Sunday, 22 July 2012

Who's Your Daddy - Take Two


Three weeks ago, APGAW (Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare ) published an update to its damning 2009 report into pedigree dogs. (Link to both reports here).

It found, like Pedigree Dogs Exposed - Three Years On, that there had been some progress, but that there was more to be done. It also made several specific suggestions for further improvements by way of an Action Plan.  This week's Dog World features the KC's response, which systemtically trashes most of APGAW's suggestions.

There is also a lot of whinging about how unfair it is that KC breeders are being picked out in this way with so many unregulated breeders getting off scot-free.  I have never been able to understand this argument - a bit like arguing that a VW dealership should not have to provide a quality service because there are so many mickey-mouse garages providing a sub-standard product. You know, you really can't maintain that your "primary objective is the general improvement of dogs" and then complain when someone calls you to account on it.

Now, in truth, I didn't agree with all of APGAW's points, and thought the KC response to some were reasonable. APGAW, for instance, recommended that all dogs were health-checked before they entered the show-ring and I don't think that's practicable. And it also recommended that any breeder that produces three or more litters a year should be licensed (it's currently five or more) and I think that is both overkill and unworkable.

But the KC's resistance to APGAW's concern that the breed standard changes have not gone far enough was derisible: Dog World reported that the KC says that "it should be remembered that a breed Standard influences only those who breed pedigree dogs under the KC’s umbrella, and therefore changes to the Standards would have no impact on those who breed irresponsibly ‘as they have no relevance to this sector of the dog breeding community".

Piss-poor deflection. Really.

And there was one that made my jaw hit the floor - the KC's response to this section of the APGAW update:

There was also a lot of support for a limit on the number of matings permitted for each sire to allow registration. Currently the KC has a limit of 4 litters per bitch but no limits on sires. Other organisations feel there should be some sort of upper limit set even if it starts at a high number to prevent reducing the gene pool. The KC is wary of doing this as its view is that if the sire has been health checked and can produce disease free offspring it is better that it be allowed to continue siring rather than unhealthy sires being used. There is currently work being done on this, on a breed by breed basis, to ensure that if a limit was to be put in place it would be done based on scientific information to ensure it does not worsen any genetic disease issues. This work should be expedited to prevent the overuse of specific highly sought after sires that risk shrinking the gene pool further as health checking a sire will not detect recessive genes that may only become apparent once he has bred with certain bitches.

Now of course it isn't just APGAW and its respondents that have expressed concern about popular sires. It's just about every geneticist/conservation biologist on the planet. The need for some limits is a complete no-brainer.

So what was the KC's response?

"We would not support the suggested limit on the number of matings permitted for each sire to allow registration, as we maintain there is no reason why sires who have been health checked and can produce disease free offspring should be restricted from breeding.”
For goodness sake. Have you understood nothing about why popular sires are such a huge problem? Have you really just sat there and either not read the science or have you made a conscious decison to wilfully and irresponsibly ignore it? Do you not understand that the overuse of popular sires is one of the main reasons that some breeds are in so much trouble? Have you not - actually - read what you yourselves (or more likely the AHT on behalf of the KC) have written on Mate Select:

"Inbreeding arises in small, genetically isolated or closed populations, like pedigree breeds, because all members of the breed trace back to a small number of founders and over the generations they become more and more related to each other. Inbreeding thus accumulates over time and this is a natural, unavoidable, process in closed populations. Certain events such as genetic bottlenecks and selection can, however, accelerate the rate of inbreeding. Bottlenecks occur when a limited number of individuals contribute to future generations, for example, popular sires will have more offspring than other individuals and will consequently have a higher chance of contributing their genes to subsequent generations.(my bolding)
Love the implication here, btw,  that because inbreeding is inevitable in isolated or closed population that it is somehow "natural" and "unavoidable" in dogs. It isn't. We've foisted closed gene pools on them; an entirely manmade construct. Inbreeding is something nature does its best to avoid or mitigate; the whole bleedin' basis of sexual selection, in fact. And you don't need to do it in dogs to maintain distinct breeds.

As reported recently in Dog World, KC Chairman Steve Dean admitted that the Club was under pressure to introduce limits and in the April issue of the Kennel Gazette had asked the breed clubs for their views on double matings - where two sires are used - as a means of maintaining genetic diversity. This is a technique already used by some breeders in small breeds and is certainly worth exploring. So to come out now with such nonsensical resistance is deeply depressing.

Let me spell it out again:

  • dogs are used at stud when they are young - too young, very often, for serious health problems to have manifested.  Every case of haemophila B in GSDs, for instance, can be traced back to one dog: Canto. Over-use a top dog at two, three, four years old, that then drops dead of something hideous at five and it's a disaster for the breed.
  • most dog health issues are caused by recessive genes. Let one dog sire too many of the next generation and, da-daa, those recessive genes meet up when those half-sibs and their descendants mate.
  • popular sires deplete an already depauperised gene pool. Dog breeds simply cannot afford this.
  • it doesn't matter how healthy that popular sire is. Reduced genetic diversity in and of itself leads to inbreeding depression - immune issues, fertility problems, lower litter sizes, reduced vigour.

It is almost impossible today to find a Flatcoat pedigree free of Shargleam Blackcap, who won Crufts in 1980. He had 252 puppies from 47 litters - a huge amount in what was then a small breed, leading to a lot of inbreeding in subsequent generations  - a combination that scientists believe has very likely contributed to the very high rate of cancer in the breed (cancer, of course is an immune problem).

As we showed in the sequel to Pedigree Dogs Exposed, the over-use of one top Boxer (894 puppies), combined with a lot of inbreeding, has very likely contributed to the spread of juvenile kidney disease in the breed.

Top GSD Zamp vom Thermados, the 2006 Sieger and BOB at Crufts in 2008, sired close on two thousand puppies before he died aged 8 of causes still undisclosed by his owners. His progeny currently flood the UK show scene.  The rumour is that Zamp died of bloat - a condition that is thought to be at least partly genetic. If true, you can expect bloat to feature as a more significant cause of death in the breed from now on.

Hungargunn Bear It'n Mind - "Yogi", the Hungarian Viszla that won Crufts in 2010 - sired over 500 puppies in a five year period - more than 10 per cent of Viszla pups registered during that period.  Yogi appears to be healthy, but the point is that if one dog sires too many puppies, it is almost impossible not to inbreed subsequently, with all the problems that this cause.

Bottom line, the Kennel Club urgently needs to revise its policy regarding popular sires and to start introducing both some broad guidelines and some breed-specific limits now. The FCI has had some measures in place for some time - one that would have only allowed Yogi to sire half the number of puppies that he did. And there are some kennel clubs (eg Finland and Sweden) that are particuarly proactive on this, both in exploring limits that go beyond the FCI's and in encouraging their breed clubs to introduce breed-specific limits. I also believe that many UK breeders do now understand why popular sires are a problem and would be happy to consider limits.

Honestly, to give out the message that there is nothing wrong in allowing a top dog to sire hundreds - and sometimes thousands - of puppies, has me shaking my head in total despair.

 Who's Your Daddy? (Take One)

49 comments:

  1. Simply amazing. I can only imagine that the KC would never consider such a thing because it's rather like telling the Lotto to cap the prize money.

    If you cap the prize, there will be fewer people buying in trying to win the prize and the Lottery doesn't make as much money and the esteem of winning the lottery goes down.

    In some respects, getting your stud dog to be the hottest thing ever in your breed is one of the highest goals of the competitors in the fancy. The number of matings and puppies is like a high score on a video game, the ability for you to "shape the breed" and even become immortal in a way ... "all dogs go back to BLANK " ... do you really think that Blank's breeder is sad when they hear this?

    There's just so much psychology already built into the "sport" and the "hype" and what "winning" means for these people to not want to claim their spoils.

    I agree with the RIP graphic, it's almost unimaginable that the solution to the problem can be achieved by a group that is essentially dedicated to the factors which created it.

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  2. If the KC is avoiding putting a limit on how many litters a dog can sire, maybe it could be suggested to the two main dog papers that they should running competitions for Top Stud Dogs and stop publishing the "Top Stud Dogs" in each breed and overall? Our Dogs also has a top Puppy Sire Competition. And I think many breed clubs have a top sire competition too, with an award at the end of the year. My breed has a top stud dog award based on points earned in shows by the dog's progeny and listed in the Club's points table. Curiously no points awarded for wins or places in field trials. Big rosette at the end of the year, and a listing as top stud dog in the Club Year book. Might be healthier, especially for small breeds like mine, to stop encouraging the use of top stud dogs by awards, and instead keep a list of ALL the stud dogs available and used, together with their health test results, the test results of their progeny,siblings and parents, and the number of litters sired
    It's not just the KC's responsibility
    Good blog, but might have more impact without the photo at the top suggesting pedigree dogs are dead, which distracts from the rest of an otherwise good post. Pedigree dogs may be in trouble, but definitely not yet dead!

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  3. Well, you read it... :-) But yes, take your point re the graphic and I don't believe that pedigree dogs are beyond redemption by any means. It is meant to illustrate my despair at the KC's stance on popular sires - what WILL happen if they (and all breeders) don't begin to get a proper grip on genetic diversity. It's just not enough to health-test and keep an eye on COIs. As I've said so many times, we need comprehensive breed conservation plans - starting with the most endangered (ie those that the AHT research has nailed as having perilously-low effective population sizes). Part of those must be far greater awareness of the damage done by popular sires.

    Jemima

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  4. Where is the information on the AHT website about "endangered" breeds with low effective populations?

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    1. I don't think there is any. But some info was released in March. See:

      http://pedigreedogsexposed.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/breeds-in-danger-of-extinction-in-uk.html

      I'll ask the KC if more complete info is available.

      Jemima

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    2. As the KC are so entrenched in diversity-killing dogma, perhaps the only way forward for pedigree dogs is to set-up a new database? One where the dogs had to be DNA profiled so that any ending-up in rescue could be identified back to the breeder, false registrations would be curtailed, and and a limit was set on COI. Plus health testing (and passing!), was mandatory in order for the progeny to be registered. As registration is done electronically, it would be easy to oust out any puppy farmers. Perhaps those breeds so inbred that only an outcross would save them, could then be outcrossed, without all the heel-dragging. The general public seem to like cross-breeds of two known breeds, so the puppies would still be purchased, it's only show-breeders who are so opposed to outcrosses.

      Most puppies are sold to pet owners, but even so-called reputable breeders are breeding dogs with high COIs and don't health test. Currently, trying to find a reputable breeder who breeds for health and temperament over conformation, is a minefield. However, once the pet dog owning population had a viable alternative to the KC - where the health, genetic diversity and temperament of the dog was put first and foremost - and people demanded puppies from such breeders, the KC may end up having to toe the line.

      As with agility, not all dog shows would have to be affiliated to the KC.

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    3. go for it...nothing is stopping you

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  5. Some sort of limit would be nice. Overbreeding can occur before some of the bitches' owner even realize it's happening, I think. In the breed I follow (I don't breed), a lovely dog who was pretty much an outcross on a lot of pedigrees came over for a few years of stud duty. He passed all his health checks with flying colors, was lovely and sound and supposedly had a great personality to boot. And the next thing you knew, within a year it seemed nearly every top kennel sent its nicest bitches to him. So what was a nice infusion of new overseas blood will be what exactly in the next two generations? Even well-meaning breeders can inadvertently do this if there are no guidelines in place to track the numbers going to him.

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    1. Yes you're right. In fact, the KC's Mate Select does now track some progeny data, which is useful. They could extend this to give some context ie. progeny data + what percentage of the breed this represents over a given period. Would be a huge help.

      Jemima

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  6. I'd say the RIP is more for Show Dogs than for Pedigree Dogs. The following data refers to inbreeding stats, not popular sires, but the two are closely related.
    http://www.standardpoodleproject.com/Standard%20Poodle%20Population%20Statistics%20for%202000.htm

    Bottom line, standard poodles, on average, are becoming less inbred. But show champions, particularly Wycliffe descendants, are highly inbred and if there is any improvement of this, it's so small that it hardly stands out over the statistical noise.

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  7. AKC clubs often celebrate "outstanding sires" that produce a lot of champions. In golden retrievers, you'll see "OS" or "OD" listed as title that designated a sire or dam that has produced a lot of champion.

    I think this is madness, pure and simple.

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    1. The Golden Retriever clubs OS/OD designation is computed not just on show champions, but also including obedience, agility,field trial, working titles, etc. This information can give a snapshot of the sort of offspring being produced and from what bloodlines; it can also alert a thinking person to dogs that are being over-used. It's just information -- hopefully, to be used with some wisdom.

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  8. I am in the U.S. and I did not see any mention of COI-Coefficient of Inbreeding. Do your breeders not take this into account when breeding? It is my understanding that it should be 15% and lower.

    What is considered health checked for the sire according to the KC? Is this being health tested for all health problems in the breed that is known about and tests that are presently available? I am active in a hound breed and do rescue. I have owned a show dog. My rescues are tested for a genetic kidney disease via dna test, low thyroid, eye exam, and usually x-rays for hip dysplasia. My rescues are tested as much as the dogs being shown in the U.S.

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    1. 15% is way to high if you ask me. The Swedish Kennel Club recommends the COI to be less than 6,25% (cousin-mating). In my breed, Australian Kelpie the average COI in Sweden from 2002 - 2011 is 1,7%.

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    2. Maria, how of how many Generations? From what I remember, Sweden's COI's are normally done on 6 generations. A 10 generation COI is radically different and much more useful, but a 10 generation COI will always appear higher.

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    3. The Kennel Club provides the COI online for every dog registered with it. Also one can work out the COI for any proposed mating through the Mate Select programme, which more and more breeders are making use of. The KC also gives the average COI for each breed , and the general recommendation is that breeders try to stay below the current average
      I know some Kennel Clubs like Sweden and Holland are recommending low COIs , but for some small and very inbred breeds , these low figures are pretty well impossible to achieve, so all one can do is try to gradually bring down the average, and avoid very high COIs - or import new unrelated dogs, or outcross to another breed

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  9. It is also extremely difficult to find a show-bred Whippet free of Pencloe Dutch Gold, who won BIS at Crufts in 1992! Cobyco Cavalier who was the sire of 2004 Crufts BIS winner, sired nearly 200 offspring!

    With these kinds of figures, I doubt Whippets will be 'free of any inherited defects' for much longer.

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    1. I believe from AHT the Whippet effective population size is a mere 43, given the numbers registered thats pretty shocking.

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    2. I agree in part,but whippets have a very healthy breed type and record,,they are a numerically strong breed,very,very few are "inbred" More worrying would be a breed with a very small genepool,having an outstanding dog which all in sundry flock too!

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    3. I agree they have a healthy sound construction and yes numerically strong ..but I would dispute given their average Coi that few are inbred. Its not a matter of numbers registered but those used for breeding ...if they are all related then im afraid they very much compare to the small gene pool breed you mention above. Of course the resource of strong in number gives them room to improve...but only if the breeders take advantage

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  10. The problem isn't the number of pups sired, but the number of pups, several generations down the line, who are line bred on the same sire. Who cares if doggie XY has 800 pups if all but two of them end out desexed. What does in genetic diversity is the sire of multiple champions, who themselves go on to be sires of champions . . . combined with a show community that thinks that's a good thing, and who systematically use such dogs, look for them on pedigrees, and line breeds on them. Health screening gives some protection against consequences for the conditions for which there are genetic or other tests, but who knows what this is doing for un-testable / untested, older-age onset, and / or easy-to-conceal conditions like prone-ness to cancer, epilepsy, allergies, heart conditions, and general weakness of the immune system.

    Unfortunately, COI data are easily rendered worthless by events that occurred 10 or more generations back, These won't be picked up by a five or seven generation pedigree. (see, eg, BorderWars http://www.astraean.com/borderwars/2011/10/coi-how-many-generations-are-enough.html). One outcome is that the better organized breed interests are, the worse their breed looks. It's interesting to look at data from the Standard Poodle Project, which uses the 15 generation pedigree and is brutally up front about the dominance of the Wycliffe lineage, particularly in Champion stock, and is follwing up the pedigree-based research with direct studies of MHC haplotypes (see http://www.standardpoodleproject.com/). If other breed interest groups did their homework, I suspect similar patterns would show up in many many breeds.

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  11. I suggest you all read "The ABC's Of Dog Breeding" by Dr. Claudia Orlandi

    http://www.abcsofdogbreeding.com/

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    1. Why? Is there anything relevant in there to this discussion? There is little info on the site as to what is contained in the program. The website is just a sales pitch for the program. What is the author's Phd in? I hate it when people put their academic qualifications after their name to boost their credibility but don't reveal if it is actually relevant to the topic they are writing about.

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    2. because you might learn something Her PHD is in Education. And yours? Her seminars are well worthwhile and her publications should be read by anyone contemplating breeding a litter of puppies.. oh wait that leaves out many of you including the blogger who prefers attending seminars paid for by the HSUS.. that bastion of genetic experts.

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    3. Phd in education and not genetics? That means she knows nothing, per the logic of the typical anti-PDE crowd.

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    4. There are better sources for information on canine population genetics than that one. Whenever someone puts a Ph.D. at the end of his or her name, I think of Kent Hovind. I always think of Kent Hovind. Dr. Kent Hovind, who got his Ph.D. at Patriot Bible University in Christian Education. Yet he claimed to be an expert on dinosaurs and many other things related to science!

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Kent_Hovind

      There is no discussion of population genetics on that site.

      However, if you want to know a good site on that very issue, check out:

      http://www.seppalakennels.com/articles/population-genetics-in-practice.htm

      Anyone who runs sled dogs can't be an HSUS supporter. I'm certainly not one. If anything, I'm an HSUS hater.

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  12. Doesn't this argue for a two-tier registration system? Tier 1 within a week or two of birth as at present, tier 2 at one year old subject to health tests and required if the dog is to be bred. This would answer Jennifer's objection - keep tier 1 unrestricted, put a limit on tier 2 registrations bred from one sire.
    On the question of legislation, APGAW's politicians have not progressed beyond the shock-horror something-must-be-done stage. Of course the problem with all animal welfare law is that enforcement depends on complaints; but when victims complain, the authorities aren't there to hear. If new crimes are to be defined let them have human victims, APGAW heard from many - Carol Fowler, Philippa Robinson et al.
    Their cases raise an obvious fair trading issue, but go beyond defective goods. In terms of commitment puppy purchase is more akin to buying financial services, and ideally we need similar protection against mis-selling; hard to see the KC taking on a role like the FSA's, but who knows?

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    1. Bob, I like your suggestion of a two tier registration system, with only the higher tier of health tested stock allowed to be used for breeding, and a limit on how many of the progeny (dogs and bitches) of a single stud dog may progress to the higher tier.
      As has been pointed out the potential problems caused by overuse of popular sires dont become apparent until further down the generations when the same dog starts to appear multiple times on both sides of a pedigree
      With the two tier system suggested by Bob, it doesnt matter how many pups the popular dog sires, as long as only a small number of them are bred from. The rest become beautiful pets or can be shown. But who would decide, and how, which of the progeny get into the upper tier and become part of the breeding stock?

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    2. Dalriach, to answer to your question, such a system would give a stud's owner clear interest in his progeny; no bad thing. Their breeding would, I guess, become subject to prior contract - or bone of contention - between breeder and stud owner. In cases of dispute the KC is well placed to arbitrate, having the power to accept or refuse tier-2 registration.
      A ticklish question, but I think not beyond the wit of man to resolve.

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    3. I've been thinking about this some more while walking the dogs. Actually its notso much the number of litters that a stud dog PRODUCES that causes the problems, its the number of his progeny (and grandchildren, great grandchildren) that are BRED FROM that causes the problems further on down the generations. Its probably more important to limit the number of PROGENY of any one dog (or bitch) that can be bred from .
      Especially in small breeds like mine. Even if the KC limited a stud dog to say 5 litters in his lifetime, if many of his children from those five litters go into the breeding stock, the loss of diversity can still be high

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    4. And some more thinking around this topic since yesterday.
      Even if the number of litters one stud dog produces was limited, it wont necessarily prevent loss of genetic diversity. That can also be caused by a line of male studs, each producing only a few litters, but each generation producing just one or two successful stud dogs.
      Here is a real example from my breed.......
      Dog A came from lines outside the UK show stock, but was a nice looking , sound dog with no known health problems, and was used by three other show UK breeders interested in bringing in something new to their breeding.It worked well for them. Some of his progeny have also been exported, and he also sired two litters in Europe. One of his sons, dog B , became a top winning Sh Ch in the UK, who sired six litters, from which two dogs Dog C and Dog D have become UK Sh Chs and another dog Dog E went to Holland
      Dogs C and D have sired six and five litters respectively, and their progeny are now doing nicely in the show ring too. Dog E has also sired litters in Europe
      Another son of Dog A had no show career, and produced just two litters, but has descendants all over the world, including some very good working dogs, again no overused studs here either
      Two litter brother of Dog A, produced only a small number of litters in the US , but have also influenced US breeding
      So here we have a line of good looking male dogs, fit and fertile, willing studs, so far producing no known health or genetic problems , and , doing well in the show ring. All with highly responsible owners, with above average awareness of the problems of close breeding and loss of diversity, doing every health test required. Nobody making money out of stud fees, all careful about who uses their dogs and how often
      BUT we are also seeing the genes of these dogs spreading out both in the UK and overseas. In the UK probably half of all new litters now being registered in the breed carry some of their genes in the pedigree. No problems yet, but problems could start showing up in future generations
      And there is another similar line in the UK, which produces two or three new Sh Chs and one more outstanding stud dog in every generation, none of them producing more than six or seven litters, but a big influence on the breed
      Limiting the number of litters one stud dog produces wouldnt prevent this.

      ALMOST EVERY NEW PUPPY APPEARING IN THE SHOW RING NOW HAS ONE OR OTHER , OR BOTH, OF THESE LINES IN THE PEDIGREE

      Its the cumulative effect from several generations where one line continues to produce good stud dogs, without overuse of any single dog. What is needed here is not so much the limitation on how much one single dog is used, but a better understanding of population genetics .Jeffrey Bragg's excellent explanation of how population genetics can be used in breeding should be read by every novice breeder. And more willingness to continue introducing new dogs into the breeding stock, whether from imports or outcrossing
      And yes, before anybody comes back at me, I bred and still own Dog A, now coming towards the end of his life, and his lifetime has been a big learning experience for me too

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  13. Thank You, Jemima, for all the work!
    Now I will never buy a pedigree dog.

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    1. So the "word of wisdom" you spouted Matus (and the crud ones you used to) are from a person who has never had a pedigree dog.........do you even own a dog?in the words of Snoopy "Good Grief!!!!!!!!"

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    2. Why would Jemima's words persuade you not to buy a pedigree dog? I would hope that having followed this blog for some time , and read much else besides, you would understand that the message is to buy a dog bred from sound and healthy parents, and with a low risk of having health and genetic problems because it has been carefully bred. That could be a pedigree KC registered dog, or it could be a crossbred or unregistered dog, the essential thing is that both parents are healthy and sound and reasonably free from genetic defects

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    3. Sorry to be off topic and somewhat irritating, but I'm pretty sure its Charlie Brown and not Snoopy who says "Good Grief."
      Also, there's nothing wrong with owning a purebred dog. I have two from a local shelter and they are great! I guess they aren't pedigree in the true sense. Like dalriach says, if you buy a dog from a responsible breeder you could very easily get a healthier dog than a mixed breed. My two purebreds have no health problems so far, but my spaniel mix has a blood disorder and terrible teeth. Research is much better than generalizations.

      L

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  14. For what it's worth, the Hungarian Vizsla Club has come out against Yogi's excessive breeding. Unfortunately, the guy is heavily used in the US and Australia. There's someone in the US who had a really popular stud (he's either old or dead now) and he had littermates with hip dysplasia and worse, he threw pups with hip dysplasia. People still wanted to mate their bitch with him because he was the number one vizsla. It blows my mind that someone who "loves" the breed is so willing to ruin it.

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  15. Why estimate breed diversity or relatedness of possible breeding pairs using a mathematical formula (i.e. COI) which is based upon assumptions and probabilities when it can be measured directly via genotyping?

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    1. Is genotyping something Mr(s) Average Breeder could do, or would we have to hire a genetics PhD?

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    2. Direct measurement is expensive and it can only be done if the dog's owner submits a DNA sample. COI calcs are cheap, and in some cases, the data can be assembled without much pain. The two work well together.

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    3. Registries, with the cooperation of owners, can fill in their stud books with genotyping for individual dogs. This would correct the estimates of COIs at various places in the studbook. This approach requires progressive thinking breeders and registry.

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    4. Genotyping data can be obtained from genetic disease studies, if the registry, owner, and researchers will all cooperate for the improvement of the breed.

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    5. Any time a genome-wide association study is performed, genotyping data is measured for those dogs (the affected and the healthy controls). This is the first experiment performed when trying to identify a genetic mutation that is responsible for a genetic disease which can then be used to develop a genetic test.

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  16. "It blows my mind that someone who "loves" the breed is so willing to ruin it."

    Happening in to many breeds unfortunatly,sadly is same in border terriers

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  17. In other news, KC drops hip scoring in Great Danes from required to recommended for their Assured Breeder Scheme. http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/4451

    It has caused displeasure among some Dane breeders and the Great Dane Health Group.
    http://en-gb.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=443729582306407&id=363669403645759
    http://www.danehealthgroup.co.uk/#/assured-breeder-scheme-hips/4566856216

    Here's the argument for dropping the scheme.
    http://danecouncil.danemoor.com/hip_score_press_release.html

    So now an assured breeder of Great Danes can do no testing at all and still be an assured breeder.

    This link(http://www.danehealthgroup.co.uk/#/assured-breeder-scheme/4560232055) indicates that elbow scoring was previously part of the scheme but was removed. I couldn't find the KC release for that change though.

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    1. Where is the evidence that Danes need to be hip scored?

      The mean average is low compared to other breeds and very low in comparison to other large breeds

      Carol

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    2. So what? BMS only gives the mean. It doesn't tell you how far the right tail goes and how many are severly affected. It's the ABS scheme we are talking about, they should be adopting best practice.

      From the Dane Health Group:

      "A number of other large breeds haven’t taking the attitude of ‘we don’t have a problem so we don’t need to test’. They have taken the far more proactive view of testing to ensure that at best the scores improve and at worse they stay the same. However the "hear no evil, see no evil," approach is hardly a good basis for preserving and protecting the Great Dane breed."

      "It’s well known that there have been danes that have been x-rayed and these plates have not been submitted to the BVA. If the vet in attendance has suggested that the plates show hip dysplasia and the score would not be good then some people may think what is the point of paying a further fee to send them off?"

      "The comments that we have received is that people are seeing a significant number of Great Danes shown in the ring with very poor hind leg movement. Is hip confirmation a contributing factor to this or something else? We are also getting comments that breeders are continuing to breed from some Great Danes that have very high hip scores well above the mean average. It’s very worrying that we are getting information from owners that their danes, some still under 12 months, have been diagnosed with hip and/or elbow dysplasia."

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    3. Carol, not sure why you are against any health check before breeding..isnt it better to be safe than sorry when the life of an animal is at stake? Or are you afraid of what you might find?

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  18. Most basically, I think the problem is what show breeders call 'line breeding' and widespread denial that it is inbreeding. it is inbreeding, just going a few generations back in the pedigree. The myth that inbreeding is good needs to be debunked.
    See, eg.:
    http://labradornet.com/linebreeding.html

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  19. A hilarious article in Dog World. http://www.dogworld.co.uk/product.php/77765
    "in scientific terms when the level of inbreeding is less than the average for the breed, then it is not inbreeding at all!"

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