As in any breed, there are genetic diseases that are common in standard poodles. We recommend that poodle owners or those thinking of purchasing a poodle take the time to learn about poodle health issues.
There are three tools that breeders use to make sure that they are breeding healthy dogs:
∑ COI and %Wycliffe. The coefficient of inbreeding (COI) is a measure of how closely dogs are related. It has been shown that dogs with lower COIs, on average, live longer than dogs with higher COIs. %Wycliffe is a measure of the percentage of a dogís genetic makeup that comes from 5 dogs that were born in the 1950ís. See COI and Wycliffe.
∑ Health testing. For some diseases (e.g., von Willebrandís and neonatal encephalitis), DNA tests are available that can determine which dogs have the disease, are carriers or are clear of the disease. Because of the DNA tests, these diseases can now be entirely avoided. For other diseases (e.g., hip dysplasia or sebaceous adenitis), tests are available that give some information, but they do not give full assurance that the offspring of the tested dog will not develop the disease. See Poodle Diseases.
∑ Pedigree research. There are some diseases (e.g., bloat and Addisonís) which have a genetic component but no tests are available to determine which dogs will pass the disease on to their offspring. For these diseases (and for diseases that have tests but not DNA tests), breeders try to discover as much as they can about the health of the ancestors and other relatives of the dogs they are breeding so that they can try to avoid inherited diseases. Breeders often know about the lines they are breeding from their personal experience and from talking to other breeders. In addition, the Poodle Health Registry maintains a database with health information on registered poodles. This is a widely used and very helpful resource, and it is free (you need to sign up for a free account to access all of the information).
If you own a poodle that is diagnosed with a genetic disease, you should inform the breeder immediately. Reputable breeders will want to know about any genetic health issues in their lines, and this information may affect their breeding plans. You should also register the information with the Poodle Health Registry. PHR accepts reports only from owners, so you cannot rely on the breeder to do this. There is a very simple form to fill out which requires your signature and proof of the diagnosis (a veterinarianís signature and/or lab reports).