AKC, OFA, CERF... what does all this stuff mean when it comes to buying a Bernedoodle?

We have all been there - and don't let anyone tell you differently. You start looking for a dog and suddenly you're bombarded by foreign acronyms and lingo. It's definitely a learning curve, but (as with all important purchases) the more informed you are, the better decision you'll make. To help fellow dog lovers out, AKA's Doodles & Poodles has a list of brief explanations for some of the terms that we as breeders throw around:

AKC Registered

The American Kennel Club, a not-for-profit organization established in 1884, maintains a purebred dog registry, sanctions dog events, and promotes responsible dog ownership. As AKC does not breed or sell dogs, it cannot guarantee the quality or health of dogs in its registry. AKC reserves the right to refuse or to rescind the registration of any dog for cause.

When you buy a dog represented as AKC registrable, you should receive an AKC Dog Registration Application form properly filled out by the seller. When you complete your portion and submit it with the proper fee, this form will enable you to register the dog. When the application has been processed, you will receive an AKC Registration Certificate.

OFA Hips & Elbows

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has four specific objectives: 1.) to collate and disseminate information concerning orthopedic and genetic diseases of animals, 2.) to advise, encourage and establish control programs to lower the incidence of orthopedic and genetic diseases, 3.) to encourage and finance research in orthopedic and genetic disease in animals and 4.) to receive funds and make grants to carry out these objectives. To make a long story short, when you are purchasing a puppy it is a good idea to ask if the parents are "OFA'd". This means that the dogs' hips (and elbows if noted) have been x-rayed at or after 24 months of age and those x-rays have been checked for genetic issues such as hip dyplasia. If the parents have been OFA'd as "excellent", "very good" or "good" there is a better chance the their puppies will not have genetic joint disorders.

"Eye" CERF

The Canine Eye Registration Foundation is an organization that was founded by a group of concerned, purebred owner/breeders who recognized that the quality of their dog's lives were being affected by heritable eye disease. CERF was then established in conjunction with cooperating, board certified, veterinary ophthalmologists, as a means to accomplish the goal of elimination of heritable eye disease in all purebred dogs by forming a centralized, national registry.


The Canine Good Citizen program, established in 1989, is an American Kennel Club program to promote responsible dog ownership and to encourage the training of well-mannered dogs. A dog and handler team must take a short behavioral evaluation of less than half an hour; dogs who pass the evaluation earn the Canine Good Citizen certificate, which many people represent after the dog's name, abbreviating it as CGC; for example, "Fido, CGC". The evaluation consists of ten objectives. All items must be completed satisfactorily or the team fails. Test items include: accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, allowing basic grooming procedures, walking on a loose lead, walking through a crowd, sitting and lying down on command and staying in place, coming when called, reacting appropriately to another dog, reacting appropriately to distractions, and calmly enduring supervised separation from the owner.


Therapy Dogs International, Inc., founded in 1976, is a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating, testing and registration of therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers for the purpose of visiting nursing homes, hospitals, other institutions and wherever else therapy dogs are needed. The TDI certification test is very similar to the CGC, but adds more exercises involving medical equipment (such as wheelchairs or walkers) and other environmental stimuli that the dog may come across in their volunteer work.

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