Designer dog breeds more prone to tick infestations - here are the ones most at risk

Designer dog breeds with curly coats are at higher risk of becoming infested by ticks, according to new research by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

New designer cross breeds - including cavapoo, cockapoo, goldendoodle and cavachons - are all at higher risk of tick infestation because of their poodle heritage.

The study scored standard poodles as the breed the second-most at risk of tick infestation.

Ticks are a common parasite in dogs, with 2% - one in every 50 dogs - diagnosed with at least one tick infestation over the five-year study period.

Cavapoos - a cross between a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a poodle - were the breed with the highest rates of tick infestation, with 5.19% of dogs disgnosed in a five-year period.

The breeds with the highest rates of tick infestations over a five-year period were:

• Goldendoodle and standard poodle - 5.14%
• Cairn terrier - 5.09%
• Cockapoo - 4.79%
• Miniature schnauzer - 4.38%
• Cavachon - 4.29%

Designer breeds vulnerable

Designer breeds overall had 1.81 times the risk of getting a tick infestation compared with crossbred dogs, the study found.

Ticks attach to the skin and suck blood from animals and humans, and can also transmit several serious diseases.

They normally live in woodland and grassland, and areas with lots of wildlife.

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The RVC's VetCompass study looked at a random sample of anonymised vet records from more than 900,000 dogs in the UK.

The study found that while the new designer breeds - increasingly popular among pet owners - had a higher risk of tick infestation, some longer established breeds were also at high risk.

Terrier alert

These included the cairn terrier, standard poodle, parson russell terrier, golden retriever and miniature schnauzer.

In comparison, the breeds with the lowest odds included the Staffordshire bull terrier, rottweiler, chihuahua and English bulldog.

Male dogs were 1.24 times more likely to suffer a tick infestation compared to females.

Dr Dan O'Neill, lead author of the study, said owners of dogs that are poodle or of poodle heritage should "be aware of the need to routinely check their dogs for ticks and to perhaps ensure the coats of these dogs are kept short".