Miniature poodle hereditary health and health testing

Miniature poodle hereditary health and health testing

Health & Safety

The miniature poodle is the medium sized variant of the three poodle dog breeds, which actually originated in Germany despite their common association with France.

While the standard poodle was bred as a water dog, the miniature poodle has more of a mixed heritage, including working as a truffle hunting dog, and potentially has some terrier breeding within their heritage. When the Kennel Club first came into being during the 1800’s, the miniature poodle was one of the first breeds to be formally registered.

The miniature poodle can stand up to 15” tall at the withers, placing them firmly in the middle of the size rankings across the three poodle breeds. Widely bred today as lap dogs and companions, the miniature poodle was originally associated with royalty and upper class ladies of the gentry, who valued them for their kind natures and portable size.

Poodles of all sizes are popular thanks to their curled coats, which shed only very lightly and as such, do not spread a lot of hair or allergenic dander around the home. This makes them a popular choice of pet for people who may suffer from canine allergies, and also, means that the poodle is one of the most widely used dogs in designer or hybrid crossings too.

If you are wondering if the miniature poodle is the right choice of dog for you, in this article we will look at the hereditary health of the breed in more detail, as well as examining the various health testing schemes that are recommended for dogs of the breed. Read on to learn more.

Miniature poodle longevity

The average lifespan of the miniature poodle is 14-14.5 years, placing them towards the top of the average across the board for breeds of a similar size.

Miniature poodle genetic diversity

The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the miniature poodle is 5.9%, which is within the accepted range of 6.25% or lower that is considered to be the ideal for pedigree dog breeds. This indicates that the miniature poodle is not subjected to a high level of inbreeding in order to keep the breed viable in perpetuity.

Health testing for the miniature poodle

The miniature poodle is a popular dog breed that is widely owned within the UK, and as such, a lot of information on the breed health as a whole is available. This has permitted the British Veterinary Association to collate figures on health conditions with a hereditary factor to them that affect dogs of the breed, and as a result of this, the following pre-breeding health tests are recommended.

  • Hip score testing, with the breed’s mean hip score being 10.5. Potential parent dogs of the breed should receive a hip score below this figure.
  • Eye testing for optic nerve hypoplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy.
  • DNA testing for progressive retinal atrophy is also available.
  • DNA testing for Von Willebrand’s factor, which leads to a blood clotting disorder.

Other health issues

As well as these issues for which pre-breeding health screening is available, there are also quite a range of other conditions that can affect the miniature poodle as well, although the list is rather extensive and by no means all dogs of the breed are apt to suffer from one or more of the conditions on the list.

Known health problems that can occur within the breed include:

  • Cataracts of the eyes.
  • Intervertebral disc disease.
  • Entropion, which causes the eyelids to turn inwards.
  • Distichiasis, which means that the eyelashes grow an extra layer, which can rub on and damage the eyes.
  • Urolithiasis, the formation of stones and crystals within the urinary system of the dog.
  • Cryptorchidism in male dogs, which causes either one of both of the testes to fail to descend from the abdomen fully.
  • Tracheal collapse, a condition caused by the cartilage of the windpipe failing to support it properly, leading to a persistent cough and breathing problems.
  • Immune mediated thrombocytopenia, a blood disorder that leads to a low number of platelets and problems with the clotting of the blood.
  • Immune mediated haemolytic anaemia, in which the red blood cells of the body are destroyed.
  • Various types of cancers, including oral melanoma, hyperadrenocorticism, and basal cell tumours.
  • Atlantoaxial subluxation, which causes neck pain.
  • Hydrocephalus, or water on the brain.
  • Hereditary epilepsy.
  • Granulomatous meningoencephalitis, an inflammatory brain disorder.
  • Patellar luxation, a slipping and dislocation of the kneecap.
  • Otitis externa, an ear condition that causes discomfort, inflammation and pain.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a condition of the hips that is caused by a degeneration of the head of the femur bone, leading to lameness and pain.
  • Type one diabetes.
  • Mitral valve degeneration, a type of heart disease.
  • Cushing’s disease, a condition caused by an excessive production of the body’s corticosteroids, which can cause both lethargy and discomfort, as well as pain.


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