Quick Summary

The extent of shedding is impacted by several genes but two, MC5R and RSPO2, appear to have significant effect on the relative degree of shedding. Combinations of variants identified in these two genes result in decreased overall shedding rates.

Click here for Price and Turnaround TimeDogs

Phenotype: Dogs with one or two copies of the variant alleles shed less than dogs with no copies

Mode of Inheritance:  Complex

Alleles: MC5R SD = low shedding variant, N = Normal shedding

                RSPO2 F = low shedding variant, IC = Normal shedding

Breeds appropriate for testing: Many

Explanation of results:

Shedding (SD locus) plus Furnishing and Improper coat

  • Dogs with SD/SD and F/F or SD/N and F/F genotypes are associated with minimal shedding.
  • Dogs with SD/SD and F/IC or N/N and F/F genotypes have low shedding associated variants and are predicted to have lower rates of shedding than would be considered average for the breed.
  • Dogs with SD/SD and IC/IC, SD/N and IC/IC or SD/N and F/IC genotypes have variants predicted to result in average shedding.


Note: To reach these conclusions, researchers rated breeds on a scale of 0 (minimal shedding breeds) to 1 (heavy shedding breeds), and Figure 1 below shows where the genotype combinations fall on that scale. Breeds were considered minimal shedders (0), average shedders (0.5) and heavy shedders (1) according to information provided on various websites, including Shedding was not quantified as a part of this study.

Shedding scale
Figure 1. Shedding scale and corresponding genotype combinations. Adapted from Hayward et al., 2016, where shedding rates were scaled as 0 (in minimal shedding breeds) to 1 (in heavy shedding breeds). Seasonal shedding breeds were not included in the original publication.


Turnaround Time
At least 15 business days; may be delayed beyond 15 business days if sample requires additional testing, or a new sample is requested.

Shedding (SD Locus) plus Furnishings and Improper Coat (IC)

$75 one test per animal

$35 when added to one other coat color/fur type/bobtail test (same animal) 

$30 when added to two or more other coat color/fur type/bobtail tests (same animal) 

Sample Collection

Dog DNA tests are carried out using cells brushed from your dog's cheeks and gums. The preferred cytology brushes are sent to you by mail, or you may provide your own brushes. For accepted alternative brushes, click here

We recommend waiting until puppies are at least three weeks old before testing.


Dog having its cheeks and gums brushed for DNA samples
Cheek and gum brushing technique for canine DNA sample collection


  1. Make sure the dog has not had anything to eat or drink for at least 1 hour prior to collecting sample.
  2. When swabbing puppies, isolate each puppy from the mother, littermates and any shared toys for 1 hour prior to swabbing. Puppies should not have nursed or eaten for 1 hour prior to collecting sample.
  3. If collecting samples from more than one dog, make sure to sample one dog at a time and wash your hands before swabbing another dog.
  4. Label brush sleeve with name or ID of dog to be sampled.
  5. Open brush sleeve by arrow and remove one brush by its handle.
  6. Place bristle head between the dog’s gums and cheek and press lightly on the outside of the cheek while rubbing or rotating the brush back and forth for 15 seconds.
  7. Wave the brush in the air for 20 seconds to air dry.
  8. Insert brush back into sleeve.
  9. Repeat steps 5 - 8 for each unused brush in sleeve on a fresh area of cheek and gums. Make sure to use and return all brushes sent by the VGL. In most cases, it will be 3 brushes per dog. If using interdental gum brushes, please note that the VGL requires 4 brushes per dog and only moderate or wide interdental gum brushes are accepted.
  10. Do not seal brushes in sleeve.
  11. Place all samples in an envelope and return to the address provided.


  • Do not collect saliva/drool – the key to obtaining a good sample is getting cheek cells on the swab
  • Do not rub swab on the dog’s tongue or teeth – this will result in poor quality sample
  • Do not collect a sample from a puppy that has recently nursed – the mother’s genetic material can rub off on the puppy’s mouth and contaminate the sample
Additional Details

Multiple genes control the propensity for a dog to shed. Identified as the SD Locus (Shedding), the melanocortin 5 receptor (MC5R gene) variant c.709G>A is associated with decreased shedding in multiple dog breeds. High shedding is associated with two copies of the ancestral allele (N) with relatively less shedding in individuals with one ancestral and one variant (SD) allele.

Dogs with furnishings, which is caused by a 167 bp insertion in the untranslated region near R-spondin-2 (RSPO2), also have a propensity to shed less. The two genes have an additive effect, thus dogs with both variants exhibit the lowest amount of shedding while dogs lacking either variant have the highest amount of shedding. Combinations of heterozygous variants at both loci (MC5R and RSPO2) are predicted to result in intermediate shedding rates. However, quantification of the volume of shedding of these heterozygotes has not been determined.

Note: other laboratories identify the low shedding variant as the "n" or "sd" allele. However, the publication identifying the causal MC5R mutation suggests that the ancestral allele is the recessive, high shedding variant while the low shedding variant is the dominant mutated allele.