ISSN 2398-2942      

Blood biochemistry and hematology: breed considerations



  • A reference interval (RI) is a key component of the laboratory report informing the clinician as to the health status of their patient. Values within the RI are less likely to be associated with pathology.
  • The RI may also be affected by factors such as patient age, species and the type of sample obtained (eg potassium, total protein and globulins, will differ between plasma and serum).
  • The RI is instrumentation and reagent dependent. This explains the differences in RI for different diagnostic laboratories.
  • Determining a reference population is not straightforward as some breeds of dogs consistently have values outside of the standard RI absent a pathologic reason.
  • An awareness of breed variations in both biochemistry and hematology parameters can facilitate interpretation of these results.

Determination of reference intervals

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Summary of reported breed-related changes to the RI

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When abnormal is not a worry

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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Iwasa N, Takashima S, Iwasa T, Kumazawa R, Nomura S, Asami S et al (2022) Effect of age, sex, and breed on serum cystatin C and creatinine concentrations in dogs. Vet Res Commun 46(1), 183-188 PubMed
  • Miglio A, Gavazza A, Siepi D, Bagaglia F, Misia A, Antognoni M T (2020) Hematological and Biochemical Reference Intervals for 5 Adult Hunting Dog Breeds Using a Blood Donor Database. Animals (Basel) 10(7), E1212 PubMed
  • Ruggerone B, Giraldi M, Paltrinieri S, Scarpa P (2018) Hematologic and biochemical reference intervals in Shetland Sheepdogs. Vet Clin Pathol 47(4), 617-624 PubMed
  • Hayakawa S, Spangler E A, Christopherson P W, Boudreaux M K (2016) A novel form of macrothrombocytopenia in Akita dogs. Vet Clin Pathol 45(1), 103-105 PubMed
  • Hegstad-Davies R L, Torres S M, Sharkey L C, Gresch S C, Muñoz-Zanzi C A, Davies P R (2015) Breed-specific reference intervals for assessing thyroid function in seven dog breeds. J Vet Diagn Invest 27(6), 716-727 PubMed.
  • Conrado F O, Oliveira S T, Lacerda L A, Silva M O D, Hlavac N, González F H D (2014) Clinicopathologic and electrocardiographic features of Akita dogs with high and low erythrocyte potassium phenotypes. Vet Clin Pathol 43(1), 50-54 PubMed
  • Gelain M E, Bertazzolo W, Tutino G, Pogliani E, Cian F, Boudreaux M K (2014) A novel point mutation in the β1-tubulin gene in asymptomatic macrothrombocytopenic Norfolk and Cairn Terriers. Vet Clin Pathol 43(3), 317-321 PubMed
  • Lavoué R, Geffré A, Braun J P, Peeters D, Granat F, Bourgès-Abella N et al (2014) Breed-specific hematologic reference intervals in healthy adult Dogues de Bordeaux. Vet Clin Pathol 43(3), 352-361 PubMed
  • Torres A R, Cassle S E, Haymore M, Hill R C (2014) Hematologic differences between Dachshunds and mixed breed dogs. Vet Clin Pathol 43(4), 519-524 PubMed
  • Lavoué R, Geffré A, Braun J P, Peeters D, Trumel C (2013) Breed-specific biochemical reference intervals for the adult Dogue de Bordeaux. Vet Clin Pathol 42(3), 346-359 PubMed
  • Sheerer K N, Couto C G, Marin L M, Zaldívar-Lopez S, Iazbik M C, Dillberger J E et al (2013) Haematological and biochemical values in North American Scottish deerhounds. J Small Anim Pract 54(7), 354-360 PubMed
  • Friedrichs K R, Harr K E, Freeman K P, Szladovits B, Walton R M, Barnhart K F et al (2012) ASVCP reference interval guidelines: determination of de novo reference intervals in veterinary species and other related topics. Vet Clin Pathol 41(4), 441-443 Full Article.  
  • Mesa-Sanchez I, Zaldivar-Lopez S, Couto C G, Gamito-Gomez A, Granados-Machuca M M, Lopez-Villalba I et al (2012) Haematological, blood gas and acid-base values in the Galgo Español (Spanish greyhound). J Small Anim Pract 53(7), 398-403 PubMed
  • Campora C, Freeman K P, Serra M, Sacchini F (2011) Reference intervals for Greyhounds and Lurchers using the Sysmex XT-2000iV hematology analyzer. Vet Clin Pathol 40(4), 467-474 PubMed
  • Nielsen L, Kjelgaard-Hansen M, Jensen A L, Kristensen A T (2010) Breed-specific variation of hematologic and biochemical analytes in healthy adult Bernese Mountain dogs. Vet Clin Pathol 39(1), 20-18 PubMed
  • Davis B, Toivio-Kinnucan M, Schuller S, Boudreaux M K (2008) Mutation in beta1-tubulin correlates with macrothrombocytopenia in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. J Vet Intern Med 22(3), 540-545 PubMed
  • Shiel R E, Brennan S F, O’Rourke L G, McCullough M, Mooney C T (2007) Hematologic values in young pretraining healthy Greyhounds. Vet Clin Pathol 36(3), 274-277 PubMed
  • Xenoulis P G, Suchodolski J S, Levinski M D, Steiner J M (2007) Investigation of hypertriglyceridemia in healthy Miniature Schnauzers. J Vet Intern Med 21(6), 1224-1230 PubMed
  • Singh M, Lamb W (2005) Idiopathic thrombocytopenia in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Aust Vet J 83(11), 700-703 PubMed
  • Pedersen H D, Häggstrom J, Olsen L H, Christensen K, Selin A, Burmeister M L et al (2002) Idiopathic asymptomatic thrombocytopenia in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is an autosomal recessive trait. J Vet Intern Med 16(2), 169-173 PubMed
  • Boudreaux M K (2001) Inherited platelet disorders. J Vet Emerg Crit Care San Antonio 22(1), 30-41 PubMed
  • Tisdall P L, Hunt G B, Tsoukalas G, Malik R (1995) Post-prandial serum bile acid concentrations and ammonia tolerance in Maltese dogs with and without hepatic vascular anomalies. Aust Vet J 72(4), 121-126 PubMed
  • Patt H M, Lund J E, Maloney M A (1973) Cyclic hematopoiesis in grey collie dogs: a stem-cell problem. Blood 42(6), 873-884 PubMed



Basset Bleu de Gascogne


Belgian Shepherd Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bichon Frise

Blood biochemistry: acid phosphatase

Blood biochemistry: alanine aminotransferase (SGPT, ALT)

Blood biochemistry: alkaline phosphatase (ALP)

Blood biochemistry: aspartate aminotransferase (AST)

Blood biochemistry: bile acid stimulation test

Blood biochemistry: chloride

Blood biochemistry: cholesterol

Blood biochemistry: creatinine

Blood biochemistry: gamma globulin

Blood biochemistry: gamma glutamyltransferase

Blood biochemistry: glucose

Blood biochemistry: overview

Blood biochemistry: potassium

Blood biochemistry: total bilirubin

Blood biochemistry: total globulin

Blood biochemistry: total protein

Blood biochemistry: triglycerides

Blood biochemistry: urea


Bracco Italiano



Cairn Terrier

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Chihuahua - Long Coat

Chihuahua - Smooth Coat

Chinese Shar Pei

Chow Chow

Cocker Spaniel

Cyclic hematopoiesis




Dogue De Bordeaux

German Shepherd Dog

Grand Bleu De Gascogne



Hematology: activated clotting time

Hematology: activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT)

Hematology: band neutrophil, band cell

Hematology: basophil

Hematology: complete blood count (CBC)

Hematology: D-dimers

Hematology: eosinophil

Hematology: hemoglobin concentration

Hematology: leukocyte (WBC)

Hematology: leukogram

Hematology: lymphocyte

Hematology: mean corpuscular hemoglobin

Hematology: mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration

Hematology: mean corpuscular volume

Hematology: monocyte

Hematology: neutrophil

Hematology: nucleated red blood cell

Hematology: packed cell volume

Hematology: platelet count

Hematology: prothrombin time

Hematology: red blood cell count

Hematology: reticulocyte count



Jack Russell Terrier


Norfolk Terrier

Poodle: Miniature

Poodle: Standard

Poodle: Toy

Retriever: Labrador



Schnauzer: miniature

Segugio Italiano

Shetland Sheepdog

Shih Tzu

Thyroid: free T4 assay

Thyroid: T4 assay


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