Poodle Club of Canada
Voting Site
Letter from geneticists to the PCC Membership

Re: re-vote for proposed breed standard changes

Mary Jane Weir
Canadian Poodle Club

An open letter to the Canadian Poodle Club:

We are dismayed to learn that there is organized resistance to the effort in Canada to remove the
disqualification of particolor Standard Poodles and their progeny.

The Standard Poodle has been the subject of extensive genetic research over the last few years. The
data produced by this work are chilling.

The genetic diversity of the Standard Poodle has been reduced to the point where the immune system is
seriously compromised. Without a competent immune system, dogs have no defense against the
pathogens that we all encounter on a daily basis. Further, loss of the ability of the immune system to
distinguish between an external pathogen and its own tissue is being manifested as skyrocketing rates
of autoimmune disorders such as Addison's disease and sebaceous adenitis. These are horrible diseases
for which there are no veterinary treatments adequate to restore an animal to normal health. Genetic
research can increase our understanding of the underlying pathology of inherited diseases in dogs, but
there is nothing geneticists can do to "fix" this problem. Many of the genes necessary for a functional
immune system in Poodles have been lost from the breed's gene pool, and there is no modern
technology that will restore it to proper function.

At this point, genetic salvation of this breed is going to require a concerted effort by breeders to reduce
additional loss of genetic diversity to an absolute minimum. That breeders could even be seriously
considering removing dogs from the gene pool of the breed because they have one copy too many of a
recessive allele for a purely cosmetic trait is simply breathtaking. It reveals a profound and
fundamental failure to appreciate the very dire genetic situation this breed is in.

There is no genetic technology that will restore the Standard Poodle breed to the good health that all
dogs deserve. This can only be accomplished by breeders, who must recognize that time is very
quickly running out for this breed. It is going to require a substantial realignment of priorities as well
as an extraordinary level of cooperation among breeders around the world. Geneticists can provide
guidance in this process and there are many that are ready and willing to help. But breeders need to
know that it is possible to break something to the point where it cannot be fixed. The responsibility to
get this right is solely yours.

Carol Beuchat, PhD
Scientific Director
Institute of Canine Biology, USA
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California Berkeley, USA

Jonas Donner, PhD
Director of Research & Development
MyDogDNA, Genoscoper Laboratories, Finland

Iwona Glazewska, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Plant Taxonomy and Nature Conservation
University of Gdansk, Poland

Claudia Melis, PhD
Research Scientist
Department of Biology
Norwegian University of Science & Technology, Norway

Pieter Oliehoek PhD
Conservation Biology & Canine Genetics
Institute of Canine Biology, US

CA Sharp
Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute, Inc