Pattern baldness

What is ... ?: 

With this condition there is gradual, symmetric thinning and loss of hair (alopecia) that usually begins by 6 to 9 months of age and progresses slowly until the affected areas are completely bald. Areas of hair loss are not itchy but may become darkened and scaly over time.
There are 3 different patterns of baldness that occur. In the most common syndrome, dachshunds and other breeds (mostly female animals) experience hair loss around the temples, underneath the neck, and on the chest, abdomen and back of the thighs. In dachshunds with pinnal alopecia (mostly male), the hair is gradually lost from both ears. Saddle alopecia occurs in American water spaniels and Portuguese water dogs, with hair loss underneath the neck, on the back of the thighs, and on the tail.

How is ... inherited?: 


What does ... mean to your dog & you?: 

Aside from the areas of hair loss, your dog's coat will be normal. There is usually no discomfort associated with this condition.

How is ... diagnosed?: 

The condition is diagnosed through clinical examination and ruling out other causes of hair loss.

How is ... treated?: 

There is no treatment to reverse the hair loss.

Breeding advice: 

It is preferable not to breed affected dogs. Recognition of this problem by breed clubs of American water spaniels and Portuguese water dogs has already reduced the frequency of saddle alopecia.


Scott, D.W., Miller, W.H., Griffin, C.E. 1995. Muller and Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology. p. 777  W.B. Saunders Co., Toronto.

What breeds are affected by ... ?