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Hi,

I wanted to see what the testing is that everyone looks for when getting a poodle (specifically a toy or miniature) from a breeder? I've heard to get an OFA number for the hips and patellas and a PRCD test and an annual CAER exam.

Do both parents need to have all of these tests done? Or is it ok if only one parents has a test done, like for the PRCD test? Also, what is the difference between a good and excellent result? Should I be concerned if the hips are only good?

Are there any other tests that you would suggest the parents should have done? Or the puppies should get?

Also, I'm not interested in showing a dog so I don't need them to be structurally perfect, just don't want them to suffer from any health issues that could have been prevented.

Thanks!
 

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I'll copy some of the health resources from the Breeders List with the specific OFA/CHIC requirements. These are considered something of a minimum, testing for some of the more common health issues. There are other genetic panels which may be done to try to avoid two carriers of a condition from being bred. Hips might have the OFA testing or Pennhip testing.
Results of different types of tests will be described according to the testing method. There are two types of testing, genotype (DNA) and phenotype (not completely accurate but think in terms of physical exams).

Pennhip vs OFA

Hip Dysplasia - PennHIP and OFA Radiographs - Best Friends Animal Hospital
http://www.wilsonvilleveterinaryclinic.com/documents/PennHIPvsOFA.pdf
Evaluation of the relationship between Orthopedic Foundation for Animals' hip joint scores and PennHIP distraction index values in dogs - PubMed
Canine Hip Dysplasia Screening Within the United States: Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program and Orthopedic Foundation for Animals Hip/Elbow Database - PubMed
Study compares PennHIP vs OFA hip dysplasia tests
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OFA Hip vs PENN Hip

Absolutely, the testing should be done on both sire and dam, every sire and dam, in fact, since their genes become combined in their pups,

Puppies aren't tested for these conditons. If their parents have been and get good/normal/clear results, that's a good indicator and a bit of insurance that the pup won't develop those conditions. Puppies should have been checked several times by a vet while still with the breeder and be up to date on dewormings and vaccinations. You should also have the pup looked over thoroughly by your own vet asap after getting them home. Most contracts require it.

Obviously, best case is excellent/normal/clear as the various conditions are rated but sometimes a breeder will choose to breed a dog with "fair" hips to one with "good" or "excellent" results either to try to improve that condition or to strengthen another.

There are some other conditions to consider testing for. Use the VIP link to poke around there for that info.


Health Testing Criteria - Parents Are Tested Not Puppies - Additional Testing

Health Related Publications - Versatility In Poodles, Inc.
Versatility In Poodles, Inc.
vipoodle.org

Toy Minimum Testing Criteria
prcd Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) DNA testing from an approved laboratory
Eye clearance by the Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)
Patellar Luxation OFA evaluation

Miniature Minimum Testing Criteria
prcd Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) DNA testing from an approved laboratory
Eye clearance by the Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)
Hip Dysplasia evaluation from an approved agency
Patellar Luxation OFA evaluation

Standard Minimum Testing Criteria
Hip Dysplasia evaluation from an approved agency
Eye clearance by the Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)
Plus Health Elective (At least one of the following tests):
OFA Thyroid evaluation from an approved laboratory
OFA SA Evaluation from an approved dermapathologist
Congenital Cardiac Exam
Advanced Cardiac Exam

OFA Lookup - by kennel name or dog name or registry number - Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

https://www.ofa.org/look-up-a-dog


Home - Versatility In Poodles, Inc.
Versatility In Poodles, Inc.
vipoodle.org
Its primary purpose is to improve the health and promote the many talents of this remarkable breed.

I understand not wanting to show a dog yourself but I will ask you to ask yourself if you want a poodle that's structurally sound and meets the breed standard. That's why breeders show.

It isn't just winning ribbons and titles, it's proving that their dogs are the best example of a poodle that they can breed.

"I don’t want a show dog; I just want a pet.
by Joanna Kimball on July 13, 2010

This is one of the most pervasive sentiments that puppy buyers, especially families, express when they're looking for a dog. What they really mean, of course, is that they don't want a show BREEDER – don't want to pay the high price they think show breeders charge, don't want to go through the often-invasive interview process, and think that they're getting a better deal or a real bargain because they can get a Lab for $300 or a Shepherd for $150.

I want you to change your mind. I want you to not only realize the benefits of buying a show-bred dog, I want you to INSIST on a show-bred dog. And I want you to realize that the cheap dog is really the one that's the rip-off. And then I want you to go be obnoxious and, when your workmate says she's getting a puppy because her neighbor, who raises them, will give her one for free, or when your brother-in-law announces that they're buying a goldendoodle for the kids, I want you to launch yourself into their solar plexus and steal their wallets and their car keys.

Here's why:

If I ask you why you want a Maltese, or a Lab, or a Leonberger, or a Cardigan, I would bet you're not going to talk about how much you like their color. You're going to tell me things about personality, ability (to perform a specific task), relationships with other animals or humans, size, coat, temperament, and so on. You'll describe playing ball, or how affectionate you've heard that they are, or how well they get along with kids.

The things you will be looking for aren't the things that describe just "dog"; they'll be the things that make this particular breed unique and unlike other breeds.

That's where people have made the right initial decision – they've taken the time and made the effort to understand that there are differences between breeds and that they should get one that at least comes close to matching their picture of what they want a dog to be.

Their next step, tragically, is that they go out and find a dog of that breed for as little money and with as much ease as possible.

You need to realize that when you do this, you're going to the used car dealership, WATCHING them pry the "Audi" plate off a new car, observing them as they use Bondo to stick it on a '98 Corolla, and then writing them a check and feeling smug that you got an Audi for so little.

It is no bargain.

Those things that distinguish the breed you want from the generic world of "dog" are only there because somebody worked really hard to get them there. And as soon as that work ceases, the dog, no matter how purebred, begins to revert to the generic. That doesn't mean you won't get a good dog – the magic and the blessing of dogs is that they are so hard to mess up, in their good souls and minds, that even the most hideously bred one can still be a great dog – but it will not be a good Shepherd, or good Puli, or a good Cardigan. You will not get the specialized abilities, tendencies, or talents of the breed.

If you don't NEED those special abilities or the predictability of a particular breed, you should not be buying a dog at all. You should go rescue one. That way you're saving a life and not putting money in pockets where it does not belong.

If you want a purebred and you know that a rescue is not going to fit the bill, the absolute WORST thing you can do is assume that a name equals anything. They really are nothing more than name plates on cars. What matters is whether the engineering and design and service department back up the name plate, so you have some expectation that you're walking away with more than a label.

Keeping a group of dogs looking and acting like their breed is hard, HARD work. If you do not get the impression that the breeder you're considering is working that hard, is that dedicated to the breed, is struggling to produce dogs that are more than a breed name, you are getting no bargain; you are only getting ripped off."


This doesn't mean a breeder who doesn't compete with their dogs can't produce wonderful dogs too. In a way, the breeders investment in proper breed testing, competing, socializing puppies, all these and more are like insurance for the new family. They're not absolute guarantees, but they can sure be a benefit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you! I'm going to read this over in detail. Also, assuming both parents have had all the testing done and everything is good, is it bad if they are too closely related? For example, in the puppy I'm considering, I noticed when examining the pedigrees that the mother's grandfather is the father's father.
 

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This is a short, old thread but answers your questions. In short, what you describe is line-breeding and when the breeders involved are conscientious, it was done with deliberation, and for a good reason.

 
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I wanted to see what the testing is that everyone looks for when getting a poodle (specifically a toy or miniature) from a breeder? I've heard to get an OFA number for the hips and patellas and a PRCD test and an annual CAER exam.
If you settle on a toy or miniature puppy, you want the sire and dam to have passed manual patella (knee) exams by a vet. This is very important b/c a lot of toys in particular have knee problems that require surgery.

In toys, there is no need for hip x-rays.

Poodles can have a variety of genetic problems that are spotted in DNA tests. The weakness of OFA is they only require one DNA test, which is for PRA-prcd (an eye condition). This leaves out five other serious genetic problems.

Here's the poodle panel list from the Paw Print Genetics lab for testable DNA problems that toys and minipoos can have, which are identical. It looks expensive ($275) but they're always running 40 to 50% discount sales.

Increasingly, breeders and regular dog owners are buying the delux DNA testing kits from Embark ($199, also often on sale). Embark also tests for other less common genetic problems.

This includes CDDY and IVDD (too short legs and/or long back, resulting in disc problems) sometimes seen in poorly bred poodles.

If your breeder ordered from either of these labs, you can see their DNA results online if they share the link with you. OFA has this list of other labs.

Caution: a breeder could get a bad result on a test and hide it from public view, so make sure all the testable genetic disorders (listed on Paw Prints is listed). I had a breeder who wanted to use my male as a stud for her beautiful female. She emailed me copies of the results from Embark, but something didn't add up, so I asked to see the results on her dog's account. The test for Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) wasn't there - it had been "hidden". This is a heartbreaking disorder for any dog owner. I asked her about this and she did a whole lot of "well I don't know" explaining. If she tried that stunt on me, she'd surely do it on any unsuspecting puppy buyer. I took a hard pass. So keep that list so you'll know what to ask for and can see what's missing in the dam and stud's test results.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@Vita Thanks! I was wondering if breeders used the tests such as Embark or Paw Prints. I have asked a few so far that haven't and I would really like to find someone who does as with my last miniature poodle, he had IVDD and a bunch of other health issues but nothing that would have been discovered by the testing of eyes, hips, patellas.

I actually did the Embark test on him when he was older (long after I knew he had IVDD), and he had the gene for it.
 

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Vita is correct about the OFA testing being a minimum standard to obtain the CHIC certification. You'll find many breeders do some but not all, even of that testing. I've also seen some breeders reporting only the DNA panels with no indication of the phenotype exams being done.
Some testing may be skipped for one generation only if "cleared by parentage"

Below is the link to OFA approved labs for DNA testing of the listed conditions for poodles. This should not exclude other labs for other tests.

Versatility in Poodles also has a list of testable conditions

If you're interested in statistics, from the OFA database:

For this:
"Doesnt the CDDY/CDDY and the distichiasis seem like maybe she might not be the best choice?"

Explanation of Results:
►Chondrodysplasia (CDPA):
Dogs with N/N genotype will not have this form of chondrodysplasia, which causes the short-legged phenotype of certain dog breeds, and cannot transmit this chondrodysplasia variant to their offspring.

►Chondrodystrophy (CDDY):
Dogs with CDDY/CDDY genotype will have leg shortening compared to N/N dogs and are at risk for intervertebral disc herniation. If a CDDY/CDDY dog is bred, all of the puppies in the litter will have shorter legs and are also be at risk for intervertebral disc herniation, regardless of the mate's genotype.



Additional info on the responsible gene(s) for CDDY/IVDD:

The breeds with a higher frequency of the CFA12 FGF4 insertion are the same breeds identified in the last 50 y as being predisposed to IVDD. Presence of the CFA18 FGF4 insertion is common in many breeds with IVDD, and it is possible that it may contribute to the disease; however, previous mapping within dachshunds, which are reported “fixed” for the CFA18 FGF4 insertion, show segregation of the associated haplotype on chromosome 12 with IVDD, supporting the idea that the CFA12 FGF4 insertion is the critical factor determining disease status (25, 34). Of particular interest is the lack of reports of IVDD cases in breeds such as the cairn terrier and West Highland white terrier, both of which have the CFA18 FGF4 insertion, but not the CFA12 FGF4 insertion. Similarly, the high incidence of IVDD in breeds such as the American cocker spaniel, beagle, and French bulldog that do not have the CFA18 FGF4 insertion but a high frequency of the CFA12 FGF4 insertion supports the idea that FGF4 specifically from CFA12 is contributing to the IVDD phenotype.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
So, I've heard from three breeders now that the CAER eye exam was not done this year due to COVID. They all seem to have had it done yearly in the past. Is this something I should be concerned about? I know this test is done by a specialist but at the same time I'm in NYC and my dog was able to see all of his specialized doctors throughout the pandemic.
 

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A momentary segue here before answering your last question...

After a while of learning and investigating, it's possible to find yourself lost in the rabbit hole rather than feeling confident in your ability to make choices.
The hope in becoming informed is in recognizing the risks and deciding which you are willing and able to live with. The perfect choice doesn't always come along.
I'm not saying here to stop learning or stop asking, but only you can decide what level of risk is acceptable for you and your poodle.
 
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So, I've heard from three breeders now that the CAER eye exam was not done this year due to COVID. They all seem to have had it done yearly in the past. Is this something I should be concerned about? I know this test is done by a specialist but at the same time I'm in NYC and my dog was able to see all of his specialized doctors throughout the pandemic.
If they typically have done this in the past, if the results on their line in general and specific dogs have been good/clear, if they're planning to resume testing as soon as they can, I don't think I'd be too concerned. Their history of testing counts for something.
 
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I always felt an annual CAER eye examine is OFA's expensive overkill unless cataracts or other eye problems run in the lines. I'd personally would be fine with an ophthalmologist exam every 3 years (unless breeding and showing), which is about what most people don't get until they're after 40.

The CAER is just one of several requirements for a dog to have the once coveted CHIC status, mandated before DNA testing (except for PRA) was a thing. If OFA was on top of their game they would have added the most common DNA tests for each breed. You literally can find CHIC parents whose non-required tests makes those pups a hot genetic mess and doomed to die a premature death. Many good breeders don't bother with OFA anymore beyond documenting hip X-rays and patella results, since the buyer can look up DNA test results on lab testing sites.

Rose is right:

it's possible to find yourself lost in the rabbit hole rather than feeling confident in your ability to make choices.
And every available test could be perfect, and you still end up with a puppy that later develops cancer or many other disorders that are not testable and skips several generations and pop up out of nowhere. Or has a temperament that isn't a good fit for yours, like you discover you hate long walks in bad weather, or agility or doing other sports b/c you're basically couch potato and the poodle is high energy and going nuts - or vice versa. Or can't be 100% housebroken despite your best efforts. Or it runs away, gets lost and hit by a car, or gets stolen. Or barks too much or is anxious when you leave. It's like having a baby or choosing a spouse/partner, there are no guarantees no matter how much you push the odds in your favor.
 

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Thanks @Vita and @Rose n Poos. And yes, I am totally falling down a rabbit hole :) But I'm just concerned right now because there is such a demand for poodle puppies during this pandemic, that anyone who has a pup available is probably some sort of scam.
 

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You're in luck. If the three breeders you've heard from have their poodles listed on OFA and done DNA testing, they're the last group of folks who would be your classic scammers. Just make sure all the tests are listed there and/or on the lab sites.

Remember that if all four of the grandparents are clear in DNA, the litter is cleared of those health problems. For example, the litter's grandparents on both sides are documented as being cleared for PRA-prcd. The parent's didn't need to be tested for this since they would have been cleared too along with those puppies. Hips and patellas are different: both sire and dam should have Good to Excellent hip ratings.

One other thing... if the dam is a carrier for PRA but the sire is clear, statistically some pups will be clear and some will be carriers. This shouldn't be a deal breaker since PRA carriers never develop that eye problem. It's when breeders put two carriers together, or an affected dog with a carrier that this risk becomes extremely high for that litter.

I'm more reserved about some other aforementioned DNA problems, like DM or CDDY/IVDD; in those cases where one parent is a carrier, the rules of inheritance can be a little different so I'd be inclined to take a pass unless a specific pup is DNA tested and cleared.

Good luck.
 

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Thank you! I'm going to read this over in detail. Also, assuming both parents have had all the testing done and everything is good, is it bad if they are too closely related? For example, in the puppy I'm considering, I noticed when examining the pedigrees that the mother's grandfather is the father's father.
That is usually an indication that the dog who occurs more than once in a pedigree is exceptionally good quality - assuming this is a reputable breeder.
 
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