Health Testing

Our Stance on Health Testing

Good health and longevity are of very high importance to us. We test for a large number of health conditions as well as assessing each dog through-out their life for overall health and maintenance needs. We use genetic diversity testing to carefully make mating decisions while improving overall odds of avoiding the very common diseases ‘fixed’ into the general population of Standard Poodles. After considering the full picture and weighing each risk, we make our own breeding decisions – and sometimes this means breeding a dog who technically has a failed health result. We do not make any breeding decisions lightly, we are very open about our decisions, and in the rare event of a health condition we provide extra support on a case-by-case basis to our homes.

The following are the health testing recommendations for Standard Poodles from the Poodle Club of America:

Hip Dysplasia: OFA or PennHIP Evaluation.
Yearly Eye Exam by a boarded ACVO veterinary ophthalmologist.
Health Elective (at least one of the following three tests is required for CHIC number):
   OFA Thyroid Evaluation from an OFA approved laboratory.
   OFA Sebaceous Adenitis (SA) Evaluation by an OFA approved dermatopathologist.
   Heart Evaluation by an ACVIM boarded veterinary cardiologist.

The PCA Foundation recommends all three electives for Standard Poodles and also strongly
recommends the following DNA tests from an OFA approved laboratory to easily avoid breeding
two mutation carriers to each other and producing affected puppies: DNA Test for Neonatal
Encephalopathy with Seizures (NEwS) and DNA Test for vonWillebrand’s Disease (vWD).

Our Health Testing

As a general minimum, we test each breeding dog for the following:

  • Hips (OFA and/or PennHIP)
  • Elbows (OFA)
  • Eyes, yearly (OFA)
  • Heart exam (OFA)
  • DNA for vWD, NE/NEwS, DM, PRA-PRCD
  • Genetic diversity through UC Davis (results applied via BetterBred)
  • Many of our dogs are tested beyond the above
  • We health test the majority of each litter, not just breeding candidates
  • Much of our earlier health testing was not reported to OFA (due to submission costs), but around 2016 we decided to start submitting the tests OFA accepts
  • We will soon be testing our upcoming breeding dogs based on new DNA test recommendations
  • OFA records for dogs with ‘APAW’

In addition to these health tests, we also take into account other health considerations such as if a dog is prone to ear infections, has food or environmental sensitivities, has a sensitive gut, develops dental plaque easily, or is not an “easy keeper” (fast-growing nails, lots of hair growing in the ear canal, hair texture that mats easily, sensitive skin, destructive or anxious behaviors in the home, etc).

It is important to note that very few health conditions have a reliable genetic test and many are influenced by the environment/raising. Assessing the entire family is part of every breeding decision; as a general rule “dogs produce their families, not themselves.” Many typical Standard Poodle diseases don’t express until after common breeding age of 2+ years old. Many dogs with various diagnosis live long, healthy lives without any troubling symptoms. Watching a dog and their family age is generally the best way to assess actual health, keeping in mind that females need to be bred while still in their prime.

We generally breed our females 2 times each, with a first litter at 4-5 years old; we appreciate using older/senior studs when choosing our matches.

We test entire litters for genetic diversity through UC Davis/BetterBred and the results have a very large sway in our placements, making sure that high-diversity pups with good structure and sound temperaments are placed in homes with potential to be bred in the future (pending health results).