New DNA testing scheme for Pugs

29th November 2019 – 5:28 PM

The Kennel Club has approved a new official DNA testing scheme for Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) following consultation with the Pug Breed Health Coordinator on behalf of the breed clubs.

PDE is an inflammatory brain disease that is usually progressive and fatal. Signs of PDE can include seizures, not walking correctly and blindness. Due to the severity of this disease, PDE is considered a priority condition and the Kennel Club, breed clubs and breeders are keen to work towards eventually eradicating this condition from the breed. 

Unlike most other DNA tests, the test for PDE evaluates a dog’s risk of developing the disease, rather than giving a definitive result. Tested dogs will be recorded on the Kennel Club systems as at “minimal risk (0)”, “minimal risk (1)” or “increased risk (2)”. The numbers assigned to each status indicate the number of copies of the PDE gene variant a dog has. Only dogs with two copies of the PDE gene variant have an increased risk of developing the condition.

Minimal risk (0)

These dogs do not have any copies of the PDE gene variant and are at minimal risk of developing the condition.

Minimal risk (1)

These dogs have one copy of the PDE gene variant, but are at minimal risk of developing the condition and may pass either one copy of the normal gene, or one copy of the abnormal gene on to future puppies.

Increased risk (2)

These dogs have two copies of the PDE gene variant and have an increased risk of developing PDE. However, of these of these dogs, it is estimated that only one in eight will ever become affected by the condition itself.

To find out which laboratories the Kennel Club is able to record results from, and which labs will send results direct to the Kennel Club, please refer to the worldwide DNA testing list at

Gary Johnson, KC Breeder Services Manager, said: “The Kennel Club constantly reviews DNA testing schemes in conjunction with breed clubs to ensure that breeders are supported with resources which help them to make responsible breeding decisions. DNA technology is making huge advances year upon year. It is very good news that Pug breeders are taking advantage of this technology which will be of huge benefit as breeders work towards eradicating this condition from this popular and loving breed.”

The Kennel Club works alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs and is happy to accommodate a club’s request to add a new DNA test to its lists. A formal request from the breed’s health coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs is normally required to do this.

Test results will be added to the dog’s registration details which will trigger the publication of the result in the next available Breed Records Supplement. The result will appear on any new registration certificate issued for the dog and on the registration certificates of any future progeny of the dog, and also on the Health Test Results Finder on the Kennel Club website. 

Pug breeders are asked to note that, as the test for PDE evaluates a dog’s risk rather than giving a definitive result, the Kennel Club cannot assign progeny as ‘hereditarily clear’ and therefore results will be recorded for individual dogs only.

Results for dogs already tested can also be recorded, but the owners themselves will need to submit copies of the DNA certificates.

If the owner includes the original registration certificate for the dog (not a copy) then a new registration certificate will be issued, with the DNA result on it, free of charge.  DNA test certificates should be sent to Breeder Services, The Kennel Club, Clarges Street, London W1J 8AB or scanned and emailed to

Due to the high demand of the health scheme the Committee have a dedicated Health administrator Ms Julia Ashton her role is to process your health tests and issue your Health Certificates, please contact her at or tel 07857027479 for all enquires. Mrs Sue Lee remains are Health Manager liaising with the BVA,KC, Cambridge and relevant health committees.

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