Black Hair Follicular Dysplasia

Test Overview:

Black hair follicular dysplasia (BHFD) is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait and is a type of alopecia (hair loss) that only affects areas of black fur. It is seen in bicolour and tricolour dogs. Pups are born normally, but may show a dulling of the normal dark, glossy black hair. The hair on adjacent white skin grows normally. With time black hairs become brittle and break easily. Black hair fails to grow, and skin can become scaly. It is thought that BHFD may be related to the condition “colour dilution alopecia”, in which hair loss is seen in colour dilute animals (e.g. blue and fawn dogs). Both conditions seem to involve defects in the processing and transport of the skin and hair pigment melanin. With BHFD, the hair follicles in areas of black hair are abnormal, with clumps of melanin, distorted follicles and hyperkeratosis seen on histopathology. These abnormal hair follicles are prone to infection, and so affected areas of skin can develop bacterial folliculitis, an infection that is very irritating and can sometimes lead to deeper skin infection (pyoderma). Treatment is symptomatic only, and abnormal or missing hairs will not be replaced by normal hairs. Topical antiseptics or antibiotics are used for bacterial folliculitis. Antiseborrhoeic shampoos and oil rinses are often helpful, and general skin treatments such as omega fatty acids are often given. Other treatments recently reported of possible benefit include melatonin, etretinate (a synthetic aromatic retinoid) and niacinamide. Affected animals should not be used for breeding. Several breeds now have a DNA test available to them for screening prior to breeding.


Dermatologic - Associated with the skin



Variant Detected:

Base Substitution G>A


It is a trait and so is tested based on preference, not usually for health concerns.

Mode of Inheritance:

Autosomal Recessive

Recommended Screening:

There is a DNA test available for several breeds, including the Large Munsterlander, and also the Newfoundland, Great Dane and Dobermann. In breeds where it is available it is recommended that breeding animals be screened prior to entering into any breeding program - eg at one year of age.

Research Citation(s):

Vet Dermatol. 2006 Jun; 17(3): 182–188.
Vet Rec. 1978 Jan 28;102(4):87. [PubMed: 636237]
"Conditions Associated with Coat Color in Dogs." University of Saskatchewan. University of Saskatchewan, 02 June 2011. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. .
Dog Coat Colour Genetics
Schmutz, SM., Moker, JS., Clark, EG., Shewfelt, R. : Black hair follicular dysplasia, an autosomal recessive condition in dogs. Can Vet J 39:644-6, 1998. Pubmed reference: 9789677.

Associated Breed(s):

Alaskan Malamute, Australian Shepherd, Basset Hound, Beagle, Bearded Collie , Chihuahua, Cocker Spaniel, Dobermann, Gordon Setter , Great Dane, Miniature American Shepherd, Miniature Pinscher , Miniature Schnauzer, Mixed Breed, Munsterlander, Newfoundland, Papillon, Pointer, Portuguese Water Dog, Saluki, Schipperke, Tenterfield Terrier ,