Rottweiler Breeder - Rottweiler Puppies - Rottweiler Stud Dog - Esmond Rottweilers | Mike Jackman & Ann Felske Jackman | Ontario Canada



Interpreting Health Clearance Certificates

Reputable Rottweiler breeders have been working hard for years to educate other breeders and potential puppy buyers to expect certain health clearances prior to breeding or purchasing a Rottweiler.  Because of this, more and more breeders are clearing their breeding stock for hips, elbows, hearts, eyes.   The purpose of this page is to help you to better understand the meaning of all the numbers behind these dog's names. 

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Inc. is the leading North American Registry for health clearances.  Located in Missouri, USA, the OFA has genetic databases for Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Congenital Cardiac Disease, Autoimmune Thyroiditis and Patella Luxation for the Rottweiler.   Information on the registry and access to their online database can be found at   When radiographs are submitted to the OFA, they are reviewed by three radiologists whose consensus determines the rating of the dog.  Most veterinarians in Canada are familiar with the OFA's requirements for submission, but if your vet is not, forms can be downloaded directly from the OFA website.  In addition, the OFA has a semi-open, searchable database.  Semi-open means that all passing results are listed, along with failing results only if the owner has agreed to disclose both passing and failing results.  The database can be searched by name, registration number, sire, dam etc.  Results from animals whose owners have agreed to release all findings have been reported in green, whereas others are in black.

Below are examples of the more commonly seen OFA certificates for one of my own dogs:

Hips - Blue Certificate

# RO-59734G24F-T

RO = Rottweiler
59734 is the number.  This dog was the 59,734th Rottweiler to get a number
G=Good (could also be E for Excellent or F for fair)
24 = the number of months she was at the time of evaluation (Min is 24)
F = Female (could also be M for Male)
T = Tatoo'd (newer forms will say PI for Permanently Identified or
NOPI  if the dog was not Permanently Identified)

The OFA offers three passing ratings for hips:  Excellent, Good and Fair, one transitional rating: Borderline, and three levels of Hip Dysplasia: Mild, Moderate and Severe. 


Elbows - Green Certificate

# RO-EL3231-T

3231 is the number.  This dog is the 3,231st dog to get an elbow number.
T = Tatoo'd (newer forms will say PI for Permanently Identified or
NOPI  if the dog was not Permanently Identified)

Note:  The OFA offers only a passing certificate for elbows - No rating.  A failing report will include such information as whether the elbows failed due to DJD (Degenerative Joint Disease, UAP (Ununited Anconeal Process), FCP (Fragmented Coronoid Process) or OCD (Osteochondrosis), whether they were Grade I, II, or III (in cases of DJD) and whether the right, left, or both are affected.



Cardiac - Pink Certificate

# RO-CA619/24F/C-T

CA= Cardiac
619 is the number.  This dog is the 619th dog to get an cardio number.
24 = the number of months she was at the time of evaluation (Min is 12)
F = Female (could also be M for Male)
*IMPORTANT* C=Cardiologist
(Can also be S for Specialist or P for General Practitioner)

T = Tatoo'd (newer forms will say PI for Permanently Identified or
NOPI  if the dog was not Permanently Identified )

Cardiac is a pass/fail test.  It is important that this test be carried out by a Certified Cardiologist, rather than a General Practitioner.  In the case of Cardiac Testing, the Cardiologist passes or fails the dog.  The OFA simply is a registry for this test and issues a number accordingly. 

The OFA also registers results of Thyroid and Patella screening.  As with cardio testing, the veterinarian (in the case of Patella) and the lab results (in the case of Thyroid) determines whether a dog receives a passing or failing grade.  Forms for these items read similiarly to the forms above.


The Canine Eye Registration Foundation is run by Purdue University in Indiana, USA.  CERF registers those dog's certified free of heritable eye disease by members of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO).  CERF also offers a searchable online database at  There is no minimum age for certification, however, CERF Certification is good for one year only (as opposed to OFA, which is good for the life of the dog) and it is suggested that each breeding dog be re-cerf'd yearly to ensure that it has not showing signs of heritable eye disease.  Standards for heritibility vary by breed and an item that is acceptable in one breed may not be in another.  


CERF - Small White Certificate

# RO-3733/2002-48


3733 is the number.  This dog is the 3733rd dog to get an CERF number.
2002 is the year that the certification was done
48 is the number of months the dog was at the time of certification

The fact that the dog is Microchipped or Tatoo'd is not contained within the CERF number, however, it is on the form in the lower right.  


The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation now has an Information Center that issues a CHIC number to dogs who have had all health tests appropriate for their breed and have either passed or disclosed the results of the testing.  In the Rottweiler, the required tests for inclusion in the CHIC database are Hips, Elbows, and Heart; as certified by the OFA and eyes as certified by CERF.   For more information about AKC CHIC, visit their website at   A copy of the CHIC form is below:


The Ontario Veterinary Collage also certifies hips and elbows.  Radiographs are submitted to the OVC (at the University of Guelph) and evaluated by Dr. Howard Dobson.  It is on Dr. Dobson's evaluation alone that the outcome is determined.  The OVC utilizes a Pass/Fail system for both hips and elbows, minimum age is 18 months.  If a dog passes, it is issued a certificate and a number.  At this time, the OVC does not offer a searchable database, although they hope to offer this in the future.   At the current time, neither passing nor failing results are disclosed without the written consent of the owner.   Because of this, it is important to view the original documents when it comes to OVC clearances.  The OVC website can be found at


PennHIP stands for the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program.  Their technique assesses the quality of the hips and measures hip joint laxity in an attempt to predict the incidence of Clinical Hip Dysplasia.  Three separate radiographs are made during an evaluation and all results, passing and failing, are submitted to PennHIP for inclusion in their database.  PennHIP claims to be able to reliably assess the hip laxity as early as 16 weeks.  PennHIP does not pass or fail hips, but instead provides an idea of where a dog's hip laxity falls in relation to others in their own breed.  Since the average will constantly fluctuate, based upon submissions, PennHIP is recommended as a guideline only at this time.  More on PennHIP can be found at: