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Congenital hearing loss is reported in 90 breeds with the Dalmatian, English setter, Cocker Spaniel, Bull terrier, Australian Cattle dog, Catahoula, Jack Russell terrier and Border collie being most frequently affected. In this disease, the dogs are born normally but in the first weeks of their life, the inner ear receptors designed for hearing die prematurely. In most dog breeds, uni- or bilaterally deafness is seen at the age of 2-3 months. Border Collies are an exception as their congenital deafness can be late onset in early adulthood. Certain genetic traits such as hair and eye color are linked to deafness in most breeds. A recessive genetic defect (either one gene or multiple genes) is reported.

In puppies older than 2 months, the BAER test (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Responses) is the most reliable screening test for congenital hereditary deafness. This test checks if the brain responds to noise (clicking sound), measuring appropriate hearing.


After a COVID-19 pause, the Neurology team at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University will begin puppy hearing clinics on Saturday, November 13, 2021, and hold them on the second Saturday of each month from 9 am to 1 pm.

We are dedicated to serving the community of breeders but also welcome individual dog owners wanting important information about the hearing status of their dog. Ideal candidates for a hearing test during these Saturday BAER clinics include a litter of puppies or dogs younger than one year. For puppies, we will always try to do the hearing test without sedation, but for most older dogs sedation might be required. Hearing tests are done only by appointment.

If you are interested, please call a Neurology liaison at 508-887-4839 or send an e-mail to to make an appointment.