The miniature poodle is one of three different poodle size variants, each of which are regarded as individual dog breeds in their own right. Being larger than the toy poodle but smaller than the standard variant, the miniature poodle is a versatile, adaptive and very rewarding dog breed to own, as well as being the variant most commonly used in hybrid crossings to produce dog types like the Cavapoo.
Miniature poodles are in fact the most common poodle size variant used in deliberate hybrid crossings, because their overall health and the number of hereditary risk factors for the breed tend to mean that miniature poodles are healthier in general than toy variants.
However, like virtually all pedigree dog breeds, there are a number of hereditary health issues that present in the miniature poodle breed as a whole often enough to be classed as a concern within the breed in general, and responsible dog breeders, breed clubs and the Kennel Club work hard to improve the health of the breed on an ongoing basis.
This means that the Kennel Club and other organisations often recommend or even mandate certain pre-breeding health tests within certain breeds that are eligible for pedigree registration, and these testing schemes are reviewed and added to on an ongoing basis as needed.
The Kennel Club announced on the 9th May 2019 that a new Kennel Club approved DNA testing scheme has just been introduced for the miniature poodle, which is designed to identify the markers of a condition called osteochondrodysplasia.
In this article we will provide a short introduction to osteochondrodysplasia in the miniature poodle, explain what the health testing scheme is designed to do, and outline how the scheme works and how to have dogs tested under it. Read on to learn more.
Osteochondrodysplasia (or OC for short) causes a form of canine achondroplasia or dwarfism in affected dogs, which results in the abnormal development of both bone and cartilage.
Osteochondrodysplasia is hereditary, and passed on from parent dogs to their young. The condition is present from birth and usually becomes self-evident in puppies from the time that they are just a few weeks old, resulting in stunted growth, the inability to move around normally due to extreme stiffness and discomfort, and multiple deformities in areas such as the limbs, rib cage and jaw.
Whilst the everyday impact of osteochondrodysplasia in affected dogs is often worse in puppies and may lessen to an extent as the dog matures, affected puppies are often euthanised after diagnosis due to the serious and acute impact that the condition has on the dog in question, which often leaves them with such a poor quality of life as to make euthanasia the only humane option.
However, even in older dogs whose condition improves somewhat over time, their ability to move normally and enjoy a good quality of life is not assured, and affected adult dogs are at a much greater risk of developing osteoarthritis as a secondary complication of osteochondrodysplasia too.
Osteochondrodysplasia cannot be corrected or cured in affected dogs, and so the only way to ensure that the condition does not continue to spread across the breed and affect ever-more dogs each year is to ensure that only healthy adult dogs who do not have or carry the condition are used for breeding.
A simple DNA test for osteochondrodysplasia has now been approved by the Kennel Club for the miniature poodle dog breed to enable breeders to find out the status of their own prospective parent stock, and make an informed decision about mating matches.
All miniature poodle breeders are advised to undertake DNA testing for osteochondrodysplasia on their own parent dogs, and prospective miniature poodle buyers should ask the breeders they are considering buying a dog from about their testing protocols and results.
To get a miniature poodle tested for their status for osteochondrodysplasia, you just need to arrange for your vet to take a DNA sample from your dog to undertake the test under the remit of the scheme, which is then sent off to an approved UK laboratory that will analyse the sample and provide a result.
The test results received by the owner will also be added by the Kennel Club to the dog’s pedigree registration details, which will then be included within the following edition of the Breed Records Supplement for the miniature poodle breed.
New puppy registration certificates issued to the offspring of tested dogs will also reflect the parents’ results, and will be searchable within the Kennel Club’s own Health Tests Results Finder, to help puppy buyers to make an informed choice of breeder to buy a miniature poodle from.