Improper Coat/Furnishings IC Test Code 359
For breeds: Australian Cobberdog, Australian Labradoodle, Berger de Pyrenees, Brussels Griffon, Chinese Crested, Dachshund, German Wirehaired Pointer, Golden Doodles, Havanese, Labradoodle, Labradoodle/Goldendoodle Crosses, Lagotto Romagnolo, Portuguese Water Dog, Pyrenean Shepherd and Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Improper Coat term in the Portuguese Water Dog refers to an undesirable variation in the dog's coat that makes its texture and appearance look different from the breed standard. Specifically, it denotes the change in hair type from wired to straight and also the lack of furnishings, i.e. the absence of mustache and eyebrows - features that are typical for terriers and some other breeds of dogs. In the Portuguese Water Dog, Improper Coat is considered a fault in the dog's coat quality and the major deviation from the breed standard.
Wire-haired coats of many breeds, including Portuguese Water Dogs, are highly prized not only for their appearance but also for the fact that they do not shed as much as many other breeds, which makes these breeds an excellent choice for people who are allergic to dogs. Having the Improper Coat (IC) variation appears to be associated with dogs prone to shedding, thus greatly reducing the value of these dogs. 
An insertion in the RSPO2 gene determines the development of the desired wire-haired coat with furnishings in the Portuguese Water Dogs and in some other breeds . The RSPO2 mutation has dominant effect, meaning that when a dog has one or two copies of the mutant RSPO2 gene with the insertion, it develops a proper wavy or wire-haired non-shedding coat and also has furnishings, i.e. mustache and eyebrows. The Improper Coat phenotype is inherited in autosomal recessive manner and appears only in dogs that have two copies of the wild type RSPO2 gene without the insertion.
Designer dogs such as Labradoodles and Goldendoodles represent crosses of breeds in which furnishings are absent (Labradors and Golden Retrievers) with the Poodle, a breed that bears furnishings. For this reason, all first generation "doodles" have the desired phenotype with proper furnishings but genetically are obligate carriers of the normal RSPO2 gene without the insertion and can potentially produce progeny with the Improper Coat phenotype.
The DNA-based Improper Coat (IC) test detects the presence of the insertion in the RSPO2 gene and determines genotype of a tested dog as being NORMAL, CARRIER or HOMOZYGOUS AFFECTED (Improper Coat). The tet results are interpreted as follows:
NORMAL - the dog has two copies of the RSPO2 gene with the insertion and it has a coat with proper furnishings and wire hair which is the normal phenotype for the breed. All progeny produced by this dog will have wire hair with furnishing coat phenotype.
CARRIER - the dog carriers one copy of the RSPO2 gene with the insertion and one copy of the gene without the insertion. The dog has a coat with proper furnishings but can potentially produce offspring with Improper Coat if it is mated to another Carrier or to an IC affected dog.
HOMOZYGOUS AFFECTED (Improper Coat) - the dog has two copies of the RSPO2 gene without the insertion and it has the IC phenotype. All progeny receives a copy of the wild type RSPO2 gene without the insertion.
The chart below shows the expected results for all possible breeding schemes and can be used as a guide to selecting dogs for breeding based on the IC test results to avoid producing progeny with an undesirable coat type.
It is important to keep in mind that, although the IC test is likely responsible for the majority of cases of Improper Coat, other causes of this condition are possible. In addition, a breed can be heterogeneous for other genetic variants that affect hair growth and structure, such as mutations for hair length and curl, that can modify effect of the RSPO2 mutation and introduce more variation in coat appearance.
For several breeds, including the Dachshund, Portuguese Water Dog, Soft Wheaton Terrier and designer breeds based on crosses with Poodle, that are known to segregate mutations for curly hair and Improper Coat it is advisable to use both tests, the Curly hair test and Improper Coat test, together in order to have a better predictive power when planning breeding schemes. Both tests are available at OptiGen and receive "Combo Discount" pricing when ordered at the same time.
1. Parker H, Chase K, Cadieu E, Gordon KG, Ostrander EA. An Insertion in the RSPO2 Gene Correlates with Improper Coat in the Portuguese Water Dog, J. of Hered. 2010 June; 101(5): 612-617.
Page last updated February 14, 2017
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