The ASSA has two committees whose purposes are to promote the health and wellbeing of purebred Shetland Sheepdogs. Both committees encourage all breeders and owners of Shetland Sheepdogs to be aware of potential health problems in the breed and to have basic health testing be done on dogs to be bred.
The original committee, the Research Advisory Committee, functions as a public resource and clearing house for information related to health concerns as they pertain to the purebred Shetland Sheepdog. Some of its responsibilities include:
- 1) educating the ASSA membership and public about health issues of the Shetland Sheepdog
- 2) evaluating and recommending health tests available to Sheltie owners,
- 3) recommending research proposals to be funded by the ASSA through the Donor Advised Fund of the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation or directly through the ASSA Foundation,
- 4) disseminating information about and promoting participation in research studies involving Shelties, and
- 5) interacting with various health registry organizations such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
The Health Committee was established in 2013 to encourage increased participation in health testing by Shetland Sheepdog breeders, especially ASSA members. This Committee’s activities include promoting:
- 1) health clinics at the ASSA national show and at the member club level,
- 2) participation in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) program,
- 3) utilization the OFA Health Survey developed for Shetland Sheepdogs, and publicizing the need for health testing among other activities.
This committee also coordinates the selection process for the annual CHIC/Parent Club Champion of Health Award offered by the OFA.