Canine Hair Shedding



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Hair Shedding (MC5R)


As we know, not all dogs are alike. When it comes to how much hair they shed, the same is also very true! In certain dogs, the amount of shedding is far greater than in others. In fact, some breeds like Poodles shed very little, if at all. Research has identified a particular variant in a gene (MC5R) that can impact the degree of shedding in various breeds.

As is the case with many traits, the degree of shedding is not strictly regulated by a single gene, but rather by a combination of genes functioning together. Further research has identified a link between shedding (SD locus) and furnishings or improper coats (F locus). Thus, understanding the dog's furnishings and shedding genotype will help determine the dog’s overall degree of shedding (or lack thereof). 

The SD locus determines the scale of how much shedding there will be. It is closely tied to the furnishings gene. One copy of the SD variant (SD/n) results in low to moderate shedding. Meanwhile, two copies of the variant (SD/SD) results in the higher propensity to shed. Dogs that are negative for furnishings (n/n) also have a higher propensity to shed, while dogs that are F/F for furnishings are considered to be less prone to shedding. Dogs that are both SD/SD (high shedding) for shedding and negative (n/n) for furnishings are the most prone to shedding while dogs that are n/n for shedding and F/F for furnishings are the least prone to shedding of any genotype. Different combinations of genotypes will result in varying amounts of shedding.

Hair Shedding Testing:

Animal Genetics currently offers a test to determine the number of copies of the shedding allele a dog carries and the propensity towards shedding or not.

Sample Type:

Animal Genetics accepts buccal swab, blood, and dewclaw samples for testing. Sample collection kits are available and can be ordered at Canine Test Now.

Testing is Relevant For The Following Breeds:

All dog breeds.


Animal Genetics offers DNA testing for the recessive "SD" allele. The genetic test verifies the presence of the mutation and presents results as one of the following:

SD/SD High The has two copies of the shedding allele. The dog will have a higher propensity towards shedding and will always pass on the allele to any offspring.
SD/N Medium The has one copy of the shedding allele. The dog will have a average propensity towards shedding and will pass on the allele to any offspring 50% of the time.
N/N Low The has no copies of the shedding allele. The dog will have a low propensity towards shedding and will never pass on the allele to any offspring.

Combined Shedding and Furnishings Results:

Table reflects the combination of Shedding and Furnishings allele results.

Shedding Allele Furnishings Allele Level of Shedding
N/N F/F Lowest
N/N N/F Low
SD/N F/F Low
N/N N/N Moderate
SD/N N/F Moderate
SD/SD F/F Moderate
SD/N N/N Moderate High
SD/SD N/F Moderate High
SD/SD N/N High