BAER Hearing Testing

As you may know, purebred dog breeds all come with their own specific issues. It is the breeders responsibility to know and understand these issues to further improve the genetics of the breed and inform owners of any future problems that may arise and how to prevent them. I will attempt to explain issues that Dalmatians can get without overwhelming your brain! For more information, feel free to further study in the links listed at within the page.

Dalmatians are one of the breeds prone to hearing loss. This is an auto-recessive genetic trait found in most animals that are white and can also affect eye-color. Dalmatians have a patchy piebald allele which contributes to the cause of deafness and eye coloration (blue instead of brown or golden). This is not something that can be bred out of the Dalmatian without ruining the look and purebred standard of the breed. The best that breeders can do is test for hearing loss and not breed dogs who tend to produce deaf puppies or not breed dogs that have significant signs of deaf traits (Ex. blue eyes or unilateral hearing).

Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) testing is performed on each puppy and dog to test for bilateral hearing (both ears), unilateral hearing (one ear), or deafness. This test can be completed as early as five weeks of age (35 days old). Puppies that are unilateral hearing can live full carefree lives with little to no symptoms but should not be bred. Only dogs with bilateral hearing should be allowed to breed. For further information on BAER testing or a list of veterinarians that can perform BAER testing, see the link below.