Thursday, 25 August 2011

So, what do you get if...

...you cross a Champion Standard Schnauzer with a German Pinscher?


Well, in the first generation you get this...


and this...

... and this


Then let's say you then take the most Pinscher-like of the litter and mate her
 to a top purebred Pinscher. Then what do you get?


Well, in this second (F2) generation you get this..




And now let's mate a bitch from another second-generation outcross litter to
 another Finnish Champion purebred Pinscher. 

And then, amazingly, you get...

Finnish Champion Yarracitta Ketschuppibaby
Finnish Champion Yarracitta Kaneliprinsessa


Yep, in a litter of of nine, two were made up to Champions and another four won titles competing directly against top purebred German Pinschers. In fact, Yarracitta Kaneliprinsessa was awarded "The Most Successful  Show Bitch" in both 2009 and 2010 - a title awarded every year by the Finnish German Pinscher Club.

This Finnish outcross project, which started in 1998 but which I had never heard of before this week, is testament to just how successful careful outcrossing can be - and just how quickly you can get back to type by backcrossing. 

And these dogs don't just look the part. There is at least some evidence that they are more robust than some of their purebred counterparts.

The outcross has been done because of concerns regarding genetic diversity and inbreeding. During the second world war, the German Pinscher was very nearly lost. There were no registrations at all in West Germany between 1949 and 1958, but the breed was eventually re-established in the 1950s  using a bitch from East Germany who had survived. She, along with a Miniature Pinscher bitch, was bred to two male oversized Min Pins. These five dogs were bred 14 times in various permutations to reconstruct the breed. 

Within 10 years, over 500 dogs had been bred. But there became increasing concern about inbreeding, particularly in Finland where the breed is popular.  "The biggest problem in Pinschers is the high frequency of hereditary cataract (HC) and adverse reactions to vaccinations," says Finnish researcher Katariina Maki. "Incidence of HC is estimated to be at lest 16.5 per cent with adverse vaccine reactions seen in 20-25 per cent of the purebred Pinscher population in Finland". 

In 1996, the Finnish KC accepted a proposal from three Finnish kennels to cross the breed with a Standard Schnauzer.

Why a Standard Schnauzer? Clearly, they look very different, but they were once the same breed (the Wire Haired and Smooth Haired Pinscher) with two coat varieties that eventually split into two different breeds. They also do no not suffer from hereditary cataract or are known for adverse vaccine reactions.

The German Pinscher/Schnauzer outcross project

So far, there have been one F1 litter, two F2 litters, three F3 and three F4 litters - with the F4 dogs now accepted on to the normal FKC register, considered purebred.  Fourteen of the dogs have taken part in the FKC's temperament tests, with slightly better results than purebred Pinschers.  The frequency of hereditary cataract is 10.5 per cent (compared to 16.5 per cent in the purebred population) and although there have been a few vaccine reactions, these have been very mild compared to the purebred population (in which they are often severe).  Subsequent generations could see these rise, of course, as the "dilution" effect of the Schnauzer diminishes, but given the success, there is presumably no reason why further outcrosses could not be incorporated into the German Pinscher gene pool.

You've gotta love those Finns - probably one of the most genetically-aware nations on the planet given the geographical isolation that has led to their more than fair share of genetic problems in their human population. 

60 comments:

  1. There have also been Finnish KC approved crosses between:

    - Barbet - Pont-Audemer Spaniel, puppies registered as Barbet.
    A litter was born in June 2011: http://www.nuutuksen.net/76

    - Brasilian Terrier - Danish-Swedish Farmdog, puppies registered as Brasilian Terriers
    A litter was born in May 2011: http://www.pirunsaaren.com/pengal.htm

    These are both obviously still in F1-stage. There was also a Pont-Audemer Spaniel - Irish Water Spaniel cross approved in 2008 but that has apparently come true.

    Maija Vilppo

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  2. Maija, what do you mean by "come true"?

    Jemima

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  3. That at least I could not find a Pont-Audemer Spaniel - Irish Water Spaniel litter born even though there was the approval in place. I heard a rumor (completely unsubstantiated so possibly false) that the bitch would have been empty (it did not become pregnant) on the first try. I don't know if there were a second try.

    In any case I cannot find a Pont-Audemer Spaniel - Irish Water Spaniel litter in the Finnish KC Online Pedigree database (http://jalostus.kennelliitto.fi) where all the registered litters and dogs are published including the crosses starting from F1. So had there been a litter it would be there.

    Maija Vilppo

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  4. Well done Finland. Thanks Jemima for this interesting news. Hopefully our Kennel Club will take note

    Pippa Mattinson

    Sorry if this comes up twice, just trying a different browser as comments don't seem to work in explorer

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  5. So there really is no excuse not to do regular outcrosses. Particularly given that pet owners willingly buy crosses - so it's not like they wouldn't be able to find homes for the puppies.

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  6. That cross isn't the only one. There's another Schnauzer x Pinscher cross, also by Yarracitta kennel. 5 pups were born last December:
    http://www.elisanet.fi/yarracitta/upentue.html

    FinKC originaslly gave a permit for 4 Schnauzer x Pinscher crosses. The 1st one didn't succeed, as there were just 2 pups, both males - and as neither had two testicles, they were never bred. The 2nd cros is the one Jemima describes here in her blog, and the 3rd one can be found from the link I gave above. The 4th crossing option isn't yet used, but Yarracitta will quite likely do it sooner or later.

    Liisa

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  7. I've always wondered what breeders do wih the f1, f2 generations of these crosses. Do they sell the ones they don't want for breeding as pets? Do they make sure there is a market for them first? Do they club together and place the pups with other like-minded breeders? Please don't take this as a criticism; I'm genuinley interested. I have been since I helped whelp a bobtailed boxer who gave birth to 3 pups with stumps...when I learned corgi had been used to introduce the gene I couldn't help but wonder what the f1 crosses looked like and what happened to the stock not chosen to further the project.
    Vicky Payne

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  8. Thank-you to the Finns! I'm so glad at least one nation gets it.

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  9. can you please define 'adverse vaccine reactions"? deadly, mild, what type of reaction.. skin, breathing.. long term.. short term..
    what vaccines were used..live, modified live.. were all dogs given the same vaccine at the same time?
    How was the reaction to vaccine proven? Which vaccines were proved to be the problem ones.. rabies, DHLP? Lepto? or all of them? were they given at the same time or separately ? Can you refer me ti the study that shows that these dogs reacted to vaccines that other dog sin the same situations did not? Thank you.
    Do you know if action was taken to avoid the vaccines and to promote the use of titers instead?
    What is the "some evidence of robustness" found in the backcross dogs compared to the purebred dogs?
    I an wiht Vicki.. what do they do wiht the dogs who do not fit their breeding program? As you showed in PDE many purebred dog people "cull" ( meaning place not kill) their pets in non show homes. I assume these pets are castrated and placed... are they followed for health and regularly tested as well?

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  10. Vicky:
    I don't know this Pinscher breeder, but I guess that she had homes ready for the F1 pups. After all, they are registered Pinschers and you can do anything you want with them, including showing, although they have just FinKC papers and not full FCI papers (and are bearded...). The F3 champions are naturally "only" Finnish Champions and can never be FCI International Champions, but then who cares - except those few people who love to show in as many countries as possible and get show titles for their dogs.

    I met one of the cryptorchid males from the 1st cross litter when he was still quite young. The owner was happy to tell me what was the origin of her bearded dog, and seemed to be very proud to own such a pet although it wasn't breeding or show quality.

    About bobtailed Boxer, just check Dr. Bruce Cattanach's pages and see them yourself:
    http://www.steynmere.com/GENETICS.html#articles

    Other crossing projects I know of include at least:
    - Clumber x English Cocker (registered as Clumbers), done in Sweden
    - rare Swedish national hound breeds to each others: Gotland Hound, Smaland Hound and I think a third breed too, perhaps Schiller Hound?

    And then some Finnish Lapphund x Lapponian Herder crosses have been registered as Lapponian Herders, although this doesn't count as a "project" as they were more or less just random litters. Two in Sweden and one here in Finland.

    Not a crossing project, but merging a Russian hunting spitz breed Karelo-Finnish Laika with older and more numerous breed Finnish Spitz, our national breed, helped to widen Finkie's gene pool and to get rid of the problem of two nearly identical FCI breeds.

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  11. The dogs that are born in the project are most of all pets. If they are suitable for breeding as well, that's good. If not, they continue their lives as pets.

    Adverse reactions to vaccines are seen mostly after 8-14 days of the first distemper vaccination. Hiccuping, swallowing, coughing, vomiting, extreme fatigue, wobbling, paralysis of hind legs, epileptic-like seizures, unconsciousness, even a few deaths.

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  12. Also it has to be mentioned that spaying and neutering in not very prevalent in Finnish dog keeping. Dogs are sold intact (with no obligation on the owner to spay/neuter later) even if the puppy will be just a pet. Lots of people keep their pets intact with no plans for breeding or puppies. So it is possible to use "just" pet dogs for breeding. And if a dog is spayed or neutered it is done when the dog is adult never as a puppy.

    Also showing is relatively cheap and common and done as a hobby (very little professionalism). People usually show their own dogs or the breeder or a friend may handle them. So rather large percentage of purebred dogs in Finland are shown even if just once or twice in their lives.

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  13. "Can you refer me ti the study that shows that these dogs reacted to vaccines that other dog sin the same situations did not?"

    Dear bestuvall,

    Do you really expect that there is a public/ published study on the issue?

    The adverse reactions are reported to FIMEA (Finnish Medicines Agency) by vets. The Agency proceeds accordingly when/if need arises.

    In case you're desperate to get detailed info you better turn to the Agency.

    -labpack-

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  14. what are the future plans for this project ? - will Yarracita's pups be also bred back into the purebred Pinscher gene pool or will there be another outcross at the 4th generation in order to maintain diversity ...if not then surely any benefits will largely be lost with each subsequent generation and if so then only one generation in 4 will be of 'breed type'.

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  15. This is fascinating. Well done to the Finns. It could be that their 'fun' and laid back attitude to showing fosters their desire to improve the dogs, rather than being hogtied by having to be 'winning' and 'producing' for the show ring all the time.

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  16. Thank you very much, Jemima, for this nice story. I'm quite impressed indeed to find out that there are health freaks outside of Finland
    too.

    Furthermore, would like to inform that there is now in fact a further 4th generation litter, which I failed to mention earlier: Yarracitta Kaneliprinsessa produced on Aug 5th a litter with 7 puppies, 3 males and 4 females, all in red.


    And Bijou, a very good point, I will think it over very carefully and make some necessary inquiries to be able to make further steps in this procedure.

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  17. Yes, a good point, Bijou.
    Unfortunately there is no gene test for HC in Pinschers so we cannot see what alleles the dogs have. If there was a test, this project could proceed re HC like the project in LUA dalmatians re urinary stones. But there are also genetic markers, like DLA haplotypes, which can be assessed. By finding out the dogs' haplotypes the breeders can ensure that the important supplement diversity in the MHC area coming from the Schnauzer is not going to dilute in subsequent generations.

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  18. There's never going to be a shortage of loving homes for the progeny of these types of outcrosses. I know I am not alone in prefering crosses to line breds (which we all know means inbreds). And in the selection of photos above my preferred choice would be the cutey from the first crossing - him/her with the beard and eyebrows - simply gorgeous.

    These pups come with the added bonus that they are contributing to the health of the wider breed population, hopefully, so this makes them even more desirable.

    So please keep us posted on any further outcrosses be they dalmatian, pinscher, or cavalier, or whatever, wonderful pet homes will be lining up for them.

    Very interesting post.

    Philippa

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  19. Yes, well done Finnish breeders! As for the questions of how-do-they-find-homes-for-them, I don´t understand.
    A hunting neighbour of ours, here in rural Sweden where hunting is close to a religion, stopped by the other day, rather down in spirits. He told me that his 8-year-old Border Terrier bitch had been put to sleep. He had noticed that she seemed to have problems with her eye-sight, so took her to a large veterinary hospital in the region, where they eye expert checked her, then looked very serious and asked his permission to report to the breed club - which, as he said, he of course granted, as the vet had said this might be "some hereditary thing or other", he didn´t quite understand what. He produced the paperwork and sure enough - poor bitch had cataracts and PRA both. Now he was switching to another breed - and this time he would be sure to check what the breed club had to say on health matters before deciding to buy. He didn´t want another dog dead too early.

    Now, if somebody had offered this man a puppy out of a cross-bred litter, with a similar type of breed, similar temperament and hunting characterstics, but with not a single case of PRA known - would he have hesitated? On the contrary I think that there would have been quite a few contestants for those puppies and a selection of hunting homes waiting!

    And like somebody from Finland said, here too pet dogs are very rarely spayed or neutered, if there isn´t a medical reason for it, like pyometra. So if the F1-crosses should turn out to be promising and free frpm whatever gene might be identifiable as the culprit, or clinically free from disease signs in adulthood, there´d be a few to choose from. If they don´t turn out well, so what? They´d go on living as family dogs in their pet homes and simply never be bred from.

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  20. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my query about the f1 crosses. I must check the bobtail boser site again as I don't remember ever seeing pictures of the corgi x boxers. I accept clumber x cockers and pinscher x schnauzer pups would be easy to home.....but boxer x corgi?!
    Do the breeders tend to keep females for their outcrossing projects and mate back to champion males or do they keep males because a male can be used to produce more litters thus increasing the 'good' an outcross can do? (Again, please don't think I am at all critical; I am simply fascinated by these forward thinking programmes and wish to know more.)
    Vicky Payne
    PS I'm glad that a genetic predisposition to vaccine reactions has finally been flagged up in at least one breed. It's not fair for breeders to always blame the vaccines when their own inbreeding may be as much as problem as the vaccine itself. (For the record I promote risk based use of vaccines and use vaccines with proven longer durations of action alongside titre testing for those who wish to increase vaccine interval further).

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  21. There will soon be some first generation crosses from the Irish Setter/Irish Red and Red White Setter outcross programme in Ireland. Some will be kept for breeding, others will be available to pet or working homes. They will be registered as IRWS, with the papers marked as 1st generation

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  22. You can read about the corgi x boxer cross breeding here: http://www.steynmere.com/ARTICLES1.html

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  23. I think it is likely that if outcross would benefit a breed, and a good case could be argued for doing it, the Kennel Club in the UK would probably accept it. They have written to the Irish Kennel Club to say that the Irish Setter/IRWS cross is not only acceptable, but in line with their own current policies of breeding for more diversity. So lets hope some more vulnerable breeds with small gene pools go down this road

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  24. Great story. I especially liked the photos. Wonderful that the Finns are putting health above some notion of "purity".

    For a historical perspective on backcrossing see:
    http://retrieverman.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/how-backcrossing-works/

    Apparently they knew a lot more about backcrossing 150 years ago than they do today

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  25. I think another source for potential pinscher genetic diversity is the mountain cur breed in the United States. I have seen pinscher-type characteristics in these dogs, and the areas where they are native have had rather extensive amounts of German immigration. They have lots of different dogs in them, including possible Native American dogs, but some of them are very pinscher-like:
    http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/images4/MountainCurRon.jpg

    The standard pinscher or German pinscher is much healthier in terms of its population structure when one compares it to the Austrian pinscher. There was only a single Austrian pinscher left by the 1970's, and the breed that exists now has a very limited number of founders.

    Its health hasn't been extensively studied either.

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  26. "I met one of the cryptorchid males from the 1st cross litter when he was still quite young. "

    what?

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  27. "These pups come with the added bonus that they are contributing to the health of the wider breed population, hopefully, so this makes them even more desirable."

    I guess when they produce dogs with no testicles you won't have to worry about that..
    meanwhile:
    Dear bestuvall,

    Do you really expect that there is a public/ published study on the issue?



    yes I do.. otherwise why do the cross breeding for vaccine problems that have not been proven? ? I have no problem with experimenting with breeding dogs.. but stop pretending that it is for "health" that purebreds don't have when there is not real study to prove the necessity.
    The German Pinscher Club of America does not state adverse reaction to vaccines.. so why not use semen from those dogs?

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  28. Vicky asked:
    > Do the breeders tend to keep females ... or males

    Bitches, naturally, so that they are able to breed another litter themselves. Some, sometimes all of the male pup are living in homes which stay in contact with the breeder and as most of them are intact for all of their lives, they can be used for breeding if the original breeder or somebody else thinks such a dog would be a suitable match for their bitch. So, selling a dog doesn't mean that it is forever lost from your breeding program.

    It is quite normal for a "good" breeder here in Finland to track down an older, non-used male dog living in a pet home, ask the owners to do the necessary health tests or borrow the male and take it to those tests, and then use it for one litter.

    It isn't good breeding practise to choose the future parents of the next generation when the pups are like 5-7 weeks old and just forget all the rest. Nope, it is best to choose only when they are over 2 years old and have been living normal doggie lives all that time.

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  29. Q So, what do you get if...
    ...you cross a Champion Standard Schnauzer with a German Pinscher?

    A A CROSSBREED

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  30. bestuvall sez:
    "otherwise why do the cross breeding for vaccine problems that have not been proven?"

    Did you fail to comprehend that "high frequency of HC" is a very valid reason for cross breeding, too?

    As to your concern on "unproven vaccine problems" - here you have, hope they'll be able to help you...

    "Adverse reactions to vaccines for animals should be reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Inspection Service, Center for Veterinary Biologics -- (800) 752-6255.
    This is a link to their Home Page on reporting ADEs to biologic products, including vaccines --
    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/cvb/html/adverseeventreport.html "

    rgds,
    -labpack-

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  31. @Bestuvall: Please note the above comment by Liisa - the emphasis is mine - and stop being snarky just for the sake of it.

    "FinKC originaslly gave a permit for 4 Schnauzer x Pinscher crosses. The 1st one didn't succeed, as there were just 2 pups, both males - and **as neither had two testicles, they were NEVER BRED.**"

    Further to Vicky Payne's question about whether the Boxer x Corgi F1 crosses would be of any interest as pets, here is a quote from Dr Cattanach's article:

    "By the age of 5-6 weeks things were better. The pups no longer looked like awful Boxers, but rather like an unrelated and somewhat cute breed. And they all still looked alike. The Corgi overwhelmed. The heads were Corgi-like, the legs were short, the coats were longish and somewhat wavy, the tails of bob-tail pups (and normals) were free from kinks, though tended to bend over the back, but all the pups appeared to have drop ears. Only in eyes, expression and temperament did they resemble Boxers. They looked ideal puppies for little girls, and a photo in the vets' surgery a few weeks later had them selling like hot cakes."

    There are photos on that link that Louise provided of those very corgi-like F1 pups.

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  32. "Q So, what do you get if...
    ...you cross a Champion Standard Schnauzer with a German Pinscher?

    A A CROSSBREED"

    Gasp! Oh, the humanity! Seriously, that made me laugh so hard coffee was endangering my keyboard. Steve, how do you think breeds were created in the first place? Would you look at the two final products and decide they were crossbreeds and therefore not Pinscher like?

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  33. im not sure if i misread this bit, but did i see that the first cross yielded monorchids and cryptorchids?

    you would think with the low coi, things like that would be avoided???

    its all quite complicated, huh?

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  34. There are likelihoods but often no givens in genetics.

    Was sent this ref today, looking at crypto/mono-orchids in the miniature schnauzer. Conclusions (from a small study): inherited and more bilaterals the more inbred the dog.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/tera.1420180208/abstract

    Also found this - also miniature schnauzers, which finds a very high rate in the breed (also that the males are often born with a uterus!)

    http://bakerinstitute.vet.cornell.edu/faculty/page.php?id=206http://bakerinstitute.vet.cornell.edu/faculty/page.php?id=206

    But a cursory check has found no refs relating to German Pinschers or Standard Schnauzers and cryptorchism. So perhaps just an unlucky one-off.

    Jemima

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  35. He told me that his 8-year-old Border Terrier bitch had been put to sleep. He had noticed that she seemed to have problems with her eye-sight ...

    Wait ... what?

    Blindness is a handicap. Why the death sentence?

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  36. "And these dogs don't just look the part. There is at least some evidence that they are more robust than some of their purebred counterparts."
    says the blogger

    and that would be?
    Although this is interesting.. words like "some evidence" and "than some of" are less than scientific and really do not prove anything. What is "robustness" in the German Pinscher.. they already seem to be a pretty hardy little breed.

    I read the Baker study.. no where did it say MS's males are "often born with a uterus".. in fact this is what the first sentence says;

    "Several cases of PMDS in Miniature Schnauzers have been reported in the USA and Europe over the past 20 years."

    Several cases in 20 years is hardly "often" and even so there is a DNA test for the problem so once again it will be a problem that can be solved by breeding carriers to clears and weeding out affected.. and not needing to "outcross"to another breed.

    as seen by your outcross study crypto/mono-orchids are not eliminated by outcrossing in this case. I would be very wary of continuing a backcross study or an outcross study that produced a lethal gene in the first generation ( lethal meaning that if it continues there would be no more of that breed)
    Crypto/ mon-orchids have been proven to be genetic in nature I believe in all breeds..most vets frown on breeding from mono's even tho most are fertile because of the inheritance mode.... they cannot be shown..and should not be bred from.. some even recommend that the siblings not be bred from as well as the gene seems to run in lines

    As for the vaccine problem.. why not use dogs of the same breed who are from lines that do not have the problem.. The gene pool may be small in Finland.. but it is wide elsewhere..at least wide enough that "vaccinoses" is not mentioned as problem in the American German Pinscher Club..Why not just forgo the distemper shots on this breed and use a titer to determine if the dog has built up a resistance naturally to distemper? If they have.. well them problem solved.. if not then .. well on to the outcross. although it seems a bit extreme..when the reactions are varied and range from minor and transient to more serious in a very few cases

    The HD is another thing altogether..but with ongoing research to identify the gene and annual CERF tests and careful knowledge of generations who were affected and not. it seems that this soon will also be under control.. Thank goodness for the pure bred dog and their owners and their willingness to support all sorts of genetic research to further the health and well being of the pedigreed dogs.. and dogs in general...

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  37. Oh, Heather, sorry. The bitch was not quite blind yet, but that was the way it was going. Another half year and she would have seen nothing. Already this winter past, when we had enormous amounts of snow here and everybody had to shovel pathwalks in their courtyards in order to get out of the houses, she was having difficulties seeing where the pathways were in all the whiteness - kept walking head first into the high walls of snow on either side. She was a lively hunting dog, used to outdoors life, so a life indoors with no eye-sight was not an option for her, as her owner felt - which I can understand.

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  38. bestuvall, a comment: Even if the American German Pinscher Club does not mention post-vaccine reactions it does not mean that there aren't any. We happen to know that that problem concerns the whole GP population world-wide. The gene pool of GP ist VERY small everywhere, not only in Finland. The breed was re-constructed in Germany after the Wold War 2, based on two pinschers, who had remained alive after the war as well as on three over-size miniature pinschers. The GP population in America is based on the old European lines (french, german, dutch and so on), thus having exactly the same problems as we here in Europe. As to the post-vaccine reactions for the outcross pinschers, those - if any - have indeed been considerably slight and of very short duration compared with the most cases of so-called pure pinschers. Consequently, in this regard I suppose the outcross has helped at least a little to restrict the disease, generally regarded as an auto-immune problem.

    I am not any scientist but I have listened to many experts and come to the conclusion that the outcross would be the only way to try and effect some improvement in regard to the state of health of GP. My only aim has been to DO in practice at least something for the good of the breed I love. If that fails I can only say I have at least done my best.

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  39. so is there a reason you do not use titers instead of injections?

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  40. Maybe I am mistaken, but I thought that titers only show if an already vaccinated dog still had some evidence of immunity? SO, I'm not sure how that would fix a breed of dogs demonstrating increased sensitivity to vaccination.

    And really, while a titer is a good way to ensure a sensitive dog shows immunity without another vaccination, I think better idea is to breed dogs with robust enough immune systems that they can handle a standard vaccination.

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  41. Jemima,

    I've emailed you twice now on an unrelated topic. Are you getting my emails?

    Thanks.

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  42. bestuvall said...

    "so is there a reason you do not use titers instead of injections?"

    Probably because Distemper is a terrible disease that can cause lifelong impairment even in recovered dogs? And maybe the breeders don't feel that not vaccinating and just waiting to see whether the dog gets sick or develops a titer from exposure to wild virus or develops antibodies from shed vaccinal virus is 'better' than vaccinating and watching for reactions?

    Pirjo Porenne, I don't know if the Recombitek dna vaccine for Distemper is available to you over there. If it is, has it been tested with German Pinschers to see if you get the same reactions as with the conventional modified live vaccines?

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  43. Dogs has to be vaccinated with a certain program if you want to show or trial. And it is an autoimmune problem if reactions are strong or even lethal. And autoimmune problems should be taken seriously in every breed.

    I find it interesting that people have so strong feelings about crossing the breeds. If we go back in time a century or so, so we find that mixing breeds was more than common way to improve stock. And looking in to the histories of the breeds tells us that every breed comes from a mixed origin. I feel that it will be the future to our breeds also. And also beeing a Finn I can tell you that our "kennel world climate" is at the moment very reformist so I think there is more to come!

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  44. As someone who has had a ferret...

    "As for the vaccine problem.. why not use dogs of the same breed who are from lines that do not have the problem.. The gene pool may be small in Finland.. but it is wide elsewhere..at least wide enough that "vaccinoses" is not mentioned as problem in the American German Pinscher Club..Why not just forgo the distemper shots on this breed and use a titer to determine if the dog has built up a resistance naturally to distemper? If they have.. well them problem solved.. if not then .. well on to the outcross. although it seems a bit extreme..when the reactions are varied and range from minor and transient to more serious in a very few cases"

    Are you insane? I have seen ferrets not vaccinated for canine distemper. They have adverse reactions to the live virus too, but the risk of that far outweighs the sweeping effect of canine distemper.

    Maybe you want your dog flopping around on the floor in convulsion, but I don't want mine to be that way.

    Geez, it seems like the anti-vaccine crowds are part of a generation where the symptoms of the diseases are seldom seen because they were so well-managed, people forgot those EXISTED.

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  45. Knotty Dogs - apologies...I had missed your posts which I have now retrospecitively published.

    Jemima

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  46. I am on the health committee for the German Pinscher Club of America.......I can assure you we do have vaccine reactions here...andin fact the information is on our clubs website.

    And the comment was to use dogs with generations of dogs with no cataracts.....nowhere can we find GENERATIONS of HC clear dogs.....if it seems that way.....its from breeders who do not test....or only test young dogs.....and NOT testing does not mean they are clear :-)

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  47. your blog really helped me to enhance my knowledge.content is really good and i am happy to visit again.

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  48. I was so impressed with the phenotypic results of this outcross experiment, I forwarded it to a few Scottish terriers breeders I know and know to be knowledgeable about the perils of inbreeding. I got back the type of responses I have come to expect. These responses were along these lines: Why would we want to introduce another breed's genetic problems, especially when the outcome is so uncertain? I am a genetics tyro and so often do not know how to answer this complaint. It seems so plain to me that the salvation of most breeds--including my own--lies in careful outcrossing or backcrossing. Now that there is visible evidence to counter the old argument that Scottie breeders don't want to produce undistinguished hairy black dogs, avoidance tactics have shifted. Can anyone reading here suggest some potentially fruitful line of argument to help breeders grasp such concepts as lethal equivalency?

    In recent years, much time and attention has been devoted to an attempt to track down the gene or genes responsible for cerebellar abiotrophy in Scotties. No results yet. However, the gene(s) responsible for the disorder in Am Staffs, another breed enrolled in the study, was(were) found very quickly. Obviously, CA in Am Staffs and CA in Scotties are genetically distinguishable. And yet, some believe that a hypothetical breeding of a Scottie with an Am Staff would increased incidence of the disease. How to counter such thinking?

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  49. It is very nice to see our crossbreeding project on your blog, Jemima.

    I am one of the three breeders who made a proposal of crossbreeding Schnauzer and Pinscher in Finland.

    As you wrote "the outcross has been done because of concerns regarding genetic diversity and inbreeding". THAT is the point, NOT any other details like post-vaccine reactions or eye diseases how severe they ever may be; they only are symptoms of the problem, which is a catastrophically small gene pool worldwide. If such breed as Schnauzer had not been available we certainly should have used some other breeds of similar body constructions like Dobermann, German Shorthaired Pointer and Miniature Pinscher. I hope in other countries somebody will make some crossbreeding with such breeds to make the gene pool even wider. Actually in East Germany Dobermann was used once and progenies coming from that outcross have also been bought to Finland.

    The Retrieverman wrote about the Mountain-Cur and it seemed to be a very interesting option until I read about the character of the breed and got an impression they were furious and aggressive hunting dogs, not suitable as family pets.

    Pinschers on the contrary are mostly kept as urban or suburban family pets. They are warmth-loving and after the wild puppyhood mostly quite lazy dogs, who hate rainy or cold weather... And must do well with other pets and children. But as there certainly are somewhere some furious and harsh Pinschers in the world as well there can be some untypical Curs, which perhaps could be used in crossbreeding.

    During the decades of breeding dogs (German Shorthaired Pointer and Pinscher mostly) I have got an idea that one single point that would have done all the difference in the history of purebred dogs is the colour discrimantion.

    Have you ever thought how many tens of thousands of puppies have paid with their lives to be of "a wrong colour"? And how much wider gene pool the most breeds had if lots and lots of dogs had not been lost from breeding just because of the colour? If not all killed, at least not been used in breeding.

    An example: When it was decided to make Schnauzer and Pinscher to two different breeds somebody got the bright idea only to allow Schnauzers be solid black or pepper&salt. After some decades Pinschers followed the same path, banning a colour after colour until there only were two left, black&tan and solid red. I think that is criminal!

    The domestic dogs have tens and tens of beautiful colours, so why on earth to do things like that? It only is understandable if a colour brings severe skin problems or other diseases and then it is a must not to allow it, but those cases are very rare.

    The liver&tan or chocolate&tan colour was taken away of the Pinscher Standard as late as in the 70's because there had not been born puppies of that colour for many years. I am sure they killed those which were born because in Germany the Club allows most 6 puppies in a litter. Now there have been some liver&tans in Sweden and of course we bought two of them to Finland to start fighting for to get it back to the Standard! And why not ALL the original colours?

    I wonder if somebody sometimes could make some research over HOW many dogs have been "killed for the colour" and what influence only that has done to the purebred dogs' health status.

    PS. Please note you can find information about the Dobermann outcross on the net by searching the Dobermann name Evi v.d. Edeltanne.

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  50. Dave, agree with you. killing diseases are a thing of the past, to the point where some people now are more afraid of the vaccines.
    "Why not check if the dogs have a titre..." Why indeed? A titre means a a measured number of antibodies against the naturally occurring infectious agent, in this case one which in the last large epidemic here killed so many unvaccinated dogs that old vets who worked back then still are close to tears trying to tell the story. There were dying dogs practically piled in the vet hospitals... and you know what, Bestuvall? Many died before they even had the time to build of that precious "titre" of yours, others died with lovely high titres. What good did it do them? And do you suppose that if a group of animals react very badly to an attenuated vaccine, they would prosper from direct exposure to the real thing, the live virus?
    The only way to have a titre is to have been exposed to the agent. In a lethal disease, a highly contagious one too, Bestuvall´s suggestion is about as stupid as it gets.

    Bubonic plague showing up again? Bestuvall, check if you have a titre!

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    1. I imagine he meant that rather than keep vaccinating every year, vaccinate once and then titre test thereafter. Many of the reactions to vaccination come from annual boosters. Professor Ronald D. Schultz has been advocating titre testing for nearly a decade. http://www.news.wisc.edu/8413

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  51. I think these are marvelous projects. And I hope more of the sort will come along. So many breeds with so many problems that (in this specific form) occur only within this breed.
    Pure bred dogs should be able to live a healthy, uncomplicated, long life... And if being pure bred doesn't guarantee that, then, maybe, deviating from the pure bred stance to outcrossings towards other breeds is a possible answer.
    I, personally, can't think of many breeds we have today who don't originate from very few original dogs and by refining the breed more and more diversity is lost.
    As a geneticists said to me once: "once diversity is lost you cannot regain it by outcrossing within an inbred population". And in many breeds"popular sire syndrom" is an issue still...

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  52. I just wanted to comment, that from the Barbet x Pont-Audemer Spaniel -cross (puppies registered as Barbets), one of the F1-bitches was recently BOB and received a Certificate:

    http://www.nuutuksen.net/omatkoirat/valkan-koe--ja-nayttelytulokset

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  53. I don't agree with breeding crosses when so many dogs need homes.

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  54. ^ Do you also disagree with breeding purebreds, when so many dogs need homes? These crosses are registered as purebreds.

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  55. I wish this project was better known by breeders in the UK, because even those breeders who genuinely care about the health and welfare of their breed, are resistant to any kind of outcross because they're concerned about future problems cropping up. They do not believe that, by doing an outcross, they will be furthering their line, they think they will ruin it. They want to improve the conformation of their dog with each generation and they cannot see how an outcross will allow them to do this.

    There seems to be a chasm between the geneticists and breeders, with neither of them being able to understand the other's concerns.

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  56. Fran (and all!) , that is something I am trying to help, though sometimes I despair of progress. I run a FB Canine Genetics groups, which has both groups in it (geneticists and breeders, and some other interested parties) and which promotes knowledge of canine genetics and the need for genetic diversity. We have some lively discussions! And although I do not allow advertisements for litters or dogs on the list, I would consider allowing some kind of post regarding upcoming litters of outcross projects (let me know about it so I can state this is an exception, and why) , and would certainly welcome updates on any and all outcross projects. And- I would be interested in a pup from an outcross project, willing to keep an intact male and not breed him, or let him be bred, as the project needs- I agree with Liisa that making decisions on what dogs to breed at 7-8 weeks is not the wisest strategy!

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  57. We have had SKK crossing projects in Sweden too, in 2001 clumber/ working cocker, and hunting dogs, schiller hound have been crossed with Luzerner Hound.

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  58. Outcrossing is something cat breeders have been doing for many years, I breed two "experimental" breeds for the past 14 years......its a necessary thing to keep the gene pool open and functioning well. I dont understand why there isnt more of it in the dog world.

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