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IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs: Initiative Description


    Click on a link below or scroll down to view each section:


    HGTD In The News

    HGTD News From IPFDHGTD-logo-10-27-2020-web-png.png

    Initiative Background

    Executive Summary



    Contact us to explore opportunities for Sponsorship and Collaboration: 

    Marc Ralsky CEO -
    Aimée Llewellyn-Zaidi, HGTD Project Director -


    dalmatian 2.jpgHGTD In The News


    October 2023:

    Vet Record Editorial on the Genetics of Pedigree Health


    September 14, 2020:

    IPFD Mentioned in Articles on Australian Labradoodle DNA Study (The Guardian, The Conversation)


    September 13, 2019:

    HGTD Interview in Story from ABC 10 (Sacramento, CA)


    May 16, 2019:

    HGTD Gets Mention in Story from WGME CBS 13 (Portland, ME)


    March 8, 2019:

    USA Today article: DNA testing kits for dogs are super popular. But the testing has some veterinarians pushing standards


    February 11, 2019:

    The Associated Press (and various media) article: Dog DNA Testing Takes Off, and Generates Debate


    November 12, 2018:
    HGTD featured in The Atlantic: What Vets Think of ‘23andMe for Dogs’

    October 3, 2018:
    IPFD submission responding to “Pet genomics medicine runs wild” published in Nature

    Visit our IPFD in the Media section for more published articles, commentaries, etc. from outside organizations that reference the HGTD or IPFD. Items in this section related to the HGTD specifically are also presented together in the article In the News: Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs.



    HGTD News from IPFD

    December 19, 2018:
    Update on the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

    Visit our IPFD News section for more news related to the HGTD and other IPFD news.





    HGTD Initiative Description

    The IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) is a multi-stakeholder, collaborative effort to create an open access, sustainable online resource that:

    • Catalogs information provided voluntarily from genetic test providers (GTPs) including information on their company and services, quality measures and expertise, tests offered and more. We are continually engaging more GTP participants.
    • Has collated and assembled existing and new resources for genetic counselling and education; and provided the foundation for further developments.
    • Will host expert panel reviews of genetic tests and their application.
    • Plans to include a program for standardized proficiency testing and potentially peer review and audit.

    A related development, the Health Strategies Database for Dogs, includes a comprehensive list of conditions (potentially inherited) by breed, country and organization or group who has developed recommendations (i.e. Health Strategy Providers). This resource will support counseling that considers not only those conditions for which there is a genetic test, but also all those breed disorders/ characteristics that impact health and well-being in breeds.

    Our Steering Committee includes: Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi, HGTD Project Director, IPFD; Diane Brown, AKC Canine Health Foundation; Matthew Breen, North Carolina State University; Cathryn Mellersh, Animal Health Trust; Sofia Malm, Swedish Kennel Club; Wim van Haeringen, VHL Genetics, Netherlands; Sue Pearce-Kelling, Optigen; and Eddie Dzuik; Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). IPFD, our Partners and other stakeholders in this initiative recognize the input and work of many other experts and organizations in addressing the use of DNA tests in dogs. The Harmonization initiative is working to further engage numerous experts to participate in panels to develop the resource, provide evaluation of tests and work to advance genetic counseling.

    IPFD actively engaged Leadership Sponsors (see below) to help develop the HGTD Quality Database. These collaborators include international genetic test providers (GTPs), academic institutions, the Hereditary Disease Committee of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association and other important dog health organizations.

    A prototype was presented at the 3rd International Dog Health Workshop and at the 9th Canine and Feline Genetics and Genomics meeting in Minnesota, May 2017. Beta testing of the Quality Database was completed in early 2018, and it was launched on 7 May 2018.

    Since the launch, there has been a surge of interest from both the public, and potential new collaborators. The HGTD database was the culmination of months of hard work, building of new collaborations, fundraising, and data management. One of the major IPFD projects, it arose from discussions at the International Dog Health Workshops (IDHWs); the HGTD is a proud achievement, exemplifying the IDHW tagline:  Information – Collaboration – Action!

    We have been pleased to find that people are already using the HGTD Database to help find the right international genetic test provider, and testing information, for their dogs. By publishing details on a test provider’s measure of quality, business and research information, and tests provided – as well as information on hundreds of breed-specific DNA tests – dog owners and health professionals are able to make the most of this project.

    The growth and development over 2018, and the positive interest from diverse professional and public media - from JAVMA to The Atlantic -  has been reassuring that this project is both timely and needed in the world of genetic testing.  It has also become apparent that IPFD has an important role to play as an independent voice in discussions on the complex world of genetic testing.  See, for example, our response to an article in Nature, where we are able to provide a balanced view of issues.  See also, a Improving Canine Genetic Testing, a discussion on standards for GTP labs and broader challenges. This is a field with a diverse array of stakeholders, and encouraging discussions will continue to be part of our role.

    Since its launch in 2018, IPFD’s Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) has grown to include information on 82 international genetic test providers (GTPs) with 40+ actively participating in 26 countries (as of Fall 2023).

    Our searchable genetic phenes database currently holds information on 300+ phenes across all breeds/types, and provides a plethora of information on each phene: links to OMIA, gene + mutations, a simple and advanced disease description, inheritance details, links to original publications, patents/licenses, comments from the original researchers/experts on application, and breed specific information (such as research/validation) - where possible. 

    Our goals moving forward are to continue to engage with researchers, veterinary experts, and test providers, and also to focus on the development of an expert panel for reviewing genetic testing resources, as well as interactive educational tools for consumers. In addition, we are looking for collaboration to address some common problems across genetic testing, such as nomenclature of genetic tests - which has been a significant challenge in harmonizing across international researchers and test developers. 

    We are pleased that we continue to have sponsorship and support from many of our key Leadership Sponsors to develop our work. We would welcome anyone with an interest in contributing to, or participating in, the HGTD project to contact us. We are particularly keen to engage with academic and research institutions providing testing, who are concerned about ensuring genetic testing is a beneficial and responsible resource. 



    Key HGTD Supporters

    Read more about our HGTD Contributing Leadership Sponsors, Leadership Collaborators, GTP Sponsors & Supporters, and GTP HGTD Project Initiators here.




    Contact us to explore opportunities for Sponsorship and Collaboration: 

    Marc Ralsky CEO -
    Aimée Llewellyn-Zaidi, HGTD Project Director -






    ipfdmasterlogo-5-1-2020 crop.png

    Additional Information:  HGTD Rationale and Background

    • There is currently no accreditation or standardization for genetic (DNA) testing for companion animals, and formal, international regulation/oversight is unlikely.
    • There are increasing numbers of Genetic Test Providers (GTPs) offering a myriad of tests; these GTPs are diverse.  Concerns have included reports of inconsistent, irregular and even suspected fraudulent activities.
    • There has been a dire need for a collaborative international effort in determining the overall quality of commercial entities undertaking genetic testing in dogs, and of the specific tests/products they are offering. This is needed to:
      • Support consumers and confidence in DNA testing.
      • Support breeding practices to limit inherited disease and promote healthy offspring.
      • Further the scientific understanding of inherited diseases.
      • Reduce redundant efforts worldwide.
    • The International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) is an independent, non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization; their web platform is IPFD has existed since August 2014 and an ongoing priority has been to address challenges in genetic testing; to help disseminate information and evidence to support breeding decisions; all with the goal of enhancing the health and welfare of dogs. IPFD, through the continued financial and in-kind commitment of its Partners, has not only built the online infrastructure for the initiative described herein, but has also built the collaborative relationships, trust and interest of the many stakeholders who have helped create and use this resource e.g., kennel clubs, breed clubs, veterinarians, scientists, genetic advisors, breeders, the pet industry, as well as Genetic Test Providers (GTPs).
    • IPFD has overseen the creation of an open access, sustainable online resource that catalogs information provided voluntarily from GTPs for genetic testing (GT) in dogs. This online resource describes expertise, quality assurance, activities and resources; hosts expert panel reviews of genetic tests; aims to coordinate a program for standardized proficiency testing and potentially peer review and audit; collates/assembles existing and new resources for genetic counselling and education; and provides the foundation for further developments. IPFD, our Partners and other stakeholders in this initiative recognize great work and resources currently available (e.g., WSAVA Inherited Disease Committee Database). We welcome collaboration with other organizations and groups that share the goal of improving the appropriate use of genetic testing for dogs.
    • In addition to the IPFD and its partner organizations (including numerous national kennel clubs), specific financial and in-kind support for this prototype initiative has been provided by Leadership Sponsors, such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, USA; the AKC Canine Health Foundation; numerous GTPs, academic institutions and corporate collaborators.   
    • Funding is being solicited from various stakeholders, to provide a robust service at minimal investment per stakeholder. 
    • Discussions among experts from numerous stakeholders have occurred over the last few years (e.g., at two previous International Dog Health Workshops and Canine and Feline Genome meetings).




    dna-163710 3.jpgHGTD Timeline


    • A steering committee was struck, and numerous teleconferences were held during the year.
    • Engaged specific commitments from 17 leadership GTPs  to share data.
    • Procured initial funding from Leadership Sponsors, IPFD Partners and others. 
    • Presented project/prototype to stakeholders at 3rd IDHW (April 21-23, 2017) for discussion and further engagement.  During the breakout session for this Theme, 35 participants from numerous stakeholder groups participated in discussions on the prototype and on how to move forward on this international collaboration.
    • Presented revised prototype at The 9th International Conference on Canine and Feline Genetics and Genomics (May 21-24, 2017).
    • Expanded outreach to AKC/US Parent Clubs (AKC-CHF meeting August 2017); WSAVA conference and DVSA Outreach Symposium, Copenhagen, Sept. 2017; and Breed Health Symposium 2017, for The Kennel Club; October 2017.
    • Initiated the Quality Database online (access for Partners, Sponsors and GTPs) December 2017 including actual data from leadership sponsor GTPs and resources identified and assembled for easy access by consumers.


    • Beta testing of Quality Database by GTPs, IPFD Partners and others (January).
    • Continued refinement of data and input from current GTPs.
    • Launch of publicly-accessible database (view 08 May 2018 Press Release); IPFD continues to welcome input for further development.
    • Invited (all) other GTPs to join the initiative and submit their data (starting from April 2018).
    • Continued to expand genetic counseling resources.



    • As of October 2023, the HGTD database holds basic information for 82 genetic test providers across 26 countries, with information on quality measures and accreditation for 40+ active and participating test providers; Searchable genetic phenes database database currently holds information on 300+ phenes across all breeds/types.




    HGTD Contact: IPFD Project Manager




    Click Here to Visit the HGTD Quality Testing Database






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