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Interesting article; black hair follicular dysplasia

Interesting article; black hair follicular dysplasia

Interesting article; black hair follicular dysplasia
related terms: black hair follicular dysplasia

What is follicular dysplasia?

Follicular dysplasias are a group of syndromes which have in common abnormal hair loss and changes in coat quality. Hair loss starts at an early age and progresses very slowly. The changes are consistent in the different breeds affected (see below), suggesting a genetic connection.

Black hair follicular dysplasia is a rare inherited disorder that is seen in mixed-breed and purebred dogs. Hair loss occurs at a very early age in black areas on black, or black and white dogs.

How is follicular dysplasia inherited?

Black hair follicular dysplasia is believed to be inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. The modes of inheritance for other follicular dysplasias are unknown.

What breeds are affected by follicular dysplasia?

Follicular dysplasia:

Doberman pinscher - Hair loss starts slowly in the flank areas at 1 to 2 years of age, and progresses very slowly to the back and sides.

Siberian husky and malamute - At 3 to 4 months of age there is a loss of primary hairs on the dog's trunk, and the undercoat becomes crimped and reddish in colour. Clipped hair does not regrow.

Airedale terrier, boxer, English bulldog, Staffordshire terrier - Hair loss starts at 2 to 4 years of age and occurs on the back and sides in a saddle-like pattern. Sometimes the hair regrows and is lost again in a cyclical manner.

Portuguese water dog, Irish water spaniel, curly-coated retriever - Hair loss is first noticed at 2 to 4 years over the back, and spreads slowly to most of the trunk.

Other breeds affected by follicular dysplasia include the Chesapeake Bay retriever, English springer spaniel, German short-haired and wire-haired pointer, and rottweiler.

Black hair follicular dysplasia: mixed breed dogs, and purebred dogs of the following breeds: American cocker spaniel, basset hound, bearded collie, beagle, dachshund, Gordon setter, papillon, pointer, saluki, schipperke. The coat is normal at birth, but by 4 weeks or so, pups start to have abnormalities in the black parts of their haircoat. There is progressive hair loss until all black hairs are lost.

For many breeds and many disorders, the studies to determine the mode of inheritance or the frequency in the breed have not been carried out, or are inconclusive.

What does follicular dysplasia mean to your dog & you?

In most cases, the coat changes are very slowly progressive and permanent, and have little effect on your dog's health. There may be an increased susceptibility to bacterial infections. The dryness and scaliness of the coat can be treated symptomatically (see below).

How is follicular dysplasia diagnosed?

In black hair follicular dysplasia, the early onset and typical pattern of hair loss (black areas only) make diagnosis straightforward. For other follicular dysplasias, endocrine causes of hair loss must be considered. Your veterinarian will take a skin biopsy from your dog, which will show changes typical of follicular dysplasia. This is a simple procedure done with local anesthetic, in which your veterinarian removes a small sample of your dog's skin for examination by a veterinary pathologist. The biopsy will show changes in the skin consistent with this condition.

How is follicular dysplasia treated?

Generally the coat changes are permanent. Your veterinarian will likely suggest symptomatic treatment, such as shampoos and fatty acid supplements, for dry scaly skin. Skin infections that may develop are treated with antibiotics.

Breeding advice

It is preferable not to breed affected animals.



Scott, D.W., Miller, W.H., Griffin, C.E. 1995. Muller and Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology. pp 773, 780. W.B. Saunders Co., Toronto.

Copyright © 1998 Canine Inherited Disorders Database. All rights reserved.
Revised: October 30, 2001.