Toy Poodle Genes

Cape Rose Toy Poodles


Toy Poodle Genetics


No Such Thing as a Perfect Toy Poodle

Just as there is no such thing as a perfect person, there is no such thing as the perfect dog. At least not in the biological sense.

You probably know someone who is living with diabetes or who suffers from arthritis. Such disorders in physiology (body chemistry) and anatomy (body structure) commonly affect people.

As you might imagine, toy poodles can have problems, too. But good breeders can prevent, to some extent, the passing on of “bad” genes to their puppies and, thereby, prevent inheritable defects.

Swimming in the Gene Pool

Genes can play tricks even on the most responsible breeder, however, because many inherited traits are recessive. That means the dam and sire (mother and father dogs) could be carriers of a trait they don’t themselves display. So you can have two seemingly healthy parents produce a puppy with an obvious defect or a predisposition to disease.

By the way, genetic problems affect mixed-breed dogs, too, although to our knowledge no one officially monitors that issue.

Genetic Problems of Toy Poodles

For toy poodles, the more common types of inheritable conditions include:

  1.   physiological problems ➛ thyroid, blood clotting, seizure disorders

  2.   eye disease ➛ cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy

  3.   joint defects ➛ patellar luxation, Calve-Legg-Perthes, hip dysplasia

Genetic Databases

A responsible breeder will have their breeding dogs tested for genetic defects and register the results in genetic databases. Among the resources you can check are the following:

  1. BulletOptigen

  2. BulletOFA Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

  3. BulletVetGen Veterinary Genetic Services

If you visit the OFA, for instance, you can look up records for any dog for whom you have an AKC registration number. Ask your breeder to give you the numbers of the sire and dam. Then look them up in the OFA database.

Here’s the record for Mon Cheri Rouge Jacques, one of the sires who produced puppies for us when we were breeders:

When you click on the test results you’d like to view, the following detailed report will appear. Notice that OFA automatically provides links for offspring. In this case, a link to the record of Cape Rose Cantique de Noel is displayed. (“Noel” is the mother of our pets Caprice and Dibs.)

Evaluating Genetic Test Results

You can also search for statistics on any breed as a whole. For poodles, keep in mind that results include all three varieties: standard, miniature, and toy. Some genetic diseases are more common in standard or miniature poodles, while some are more common in toy poodles.

Also, notice that the “Percent Normal” column indicates that the vast majority of poodles are “normal.” This statistic might be skewed for several reasons.

First, irresponsible breeders, the ones least likely to care about the health of their dogs, don’t bother with genetic testing. And if they do, those breeders can decline to have negative results included in the database. In short, registry in the database is voluntary. The best of the breeders will register results; others won’t. All the more reason to ask for proof of genetic testing from any breeder you visit.


Color Genetics

If you’ve met some toy poodles or viewed a bunch of  photos like the ones here on the Cape Rose Toy Poodles web site, then you know that toy poodles display a wide array of colors.

In addition to different coat color(s), some toy poodles have brown (liver-color) noses while others have black noses.

For breed show purposes, solid colors are required and black noses are preferred.

But in toy poodles, beauty isn’t just skin deep. The dog’s very genetic makeup determines what color(s) s/he will display.

It’s a tad more complex that we provide here, but VetGen Veterinary Genetic Services explains that there are two main alleles for coat color in poodles. The b allele is associated with brown color. The e allele is associated with cream, white, apricot, and red color.

Alleles occur in pairs; a puppy inherits one allele from the sire and one from the dam.

Some alleles are dominant (represented by an upper case B or E), while others are recessive (represented by a lower case b or e).

As you can see, there are a number of possible combinations or genotypes.

According to VetGen:

If your toy poodle is black, his possible genotypes are BBEE, BBEe, BbEE, or BbEe.

If your toy poodle is brown, her possible genotypes are bbEE or bbEe.

If your toy poodle is cream, white, apricot, or red with a black nose, his possible genotypes are BBee or Bbee.

If your toy poodle is cream, white, apricot, or red with a brown nose, her genotype is bbee.

Other genes are involved with coat color, color distribution, coat length, and other features. If nothing else,  science underscores the fact that variety is the spice of life.

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