Current Research

Below you will find those areas where there the PBHF are actively supporting further research into a number of health conditions.

Gonioscopy testing for Predisposition to Glaucoma in Border Collies.

Many Breeders have commenced “Gonioscopy” tests with their vets, following some Border Collies presenting symptoms of Glaucoma – including in the very worst cases loss of one or both eyes. The PBHF are actively fundraising towards supporting research into this disease.

PBHF Glaucoma Research Eye Testing Day
On October 3rd 2010 the PBHF ran, in conjunction with BVA eye panellists, a one day Glaucoma research testing day during the Midlands Border Collie Club’s Open Show at Bretby Conference Centre. We needed 100 dogs for this day and we have had a good response. Our thanks to the Midlands Border Collie Club for their help and support on the day. Further details of the day and the ongoing research into Glaucoma can be found in the latest news section.

Gonioscopy research forms:

If you have difficulty understanding which form is required - for either blood or swab samples please email for details.
DNA Consent Form

Canine Epilepsy in the Border Collie

Scientists and clinicians at the Animal Health Trust ( are embarking on an exciting project to investigate the genetic basis of epilepsy in the Border Collie. By combining the expertise of the clinicians to diagnose dogs with idiopathic epilepsy and state of the art genetic research capability we hope to identify the genetic factors that influence a Border Collie’s risk of developing epilepsy. If the research is successful the end product will be a DNA test that can identify any Border Collie’s risk of developing epilepsy and passing it on to future generations. The project is likely to take several years to complete but the first, and arguably most important, step is DNA sample collection. Once sufficient samples have been collected we will analyse genetic markers distributed evenly across the dogs genome to identify those that are shared by all affected dogs and different from those carried by dogs that don’t suffer from epilepsy. These markers will point us to the region(s) of the DNA that contains mutation(s) that are responsible for causing epilepsy. Once we have determined the region of DNA that contains the mutations we can undertake additional experiments to identify the mutations themselves. If we are to be successful we need DNA samples from dogs affected with idiopathic epilepsy and their close relatives, and also from unaffected dogs. The DNA can be provided as a blood sample (if blood is being drawn from your dog for another purpose) or as a simple cheek swab. We would also appreciate a pedigree of all dogs that donate a sample so we can understand how the samples we collect are related to one another. This will help us to understand the mode of inheritance of the condition and how many genes are involved. All research is undertaken in complete confidence. The identity of all samples submitted to the research effort will be kept confidential and the results from individual dogs will only be shared with the dog’s owner(s), once the research has been completed. If you have a Border Collie that is either: a) Affected with idiopathic epilepsy b) Closely related to a dog that is affected with idiopathic epilepsy c) Unaffected with epilepsy and over 7 years of age please consider donating a DNA sample to this research project.

Epilepsy research forms:

If you require a submission form - for either blood or swab samples please email

BAER Hearing Testing of border collies

It has become apparent over the past 15 years that there is a significant prevalence of deafness in the Border Collie. Currently, of the Border Collies that have been tested using the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test at the Animal Health Trust (AHT), 3.6% have been diagnosed with deafness in one or both ears, which is highly significant when compared with the incidence of deafness in the canine population as a whole, which is estimated at 0.025%. Scientists at the AHT are currently reviewing all Border Collie hearing test data, with a view to carrying out pedigree analysis and ascertaining the heritability of deafness in the Border Collie. This is in conjunction with DNA sampling, where the aim is to identify the gene or genes responsible for the disorder, and eventually to devise a genetic test for the condition. The work is completely confidential, and no individual animals or owners are mentioned by name. As well as looking at pedigree information, work is being carried out on the effects of certain physical characteristics, such as whether an individual has one or more blue eyes, or if they have an excess of white in the hair coat, especially on the head and whether the merle gene is significant. However, the greatest number of affected animals found so far has, in fact, been of classically marked black and white animals. In summary, work is being carried out on several fronts to get to the bottom of deafness in the Border Collie. In many respects, the analysis is still at a very early stage. However, without the data obtained from breeders who elect to have their stock BAER tested, an answer would be even further away.
In case of any queries contact Julia Freeman at the AHT -