Toy poodles, miniature poodles, standard poodles, indicates breeders who perform genetic testing.  Search by poodle size, color, or breeder location.
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So here's the scoop on all those green G!s:

Like many breeds, Poodles have a number of genetically transmitted health conditions to which they may be susceptible.  To reduce the incidence of these genetic conditions in litters, conscientious breeders have their breeding stock health screened to determine whether their animals are affected.  These breeders are indicated by a green
G! next to their listing in the indexes, and on their page are the names of their poodles who are their most current or upcoming litterparents, live-linked to each dog's health testing results reported in the OFA and CHIC online databases..  The most common conditions for which poodles should be tested are:

HD = Hip Dysplasia :  affects hip joints, resulting in pain, lameness and degenerative joint changes.  The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) tracks results of veterinary examinations for hip dysplasia; you can search at http://www.offa.org/search.html for results for a particular dog. 

SA = Sebaceous Adenitis :  a skin condition in which sebaceous glands become inflamed, resulting in scaling, odor and hair loss.  Affliction can vary from extremely mild to severe; poodles with subclinical cases look completely normal, even though they have SA and can pass it on to offspring.  You can search at http://www.offa.org/search.html for results for a particular dog. 

PRA = Progressive Retinal Atrophy :  a condition which results in retinal degeneration and blindness in the affected dog.  The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) records examination findings by board-certified veterinary opthalmologists on examined dogs, which also include any other eye disease.  You can verify current annual certification at http://www.vmdb.org/verify.html
In addition, toys and miniatures can utilize Optigen DNA testing for the PRCD form of PRA, which most commonly afflicts these varieties.  Results for Optigen testing are also available at http://www.offa.org/search.html.
NOTE ABOUT "Optigen A by parentage":  Since Optigen's test for PRCD is DNA-based, if both parents are clear for PRCD by an "A" test result, they CAN'T pass on the gene for PRCD to offspring.  Thus, some toy poodles are now "Optigen A by parentage" -- a wonderful benchmark of progress by careful breeders against this form of genetically transmitted eye disease.

vWD = von Willebrand's disease :  a bleeding disorder resulting in unabated bleeding, either spontaneous (from the membranes of nose, mouth or GI tract) or resulting from wounds or surgery.  von Willebrand's disease is detectable by DNA testing performed by VetGen, so a potential breeding dog can be certified as clear, or determined to be a carrier or affected.  You can search at http://www.offa.org/search.html for results for a particular dog.
NOTE ABOUT "vWD clear by parentage":  This works like the notation under PRCD above -- if both parents have tested genetically clear of vWD, they CAN'T pass it on to their progeny.  By breeding only from vWD clear parents, conscientious breeders ensure that pups will not be affected.

Thyroid :  just like people, dogs can suffer from hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).  Common symptoms are obesity, hair loss, fatigue, skin problems, and infertility.  Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is much rarer in dogs.  You can search at http://www.offa.org/search.html for results for a particular dog.

PL = Patellar Luxation :  "slipped stifles" are a common problem in small breeds.  In toy and miniature poodles, this is an inherited structural difference in the stifle (knee joint) that can lead to abnormal gait, lameness, and degenerative joint disease.  You can search at http://www.offa.org/search.html for results for a particular dog.

Poodles' testing results may also be registered at the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), cross-reported on OFA's database.  You can search CHIC's online database at http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/search.html .

To read more about the role of canine health databases, click here.

SO! -- should you take a green
G! or anybody's word for it?  Not unless you want to run the risk of heartbreak and lots of veterinary appointments.  When I got Windsor, his breeder sat me down and gave me photocopies of test results on both his parents.  I didn't know what it was all about then, but once I learned, I was glad that breeder walked me through it all.

Ask questions.  A good breeder will be happy to tell you that their dogs have been tested with favorable results, and provide you with a multigeneration pedigree.  Confirm the dogs in that pedigree with the online databases when you can -- search for a kennel name, for example, and all the tested dogs' results will come up.  Versatility in Poodles has great questionnaires for breeders of standards, miniatures and toys that will give you ideas for questions to ask.  And remember, a good, ethical breeder will want to interview you as much as you want to interview them.  A breeder who has put this much effort into their breeding line will be particular about where their carefully bred pups have their forever home.

The poodle is a great breed.  With careful attention to genetic health screening, it can be a great breed with a much lesser incidence of these troubling conditions.  When your curly baby has lived to a respectable age in good health, you'll be glad you took the extra time to ask about testing.

This PoodlesOnline.com page last updated 05/01/2011

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