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Like every breed of dog, poodles are susceptible to a variety of hereditary diseases. Amongst those that can affect standard poodles are hip displaysia, sebaceous adenitis, progressive retinal atrophy and von willebrands disease. Unlike with most 'designer dogs' there is a health registry for poodles and research is being done to find genetic markers for the diseases that affect them.
For that reason its very important to screen breeding stock for any of these genetic problems to minimize the risks and reduce the incidence of problems. Since a lot of genetic problems dont appear till a dog is at least 2 years old, proof of testing for previous generatons is very important.
Although there can never be any guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong with the puppy you purchase, at least you can give it the best chance at a healthy life by making sure you buy from a breeder who has the betterment of the breed in mind. Any ethical breeder will be happy to provide proof of testing.
There has been a lot written about known problems and health testing of poodles so there's no need for me to go into it in detail here. You can find out more about genetic diseases of the poodle on the Versatility in Poodles website.