GPCA Participation2022-03-07T12:42:13-05:00

CHIC Program

For more information, visit CHIC.


The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), sponsored by the OFA, encourages health testing and awareness by establishing a breed specific parent club recommended health screening protocol so breeders can work towards producing healthier puppies.

Mission Statement & Goals

To provide a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists, that will assist in breeding healthier dogs.

Great Pyrenees Requirements:

  • https://www.ofa.org/recommended-tests?breed=GP
  • Hip Dysplasia Evaluation (OFA, PennHIP, FCI, AVA)
  • Patellar Luxation Exam (OFA)
  • ONE Health Elective from the following list:
  • Elbow Dysplasia (OFA)
  • Cardiac Evaluation (OFA)
  • Thyroid Panel (OFA)
  • ACVO Eye Examination (OFA or CERF)
  • BAER Testing (OFA)
  • Should OCD Evaluation (OFA)
  • CMR DNA Testing
  • GT DNA Testing

As of April 2015, 570 Great Pyrenees have met the requirements and been issued CHIC numbers.

CHIC Basics

  • CHIC combines the health screening results from multiple sources into one centralized database
  • Parent Clubs establish the breed specific testing protocol.
  • Dogs complying with the breed specific testing requirements are issued CHIC numbers.
  • Once the recommended testing has been completed and the results are on record with CHIC, CHIC numbers are issued REGARDLESS of the result AS LONG AS the owner agrees to place the results in the public domain. In other words, a dog with abnormal results is still eligible to receive a CHIC number if the owner is willing to share the results.
  • To be eligible, dogs must be permanently identified via microchip or tattoo.
  • CHIC numbers should not be misinterpreted as a stamp of approval for breeding. A CHIC number indicates compliance with the parent club recommendation for health screening at a given point in time.
  • CHIC numbers do to not expire, however CHIC clearly indicates test dates so that compliance with recommendations for re-testing can be determined (ex ACVO recommendation for annual eye examinations).

CHIC—DNA Repository

Mission Statement & Goals

The CHIC DNA Repository collects and stores canine DNA samples along with corresponding pedigree and phenotypic health information to facilitate future canine health research.


  • Facilitate more rapid research progress by expediting the sample collection process
  • Provide researchers with optimized family groups
  • Allow breeders to take advantage of future DNA-based tests as they become available
  • Foster a team environment between breeders and researchers, improving the likelihood of scientific discovery

DNA Bank Basics

  • Samples can be submitted via blood or cheek swab
  • Blood
    • DNA is extracted on receipt of the blood sample, resulting DNA is frozen and stored long term at the University of Missouri Small Animal Molecular Genetics Laboratory
    • collected in standard EDTA (“purple top”) tubes
      must be kept refrigerated prior to submission
    • as long as the samples are kept chilled, the samples will remain stable and DNA can easily be extracted for up to 2-3 weeks after the collection
      collection is more invasive, however the DNA yield from blood based samples is much greater than swabs, and the resulting DNA can be used on all research platforms
  • Cheek Swabs
    • Collected and stored at the University of California – Davis
    • Non-invasive, economical, easy collection
    • Swabs yield limited amounts of DNA, and the resulting DNA cannot be successfully used in many advanced research methods including SNP chips

DNA Bank Stats

  • As of April 2015, there are just over 150 Great Pyrenees samples in the bank
  • Nearly samples in total, representing over 150 different breeds
  • Over 3,000 samples have been distributed to researchers
  • Research institutions receiving CHIC DNA include: University of Missouri, University of California – Davis, University of Tennessee, Cornell University, Clemson University, North Carolina State University, Iowa State University, University of Buffalo, Animal Health Trust (United Kingdom), Van Andel Research Institute, Broad Institute (MIT/Harvard), University of Pennsylvania, University of Minnesota

CHIC DNA Repository

GPCA Regional Affiliated Club DNA Clinic Guidelines (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my dog’s name and information be given to the researchers?2022-02-21T20:20:13-05:00

Samples will initially be provided in a blind format which protects the anonymity of dog and owner. In those circumstances where it is important to put the researcher in touch with the owner if detailed follow up is necessary, contact will be initiated by CHIC.

What if the status of my dog’s health changes after I’ve already completed the health survey?2022-02-21T20:20:27-05:00

Since many diseases are late onset, the bank recognizes that periodic updates to the health records of each dog are important. Owners will be contacted approximately every two years to determine if there are any health updates. However, owners are encouraged to proactively contact the CHIC DNA Bank to update the health status of their dog(s) whenever there are significant changes.

If I donate a sample to the CHIC DNA Repository, can the same sample be used for the AKC’s DNA program?2022-02-21T20:20:32-05:00

No. There is a clear distinction between samples provided to the AKC which are used for parentage verification and overall stud book integrity versus samples provided to the bank for research purposes. Samples may be collected at the same time however, and sent independently.

My dog already had a DNA profile done with the AKC. Can that sample be used?2022-02-21T20:18:34-05:00

No. The AKC does not release samples collected through their DNA program for any other use.

If my sample is used in a study which results in a new commercially available disease test, will I be informed of the test results?2022-02-21T20:13:36-05:00

This depends on the policy of the researcher. Some researchers release test results as part of their standard procedures, others do not. There may also be anonymity issues, since the samples will be initially provided in a blind format which does not disclose the dog or owner identities.

Who owns the samples?2022-02-21T20:12:07-05:00

Once owners donate their dogs’ DNA to the CHIC DNA bank, the samples are the property of the CHIC DNA Repository. Individuals donating samples have no claims to any future financial gain due to commercial invention, royalties, or patents that may be developed as a result of research which utilized their dog’s samples.

Can owners/parent clubs direct sample use?2022-02-21T20:11:18-05:00

Sample use is directed solely by the bank’s administrators: the OFA and the AKC CHF. Owners and parent clubs are welcome to contact the bank about potential research opportunities and should encourage researchers with whom they have direct relationships to apply for sample use. However, the final decision rests with the bank.

There is one exception. If a DNA-based disease test becomes available in the future, owners may request that any remaining samples of their dogs be forwarded to the appropriate licensed lab for testing. The owner remains responsible for any lab costs associated with the test itself, as well as the direct costs to prepare and ship the sample.

Who has access to the samples?2022-02-21T20:09:42-05:00

Any legitimate research project focusing on canine health is eligible to receive samples. However, since the samples are finite, each project must be approved prior to sample distribution. An application form must be completed for all sample requests. The approval process is streamlined for research funded by either the AKC CHF or the Morris Animal Foundation since the project would have already passed a scientific review board during the funding process. For all other projects, the OFA and the AKC CHF will jointly assemble an appropriate review committee to evaluate the merits of the research and the request.

How are samples stored?2022-02-21T20:08:48-05:00

Swabs: Swab samples are stored as swabs with DNA extraction taking place when the sample is approved for use in a specific research project. The swabs are stored indefinitely at the Veterinary Genetics Lab (VGL) at UC Davis. UC Davis has demonstrated solid success in long term storage and subsequent processing of swabs.

Blood: Blood samples are processed upon receipt. The extracted DNA is then frozen and also stored indefinitely. The Small Animal Molecular Genetics Lab at the University of Missouri-Columbia is the laboratory partner for blood based samples.

What is the cost?2022-02-21T20:01:07-05:00

The fees for placing samples in the bank are $5.00 per dog for swab based samples and $20.00 per dog for blood based samples. The fees cover the costs of data management, sample processing, and sample storage. Owners are encouraged to view the fees as supporting canine health research.

What is the purpose of the CHIC DNA Repository?2022-02-21T20:00:18-05:00

The CHIC DNA Repository, co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the AKC Canine Health Foundation (AKC CHF), collects and stores canine DNA samples along with corresponding pedigree and health history information to facilitate future research and testing aimed at reducing the incidence of inherited disease in dogs. The program objectives are:

  • Facilitate more rapid research progress by expediting the sample collection process
  • Provide researchers with optimized family groups needed for research
  • Allow breeders to take advantage of future DNA based disease tests as they become available
  • Foster a team environment between breeders/owners and the research community improving the likelihood of genetic discovery

Submission by Blood Sample

Blood is the gold standard for genetic material; the yield of DNA is sufficient for all research methods, including technologies on the horizon. Moreover, the stability and purity of the DNA is of the highest caliber, which offers many benefits. The drawback of banking blood samples is cost — drawing, shipping, storing, and extracting DNA from blood are more expensive endeavors than the alternative.

Submission by Cheek Swab

Cheek swab-derived DNA is a viable option for DNA banking. Although the yield and purity of this DNA is inferior to that obtained from blood, the material is suitable for most genetic approaches. The swabs are inexpensive, and the samples can be taken by the owner of the dog without the necessity of a veterinary office call. Swabs are easily shipped in standard envelopes using the postal mail, and they can be stored for at least a decade at room temperature, so long as they are stored under conditions of low humidity. The success rate for obtaining DNA from a swab in the laboratory is roughly 98%, so multiple swabs should be submitted for each dog to ensure representation in the archive.


The CHIC DNA Repository has partnered with the Veterinary Genetics Lab at the University of California–Davis and the Animal Molecular Genetics Lab at the University of Missouri. UC Davis will receive and store all swab samples, and Missouri will receive and store all blood samples.

To Participate…

Complete the following application form and submit to the OFA. You will receive the appropriate swab or blood collection kit in the mail. The health survey below may be completed online, printed, and mailed to the OFA with the DNA samples.

DNA Application Form

Instructions for submission of DNA samples via Blood Sample

Instructions for submission of DNA samples via Cheek Swab

Health Survey for DNA Repository

For more information please contact GPCA: Flo Laicher E-mail: pyrshire@comcast.net

Champion of Health Award Information

Application (PDF)

Guidelines (PDF)

The GPCA Health Committee is proud to offer to GPCA club members the opportunity to participate in the OFA Champion of Health Award program. This annual award consists of an etched trophy awarded to the owner of the chosen dog and a $100.00 donation to the AKC Canine Health Foundation by the OFA in the name of the honored dog. The award recipient will be announced each year at our National Specialty Awards Banquet.

The OFA asks that our nominations for this award show “significant achievements in the ring, in the field, or as producers and hold all appropriate health clearances.” Some examples of achievements appropriate for nomination in our breed include:

  • Conformation or Obedience Ring
  • Producers of multiple CHIC get
  • Any HOF Awards (production, show, obedience, draft, versatility)
  • Outstanding therapy dogs
  • Outstanding livestock guardians

All Great Pyrenees applicants must have a CHIC number* in order to be considered. Nominees may not have had all health clearances at the time of the achievement but must have obtained them by the date of the application submission. Applications are available below and are due by January 15th, for the previous calendar year.

The Health Committee encourages everyone to consider the dogs known to them for this award. While the person submitting the application must be a GPCA full member and either a breeder or owner of the candidate dog, not all members may know of this program in the next few months. Please assist this committee in the pursuit of good candidates by getting the word out to all.

For more information please contact Nancy Wood-Taber Email: nancytaber@aol.com

*CHIC numbers are received by obtaining specific health clearances. See tabs above for more information on CHIC.


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