This syndrome manifests itself by quite specific characteristics. It is often quite easy to identify a puppy/dog affected with this syndrome. Typically, MLS affected beagles have short outer toes and they walk upright on their front feet in what resembles a ballerina stance. Often all four feet are affected. Affected beagles often have tighter skin with limited scruff. Their bodies feel hard due to the tight skin, tendons and muscles. They often appear very well muscled. Their head shape is also notably different having a flat skull, higher ear set, ear folds and slanted eyes. Tails are often carried in a straight, stiff fashion and some beagles have noticeable kinks in the tail as well. The syndrome can be determined very early on at about 2 to 4 weeks if you know what to look for. (see picture of 4 week old puppies). The syndrome progressively gets worse until about 1 year of age when the dog then stabilizes. It is also important to note that there are varying degrees of affectedness with many beagles and breeders should look at any or all of the above indicators to assist in determining an MLS diagnosis or a potential MLS carrier. Ear folds, high toes or tight skin as a single trait does not automatically indicate carrier or affected status. There have been dogs with ear folds, high toes or tight skin that were not carriers. Dogs with total normal appearance have been determined to be carriers. The only way to determine normal or carrier status is to TEST. Unless there are associated congenital or genetic problems, these beagles will have a normal life span. A genetic marker test has been developed by the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. The DNA test is being now offered at UC Davis and many other genetic labs .
MLS is inherited as a recessive trait. Current evidence suggests that dogs that have two copies of the mutant gene are affected with MLS, though the severity of clinical signs can be variable. Dogs inheriting only one copy of the mutant gene can show subtle signs but do not appear to have health-related defects. To the best available knowledge, carriers cannot be identified based on their appearance.This test determines whether dogs are normal (clear of the mutation), carrier (have one mutant copy), and affected (have two mutant copies).
If a carrier dog (with a single mutant copy of the gene) is used in a mating, an offspring from the cross has a 50% chance of inheriting the mutation from this parent. If two carriers are mated, 25% of the offspring in the litter are expected to have MLS and another 50% of the puppies are expected to be carriers. Mating two clear dogs will only produce clear puppies, which need not be tested by DNA.
This syndrome was first identified in the early 1990's by beagle breeders Drs. Tony and Judy Musladin and Ada Lueke. This syndrome has been renamed to the Musladin-Lueke Syndrome, in recognition of these dedicated beagle breeders that identified this problem and started investigating it in the beagle population. The genetic research was conducted by Dr.Mark Neff at University of California at Davis. The links below will provide more information, pictures and comments from owners of beagles affected with CBS.
Chinese Beagle Syndrome Revisited-An Article in the March 2005 Show Beagle Quarterly
A Case Study-Printed in the SBQ March 2005 Pictures of Case Study Beagle
Excerpts from Owners of beagles with CBS
Pictures of affected beagles. Use Back Button to return to this page.  PAGE ONE PAGE TWO PAGE THREE
Most owners and breeders that have MLS beagles have noted an abnormal ear cartilage. It may be felt as early as 3 weeks of age. Some beagles just have a odd "ribbon" type feel in the ear and others actual have extra folds from the cartilage. Abnormal ear carriage can be seen almost at birth.PICTURES OF ABNORMAL EAR CARTILAGE