Health Tests recommended by the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America

Please check out the various links for health information, available tests and ongoing studies for our breed. An educated and informed buyer can’t be taken advantage of by an unscrupulous producer of dogs for profit. Stay informed and if and when you get your puppy please join your local and National Club.

DNA Tests offered:

  1. GM1 Gangliosidosis in Portuguese Water Dogs- GM1 Gangliosidosis (GM1-G) is a fatal lysosomal storage disease. Affected Portuguese Water Dogs show progressive neurologic impairment leading to signs of cerebellar dysfunction between 5-6 months of age. GM1-G is autosomal recessive, meaning that animals with two copies of this allele will be affected. Animals with one copy of the gene will be clinically-normal carriers.
  1. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an eye disease that will eventually cause blindness. Progressive rod-cone degeneration (prcd) is the form that affects the Portuguese Water Dog.
  2. Early Onset PRA- presents as an earlyonset PRA where night blindness is recognized at 1–2 years of age followed by rapid progression to total blindness
  1. Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy (JDCM) – is a deadly disease found in the breed. It is recessively inherited and causes sudden death in puppies between the ages of five weeks and seven months. Fortunately, this disease no longer presents a challenge for breeders.

Screening Tests offered:

Hip Dysplasia- Canine Hip Dysplasia typically develops because of an abnormally developed hip joint, but can also be caused by cartilage damage from a traumatic fracture. With cartilage damage or a hip joint that isn’t formed properly, over time the existing cartilage will lose its thickness and elasticity.

Elbow Dysplasia- a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow. Three specific etiologies make up this disease and they can occur independently or in conjunction with one another.

Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) – Genetic diseases are those that are passed on from parent to offspring through genes that carry the codes for each specific trait. Many of the diseases and disorders that affect the eyes have genetic factors.

Not a health issue but a test is available:

Improper Coat in Portuguese Water Dogs Courier Article from 2010