Breed specific health testing is done on our poodles prior to breeding and posted on OFA's website for review (see OFA links at bottom of the page.) They are tested beyond CHIC standards to help ensure that your new family member is not affected by diseases that can be prevented. We also do UC Davis VGL diversity testing on our poodles to aid in breeding decisions. The standard poodle breed suffers from a genetic bottleneck that was created by overuse of popular studs/bloodlines during the mid-twentieth century. This caused a stacking of good genes and in some cases, bad genes. These poodles are referred to as being "in the cluster." There is a correlation between the genes found in poodles that are in the cluster and incidence of autoimmune diseases, such as sebaceous adenitis and Addison's disease. These diseases cannot not be tested for until a dog starts showing signs of illness. Many breeders are starting to use genetic diversity testing to try to breed away from the bottleneck. We are fortunate that our standard poodles are considered "outliers." This means that genetically, they fall outside the "cluster," and are more genetically diverse and therefore, have less risk of developing autoimmune disease. A link to a copy of each poodle's diversity testing analysis can be found at the bottom of the page with the health testing links.
Some of our standard poodles do have miniature poodles in their lineage, which has added to their genetic diversity. As it is with looking for a poodle puppy of any variety (size), caution should also be exercised when considering a puppy from intervariety breedings. Look at the conformation (physical build) of the parents. If one or both of the parents is built like a corgi or a dachshund (long body with short legs), you are looking at very poor conformation. I used this specific flaw as an example, because it is easy to see and is common in poorly bred poodles, especially the smaller varieties. If a breeder is crossing parents that have poor conformation, you will get a puppy that matures to have poor conformation as well. The sire and dam of a litter should be selected to improve slight conformation imperfections of the other, with the goal being that their offspring will have better conformation than them. A poodle with poor conformation has an increased risk of developing physical problems, such as back injuries, arthritis and other forms of lameness.