CHIC Program Information

In 2006 the CSPCA accepted recommendations from the CSPCA Health and Education Committee to participate in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Program.  Because each breed faces different health challenges, the CHIC program identifies health screening tests that meet the needs and concerns of individual dog breeds.  For Chinese Shar-Pei, screening tests have been recommended against the following health concerns:  hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, autoimmune thyroiditis, patellar luxation, and a CERF exam to identify various eye and vision abnormalities.  Not all diseases have a genetic component, or an available screening test. Informed breeders and puppy buyers know that screening tests are a resource to aide in the development of healthy and sound dogs. Breeders that have submitted evaluative information on their breeding stock have dedicated money and time to demonstrate their commitment to the Chinese Shar-Pei breed.

To participate in the CHIC program, all dogs must have a permanent ID of microchip, tattoo or DNA.  The dog owner will have the choice of submitting the information to the open registry or a semi-closed registry.  That is, no results will be made public without the consent of the owner.  A CHIC number is issued when test results areentered into the database satisfying each breed specific requirement, and when the owner of the dog has opted to release the results into the public domain. The CHIC number itself does not imply normal test results, only that all the required breed specific tests were performed and the results made publicly available.  There is no need to submit anything to the CHIC program.  The test results will automatically be picked up by the CHIC program from the OFA records.  You would only need to send in paperwork to CHIC if you used a registry other than OFA and CERF, such as Penn Hips for your certification.

The following is an overview of the CHIC program and information on the five screening tests recommended for Chinese Shar-Pei.

CHIC Goals (from the CHIC website at )

  • To work with parent clubs in the identification of health issues for which a central information system should be established.
  • To establish and maintain a central health information system in a manner that will support research into canine disease and provide health information to owners and breeders.
  • To establish scientifically valid diagnostic criteria for the acceptance of information into the database.
  • To base the availability of information on individually identified dogs at the consent of the owner.

Screening Tests Recommended for Chinese Shar-Pei

Elbow Dysplasia:
Elbow Dysplasia is a general term used to identify an inherited disease or any abnormality in the elbow of dogs. It has been identified as a health concern associated with Chinese Shar-Pei due to a relatively high incidence of affected dogs in the breed.

An x-ray taken by a veterinarian and submitted to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals can be evaluated to determine the healthiness of the canine elbow joint. A dog must be 24 months old to get an official OFA certification. Dogs younger than 24 months can get a preliminary certification, but the testing will need to be done again after the dogs reaches 24 months to be qualified for an official elbow registration.  The OFA will certify or rate the elbow and the record may be submitted to the CHIC database.  

Your veterinarian may recommend that the dog may be anesthetized in order to properly manipulate the elbow for the x-ray. The owner might want to consider having the hips and elbows done together to save on the cost of the procedure. There is a forty percent savings if the hip and elbow x-rays are submitted for OFA evaluation at the same time.

Hip Dysplasia:
Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disease that can cause various degrees of arthritis and hip joint degeneration and may eventually lead to pain and debilitation in affected dogs. It is somewhat common through out the dog world.

It is difficult to predict how an animal may be affected by hip dysplasia, or if an animal will become lame due to pain. Some dogs are acutely affected by the pain associated with malformed hip joints, while other dogs enjoy a relatively pain free life.  As with elbow dysplaisa, an x-ray taken by a veterinarian and submitted to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals can be evaluated to determine the healthiness of the canine hip joint.  The OFA will certify or rate the hip joint and the record may be submitted to the CHIC database.  

The veterinarian will recommend whether anesthetic be used, and can help identify the best x-ray to submit for evaluation.  Your dog must be over 24 months old to receive an official OFA number.  Dogs under 24 months, can submit x-rays and will be given a preliminary hip rating. However if you do that, you should retake the x-rays after your dog turns 2 years old, and submit them for an official certification.

Patellar Luxation:
The patella, or kneecap, is part of the stifle joint (knee). In patellar luxation, the kneecap luxates, or pops out of place, either in a medial or lateral position. This is another test recommended for Chinese Shar-Pei due to a relatively high incidence in the breed.  Dogs may be unilaterally or bilaterally affected.  Animals can be affected by the time they are 8 weeks of age, or problems may show up much later.  Although the luxation or “knee problems” may not be present at birth, the deformities that cause these luxations are present at that time and are responsible for subsequent recurrent patellar luxation.  Patellar luxation should be considered an inherited disease.

A veterinarian can evaluate the laxity or looseness of the patella joint and can provide paperwork to certify or rate the patella.  This can be done on a routine office visit.  It does not require an x-ray, merely that the veterinarian manipulates the kneecap and check for looseness.  A veterinarian can do this for a nominal charge.  Dogsmust be 12 months old to receive the official certification. This paperwork can be submitted to the CHIC database.  It might be wise to let the vet know that you would like the patellas certified at your appointment, so that he can have the proper forms available.  Or you can also print out the form for the vet to sign on the OFA website, and take it with you. (

Autoimmune Thyroiditis:
Autoimmune thyroiditis is a problem observed in some Chinese Shar-Pei.  It has a variable age of onset, but tends to display symptoms at 2 to 5 years of age. Dogs may be normal for years, only to become hypothyroid at a later date. The CHIC registry data can be used by breeders in determining which dogs are best for their breeding program. Knowing the status of the dog and the status of the dogs’ lineage, breeders and genetic counselors can decide which matings are most appropriate for reducing the incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis in the offspring.

A thyroid test involves having a blood sample drawn by a veterinarian and sent to a participating laboratory, along with the OFA application for Thryoid Certification. A dog must be over 12 months old for certification. They offer kennel discounts if you submit more than one dog.  You either need to print the Thyroid Application form from the OFA website, or let your vet know in advance that you would like the Thryoid results certified by OFA, so he can have the application on hand.  Vets and labs charge different amounts for this test, but generally it is under $100.  The laboratory will evaluate the sample and indicate if the sample falls within the normal range.  If your results are within the normal range, you will receive a certification number in the mail.

CERF Examination – Eye and Vision Disorders:
As in humans, dogs are subject to a variety of eye and vision disorders. Some conditions are very common in certain breeds.  Many of these disorders are genetic in nature, and may be passed on to future generations without diligent screening. Some eye disorders are able to be detected at relatively young ages, while other conditions do not generally appear until a dog is several years old.  It is important to have an ophthalmologist examine a dog that may be considered for use in a breeding program.  Most eye abnormalities present serious difficulties to dogs and their owners.

The CERF exam is painless and can be carried out quickly.  CERF does not have a minimum age requirement; but the puppy’s eyes must be open. Drops are inserted in the eyes, and the eyes are examined for abnormalities.  You should be able to get a CERF test for $50 or less.  Clinics for CERF exams are frequently held at dog shows though out the country at a greatly reduced cost.  If a dog has had a CERF exam, the form can be submitted to the CERF (CHIC) registry and become part of the database.  CERF certification is only good for a one year period.  Since some eye problems show up with age, a yearly certification is recommended.

CHIC First 100 Dogs Incentive Program

In an effort to increase the number of Chinese Shar-Pei breeders participating in the CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) program, the CSPCA Health through Education Committee CHIC project members have offered an incentive. The first 100 Chinese Shar-Pei to complete the CHIC requirements and be issued a CHIC number will receive a limited edition pin. These pins are made available through a generous grant from the Chinese Shar-Pei Charitable Trust. The CHIC pin is onyx and gold colored, featured with the CSPCA logo along with the CHIC logo.

Every Chinese Shar-Pei with a CHIC number will also receive a certificate of recognition from the Health and Education Committee. The pin and certificate will be awarded during the awards banquet at the national specialty, beginning in 2007. The pin and certificate will be awarded to the owner of record at the time the CHIC requirements are fulfilled.

The requirements are that the dog must take the following five health tests and allow the results of the tests to be posted on the CHIC website. The tests are: Elbow Dysplasia, Hip Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Autoimmune Thyroiditis, and a CERF Eye Exam, You can find the most current list of Shar-Pei that have meet these requirements at the following link: – Enter Chinese Shar-Pei for the breed and that will take you to the list of our dogs that are CHIC certified.

Please note, obtaining a CHIC number does not mean the tests are necessarily found to be “normal” or “passing.” It is obtained after the testing has been completed. It is the owner/breeder’s responsibility to review the test results on the CHIC website for that dog.

For more information or if your dog has obtained a CHIC number please contact the CSPCA CHIC Chairman, Lois Brown.

List of CSPCA CHIC Qualified Dogs – Click Here


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Responses to Reasons for NOT Doing Health Screening – by CSPCA Members: Dr. Jeff Vidt, Grace Fritz, Alice Fix, Cate Stewart, Jeanette Taber, Debbie Johnson, Laura Brown, Todd Paddock, Beth Toraason, and Sue Gardner.


Helpful Links
Searchable OFA Database: 
Downloadable OFA Forms:
Health Screening Clinics:


CSPCA Chic Chairman
Lois Brown
4888 Graber Rd
Fredericksburg, OH 44627-9780