and eye color in order for the registry to work as intended.
The OFA will continue to register BAER Hearing Test Results for whole Dalmatian litters at
NO CHARGE. The fees are being underwritten through a generous
grant from DCAF (the Dalmatian Club of America Foundation).
Why register every dog?
Breeders must always consider their own long-term goals as well as the best interest of the breed.
Each dog registered in an open registry brings crucial information to help support the improvement of the entire
breed. It is recommended that every dog in a litter be registered whether or not the owner expects to breed it. The
knowledge of the hearing status of each individual is important in order to establish the genotype of any relative
that is considered for breeding stock. The registry gives information to breeders for the selection of dogs whose
bloodlines indicate a reduced risk of producing deafness.
Rate of progress
In the United States the incidence of totally deaf Dalmatian puppies has fallen from approximately
12% a decade ago to approximately 8% percent now. This is certainly a step in the right direction, but that rate is
still significantly higher than the rate in many other countries and higher than most other breeds. We have the
tools to dramatically reduce the number of deaf puppies born. BAER testing is widely accessible and the registry
will help to identify individuals that are at low risk of producing deafness in their offspring.
For more information
Contact the director of the DCA Study Group on Hearing, Darlene Chirolas
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
They can be reached by phone (573) 442-0418 or fax at (573) 875-5073.
Write to them at 2300 E. Nifong Blvd., Columbia, MO 65201-3856.