When I got my first poodle back in the 1990’s, I went looking for a black male miniature poodle.  That was all I considered when getting my dog.  I also did not want to pay a lot and I wanted the dog as soon as possible.

I brought home exactly what I was looking for.  Merlin was beautiful and everything I wanted in a poodle, but in the end, Merlin had so many medical problems that he died at the age of 4-1/2 years.

You see, I was just concerned about how the poodle looked, not about how well the breeder bred her dogs.  I never asked about health issues.  I was ignorant, but ignorance is something that can be cured.  Before I got my next poodle, I researched health issues in poodles and how I could get a poodle with the best chance of having a long healthy life.

Age of Parent Poodles

There is no guarantee that all dogs produced by a good breeder will be healthy, but the parent dogs should be around two years of age before being bred because some medical problems do not appear until around that age.

Recommended Medical Evaluations and Genetic Testing

Both medical examination and genetic testing should be done to avoid producing puppies that will be crippled when older or who could go blind from cataracts or PRA.  Testing varies slightly between the different sizes of poodles.  Here is a list of medical tests recommended by Versatility in Poodles:

Tests recommended for Toy Poodles

· Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) DNA testing from an approved laboratory
· Eye clearance by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) or OFA
· Patellar Luxation OFA evaluation

Tests recommended for Miniature Poodles

· Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) DNA testing from an approved laboratory
· Eye clearance by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) or OFA
· Hip Dysplasia evaluation from an approved agency
· Patellar Luxation OFA evaluation

Tests recommended for Standard Poodles

• Hip Dysplasia evaluation from an approved agency
• Eye clearance by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) or by the OFA
• One of these 3 tests:  Autoimmune Thyroiditis (primary hypothyroidism) evaluation from an approved agency; Sebaceous Adenitis evaluation; OFA cardiac evaluation

NOTE: Medical evaluation and genetic testing are the MINIMUM that you want from a breeder.  Before you buy a poodle, research poodles to make sure they are the right breed for you.  Join a forum (like Our Poodle Forum) to ask questions of others who already have a poodle. Educate yourself.  You will be glad that you did.