Direct gene test for gPRA available for the Schapendoes

The mutation responsible for PRA (progressive retina atrophy) in the Schapendoes was found some time ago.  The Expertise Centrum Genetica Gezelschapsdieren (ECGG) in Utrecht performs this test. ECGG passes on the test results of all Schapendoes tested to the Schapendoes breed associations. The diagnostics are nearly 100% accurate. For breeding purposes heterogeneous individuals (carriers +-), normally healthy genotypes (homozygous ++) and affected animals (homozygous mutant -) can be reliably distinguished. The bill for the examination will be sent to you together with the results. ECGG also offers the possibility to simultaneously request a DNA profile in addition to the gPRA test.

In these links you will find a research form that you can fill in.


Submit the form to your vet. The vet will use a chip reader scan your dog’s microchip to check whether the chip number matches the number on the pedigree of the dog offered for the test. For a good result it is preferable to do the test with blood samples. For this purpose please send an EDTA tube of blood, preferably 2-4 ml. The tube should be labelled with the chip number and the name of the dog. If you do not succeed in taking blood, you can also send in at least 2 swabs. The samples do not need to be cooled, but must be sent immediately. The tubes must be well packed to prevent breakage (envelope covered with plastic bubble wrap). ECGG will collect all submitted tests and test periodically. Please take a possible waiting time of 2 months in consideration.

Please send along:

  • A copy of the pedigree.
  • The completed and signed form.

 Send by “Priority mail” to:

DNA diagnostics
PO Box 85422
3580 AK Utrecht, The Netherlands

Why blood and no swabs like in the past?

The previous laboratories have stored the DNA of all the dogs they tested in a DNA bank since the beginning of the research into gPRA. This DNA is available for possible further research, but for future research for any other abnormalities in the Schapendoes these are less suitable than full blood. Therefore, in addition to the gPRA test, the current ECGG lab also offers the opportunity to store the sent blood of all dogs tested in a blood bank (costs included in the test price). With this blood, more sophisticated research can be done for other possible hereditary abnormalities. Blood does not only contain the DNA of the dog, but also many other substances, which can provide information for future research. In order to do detailed research, a lot of DNA is needed.

We are working on collection all the exisiting samples in one central place.

 With swabs there is a risk that there is not enough mucous membrane tissue or that the swabs become infected by, for example, fungus or during collection by touching the fingers. In that case, there is too little cellular material available and insufficient DNA can be isolated. As a result, it may become impossible to perform the test and a new sample collection and new test (with associated costs) will be necessary.