Poodle Breeds and Genetic Diversity – Using MyDogDNA Test Results Over Breed Boundaries

A Poodle is a happy and lively dog. It enjoys being the center of attention. In addition, it wants to please and is willing to learn. It also loves action and is suitable for diverse activities. Overall, the Poodles are well-proportioned, well-balanced and elegant dogs. At dog shows they stand out with their gorgeous coats and elegant appearances, and the best individuals are often seen at top places in the group and BIS rings.

According to FCI definition, there are four Poodle breeds: the Toy Poodle, whose height is no more than 28 cm, the Miniature Poodle, more than 28, up to 35cm, the Medium Poodle, over 35, up to 45 cm, and the Standard Poodle, more than 45, up to 60 cm, with a tolerance of additional 2 cm. The colors are black, white and brown, as well as apricot, red and grey.

The Poodles’ coats have always been clipped, and the lion clip is a very old tradition. The coats of dogs used for hunting have been cut for practical reasons, for them to move more easily around terrain and in water when picking up the hunted game. No matter which cut is chosen for a poodle, the coat must be carefully treated. This requires a lot of time, effort, and resources throughout the dog’s life. This needs to be taken into account when planning to buy a Poodle.

The Poodle has become familiar to many people mainly as show dog breed, but dog shows are only a small part of a dog’s life. In addition to shows, it is possible to practice a wide range of other dog activities. Poodles have successfully competed in e.g. obedience trials.  The Poodle is known for its learning abilities. Its other characteristics make it comfortable and easy to train, so it is ideal for obedience trials, regardless of size. Dog agility requires enthusiasm, speed and agility. The Poodle has all of these characteristics. The Poodle’s enthusiasm to perform a variety of tasks, as well as its easy educability, makes it an ideal agility dog. (Suomen Villakoirakerho ry, www.villakoirakerho.com)

MyDogDNA and the Poodle breeds

When it comes to inherited diseases, other hereditary characteristics, and genetic diversity, the situation of a breed and of and an individual can be evaluated on the basis of a genome-wide analysis. The gathered information can be used in practice along with pedigrees to help the work of breeders. The MyDogDNA test panel includes, e.g., the following essential genetic tests for the Poodle breeds: Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures (NEWS, Standard Poodles), Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VI (MPSVI, Miniature and Toy Poodles) and GM2 Gangliosidosis (Toy Poodles).

Genetic diversity and genetic relationships in Poodles

The green line represents the genome-wide measured diversity in the Poodle breeds. The orange line, in turn, describes the diversity distribution of all MyDogDNA tested dogs in the database.

The graph above indicates the genetic diversity distribution of the tested Poodle population so far. The graph is dynamic and gets updated with each new tested individual. Based on the graph, it can be concluded that the median heterozygosity level for the Poodle breeds is slightly above the median for all dogs. Breed group median is of 31.0 %, as the median for all dogs is of 28.9 %. Therefore, the heterozygosity level seems to be better than average for this breed group. However, it is important to continue monitoring the situation and emphasize choosing breeding pairs that maintain or even increase genetic diversity. Genetic diversity can successfully be maintained by mating as genetically different individuals as possible. For this purpose, more individuals of different Poodle breeds would need to be tested in the future; this would provide a more accurate overview on the heterozygosity level of the different colored and sized Poodles as well as help identify genetically different individuals for breeding purposes.

The plot below shows the genetic relationships between all Poodle breeds. As the plot reveals, the MyDogDNA database provides an opportunity to compare different breeds in the same views. MyDogDNA includes also the MyDogDNA Breeder - dog match making tool, which allows viewing genetic compatibility of the selected breeding combinations. With the Breeder tool, it is also possible to have dogs of different Poodle breeds listed in the same search result view.

Breed-of-the-month campaign for Poodles

MyDogDNA and the Finnish Breed Club Suomen Villakoirakerho ry wish to invite all Poodle owners and breeders to test their dogs in order to get more comprehensive infomation about genetic characteristics and diversity of the Poodle breeds! MyDogDNA supports the effort with a breed-of-the-month campaign: During the month of August, Poodle owners can purchase the MyDogDNA PASS - testing package for 99 euros. This price can be obtained with the code POODLES2014. For further information, please, contact info@mydogdna.com.