Kennel Club | DogFocus

By The Kennel Club

Kennel Club Respond To Border Terrier DNA Test

Kennel Club Respond To Border Terrier DNA Test


The Kennel Club has approved a new official DNA testing scheme for Spongiform LeucoEncephaloMyelopathy (SLEM) in Border Terriers, following consultation with the breed health coordinator on behalf of the breed clubs.

SLEM, sometimes referred to as ‘shaking puppy syndrome’, is hereditary and can affect puppies from the time they begin attempting to walk. Those affected by the condition show severe tremors, mostly in the hind limbs. Scientists at the University of Missouri, the Animal Health Trust and at Wisdom Health, have now identified a mutation responsible for this disease in the Border Terrier.

To find out which laboratories the Kennel Club is able to record results from, and which labs will send results direct to the Kennel Club, please refer to the worldwide DNA testing list at

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Border Terrier is the tenth most popular breed in the UK so it is important that breeders have the tools needed to produce healthy dogs. This new DNA test will help to enable breeders in their efforts to eradicate shaking puppy syndrome in the breed by making sensible breeding decisions.
“The Border Terrier breed community is very health-focused and do a lot to protect and improve the breed’s health, so we are pleased that the Kennel Club is now able to record the results of this test and can contribute towards protecting the future of this popular breed. This DNA test is a result of work carried out by the University of Missouri, supported by the team at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust and researchers at Wisdom Health, and we would encourage all breeders of Border Terriers to make use of this new test.”

This article continues after the following advert:

Dr Cathryn Mellersh, Head of Canine Genetics at the Animal Health Trust, added: “It has been a privilege to be able to collaborate on this research breakthrough which was led by Dr Ana Kolicheski and Dr Gary Johnson at the University of Missouri. My team were able to supply a number of DNA samples from affected cases in the UK, which helped to confirm that the mutation discovered in the US is the same mutation segregating in affected Border Terriers in the UK.

“It can be very difficult to identify the gene linked to an emerging neurological disease such as this, but the result is fantastic and we are very pleased to be able to quickly offer the DNA test at the AHT for the UK and European market. Now, there is no reason for any more Border Terriers to be born with shaking puppy syndrome, illustrating the enormous potential of DNA testing when implemented quickly and effectively across a breed.”

The Kennel Club continues to work alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators, in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs. It is happy to accommodate a club's request to add a new DNA test to its lists and would normally need a formal request from the breed's health coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs.

Test results for this DNA test will be added to the dog’s registration details which will trigger the publication of the result in the next available Breed Records Supplement. The result will appear on any new registration certificate issued for the dog and on the registration certificates of any future progeny of the dog, and also on the Health Test Results Finder on the Kennel Club website. Results for dogs already tested can also be recorded, but owners will need to submit copies of the DNA certificates themselves.

If the owner includes the original registration certificate for the dog (not a copy) then a new registration certificate will be issued, with the DNA result on it, free of charge. Any DNA test certificates should be sent to Health and Breeder Services, The Kennel Club, Clarges Street, London, W1J 8AB, or scan and email copies of the certificates to


Remember to click the green Wag or red Growl button below to react to this article, you can also leave a comment below.

React to this article:
17 Wags

We'd love you to leave a comment below.

Articles you've not yet read:


  1. LindaC

    Well done Dog Focus, on the ball with the breaking news yet again! Much better than waiting for Our Dogs paper copy a week later [ not that I subscribe ] Just hope that the K.C. find some way to record the results retrospectively as there have already been @ 500 submitted and I cannot see all of these bothering to submit original certificates and test results to be officially recorded.

  2. Geraldine Cove-Print
    Geraldine Cove-Print7th November, 2017 at 12:25

    Thank you LindaC. It does beg the question why the request did not come from the Border Terrier BHC, could it be the same BHC who declared there was not a problem of this type in the breed within the last year?

  3. Jang

    Exactly, Geraldine !

  4. Adam and Eve

    The recent announcement to Border terrier owners. Please explain why is the BHG concerned over the DNA results not going via him, the owners don't have to notify the KC via email with their details. That is totally misleading. The SLEM/SPS tests results go directly from the AHT to the KC, it clearly states that in the KC DNA chart https:// click on this link and scroll down to Border terrier. The BHG by claiming this might well deter people continuing to swab their dogs, as many are refusing to liaise with him due to his lack of responsibility and duty of care regarding SLEM/SPS and CECS. Many have swabbed and will be happy to have their dogs results on the official KC website but not the sham of the BHG site, which will remain a sham until he does the decent thing and steps down as BHG.

Leave a comment