Bardet Biedl Syndrome (BBS) in the Hungarian Puli dog breed
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Bardet Biedl Syndrome (BBS) in the Hungarian Puli dog breed

Dogs
Health & Safety

The Hungarian Puli is a dog breed that we don’t see a lot of in the UK, but these very distinctive dogs are becoming ever-more popular year on year as people begin to appreciate the versatility of the breed, and the personalities of Pulik dogs as a whole.

The Puli is an unusual dog breed in terms of their appearance, having a coat that forms into long cords or dreadlocks once the dog reaches adulthood, and which gives them a very distinctive look that not many other dog breeds can hope to emulate!

Hungarian Pulik were originally used as working herding dogs in their native Hungary, and they are loyal, trustworthy and hardworking dogs that love to have people around for company and that thrive on having a job to do. However, they have made the transition to family pets very effectively too, and can make for excellent companions for people from all walks of life.

Pulik tend to be robust, healthy and long-lived dogs too, and the breed as a whole is not plagued by a huge number of defects and health problems that can affect the longevity and quality of life of individual dogs. However, there are still a number of congenital health defects that can be found within the breed’s wider gene pool, and all prospective Hungarian Puli buyers are advised to learn a little bit about these before committing to purchasing a dog of the breed.

One of the less common hereditary health issues that can develop in dogs of the Hungarian Puli breed is called Bardet Biedl syndrome, which is a condition that was first identified in humans and that has only recently been recognised in dogs too, and that can specifically be found in certain breed lines of Hungarian Puli dogs.

Bardet Biedl syndrome in Hungarian Pulis is caused by a genetic mutation that can be passed on from parent dogs to their offspring. The condition causes a range of problems that affect a wide number of the body’s normal, healthy functions, and which can have a significant impact on the type of care the dog needs to receive, and their lifestyle and management.

In this article we will look at Bardet Biedl syndrome in the Hungarian Puli dog breed in more detail, examining how the condition is transmitted from dog to dog, and the effects that is has. There is also a DNA health screening scheme in place to enable Hungarian Puli breeders to find out if the gene mutation for Bardet Biedl syndrome is present within their bloodlines, and we will explain how Hungarian Puli owners can get their dogs tested to find out their status too. Read on to learn more.

What is Bardet Biedl syndrome?

Bardet Biedl syndrome is a hereditary health condition that has recently been recognised as able to occur in dogs, and which has been identified specifically within some dogs of the Hungarian Puli breed.

The condition causes a range of symptoms in affected dogs, including obesity, infertility and problems with the eyes, such as retinopathy, which is a type of eye disease that leads to compromised vision.

What sort of dogs are at risk of developing Bardet Biedl syndrome?

In dogs, Bardet Biedl syndrome has been identified as being present within some dogs of the Hungarian Puli breed, but it is not considered to be a risk for dogs of other breeds at the time of writing.

The condition is not widely spread throughout the Hungarian Puli gene pool and is still fairly uncommon even within dogs of the breed, although all Puli owners and prospective owners should familiarise themselves with the basics of the condition and its transmission.

Both male and female dogs are equally likely to be affected by the condition, and symptoms tend to develop for the first time in young adult and adult dogs rather than those approaching old age.

How is Bardet Biedl syndrome passed on from dog to dog?

Bardet Biedl syndrome can only be passed from dog to dog by means of heredity; it is not contagious and cannot be caught. In order to be affected by the condition, the dog in question must inherit a certain combination of genes from their two parent dogs, and so whether or not any given dog inherits the condition depends on the status of both of their parents.

Bardet Biedl syndrome is transmitted by the autosomal recessive means of heredity, which means that two copies of the gene fault for the condition (one from the dam and one from the sire) must be present for a dog to be affected.

Two clear dogs will have a clear litter, two affected dogs will have an affected litter, and two carriers of the condition will have a litter with mixed chances; 50% will themselves be carriers, 25% affected and 25% clear.

Breeding a clear dog with a carrier will result in a litter of 50% clear dogs and 50% carriers, and breeding an affected dog with a carrier will result in a litter of 50% affected dogs and 50% carriers. Breeding an affected dog with a clear dog will result in a litter of carriers, but the litter will not be affected with the active form of the condition.

DNA screening for the markers of Bardet Biedl syndrome in Hungarian Pulik

If you are a Hungarian Puli breeder and if there have been any presentations of Bardet Biedl syndrome within the gene pool of your breeding stock’s relatives, you may wish to get your parent stock tested before deciding on a mating match.

To do this, you just need to ask your vet to take a DNA sample from your prospective dam and sire, and this sample is tested by an approved laboratory to return a result of the status of the tested dogs, from which you can draw a conclusion about the suitability of your planned mating match.

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