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Standard Poodle Health & Genetic Information

The health of my Poodles and their puppies is an all-consuming part of my daily life. Not one day passes without a little pedigree research in some form or fashion. This usually entails a phone call to a trusted breeder friend to discuss recessive gene transmission or current DNA marker studies or perhaps a stop by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) website to discover new entries into their health database. Showing and breeding healthy dogs is a commitment of time, energy, financial resources and brain cells. There may be a little luck involved; but for the most part, good common sense and the overwhelming desire to “do the right thing” guide the breeding decisions we make with regard to our breeding programs. I strive to uphold the AKC Breed Standard prescribed by The Poodle Club of America. Breeding for soundness, beauty, brains, health and temperament is no easy task and can’t possibly be accomplished with a single breeding. More often than not, an improvement is made; some more subtle than others, throughout the lifetime of a breeding program, one generation at a time. If a breeder tells you there are no known health problems in their pedigrees, they are either ignorant of the genetic bottleneck created by frequently used founding sires present in many pedigrees or they are practicing the fine art of deception at your expense.

Please do your homework when looking for a puppy. Ask for references from past puppy buyers and check them. Ask to see copies of health testing and clearances or links to access the testing on-line and expect that they will be provided in your puppy’s packet. Ask if a health guarantee is provided for your puppy. Ask if the breeder is a member of The Poodle Club of America or one of its affiliate breed clubs. Ask if the breeder is active with AKC Conformation and/or Performance events. Does the puppy’s price seem too good to be true? Buyer beware; backyard and for profit breeders are not discriminate in their breeding practices and quite often what they produce will be poorly socialized, will encounter health abnormalities in the future and will look nothing like the elegant Poodle described in the Breed Standard. Ask why the breeding took place in the first place. If the answers provided to your question are similar to the following, you should continue to look for your Poodle puppy elsewhere: I wanted my children to experience the miracle of birth; I have a male and female and nature just seemed to take its course; I am hoping to pay off my layaway at Kmart. Each example progressively becomes more perverse, but you get the idea—trust your instincts and educate yourself about Standard Poodles before shopping for one. Attend an AKC event and meet Poodle exhibitors after they have finished their events to ask questions about the breed.

Also expect questions to be asked of you by an ethical breeder with regard to your desire to purchase a Poodle. Do you have a fenced yard? Are you able to make the monetary commitment required for Veterinarian care and frequent grooming? Are you willing to sign a spay/neuter agreement for your puppy if purchased as a pet? A spay/neuter agreement protects my thoughtful breeding program and altering your puppy has been shown to reduce mammary tumors, Pyometra, testicular and prostate cancers. Are you willing to keep me posted on your puppy’s progress and call me when you have training, nutrition and grooming questions? What kinds of activities do you like and what is your lifestyle like? Do you want to work with your Poodle in AKC Performance events or do you want a couch potato to join you for a late night movie? I puppy temperament test my litters with the Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test and use Bio-Sensor Early Neurological Stimulation in the whelping box so that my puppies are well equipped to become adaptable adults. I will use your answers to my questions to carefully match a puppy that will be a family member for many years to come.

I absolutely do not condone the cross-breeding of Poodles with other AKC breeds. Labradoodles and Goldendoodles do not possess “hybrid vigor”—they simply possess both the best and worst of the gene pool behind each breed. Are the hips, eyes and thyroid being screened for abnormalities on these cross-breeds before they are paired for breeding? And what about the claims of no matting or shedding promoted by the cross-breeders? As a pet stylist, I can tell you these claims are far from true. My Goldendoodle clients battle both shedding and matting along with skin odor on a daily basis. The coats of the cross-breeds are harder to care for than a Poodle and consequently their grooming charges are higher than the average Standard Poodle. For more information on cross-breeds, also known as “Designer Dogs,” please visit the website of Tivin Standard Poodles at and click on the “Articles” link Here you will find relevant articles written by Poodle breeder and VMD, Dr. Christine Scruggs.

I advocate following the minimal use vaccine protocol of Dr. Jean Dodds whenever possible. Over vaccination stimulates the immune system unnecessarily. Journal studies have cited correlation between repeated vaccinations and immune related diseases. Discuss vaccines with your Veterinarian and never vaccinate for Rabies and Distemper at the same appointment. Allow at least one month between a Rabies shot and any other vaccine. Hold off on that Rabies shot until your puppy is six months of age if allowable by state law. Vaccinate for only what is a prevalent threat in your geographical area.

Additional information regarding health and training can be found at the links below:

Lee Latham Adagio Standard Poodles  Norfolk Virginia 757.724.0038
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