Friday, 19 October 2012

Dog show disapproval enters popular culture

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Have a listen to this sketch - clipped from the John Finnemore Souvenir Experience show on BBC Radio 4 last night... If I was the Kennel Club, I would be very worried about this. It's graphic evidence of how very uncool dog shows in their current format are seen to be by many people. 

Here's hoping the KC think-tanking is all about how to make dog shows more relevant in a world that finds beauty contests in humans distasteful - rather, that is, than try to persuade us that the public are being misled by people who've got it in for pedigree dogs. 

Meanwhile, today's Daily Mail carries the story of how former Crufts' presenter Ben Fogle believes the BBC was right to ditch Crufts - an interview picked up, in fact, from the November issue of Dogs Today magazine. 


Of course they still have Clare Balding who has continued to take the Crufts presenter shilling. I still have hopes, however, that Clare will reconsider. She's a terrific broadcaster - and smart. And I am not sure it's great for her image to continue to support the broadcasting of canine beauty contests. Indeed, her withdrawal would do a lot to quicken the radical re-invention of the dog show that surely must be on its way if the Kennel Club wants to remain relevant.

Apologies for the recent leave of absence, btw... have been otherwise engaged. But keeping tabs and lots to blog.. 

167 comments:

  1. What a relief! Over a month with nothing but bulldog sex was a real turn-off! -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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  2. That was very funny - and they should be worried. I`m a cartoonist and I know how much power a joke can have, especially so if it contains more than a grain of truth ..

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  3. And Mr Fogle,... revealed that he believed the Labardor’s illness was ‘pretty much unquestionably’ down to his pedigree breeding.

    now there is a statement " pretty much unquestionably".. maybe Crufts needs a smarter presenter..
    how long should a labrador live.. would 30 be long enough? how about 100? His dog lived to be 12.. a good age.. I hope he chooses a nice shleter dog next time.. one who has no background information nor health testing.. sounds like the right match

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  4. Anon 16:49 - please re-read and take note that Fogle has not blamed the dog's death on its breeding. He has stated that the fact that it suffered from epilepsy was due to its pedigree line. Is epilepsy not inherited now? The fact that it lived so long is testament to the excellent vet care that he is likely to have provided it. You really only show up your own foolishness in making such comments as you just have.

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    1. Epilepsy is not 'due to its pedigree line'; epilepsy affects mongrels and crossbreeds just as much as it does pedigree dogs. To suggest otherwise demonstrates a massive misunderstanding of the distressing condition.

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    2. Anon 22:53, there are heritable and non-heritable forms of epilepsy. It most certainly is something that breeders should watch out for. Years ago, my parents had a deposit on a pup from an upcoming litter, but the breeder found out that the stud dog had introduced epilepsy into several breeders' programs and the deposit was shifted to a different litter. Pretty sure THAT breeder both thought it was heritable, and was pretty serious about keeping it out of her lines...

      http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/basics/basics_index.html

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    3. Beth, i think Anon 22:53 was pointing out that although there can be an inherited factor in epilepsy it doesn't follow that either parent will have been sufferers, and so the breeder might be totally unaware that there's been a sufferer 3 or 4 generations ago which might have passed on the tendency. It's only related to 'the pedigree line' in the strictest sense of the term; it's not that the dog was 'a pedigree'. If either of the parents of a totally random-bred mongrel have the tendency for fitting then the offspring are at just as much risk.

      (Remember that fits can be induced in all dogs, and indeed people, under the right conditions. The problem with epilepsy is that the trigger lever is too low.) As idiopathic (generally inherited) epileptic dogs usually only have seizures when they're asleep, if a dog is kennelled the owner could easily never know.

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    4. Anon - you are aware that a pedigree is nothing but a record of a family tree? Perhaps we will need to go back and re-phrase it to suit your determination to be obstinate.

      Fogle was pointing out that epilepsy was "in the dog's family". It was inherited. The epilepsy was carried in its line/pedigree/family/whatever the hell you want to call it.

      My god, do these people even speak English? This is ridiculous.

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    5. Eadaoin, that's exactly what Mary said ("It's only related to 'the pedigree line' in the strictest sense of the term; it's not that the dog was 'a pedigree'. ") only she was more polite.

      However the majority of people don't use the word 'pedigree' in it's strictest sense (that of mere ancestry); they take it to be synonymous with 'purebred' and of a particular known breed. It's the sort of journalistic ambiguity that (deliberately?) creates confusion.

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    6. Oh oh oh just heard Crufts BIS has been moved up to channel 4,,, looks like it's not so unpopular after all eh?

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    7. Mary, you say "As idiopathic (generally inherited) epileptic dogs usually only have seizures when they're asleep, if a dog is kennelled the owner could easily never know."

      You must have never lived with a dog with inherited epilepsy. It happens at any time of the day. Also, idopathic epilepsy is starting to be called multi-genic epilepsy for a reason. There's an epilepsy study in Vizslas in the US, all idiopathic, because the owners SEE and LIVE this, and it does NOT only happen in the dog's sleep. Jesus Christ.

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  5. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Recommended reading: Bred for Perfection, Shorthorn Cattle, Collies, and Arabian horses since 1800, by Margaret E. Derry.

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    1. Just ordered it. How is it I've never heard of this book before?

      Spendy, alas.

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  6. Brilliant! Laughed out loud. Now, if only I could get permission to translate it... And Jess, yep, agreed - Margaret Derry´s book is very, very good.

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    1. I found it extremely interesting, especially the fact that livestock, for the most part, has abandoned Bakewell but the dog fancy is still touting him. It's not quite as 'in' as 'in and in' but there is really no 'out.'

      Also a good read if you want some insight into some of the motivations of the early breeders. You rarely read about the vast sums of money involved or the role of dog dealers in early breed histories.

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  7. Annie Macfarlane19 October 2012 at 22:26

    Fantastic!!!

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  8. Of course, how silly of me for forgetting that it's Haloween, a time when all the nasty's come out.
    Now who is wearing what costume I wonder.
    The Queen Witch costume goes to Aunt Jemima herself who will be taking point in the annual broomstick flying parade.
    Followed up by this blogs resident ghouls in the shape of Rod Russell, that attorney of little virtue who should stick to what he is supposed to know and not dogs of which he knows nothing. He gets to wear the devils costume.

    Next we have Heather Houlahan who will be awarded the wolf costume so she can HOUL as much as she likes becasue nobody will listens to a word she says.

    Boldil Carlsson Gets to fly on Jemima's broomstick because she is not important enough to have her own.

    Now dear sweet Annie Macfarlane does get to have a broomstick of her own but hers doesn't fly. It is just for sweeping the floor with. That is the sum value of her miserable, unimportant life.

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    1. This just makes you sound petty and bitchy!

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    2. Dearest Anonymouse Gay Day - you are the most sweet-tempered thing! Thanks for all your kind words - must have made your day, eh? :-)

      Look, my broomstick really is in another kind of flight. When it comes to dog things, if there is any one broomstick I can fly on, I don´t mind it being Jemima´s. Seems to me to be a much more honourable and well-mannered broomstick than, for instance, yours.

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    3. Annie Macfarlane21 October 2012 at 11:40

      If this doesnt highlight just what a ridiculous, stupid and childish culture those that are campaigning for better dog breeding are up against....nothing will!

      One thing's for sure...if we all hid behind anon then they wouldn't have named to place on the broomsticks...so really its an unequal playing field here. We listen to Anons.....while they have the pleasure of knowing exactly how we feel because we are not afraid to voice our concerns genuinely and openly. We don't hide behind anonymity.

      If they'd all stop being so cowardly then perhaps we would be able to have a decent discussion and debate.

      As for my life being miserable and unimportant....I don't think it is...and I'm the one living it! Sad thing about the WWW is that people actually think they know you...when they know nothing about you at all.... hahahahaha Beggars belief!






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    4. That's ossum. Imma put it on my Facebook page.

      I wouldn't use my real name, either, if that was representative of my facility with the mother tongue.

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  9. Wonder if the reason you been away is due a belly ache from all those sour grapes you had over the past couple of years, demoted to just 15 minutes on BBC4, now excluded from the Dog Advisory Council, from the BVA and the Parliamentry Group. Ben is a nice enough chap but to see even he has now been duped by Jaffa Cakes Cuddy of Dogs Today for her normal twisted stories, shows he is a bit too nice and bit too trusting.

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  10. Well, I must say I'm not thrilled with going to the other extreme either. There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with judging dogs based on conformation. It simply should not be the sole criteria for breeding. Performance horse prospects have long been evaluated on conformation, but it's part of (rather than all of) the concept of what makes a fine horse.

    Conformation IS important, and it is sadly true that since dogs have a high pain tolerance, there are some really poorly conformed performance dogs out there who will still do their job even if it is painful, because that's what dogs do. And it does take looking at dozens and dozens of dogs to get a feel for conformation, especially because coat tends to hide a lot of sins in a lot of breeds. In addition, things like type and standards are what differentiates one breed from another. If I buy a puppy thinking it will top out at 30 pounds and it hits 50, I'll be a very disappointed puppy buyer! So breeding for type and judging conformation are GOOD things.

    It's just that we've taken it to an extreme and it's become the be all and end all for several breeds.

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    1. Though I agree with you Beth, I'd be interested to know the average CoI of horses bred for a purpose, for example, show jumpers, National Hunt and the like. Also, the CoI of the average farm stock, cattle etc.

      Regards, John

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    2. An excellent post, Beth; too many people seem to think judging conformation is "do i think it's pretty?" rather than, for example, assessing whether the angle of the shoulder gives a short choppy stride that will jar the joints and is uneconomical to carry the animal any distance without tiring it.

      And you're absolutely correct in that knowing the eventual adult size of a puppy is very important, especially in today's primarily urban society. The owner who chooses a cute puppy that grows up to be the size of a standard poodle when it lives in a city flat when they were hoping for a pet the size of a toy poodle is going to have problems!

      John, the CoI of 'the average farm stock' is probably little different to the CoI of 'the average dog'. The different breeds will have different CoIs, just like the different breeds of dog. And of course the rarer breeds, which were down to a handful of individuals fifty years ago and have been saved from extinction will all be very closely related; if you only have ten individuals to breed from that's the limit of your gene pool.

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    3. John, I believe for racing horses they're bred with a COI of <5%. Anything higher than this has caused problems.

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    4. Over how many generations is that Fran? These things are often quoted over various numbers of generations, In dogs I believe Sweden uses 5, Finland I believe is 6, the Dog Advisory Council uses 5 generations and the UK KC uses a bottomless figure. As near as I can tell you, the breed average CoI for Labradors, taken over 5 generations, according to my database is 4.16% This is well over 15000 records dating back to 1870.

      Regards, John

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    5. John, I truly don't know the answer to your question. I have it on pretty good sources though that something like 90% of Thoroughbreds trace in tail-male line to just one founding sire; despite the fact that racehorse breeders breed for speed (and to a lesser degree stamina, and even a lesser degree--unfortunately-- soundness) and not looks at all, two founding sires have virtually disappeared from the tail-male line. That tells me that if you are breeding for PERFORMANCE you also risk narrowing the gene pool, simply because one prepotent line can so consistently perform better than the others that it slowly shoulders out everyone else. In a closed registry, keeping COI suitable requires a conscious effort. Indeed, I will guess that most every species in existence traces back to one or two founding members if you go back far enough. Genetic mutation means the gene pool widens again on its own, to some degree, if you allow nature to take its course. Of course, if we are breeding to TOO narrow a set of criteria (be it speed or steadiness on a point or tailset or coat or working eye) you will keep the gene pool narrow because all animals that don't exhibit that trait are excluded. In fact, my own theory is that "breeding the best to the best" is ALWAYS likely to cause problems, whether you are judging on performance or looks. Perhaps we should have a motto of "breed good enough to good enough" or "breed not terrible to not terrible"; indeed, that most closely mimics nature, which allows all animals who are capable enough to reach breeding age alive and feed themselves to reproduce.

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    6. I think when any animal is selectively bred, for any reason be it working gundog, show dog, race horse, or milk producing cattle then the CoI will rise Beth. A short while ago even the breeding “Professionals” with the Guide Dogs For The Blind got it wrong and started producing blind Labrador guide dogs when GPRA got into their line.

      But is nature any different? Many animals live territorial lives and live out their time in a relatively small area, being born, living, breeding and dying all in the same area. Badgers living as a colony in a set, generally mating within their own family. And as regular watchers of Spring and Autumn Watch will know, the dominant stag will gather many hinds around him, often for several years. Nature’s very own “Popular Sire!” We know the CoI of pedigree dogs because we have databases kept of them, but it would be interesting if we could see the CoI’s of wild animals. I think it would be an eye opener.

      Regards, John

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    7. John, my educated guess (and it's just that; I'd be happy to be proved wrong) is that "specialist" animals like cheetahs and koalas and pandas have high inbreeding coefficients. "Generalists" like coyotes and elk and skunks probably have a lot of outcrossing; they wander and have access to many potential mates, AND their lifestyle means that some variations in behavior, color, size, eating habits, etc allow them to extend their range and thrive in a wider variety of habitats.

      I would point out, though, that specialist animals in the wild are alarmingly prone to sudden extinction due to disease, habitat pressure, etc. Being a specialist makes you less adaptable. In a way we turn most domestic animals into specialists, so some risk is inevitable. But I think we owe it to our animals to minimize risks where possible, and breeding for just one thing (a certain look or extreme speed or milk production or what have you) without allowing even minor variations in breeding stock is a sure road to quick trouble.

      For instance, back in the day a "springer" spaniel and "cocker" spaniel might be born to the same litter, meaning that genes for variations in size within a set range were allowed. We've now broken it down into "small" and "medium" with each set of genes kept away from the others. As I mentioned above, we expect certain size constraints in our purebred dogs, so I can't see us going back to the "old" way but perhaps we should allow a little more range than we currently encourage in our purebred dogs.

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    8. Actually, John, in wild canids, it wouldn't be an eye opener. The literature is quite clear on this, and I highly recommend that you check out Pubmed or Jstor. Wild canids, even in situations where they are isolated (say, an island population), are pretty consistent in practicing kin recognition and inbreeding avoidance, as much as it is possible due to population or geographical constraints.

      You cannot compare a harem breeding animal like a deer or an elk to canids. There is strong evidence that harem breeders have evolved a higher inbreeding tolerance than canids. If you are going to compare dogs to wild animals, in order to be intellectually honest about it, you must compare them to wolves, their closest genetic relative. And wolves, like most wild canids, practice kin recognition and inbreeding avoidance.

      In order to maintain specific characteristics, appearance, function, behavior, some loss of genetic diversity is necessary in order for the animal to breed true. However, if you look, you will find that the dog fancy is really the only domestic animal that has stuck with Bakewell and keeps consistently closed registries.

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    9. @John, in the wild there is a fitness selection - the strongest, fittest male gets to breed. This weeds out any sickly animals. In dog shows, the most important criteria for breeding is, looking most like the picture of that breed - if your dog gets made-up to champion, it could well sire hundreds of puppies. Yet what tests are performed to ensure it's the fittest to breed? I know of one working GSD breeder, Suzanne Clothier, who performs a biotinus (vigour) test when her puppies are born and then breeds from the most vigorous. http://www.suzanneclothier.com/the-articles/selecting-vigor

      What happens if the vigour test is adopted by show breeders and the most vigorous puppies don't win in the ring?

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    10. “There is strong evidence that harem breeders have evolved a higher inbreeding tolerance than canids.”

      Sorry Jess, thats complete and utter tosh! It’s distorting the facts to suit the case. Genetics is genetics whatever the animal. You might have a case if you argued that life threatening illnesses had somehow managed to be bred out similar to what’s been done with animal testing animals, but to just say “Higher inbreeding tolerance” does not hold water.

      “@John, in the wild there is a fitness selection”

      Yes, this is true Fran, to a certain extent. But we quite regularly hear of top athletes dying young from such things as cancer. An animal can be super superfit as a young breeding stud, but die the following year. Being superfit does not mean it is a carrier for something nasty, or that it is actually genetically affected, but has not yet developed the clinical signs.

      Do you know, at the moment we have a total of 13 DNA tests available for Labradors:-

      Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
      Centronuclear Myopathy
      Cystinuria
      EIC
      Hyperuricosuria
      MDR1 (Multidrug Resistance in Cancer)
      NARC
      PRCD_PRA
      RD/OSD
      Malignant Hyperthermia
      Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis.
      Hip Dysplacia
      A second form of dwarfism.

      I also know of another 10 tests presently being developed:-

      Atypical Collapse
      2 types of Epilepsy
      Canine Epitoidal Cramping syndrome
      3 types of tumours
      ED
      A second form of GPRA
      Iris Melanoma

      OK, I don’t believe can or we should test for all of these. Many are so rare that they can safely be left as diagnostic tools for vets AT THE MOMENT. But if ever one of those diseases came to the fore we are ready and able to screen for it.

      Regards, John

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    11. I was even nice, Jemima, and look what I got! It's not worth the effort, I tell ya.

      "Sorry Jess, thats complete and utter tosh! It’s distorting the facts to suit the case. Genetics is genetics whatever the animal. You might have a case if you argued that life threatening illnesses had somehow managed to be bred out similar to what’s been done with animal testing animals, but to just say “Higher inbreeding tolerance” does not hold water."

      Actually, John the genetics expert, 'inbreeding tolerance' and 'inbreeding avoidance' are actual things, that actual geneticists, especially conservation geneticists, talk about and consider in regards to both domestic and wild populations. That's why I encouraged you to visit either Pubmed or Jstor and LOOK IT UP. 'Inbreeding depression' is also a thing and these things are all intertwined. Wild populations are also subject to balancing selection and co-evolution, which makes things even more interesting. You might also look up 'purging', when deleterious recessives are 'purged' from the population by 'natural selection,' something which actually doesn't occur the way dog breeders think it does. None of this is 'tosh,' and it is most definitely not distorting facts.

      What *is* 'tosh' is blathering on about wild populations being inbred, and when you're called on it, you shout 'tosh.' Talk about distorting facts.

      For any interested lurkers out there, I would suggest looking at the Yellowstone wolves, an introduced and well-studied population, and the Isle Royale wolves, an inbred population that has had a single outsider introduced across an ice bridge during it's long studied history, which had some very interesting results.

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    12. Jess,

      On the topic of wolf populations, you’ve probably read this but just in case you haven’t, I think you’d find it interesting.

      Evaluation of the conservation genetic basis of management of grey wolves in Sweden.

      A Google search should bring it up in its entirety.

      Cheers,

      Sarah


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    13. Actually Jess, it’s quite common for facts to be distorted/changed to suit a whim or for political expedience. The results of a scientific report was reported in the papers a short while ago saying a glass of wine a day was good for you, then someone decided that could be seen as encouraging binge drinking so another report was published saying all drink was bad for you. I used to say “The only thing you could believe in news papers was fish and chips!” Then ‘elf and safety banned even that!

      As to the links you supplied, I did do a search on them, found plenty about the inbreeding of Maize and Millet, but nothing about which you mentioned. Dont get me wrong, I don’t doubt it’s there, but I’m betting if you look far enough you will find another which runs counter to it. Scientists are renowned for that. I well remember a long running argument about the genetics of HD in Dog World back in the 1970’s between Doc’s Malcolm Willis and Bruce Cattanach.

      An interesting article I did find in Jestor was an article entitled “When Not To Avoid Inbreeding.” I’ll quote just one sentence here, to wet your appetite. “Too Much outbreeding can have negative consequences too, which can be described by the term outbreeding depression (Bateson 1978, 1982; Templeton 1986; Frankham 1995; Pusey and Wolf 1996)” There was a case I read about a few years ago about a breeder of working Irish Setters, who had been breeding for 25 years without once going outside his own line! OK, I’m not advocating that this is the way breeders should go. There can be no doubt that this breeder was extremely lucky that his founding dogs carried no deleterious genes!

      I have no doubt that close breeding is not good. But the question we should all be asking is “How close is close?” because at the moment it seems that all the “experts” are doing is pulling numbers out of a hat. We also need a consistent measurement of that figure because as I said elsewhere, without knowing how many generations that figure is based on makes any figure worthless. Then we need some means of knowing what the breeding we are thinking about will equate to, I can calculate the CoI of my dogs for however many generations you want, but I’m betting most people cant. As an illustration of how important knowing the dumber of generations is, Below is a Labrador Show Champion bred by a friend. I’ve calculated the CoI over several different amounts of generations. For the record the KC’s Mate Select lists the dog as 8.5% calculated over 20 generations but with ONLY 6 generations complete.

      5 generations = 2.24%
      6 generations = 2.85%
      10 generations = 13.32%
      15 Generations = 16.43%

      I may be stupid, but to calculate the CoI over 20 generations when you only know the full pedigree for 6 generations is crazy, and only confuses the issue!

      Regards, John

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    14. "An interesting article I did find in Jestor was an article entitled “When Not To Avoid Inbreeding.” I’ll quote just one sentence here, to wet your appetite. “Too Much outbreeding can have negative consequences too, which can be described by the term outbreeding depression (Bateson 1978, 1982; Templeton 1986; Frankham 1995; Pusey and Wolf 1996)” "

      Yes, John, I have had that article for a long time. But you see, while dogs can suffer what can technically be termed 'outbreeding depression' in a functional sense (you would not breed a Dachshund to a non-dwarfed breed if you wanted to retain the ability to go down holes, for instance) dogs, especially dogs kept in industrialized first world nations, do not suffer from outbreeding depression as it is generally defined in the literature. That would be, for example, a cross between two geographically isolated subspecies that breed at different times of the year. Such a animal may suffer from outbreeding depression by breeding at the wrong time, which would affect the survival of it's offspring. See how that works? Bringing up harem breeders, wild populations, or outbreeding depression in regards to genetic diversity in dogs is intellectually dishonest and disingenuous. IOW, it's the last resort of someone who either cannot refute your arguments, or doesn't understand population genetics as it relates to closed populations.

      You would do well to read Frankham on management of small populations. Very interesting.

      "But the question we should all be asking is “How close is close?” because at the moment it seems that all the “experts” are doing is pulling numbers out of a hat."

      I don't see anyone pulling numbers out their hats, John. Haven't you read Jeffrey Bragg's essay, Population Genetics in Practice, Principles for the Breeder? Very simple guidelines based on population genetics that anyone can understand, no numbers required, except an understanding of what the average COI for the breed is.

      Oh, and your COI calcs? COI is calculated with any dog that has no background as a 'founder', and unrelated to the other dogs in the pedigree. I am sure you know this. This is a problem with the mathematical model, because we all know that the founders in a breed are often related dogs, it gives a falsely low COI. Your 15 generation COI would almost certainly be higher if the pedigree was complete. Depending on how the dogs were bred, I generally like to see a COI calculated until it stops making big jumps. For example, in Salukis, half-brother sister breedings are not uncommon, and a low COI for four generations will get a lot higher if there's a half-brother/sister breeding in the fifth generation. Christopher at Borderwars hasan excellent post on COI.

      Sarah, I have that on my computer but I haven't done more than glance at it. I will give it a read tonight! Thanks!

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    15. "Bringing up harem breeders, wild populations, or outbreeding depression in regards to genetic diversity in dogs is intellectually dishonest and disingenuous."

      Please do not call me dishonest Jess! I take the greatest exception to that, and if that is where your argument sinks to then I see no point is discussing anything at all with you. You do not know anything at all about me, certainly not to my honesty.

      And for your information, that 15 generation CoI is 100% complete. I normally complete pedigrees to 10 generations although many are complete considerably further back than that and many I can trace back to 1870, (although obviously not complete by that point.)

      John.

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    16. John, I can't speak for labradors, but on the Whippet Archives, anyone can see the 10 generation pedigree for most dogs (where it's not accurate, it will tell you). Every pedigree stems back to a few founder dogs in the late 19th Century. I find that very worrying, as it means the Whippet is far more inbred than it first appears.

      Additionally, fast forward a hundred years where the Whippet has won BOB at Crufts several times and you'll see even more inbreeding, due to popular sires. As a result, it is virtually impossible to find a show bred Whippet that doesn't have the 1992 BOB winner, Pencloe Dutch Gold, in its pedigree.

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    17. Sorry, make that Crufts BIS (Best in Show). The Whippet has won twice, not several times, but it has come RBIS twice as well.

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    18. There are plenty of online databases for Labradors Fran, some more accurate than others. But from point of view of CoI's to my knowledge only the KC Mateselect supplies that info. And because they only go back to when their database was computerised (around 1980) and because they dont include the pedigrees of imported dogs or semen, even from Ireland, the CoI's are always way under reality. Also, because they take every dog back as far as possible almost no two dogs have the same number of generations taken into consideration, making it impossible to accurately compare dogs. For the sake of repeatability and comparison I have always used 10 generations in my calculations. OK, probably not ideal, but I figure a fair compromise.

      Incidentally, if you ever want to know the sire and dam of an American import the OFA site is a good starting point.

      Regards, John

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    19. I did not call you a liar, John. I stated quite specifically that trying to derail the discussion (health in purebred dogs bred within a closed system), by comparing dogs bred within closed registries which are not subject to either natural or balancing selection, to wild animals like elk or moose, is intellectually dishonest.

      Intellectual honesty is a thing, John.

      The dog fancy itself is rife with intellectual dishonesty. There's no real shame in it. Intellectual dishonesty is like ignorance; it can be fixed.

      Perhaps you'd like to answer a question for me, John (open to anyone, actually):

      Dogs have about 20,000 genes that code for proteins. They've got an assload of other parts of the DNA that don't produce proteins but DO STUFF nonetheless. When we select dogs for breeding, we are doing so based on what we can see and experience (appearance, behavior, conditions we have phenotypic or DNA tests for) which is only a TEENY TINY, ITSY BITSY part of the genome. No one, NO ONE, can breed enough litters to result in all the possible genetic combinations in a bloodline, or even in a single pair of dogs, the dogs will die of old age first. With that level of ignorance, it is sheer arrogance to say you "know what is behind your dogs", genetically. Gene loss (inbreeding depression) can manifest in a gazillion ways, from greater frequency of disease to infertility to poor neonatal survival rates. Do you really believe, that as the gene pool contracts and more and more recessive diseases show their heads, meaning their gene frequency is *getting higher* since this stuff doesn't come out of nowhere, do you REALLY BELIEVE that you can *select your way out of a bottleneck* by developing DNA tests for each successive new recessive disease? Or are you just pretending that you're *doing something about health*, because more tests do nothing to address the real reason why the frequency of deleterious genes gets higher, and more deleterious genes are discovered, and why inbreeding depression becomes a problem in the first place, which is a SMALL CLOSED GENE POOL, subject to all the problems of a small closed gene pool, like genetic drift (which you cannot control, not the way dogs are bred.)

      How about it, dog breeders? Care to be intellectually honest?

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    20. As an individual making decisions on the foundation stock in front of me I have to choose what is the best course of action based upon what I have to work with, add consideration for what will be augmenting this from other sources willing to work with me and by keeping an unrelated female for every unrelated male I have. And it means having a lot of unrelated dogs even different breeds that will be used for outcrossing. ...

      I can focus on what Genetic tests are available, if there are any for my chosen breeds... and use them to make better informed decisions towards mapping out future litters. And even use the physical testing to assess the current condition of existing dogs or older pups that we decided to keep, when and if we see there is a problem. And again make a better informed decision based on what we discover.

      But, no one can do everything from top to bottom without taking a hit eventually.

      After having seen the results of trumpeting health test screenings as the priority over genetic diversity for many decades thus far...

      The best thing I can see is to flip that ideology and just focus on the lineages and the COI factor behind each dog in my available dogs and make this my priority. And Test the foundation stock for known genetic screens if available. Anything else gets dealt with as it pops up. Without a team of scientists to assign specific facets of the program to, you have to just make a decision on what is the most important for you to focus on and stick with it. The outcome being the goal you've set for yourself.

      You then compare your outcome with the outcome the status quo has left for you and make more decisions on the path you take.

      Again, I've said it before. If I have to compare my outcomes to what current statistics show. Then I much prefer what outcomes I've produced over what outcomes the status quo is presenting.

      Will I make changes and course corrections over time? Of course. As soon as I see my outcomes mirror the statistics I'll review and course correct. In fact I've already done some course correction. And still haven't seen the current statistics for my chosen breeds reflected in my outcomes. And certainly haven't seen this reflected in my hybrids.


      I get a lot of heat from people with their own ideologies on what they believe. Well, okay that's cool. I respect your thinking and you can continue to do things according to these ideologies you believe. Even if the results thus far a not been impressive. Just be prepared to compare notes between how you do things with all the health testing as your priority Vs how I do things with a focus on lower COI, outcrossing and avoiding inbreeding at all costs.

      So far I like what I have to present much better than the outcomes the status quo has presented. And so do a lot of other people.

      Delete
  11. Stories (& sketches) like this in the media are nothing new.
    I recall the Radio 4 show "Week Ending" some years ago, doing their take on a some current debate about dog breeding. A little song in Noel Coward style that was very sarcastic about pedigree breeding, with the chorus that I remember to this day,
    "Because mad English doggy men,
    deform little dogs,
    deform little dogs,
    deform little dogs for fun"

    I don't see there being much progress over the years.

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  12. Hypocrit indeed he is and of course a fool for paying 1500. idiopathic epilepsy anyone?

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  13. I doubt that many of the words printed in the article can be attributed to Fogle. The poor man has been duped into an interview with the shoddiest of the dog magazines who then SOLD the story to the Daily Mail - yes sold! The Mail would then change the words to suit themselves and their readership. Miss Harrison, you must be desperate to hang onto this story to promote your worthless campaigning. Anyone associated with the BBC is poor bed fellows these days eh?

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    1. Hello there,

      I interviewed Ben for Dogs Today. I asked him about his stance on Crufts because it is something he mentioned in his newly published book - The Accidental Naturalist - the publication of which is what prompted the interview.

      The publishers of the book approached us, rather than the other way around, but we are of course very grateful to have the opportunity to speak with him. If you read our interview with Ben, you will see he does go on to specify which parts of Crufts he disagrees with. Ben is entitled to his own opinion, and I believe the way in which I wrote the interview gave a fair overview of our interview.

      I can assure you I have never made up a quote in my life and have no plans to start.

      No, not sold. Dogs Today did not sell the story to the Daily Mail. I have no idea how they came to see it, but I assure you we did not receive any money or even any warning that they had used our interview to publish their own version of it. Dogs Today does not have any power over anything the Daily Mail publishes (although I do admit I emailed them asking them to change their spelling of the title of our publication to make it accurate, which they did).

      If you would like to write a letter for our letters page, please email enquiries@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk, but I'm afraid we cannot publish letters from anonymous people.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Best wishes,

      Rachael Millar

      Delete
  14. It’s easy to blame breeders for epileptic dogs, but is that correct? I owned an epileptic Labrador for almost 14 years, so it’s a subject I have spent much time looking into. There are many reasons for epilepsy which are not hereditary, illness, (Meningitis for one) Poisoning is a common cause, accidental injury, (my Obedience mentor many years ago had an epileptic GSD who only started fitting after splitting her head open on the corner of a table in the house!) Then there are many illnesses similar to epilepsy, such as Centronuclear Myopathy, Exercise induced collapse and Canine Degenerative Myelopathy, all of which have been mistaken in the past for Epilepsy both by the owners AND THEIR VETS! But now we have DNA tests for all three of these there should be no mistakes there. Canine Epitoidal Cramping Syndrome is another similar disease but we have no DNA test for that yet so it is still often misdiagnosed, as is Paroxysmal dyskinesias. How many other diseases are there out there as yet unnamed? Then we come to the genetic form of Epilepsy, is there only one form? I VERY much doubt it. Some forms seem to respond to such drugs as Phenobarbitone, some do not. I know of two Laboratories who are at present looking into trying to find a DNA test, but we don’t have a test yet. But not only that, at present, even when a dog is fitting we done have a test which can definitively tell us whether the dog is epileptic or not! So what chance do breeders have when even vets don’t know whether a dog really is epileptic or whether it is fitting from some other disease? Maybe we should blame Vets rather than breeders?? As Mr Fogle’s father is a vet should he take some of the blame for his son’s dog? That would clearly be silly, we are only as good as present knowledge, both vets AND breeders.

    Regards, John

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    1. An interesting point about Mr Fogle's father. Someone made that exact point on the Daily Mail comment page and it was removed due to a complaint. Touchy subject in the vet world perhaps?

      Delete
  15. I can respect your opinion (But don't fully agree) and your love for pedigree dogs. I agree on a lot of things that your persuading the general public in doing- with the future of pedigree dogs. I agree that the inbreeding needs to stop, health checks before breeding a dog need to be a requirement, out crossing dog breeds to expand the genetic diversity, and lessening the extremes of exaggerations in pedigree dogs, ect. If the health improves in pedigree dogs, then I don't see why we would haft to axe Crufts. Healthy dogs would then win. If the vets are still used at Crufts then the breeds would not be in trouble. I still love dog shows (but saddened that quite a few breeds are in trouble due to their conformation) , I still hope we don't lose best in show. If a healthy dog wins best in show, the winning dog can be a great example for their breed in their best. Obviously if EVERYONE made compromises, and worked together; there would be an improvement. I thought that was what Britian was all about, working TOGETHER.

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  16. I would question more the integrity of people who work for the BBC at the moment than try to bring down the respectable dog breeders.

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    1. The BBC have proved that they have no integrity, they are a left wing motivated bunch of Paedophile supporting vermin.

      Delete
    2. I would say the culture within the show world is doing its best to bring down respectable dog breeders. Raise health issues and try and encourage more breeders to health test, and you'll find yourself labelled a troublemaker. Other breeders just don't want to know. They may cite costs (quite fairly), as a reason not to health test, but then ignore opportunities for cheap health tests, offered either by their own club, or another.

      Delete
    3. It is mainly show and working breeders who test Fran. I'm co-organised of eye testing sessions, the last was last Thursday, and we had 77 dogs presented through the evening. Every one was either from either a show or working home, not a single pet person present. And this is pretty much the usual. OK, not all show and working people test, which is a shame, but very very few pet people test. Without the show people the tests would fold from lack of use.

      Regards, John

      Delete
  17. Yep... just because it transpires that one high profile presenter was a paedophile, that of course means that everyone who works - or has ever worked - for the BBC is a paedophile.



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    1. No one said that, they are blaming the beeb for turning a blind eye that was blinkered enough to allow your ill advised, badly researched, biased program.

      Delete
    2. @Max: If it was ill advised, badly researched and biased, how come three independent reports agreed with its findings, i.e. that current breeding practices are detrimental to the health of pedigree dogs?


      Delete
    3. Well Jemima just because one hypocritical presenter says his epileptic Labrador died at 12 years old due to being bred for looks doesnot mean all labs are the same. pot kettle black

      Delete
  18. I had a Labrador who had a CoI of 0.8% he died aged 10 of natural causes. His puppy is a ESS x Labrador, she had a cross litter and produced cleft palate and histiocytosis.

    At least with a family tree (pedigree) you can keep track of the diseases and know where they are coming from. The reason everyone thinks a mongrel is better is you can't trace where the inherited disease came from.

    Personally I'd like that kind of guarantee when buying a dog.

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    1. A good breeding program keeps stud books... even of their hybrids.

      Bad breeders are breeding pure bred dogs too and not paying any attention to pedigree.

      Likewise.... Purebred dogs were all mongrels until someone decided to keep records and to call it something other than a mongrel.

      Delete
    2. "Likewise.... Purebred dogs were all mongrels until someone decided to keep records and to call it something other than a mongrel."

      It would be more accurate to say there have always been pedigreed dogs (dogs with a known pedigree, not to be confused with the modern concept of purebred) and mongrel dogs (dogs with an unknown ancestry.)

      Pedigrees, even very extensive pedigrees, were certainly kept by breeders before the advent of kennel clubs and registries and the modern definition of purebred.

      Delete
    3. Using the Basenji as an example. They exist in the wild. And are in fact Mongrels in their native surroundings in a third world culture. However, man from modern society took a liking to their look and mannerisms and decided to make a pet of it.

      And lo and behold it now has pedigree in a closed gene pool acknowledged by world renowned dog registries. And thus the problems with genetic depletion are there for ones we brought into our modern culture.

      Except for the ones still living in the wild. Unless of course, they are now so isolated that in the wild they are mirroring what man has done for them in our society.

      Delete
  19. The Consumer market is trending towards a better educated more informed consumer when it comes to companions. So Jemima is spot on with this assessment. This Comedy sketch caters to an educated public. Hence the laughing you hear are not laugh tracks. Thats the response of the educated public and how they feel about the circle of people involved in the purebred dog fancy. I can't tell you how many people we've encountered at conformation shows that just are disgusted with what they see. And that's when its open to the public for free, because most events where you pay at the door, the public does not come out in droves to attend. The ones that do are either family and friends of the owner and handlers or the not so educated public that sees dogs and come from the curiosity. Then most of those visitors quickly turn a sour taste in their mouth from the snobbish elitist attitudes most owners and handlers exhibit with the words "please don't pet my dog". Happens all the time.

    My family gets a sigh of relief when we say "sure go ahead". And the person waves their friends and family over. Its then an opportunity for education. So as the owner you can either tell the truth about the situation for all dogs in the fancy in general...or continue to perpetuate lies about purity and lineages being bred from this or that champion. Its very easy to explain the virtue of the show breeder bent on cosmetic conformity and line breeding. Simply ask the visitor, what are your thoughts on having children with your Aunt, Grandmother, Sister or Close cousins? Then ask them to look at the pedigree of the dogs they're interested in. They usually come back and thank us.

    At least when they walk away from our dogs.... they know better. And since the dog shows for the public is supposed to raise awareness about the breeds on display. Its a responsible thing to actually be upfront and honest.

    The best COI is 0% period going back beyond 8 or more generations. To accept anything else is a sad excuse and clearly an influence of stupidity.

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    1. Chatham Hill Gang said "I can't tell you how many people we've encountered at conformation shows that just are disgusted with what they see. And that's when its open to the public for free, because most events where you pay at the door, the public does not come out in droves to attend" well last years Crufts, charge a fee to come and see attracted a gate of 145,000 people (which is almost double the number that can fit in the Olympic Stadium of the 2012 games)if that isnt what you call comming out in droves to see pedigree dogs just what do you think is? Again I see you were asked just how many shows and the type of(or where) dog shows you have been too, if you question others ability to produce fact but you dont back your own up with this simple information, I think it says more about you agenda than your knowledge!

      Delete
    2. Like I said mostly people with a connection and/or vested interest with the dogs in the event pay to be there. And $145,000 sounds about right for the family and friends of the thousands of dogs in attendance at the venue. Using this attendance as a demographic example of the MILLIONS of People who didn't attend... would be a mistake. There are more Labradors registered annually than the numbers of people who attended. So it goes without saying that for every breed represented and every category on display there would be an exponential number of family and friends per each single dog. They are by no means an example of the public majority even if they sell out this stadium three times over.

      145k is a small drop in the bucket by comparison to the rest who don't care to be there or change the channel.

      Keeping in mind that the end all venue like Crufts is the culmination of the efforts of all the handlers, owners and breeders of these dogs. One dog has ten or more humans linked with an interest to see it in the final event, with thousands of dollars invested in the travel, lodging and handling of their dog at each and every lesser event until the main event. The amount of hours spent by the handler who is paid to take the dog to these lesser event with the owners and breeders absent since they only care about the points and getting the dog to the main event. And the elitist snobs usually never show up until the main event. So the lesser shows have a dismal attendance.

      So yes. 145k of people is a good representation of the owners, the breeders and the families who signed a stud or show contract with the breeders. Especially since were talking maybe 10 to 50 top dogs representing each breed in each class in each category.

      Makes complete sense to know there are that many stupid dog people in the world. But by no means a number to eclipse the numbers of rational sane human beings.

      Delete
    3. Chatham Hill gang well when your wrong your are sooo wrong. In the UK there is not the 10 or so people interested in one dog that would mean such a gate at a show would be linked to the owners of each dog, the vast majority (85%) of those who go to Crufts do not and have not shown dogs, they own pets and enjoy their company , they love to see the various breeds (and non breeds) see them being worked, the various agility and training competitions. Unlike the States where the breed entries are very small (and twice as many breeds are shown) the UK has some of the largest breed entries in the world, indeed despite the great work done by FCI KCs there the World shows never attract such entries as Crufts. Infact most of the General Champ shows here enjoy entries 7 or 8 times more that a show in the USA, perhaps that is why your kids get bored at shows? As for the TV audience (and even Ms Harrison will confirm grudingly I suspect) that Crufts enjoys great viewing figures in the past on the BBC, and stillnow on Channel 4, and if rumours are correct back on the BBC soon too. I encourage all to look atyour profile and yoru website and thenthey will see just how much you do and dont know about the welfare of dogs, and for your information I have bred shown dogs for over 30 years and faced the problem in a breeds that having work with vets,the KC and other breeders taht ment we only had physical test to assit us, now we have DNA test and the problems are going (without compromising the gene pool. Your breeding plans I think are more about y our asperiations and not about true health and welfare.

      Delete
    4. Here is an example of intellectual dishonesty for you, John:

      "for your information I have bred shown dogs for over 30 years and faced the problem in a breeds that having work with vets,the KC and other breeders taht ment we only had physical test to assit us, now we have DNA test and the problems are going (without compromising the gene pool."

      Why is this intellectually dishonest? 1) Selection always results in change in the gene pool. 2) Large scale selection, as against a specific deleterious gene, will cause large scale, unforeseeable change in the gene pool. 3) When you select away from one gene, you select away from every gene in that particular dog that you choose not to breed due to it's DNA status. 4) In a closed system, all selections that reduce diversity compromise the gene pool because this results only in loss, no new genes can enter the pool. The pool is in a continual state of evaporation, as it were.

      Is this person lying? No. But they are being dishonest by ignoring the literature on small, closed populations and stating that the gene pool is not being compromised.

      Delete
    5. 85% of those attendees are the clientele of the breeders and handlers and owners.

      And the Chatham Hill Gang is all for DNA based tests. Yes I read that. They are all about the welfare of their dogs and the best interests of their buyers. That is very clear from their website, their blog and from their clients.

      Delete
    6. It seems you answered the burning question. The people attending have an interest in being there because the 85% you mention seem to be clients in one form or another. You said they have dogs. Likely purebred and likely related to the dogs in the show or connected to breeders of dogs or related dogs via other breeders connected to the show.

      I admit... I'm not in the UK. My experience is from my time spent in conformation shows here in the USA.

      But my thinking here is still the same. The Big show brings the people with a vested interest in one form or another connecting them to the dogs in the show.

      And perhaps its more to do with culture across the pond that would explain why the Crufts show has so much media hype, But then again it only took an eye opening documentary to wake this culture up and kick the show off the air.

      Here in the USA some venues attract a lot of attention merely because the viewing public is interested in seeing the next mistake walk across the screen or trotted around in the arena. Its a Wow factor with a shock value. Basically...People can't turn way from a train wreck happening in front of them.

      If it does come back on the BBC....then all the more reason to watch.... What train wreck will happen this time around? And what obviously glaring mistakes are being allowed to walk around the ring this time?

      Here in the USA we have actual programming that has the same shock value but doesn't require actually doing damage to man's best friend in order to get the interest, most of it is fiction. Not a train wreck unfolding in front of our eyes in reality.

      If many of those attendees are actually there to learn about dogs and come there with an open mind. Then it just requires a bit of actual truth from the participants to enlighten them and possibly give good reason to quickly drop the show from being televised again.

      Basically you can't teach all those old dogs new tricks applies.

      I don't think 'm far off here. Its just a matter of time. Either the whole dog world will come crashing down on itself or it will change drastically the way they do things to make the large venues like Crufts an actual worthwhile learning experience for the public

      Delete
    7. Chatham hill gan the vast majority of those who go to Crufts have nothing to do with the dogs show in ANY form, Jemima Harrison would you please confirmthis and make this person see thatthe show BUSINESS of dogs in the States is very different to the UK, as for their health testing claims what have they had tested, buy just crossing a breed from a limited start up number of dogs they are more compromised in a shorter time than ANY predigree registered breed. The idea that breed registers are closed is as a silly one, many dogs have been introduced over the years some brought good and some brought bad. The Chatham Hill gang I fear have hi- jacked this blog to sell their own agenda and their own puppies, both seem built on a bad foundation!

      Delete
    8. If they own a dog as it was claimed in your previous rebuttal. Then they do have a connection. They obviously made the purchase of this dog based off the information put forth by the same people who participate in the shows. Who possibly bred and produced their own dogs. And they are at the shows to view the example of the breed they love and purchased via instructions from the same people following the participants in the show.

      Especially famous people. Celebrities. The ones with a charmed childhood and no exposure to the current events in our daily lives. The ones who possibly never had to go to public school and never turn on their brain to absorb anything beyond how to portray themselves as and live their lives as pretentiously as their social standing dictates. They are the product of their parents, who also are the groupies of the social elitists that comprise most of the dog show world. ANd they are the ones with the disposable income to afford such elitist hobbies.

      There's Royalty in the UK breeding Corgis. I doubt she even realizes the issues with the health in dogs because she's spoon fed the news through filters. Just like most people of higher social standing. They are typically disconnect from much of the reality the rest of the world is dealing with.

      The World is changing. So there is still hope.

      Delete
    9. The Queen has stopped breeding Corgis, now, and I think she is extremely aware of the impact of breeding practices - she of course breeds horses, and also working Labradors (that have low COIs). We are told, btw, that the Queen was shocked by Pedigree Dogs Exposed - of cousre impossible to know for sure, but it was from a close source. When the KC commissioned a painting of the Queen for their Clarges St premises, the story goes that the Queen insisted on her Dorgis (Corgi/Dachshund crosses) being included in the portrait.

      Delete
    10. Then as an example of what can happen when you remove those filters. I am happy she has a better perspective.

      The world really is changing.

      Delete
    11. Chatham Hill Gang: showing [campaigning] a dog in the UK does not cost the millions that it does in the USA. Anyone on a modest wage in the UK could purchase a KC registered puppy of their chosen breed, letting the breeder know it was going to a show home and therefore needed to be of show quality, and take it to a dog show. For example, a show-quality Whippet puppy from winning show lines would cost around £500. Rare breeds such as the Lowchen may cost £1000. Whether that dog won or not would depend on its eventual conformation and the handlers expertise. Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a fair bit of 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' when it comes to certain judges. Entry to a champ dog show in the UK costs upwards of £25, plus petrol, parking and overnight accommodation if the show is far from home. I think it costs £25 or £50 to enter a dog at Crufts, plus the cost of entering other shows in order to qualify.

      Dogs shows may have been introduced by elitist Victorians, but in the UK, it's no longer exclusive to the upper classes.

      Delete
    12. Chatham Hill Gang: For example, Zentarr Elizabeth, the Lhasa Apso that won Crufts BIS 2012, was owned and campaigned by a retired social worker who lived in a semi-detached house (Google it), in Coventry! A far cry from an aristocrat living in Eaton Square, London.

      Delete
    13. 500 and 1000 translated into US dollars is not something a Middle class income household will call a priority over the costs of heating a home, maintenance on vehicle wear and tear. Etc Etc.

      The amount of shows to champion a dog can easily go higher and require more time than the average household is willing to dedicate. Unless they have the disposable income to do so and the time allotted to maintain it.

      It is a hobby. It is not a cheap hobby like flying a kite. It costs more money than the average middle to low income household can reasonably spare and more time than they can possibly dedicate without putting their day to day jobs in jeopardy. Even if they agree and the breeder picks up most of the costs for the transport and training then it still shows that the persons with the money and the time are not the owners of the dog. But the breeders with a vested interest in keeping their dogs highly desirable to the rest of the world by showing their dogs. In the long term they expect a return on this investment though an interest in using their dog as a stud or a brood bitch and then selling the puppies. More often than not ... selling the puppies that the owner sign away all their rights to.

      Dog shows were not only introduced by the elitist sector of society. It is continually perpetuated by the same sector. Don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise. Because if you have 500 to 1500 to throw away then you are by no means a struggling middle class example with a job and kids and household priorities.

      Delete
    14. I'll add, that after the dog is championed and a winner at the main Venue. This retired Social worker will also likely have a lot of other breeders knocking on the door to get in line for their opportunity to use the services of this dog. And then the elitist people who want one of there own will start plopping down deposits for future planned litters.

      Add that to the final take of this retired social worker who just successfully Marketed this winner.

      No not so frugal after all.

      Delete
    15. Chatham Hill Gang learn a few fact the Lhasa Apso who won BIS at Crufts is BITCH, so no stud fees there, its never had a litter (and if it did as I beleive it now too old) the money charegd for the puppies wouldno be that much!!

      Delete
    16. Chatham Hill Gang, all the show breeders/competitors I know personally here in the US are middle income. It costs a fair amount but then so do a number of other hobbies. In many breeds you can get a show-quality pup for $1000 to $1500; in fact, many breeders don't charge a different price based on show quality/pet quality since it costs the same to breed the litter. Entry fees aren't that high and while gas is pricey, in densely populated areas you don't have to travel that far and of course people co-breed as well. So I'm not sure where you are coming from in this line of thinking. The breeder of my (show-line) dogs is a nurse. Another breeder we met is a single school teacher. And so on. Not exactly high-brow there.

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    17. Jemima the painting of the Queen you commented on includes allthe breeds she had at the time and it was done more than 40 years ago, she placed no restrictions on what was to be in it and neither did the Kennel Club, the only animal of which their was a decision on to be included was the mouse, and if you knew the "pedigree" of the painting you would know why. So stop the silly rumours about the Queen being shocked about PDE there is no ground for it, if you have proof why not name your "close" source? As for the Queen support for the work of the KC, I suggest you just wait and see what is on the cards that will prove why she has remained the Clubs Patron will in the frame for the future.

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    18. Show breeders with multiple dogs who can afford to do the circuits at an average of $50 entry fees per dog along with the travel and possible overnight stays. Or if they can afford an RV to accommodate their dogs.

      If you deal with the dog breeds I do...then often the show dogs will cost you $1500 under contract or $5000 full ownership... if the breeder is willing to sell.

      If the shows you stick to are local and your dog can earn enough points because there are enough dogs in the ring to stack the points then your chances of champion status can come quickly. For the obscure breeds like mine, you will have your work cut out for you traveling all over even out of state or if you're that obsessed with it across the country.

      It requires time, which for most Middle income families translates to time away from work or Personal time used or vacations planned around your dog show circuits. It requires time invested for either training, a trainer and/or a handler. If you plan to handle on your own then its more time you need to have to dedicate to it.

      Time = money. Travel = money. Entry fees = money. training = money. Handlers = Money. Multiple dogs = Money. Lodging = Money. An RV = money. Crates = Money. Grooming supplies = Money. And its not something that you can put away in the closet for when you're ready.

      There are not many hobbies that require as much time and investment as showing your dog. Not to mention the family might not always mesh on wanting to do this on the show schedules, so it becomes a decision on your own vanity or for the fun of the family. Like I said kids have plenty of other things they enjoy more...like playing fetch with that same show dog.

      I maintain hobbies with Photography, Videography, Home theatre, Guns, Computers, Electronics, 4X4 ATV and Automotive. These are leisure hobbies that only require the time I wish to dedicate to them when I want to and the money I choose to invest on occasional upgrades, not to mention they can occur in the privacy of my own back yard, basement or garage. Or where ever I happen to be at any point in time. I plan my free time for it. I don't have to plan on freeing my time around it.

      Dog shows demand your time on their schedules. Travel on their schedules. And the cost of maintenance for the animals you wish to enter. And if you're a seasoned breeder, you're likely entering and showing multiple dogs. Grooming multiple dogs, Or tracking and handling multiple contract dogs that you still claim back from the owners to do these shows.

      So if the breeders you know can afford this... then you clearly have no eye on their bank accounts. I'm sure they're "Upper" Middle income. Especially considering the times we live in... the Middle class is gone. You're likely either well off or poor.

      So it is a big investment of your time and money and not an inexpensive hobby in comparison to other more common hobbies.

      Delete
    19. Let me add... My spouse is a retired school teacher by choice. But, if she was a single school teacher....

      She would have school hours and free summers and lots of Holidays to plan her time around the dog shows.

      Just saying.

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    20. Chatham Hill Gang: what you have just described may be the case in the USA show circuit, but it's not the case for the UK show circuit. It costs a lot less money. The UK is smaller, so you don't have to drive so far, show people are choosy as to which shows they go to based on distance and how well they think their dog will do under that judge. £25 is usually the upper limit for champ shows, so others will be cheaper.

      As for the retired social worker whose dog won BIS at Crufts, yes maybe she will sell the puppies for a lot of money, but she's just one out of 130,000 entries!

      I know a senior school teacher who shows her dogs. If they're happy with it taking over their lives, then that's up to them.

      Having said all that, entries to shows is down. I presume because of the recession.

      Delete
    21. Fran,

      "Zentarr Elizabeth, the Lhasa Apso that won Crufts BIS 2012, was owned and campaigned by a retired social worker who lived in a semi-detached house"

      The owner was retired. This affords the owner plenty of time to free her time up around the show circuit.

      She may not be single and there may be a double income for this retired social worker due to a spouse who may or mat not also be retired. If the amenities they have are humble, then they likely have a nice retirement nest egg. As an owner of a dog there is likely much time to dedicate to their pet.

      Retirement comes with lots of disposable income or at least a set known budget. And assuming the kids have flown the coupe the budget goes a lot farther.

      I won't knock the fact that this retired social worker was more than likely not living like an aristrocrat. But, with retirement doe come the life of riley. Its all about leisure time and how you want to spend the rest of your life. After all it is retirement.

      Even if the dog in question was a Bitch. Then as a brood bitch it offers an opportunity to have puppies. It is an eccentric person who buys a show dog to just achieve a championship and end it there. But, although there are people like that. That is not the norm.

      If she does brood her bitch then the costs would likely be a pick or two from the resulting litter by the owner of the stud or a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the pups. The proceeds from a litter of 4 to 8 pups is not chump change. And for a toy breed the puppies from "a Champion" can get a price tag double the standard asking price for a pet.

      So although I appreciate your single example that may be an exception to the norm. I'm just not buying that a person in their retirement is all that monetarily strapped. In fact I would guess that if they've reach their retirement age and have gotten to a point where they can take on such a hobby, Then they are not so concerned about the expense involved. Even if they are in the UK.

      In any case. Dog shows are one venue where the average person can go in the arena and compete with paid professionals. Keeping in mind the focus should be on just the dog, but someone still needs to know how to present the dog, stack it and walk it with a proper gait. But, if she wasn't showing the dog herself, then someone had to be there to handle the dog in the ring. And that is another expense.

      We can assume either a little or a lot about the back story on this, But from my perspective its not as simple as just a poor person and her dog winning a show.

      Its not a bad thing that show entries are down. Perhaps its a reflection of the times. And consideration for what the show should represent for the future of dogs should be taken by organizers and participants to make it more than just a beauty contest. It should be a learning experience in a positive direction. Promote more interaction between spectator and subject. And not be so boring where kids quickly lose interest.

      After all the impressions we give our children will be what piques their interests for carrying the same torch in our future.

      So why sour it for them.

      Delete
    22. CHG, hobby economics depend on how passionate you are. My grandfather shared your automotive hobby as a colliery electrician earning little more than the coal-diggers, owning a car - a very elite thing in 1904. We have always been a one-income family, my wife spends her time and my money on dog breeding and showing: which we afford by running a car (kennel on wheels more like) no bigger than grandad's 1904 model, though hopefully more reliable.

      Delete
    23. The times have changed Bob. We are also a one income family as well. My income has to support a family of 5 children and a pack of dogs.

      Cars are not so elitist anymore, they're a common staple. I can understand the wife spending all your money. Multiply that by 5 kids soaking up the money like a sponge and 18 foundation dogs eating it all away.

      So as a single income household to support hobbies today. It's a not a person in hardship with a meager income that takes them on. Or having to support the wife's hobby. The passion easily gets tamed when there is no money to afford such hobbies. Or the funds quickly get redirected to a hobby you can afford.

      If breeding is a part of the equation then in the very least.... the at least the dogs can absorb some of that overhead.

      Delete
    24. Chatham Hill Gang, get your "facts" right the Lhasa Apso bitch in question hasnt had puppies in the past and is now too old to have puppies, so no profit there!! unlike you who seems to be breeding for nothing but money (hidden under the cloak of self righteous) what supports your family youru income or the income from your dogs? as for having 5 kids you choose to do so, you pay for it!

      Delete
    25. My family and the pack....Definitely are not supported by the dogs. My income covers most of it. The dogs do contribute to their own care and vet bills. Maintenance of their facilities and of course every quarter we purchase 1 ton of kibble in bulk.

      Mr/Mrs. Assnonymous... I literally could not afford to support my family and pay bills on just the dogs. Therefore to support such a hobby.... the dog show owner in question...is by no means a pauper. Perhaps modest, but in retirement its easy to think they would be .... ready to enjoy retirement.

      The Lhasa Apso owner being retired...should have plenty of disposible income. After all Its the goal of retirement. Otherwise I suppose they would not afford any hobbies outside of gardening and perhaps owning a pet dog named "Petunia".

      Try another example...maybe you'll convince me a homeless person with a mongrel and not a penny to their name took best in show?

      Delete
    26. Anon on 25 October @ 2.11 wrote:

      "Jemima the painting of the Queen you commented on includes allthe breeds she had at the time and it was done more than 40 years ago, she placed no restrictions on what was to be in it and neither did the Kennel Club."

      My source for this, anon, apart from having been told it by former KC staff, is this:

      http://everything2.com/user/Segnbora-t/writeups/dorgi

      "In 1975 the Kennel Club of England commissioned a portrait of its patron, Queen Elizabeth II. This work shows Her Majesty surrounded by some of her dogs . . . Centred in the portrait is the cross-bred 'Tinker' whose dam was a Pembroke Corgi, his sire a Dachshund--a breed the Royal Family calls the "Windsor Dorgi."

      "Desmond Morris' "Dogs" says that the Kennel Club pointed out that there was not a single cross-breed dog depicted in any of the portraits hanging in the club, but Her Majesty said that if Tinker were not allowed in the portrait, then she would not sit for it, so the club relented...The Secretary of the Kennel Club at the time of the portrait conflict is supposed to have remarked, "The Dachshund was evolved to chase badgers down holes and Corgis to round up cattle. If anyone loses a herd of cattle down a badger hole, these are just the dogs to get them out."

      (Morris, Desmond. Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Breeds. North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 2001.)

      Anon also wrote: " So stop the silly rumours about the Queen being shocked about PDE there is no ground for it, if you have proof why not name your "close" source?"

      Well, given that pretty much everyone was shocked (one way or another) by PDE, surely it would be surprising if the Queen had not been? The source was immediate family and they revealed that the Queen had been "moved and upset" by PDE. I can't name them as it as told to me in confidence.

      Delete
    27. Desmond Morris is your source for that, have you read his book, it is riddled with mistakes!!! half the breeds have incorrect histories, and the illustrations are among the worse in publications, you be hard pressed to id any breed by them. Teh Dorgo in question was bred By Princess Margaret, its a common mistake that the Queen bred them but it was her sister as she owned Dachies not the Queen. There was no restriction as to what dogs were or were not included it was up to the artist and the sitter, the KC placed NO restrictions, as to having no non breed pictures in its collection many of its pictures feature dogs of unknown origin ie Mam Buy a Dog (lent to exhiits all over the world) along with many others. As to a source being ex KC staff well we all know the Jaffa Cake Muncher use to work at the KC, and that is not a source I would trust. As for the Dorgi site again not much actual proof there. To maintain the Queen was shocked because as say "given that pretty much everyone was shocked (one way or another)" is I suspct down to the fact the Queen like reporters to report FACT and not unbalanced views given what Ofcom (and even the BBC internal) report said. I can see why she may not be keen on the programe, but as you seem adament that a "source close to, but unnamed" is a justifable way of spinning a story I doubt a little thing like truth will get in your way. We know that as this wont be published by you you cant stay in your bubble and con yourself that you are right, but as so many now see you arnt. PS the latest painting of the Queen commissioned the KC shows her in great support of her work, at one of its field trails, spin that if you can!

      Delete
    28. Well, perhaps you could give us your credentials for your version of the portrait story, Anon? Because as it stands re this and the Queen's reaction, you're asking us to believe what you say without offering us any degree of corroboration.

      I am a journalist. My source for the Queen's reaction is - in my opinion - good enough for me to repeat it. You are of course free to believe it or not, as you wish.

      As for the latest painting... I too am a great supporter of KC field trials and have no problem believing that the Queen is a supporter of them too. She breeds and understands working dogs. It's been rather a long time since she's turned up at Crufts, though, hasn't it?

      Delete
    29. "in my opinion,,in my opinion,in my opinion,in my opinion,in my opinion,in my opinion,in my opinion" well it seems as a jounralist and blogger thats all we get from you too! and we are expected to accept that as the truth, when its now been shown in various reports (the AWPG, Ofcom) that you and the truth are not that close are you? the story you gave re the painting is full of holes and factual mistakes, the source of the quote to start is greatly flawed (and if you cant see how and why .......well I rest my case on your lack of journalst ability. As for saying the Queen does not support the KC because she hasnt been to Crufts for several years, well she last went to Wimbledon Tennis final in 1977, the FA cup final had a 31 year gap between her visits, but as for the royal family three senior members have been to the KC in the last 18 months and the House of Windsor had supported the KC in direct action greatly year after year. Odd you didnt know about the latest KC portraite of the Queen, andyou will your close Royla connections and former KC staff sources and all!

      Delete
    30. see you only print your normal one sided view,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but thats good enought for you isnt it!

      Delete
  20. The Chatham hill gang show just how little they know, the vast majority of shows have no charge to see them indeed of the general Champ shows only a handfull (4 or 5 ) make any charge, but pehaps they can prove just how many show (and name a few) theyhave been to in say the last year, 5 years, 20 years? as for the COI of 0% going back 8 or more generations only pedigree dogs can do that, beacuse they HAVE a pedigree record to study, designer mutts, crossbreed dont and can be far more inbreed as its down to what they were started with just because you mate two different breeds (or indeed non breeds ) together does not mean the individuals are not very very inbred to start with.

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    1. The inbred levels of the parents have zero effect on the COI of the offspring as long as there are no common ancestors on both sides. Mate a highly inbred saluki with a highly inbred Siberian husky and your offspring will have 0% COI.

      Delete
    2. The objective is to start with two specimens with as low a COI as possible even when making a hybrid..

      And as a family we attend up to 5 shows or sanctioned events annually since 2005.

      Not that is matters... but when you see how things work in this event...it soon grows boring. The way to tell?

      Your kids will eventually tell you "this is boring". And will request to do other more interesting and productive things with their dogs. Kids can be brutally honest that way.

      Delete
    3. "The objective is to start with two specimens with as low a COI as possible even when making a hybrid.. "

      Actually, a closely bred dog that is from lines that are free from 'bad' diseases (I am talking about early cancer or heart disease as opposed to, say, cryptochids) can be extremely valuable as an outcross, either within the breed or to another breed, *especially* in breeds where you have diseases that are due to complex inheritance or incomplete dominants, or completely unknown inheritance.

      Of course that depends on finding breeders that have been scrupulously honest with *themselves* over many generations of dogs.

      Delete
    4. Anon 22:31 - true, you might think we'd moved on since 1922 when Wright's formula was devised, but apparently not. In 2000 JR Hardiman published a paper on horses, proposing a formula that took account of all ancestor inbreeding - didn't catch on, can't seem to find it on the web any more.

      Cross-breeders base claims of "hybrid vigor" on that zero, would be interesting if anyone has studied whether e.g. labradoodles are really free from inbreeding's ill-effects.

      Delete
    5. Mr. Grundy,

      The creator of the Labradoodle was interviewed and gave their opinion on why they regret not having trademarked the dog. The uncontrolled pet market destroyed them by not paying attention to the sources of their breeding stock, over breeding, using single studs and multiple females and inbreeding. Which is also practiced by many purebred dog people.

      The resulting mess was these hybrids that were no healthier than the breeds used to create them in the first place.

      However, if we go by the outcomes then this is not what I've experienced. My outcomes are vastly different from the fate of the Labradoodle. And learning from their experience. I plan to do things differently to benefit my dogs and my buyers.

      I don't claim hybrid vigor, that is a myth in animals, perhaps in plants it is witnessed but that is possibly more the effect of Heterosis. As far as Heterosis in hybrid dogs. Yes I can say this is true of the F1b litters.

      Delete
  21. Depends on the venue my friend. I didn't say all shows or quantify . But literally when free... the attendance is LOW. And when its a big venue.... the attendees have a vested interest in the dogs..

    And mr/mrs assnonymous.... the sources for the dogs in the formulation for a hybrd requires known parents from the purebred gene pools, with known pedigrees and a process to record things ongoing using enough studs and dams of no relation to establish a new foundation stock. Its the same responsible practice that gets pushed aside by the pure bred clicks.

    I think when you come from the world of "just tell me and I'll believe it" Vs "true outcomes" then you encounter many stone throwers hiding behind the assnonymous

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    1. Just looked up the Chatham Hill Gang website, wow what a site full of mixed up ideas and dogs, look liek they breed lots too, and odd ther isnt ONE mention of ANY health tests their dogs have had done, but a natty trademark against their new Designer Breed, perhaps the value that added isnt for the proven helath but the fun name!? Hey Jemmima why not check them out and see what you think?

      Delete
    2. Just keep in mind the outcomes I present do not reflect the statistical expectations the dog world has been experiencing.

      When I start to mirror the given statistics of the status quo then perhaps. But, after 130+ dogs with no problems.... I think I'll let you guys present your outcomes and come up with the excuses to defend yourselves.

      Right now what I'm looking at as far as my outcomes, does not require excuses.

      Delete
  22. Hi, I am a show dog owner from the US. I don't understand why people are so up in arms over this clip. It made me laugh, maybe because I show dogs. I am not a scientist trying to solve a major issue. Dog people need to stop taking this "sport" so seriously. Dog shows have been made fun of as long as I can remember. Hasn't anyone else seen Best In Show????
    As long as the fancy clings to it's self important know it all attitude the change that needs to happen in the US and around the world wont. The sport is dying, and if we don't change with the times we should let it, Pam
    {Yes, I really do show dogs, I have had several top 5 dogs in my breed. No, I wont give anymore info, I have no desire to be black balled.(IK that makes me a coward.. So be it)}

    ReplyDelete
  23. Aint gonna happen Chatham hill gang show, sorry. I dont think there is any geneticist in the world advocating this as a rule. Yes it might be the genetic ideal but it would sound the death nell for most breeds. There is just not enough different lines around in most breeds. Even if you manage to find enough different lines for the first generation after the rule came in you then have 255 dogs which must not appear in the pedigree of the next stud dog you loose. In no time at all there would not be a single dog left in the breed which you could use. Remember, most people do not want the hassle of standing their dog at stud so any breeder has a limited number of stud dogs available.

    Regards, John

    ReplyDelete
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    1. AS a rule John, geneticists understand the negative effects that bottlenecks cause on populations of a species. Most times this occurs due to natural isolation, but with dogs its all man made and the effects are extremely accelerated.

      However all dogs are from the same species. They can be interbred and instead of isolating the gene pool, then understanding that the formulation for each distinct breed are already among several other breeds that were used to create the final recipe needs to apply here. If you're gonna play GOD and create a dog from the ingredients of other "types" then your argument falls flat on its face. Since all dogs were in fact created this way. The answer to improving genetic diversity is already starring us in the face. The long standing ideologies about what a breed is... just happens to blind most of you.

      The pieces of the final puzzle are already among the populations of dogs in existence and by using this as the basis for establishing new lines of a specific type that we want to label a specific breed well, we already have examples where that was done.

      The LUA Dalmation
      The Bobtail Boxer
      The Irish Wolfhound

      A few recreated breeds establish to either eliminate a health problem, breed in a cosmetic advantage or to bring a breed back from extinction. All using the recipe that went into creating a distinct breed in the first place.

      To assume that these artificial bottlenecks that promote a depletion of the diversity that man created is the only way to maintain the breeds we love, is just stupid thinking. And YES any Geneticist will tell you that. Its stupid for human reasons driven by vanity.

      If the artificial culling through mandatory spay/neuter contracts is dropped and the practice of using a sole champion stud or bitch is removed from the current equation of the dog fancy, then the dogs will improve over time reversing the effects gradually that these restrictions caused in the first place.

      And if the human factor starts to open their minds and realize that the outcrossing formulation used in the beginning to create these "breeds " in the beginning can still be applied today to establish new "rebooted" lines of these "types" then the effects of reversing all the detrimental effects of these manmade bottlenecks can be accelerated in a positive direction. Only stupidity due to a matter of customary practice, passed down through generations of stubborn elitist ideologies rooted in romanticized fantasies conjured up by established breed clubs in order to sell and market more of their dogs to the public stand in the way of correcting this.

      Yes, dog shows were established to market these manmade creatures to the public. It was a showroom floor akin to a modified auction block to sell their dogs and show off their skills at playing GOD.

      Delete
    2. "Yes it might be the genetic ideal but it would sound the death nell for most breeds."

      This is another example of intellectual dishonest, John, and Chatham Hill nails it.

      DOG BREEDS ARE NOT DIFFERENT SPECIES. In fact, the very concept of 'breed' as we understand it today is very young, and dogs were maintained as true-breeding (for the most part) types long, long before the Victorian concept of 'breed' based on Bakewell's in and in came about.

      Dogs are certainly an anomaly among most domestic animals in that regard.

      Delete
    3. Perhaps a better analogy would be comparing breeds of dogs to races of humans.

      All humans are of the same species. However there are indigenous races of humans specific to various demographics globally. And these populations adapted and evolved slight differences to cope with the conditions from where they lived. But, as a species different races of humans can interbreed and have healthy babies. As well, isolated populations of humans can perpetuate negative inherited disorders. But, the effects took many generations. By interbreeding these populations effectively reshuffle the genetic deck they have and further diversify the cumulative gene pool.

      For dogs this was possibly the case in the beginning. But, human involvement accelerated the process and closed off the ability to interbreed. And in a relatively short amount of time these practices of man made isolated populations has proven extremely detrimental, whereas it took generations for the human species, it only took decades for dogs due to human intervention. So breeds of dogs are akin to races of humans. And Canis-Lupis Familiaris to every dog breed is the same species akin to Homo Sapiens species encompassing every race of humans.

      Broken down, simplified for the benefit of those who come here thinking all dogs just happened to appear one day as we see them today.

      Outcomes people...Outcomes.



      Delete
    4. Chatham Hill will like this one, it's an oldie but very interesting, on unilateral hip dysplasia and injury (puts me in mind of the study with the IWs, Leonbergers and Labs):

      http://www.showdogsupersite.com/hips.html

      Delete
  24. There is no such thing as 0% coi. Even human poulations are inbred to a degree, some more thyan others.

    John. where do you get the refreence for the KC calculating over 20 generations?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. COI is a measurement of the inbreeding going back along research ancestral lineages. The further back you go without a cross of genes the better. But eventually you will hit a crossroad.

      The world of dogs purposely does this to where a 12% to 20% COI within 4 generations is acceptable.

      And if we examine the health of the past Kings and Queens of England with respect to how that worked out.... Well. How did that work out? What was the outcome of keeping pure lineages there?

      Hmmmm???

      Delete
  25. I think one needs to distinguish what the general public think about dogs shows from what the public think about pedigree dogs. Not sure the general public are really very interested in dog shows, beyond finding people who take dogs and grooming to extremes slightly ridiculous or amusing. Or that dog shows focus on the wrong aspects of dogs. But many of the general public are pet owners who do have views on dog breeding and pedigree dogs, and in the last decade have become a lot better informed about breeding practices which produce dogs that are not as fit and healthy as buyers want - much of that due to people like Jemima (and three major reports on dog breeding) . I'm not convinced that there has been any real trend against buying pedigree dogs as pets (KC registration figures have fallen but not too significantly), but buyers are asking more questions about the health of the puppies they buy. That doesnt necessarily mean they "disapprove" of pedigree dogs, only that they are better informed and more careful about what they are buying. What's wrong with that ?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Nothing. It's heartening and a step in the right direction.

      Delete
    2. I personally do not agree with you Dalriach sorry. I follow pet selling groups on facebook and also check the usual crap selling sites daily. When questioned re health tests, kc reg etc.. on facebook pet selling groups all you get is abuse and that they are only trying to sell pets so do not need to be kc registered. Vets have told them there dogs are healthy. If you do post tests required you are shot down in flames as there pet dog is healthy so no worries. There are more terrible pet breeders around than you think and also buyers buying willy nilly without any interest in tests or indeed anything else. Ask about coi and its as if you are talking a foreign language

      Delete
  26. Nothing at all Dalriach. But it is a fact that if these pet people look towards buying health tested dogs then they will have little chance of finding one other than from a show or working breeder.

    So often I find pet people breeding a litter from non health tested dogs, and when asked they say, "But I'm not a breeder, I only have one or two litters." So if they are not breeders where did they find the puppies, under the gooseberry bush?

    There is so much information around these days concerning health testing, but still many pet people dont know about it. And more worrying still is that in so many cases even their vets do nothing to help in their education! Many people, my self included do our best by contributing articles such as:- http://www.lab-health.co.uk/ (Dont know if this is allowed Jemima, please delete it if I am breaking the rules :-) ) but sometimes it feels like we are banging our heads against a brick wall.

    Regards, John

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    1. Dear John,

      Ha I like that. There ARE breeders of hybrids that have a foundation stock of health tested dogs. The question becomes where do these tests apply and why? Or what benefit does the test provide for the outcome. If it is in fact a DNA based genetic test to identify and isolate a specific negative trait and help to make decisions to avoid doubling up on a negative recessive trait, then by all means there is a benefit.

      If however it is a physical test to ascertain the condition of the breeding stock then there is nothing definitive from this test to predict the outcome of the offspring. Nothing! It applies in human medicine as well. All it tells you is the condition of the specimen in front of you. And only at the time of testing. It does not give an accurate measure of when it will be a problem in that specimen or if this will pass onto the offspring. If this trait can be identified via a DNA marker then it is possible to accurately play GOD in the decision process. Anything else based on physical tests only gives you an assessment of the specimen being tested at the time of testing and decisions to breed are based on a hunch or a gut feeling from rolling the dice and seeing a pre determined lucky number, in the end it all amounts to gambling and still taking a risk.

      Sorry to simplify this into a minimalist thought process, but its literally not rocket science. And Yes a Medical professional or a competent Veterinarian trained in modern health care will tell you this. And even a Geneticist will concur. That much of the push behind the physical health testing is a control issue from the perspective of the seller when it comes to dogs. That much of the testing has become a matter of tradition not conclusive improvement over previous generations. Because, if it was then with over 3 decades worth of testing, the problems should have been eliminated and they really haven't budged either way.

      Some breeders have become more selective as a result of awareness. But many haven't and rely solely on the answers provided by these physical tests, thinking along the lines... that so long as I do them then I'm better off... clearly this is not the case.

      Perhaps the better way to say this is "I've bred based on decisions made from a foundation of genetically screened dogs". Since, all the physical testing in the world won't predict any outcomes. And there would be a better path towards actually making a dent in the direction of positives in addition to diversifying our options by augmenting the genetic screenings with a mix of outcrossing and backcrossing and interbreeding.

      Delete
    2. "There is so much information around these days concerning health testing, but still many pet people dont know about it. And more worrying still is that in so many cases even their vets do nothing to help in their education!"

      Let me ask you a question, John. When your local club does health clinics, do you put flyers in the places that pet breeders might go? The dog park? Dog supply or dog food stores? Vet offices? If you do put one in a vet's office, do you talk to the vet and tell them *why* their clients may be interested in the tests? When you talk to pet people, about DNA tests, for instance, do you tell them *why* they might be interested in doing such tests on their dogs? Reasons like being able to guarantee that their puppies won't develop certain diseases? You could reasonably charge a little more for a puppy that is guaranteed not to develop a prevalent disease. Perhaps you tell them that by testing their breeding stock, if they choose to keep a puppy to breed on from, they'll know whether that pup will be clear by descent and thus if bred to another clear dog, the offspring will also be clear by descent.

      You seem to have a web presence, John. What do you do when a pet breeder shows up on a message board or mailing list that you're on? Or, heavens forbid, a breeder of crosses! Do you automatically attack them as 'irresponsible?' Give them the third degree? Vilify and drive them away when they don't measure up to your standards? Or do you welcome them, tell them to feel free to ask questions, give them links to resources that might be advantageous in pushing the concepts of health testing?

      Tell you what, John. I cross-breed, as well as breed purebreds; specifically, I breed Afghan/Saluki crosses and purebred Salukis. I have been keeping both breeds since 1997/8 and bred my first litter of Salukis in 2009. In order to stay up on health issues in my breeds, I have to maintain a presence on various mailing lists and Facebook groups. This is has been my reception:

      Immediately dumped from any Afghan group I've been added to or tried to join.

      Repeatedly attacked on Saluki L, the big Saluki mailing list. Right now I'm dealing with a woman who has decided that lying about me, about my dogs, about where they come from and who I've sold dogs to, is great fun. When my litter was born in 2009, I was repeatedly harassed by another woman who is also an AKC judge, to the point that I had to file a report with the local police. That litter, I might add, was co-bred with a show breeder, and the bitch pup that went to my co-breeder is a finished champion.

      I have been repeatedly told to shut up, keep my mouth shut, that nothing I can say or any opinion I have is worth a damn, simply because I haven't been 'in the breed' for forty years and produced a ton of titled dogs. I also have a different philosophy about what a dog *is* than many people. A difference of opinion, if you like.

      I have been repeatedly accused of being an animal rights activist and anti-purebred, simply because I am able and willing to talk about the problems inherent with breeding animals within a closed system.

      This is the kind of reception I've received for trying to be part of the Saluki community, John, and frankly, I'm considerably more 'ethical' as a breeder than some of my detractors. It takes a hard, confident, arrogant personality to stick this kind of bullshit out and stay around. Chatham Hill can tell you the same kind of stories, as well.

      And btw, because of the prevalent ideas about 'responsible' breeding that comes from the 'real' dog community, most message boards related to pets are off limits to pet breeders as well.

      Do non-show, non-working breeders in *your* breed get a similar reception? Does *anyone* in your community reach out a friendly hand to these people when they venture into *your* domain?

      Whose fault is it *really*, that pet breeders and even their *vets* don't know about 'health' tests that are readily available?

      Delete
    3. This guy John actually confirms Chatham Hills claims on the website he gave for Labrador Health. It clearly states that even with the health testing of the parents that a breeder still cannot claim that the puppies will be free and clear of any of the problems being tested for.

      Why put such a disclaimer out there? Looks to me like a way to cover tracks after all the testing fails.

      Sounds very much like Chatham Hill has nailed it once again. I'm really liking these guys.

      Delete
    4. Yes and he also slams the existence of Silver Labradors and calls them Mongrels, such a derogatory term used. Sounds like he missed the point about diversity.

      I know that the Silver Labrador is a dog that has a diluted color gene and resembles a Labrador Retriever. It can be as purposeful as the Chocolate, Black and Yellow Labrador and can live a long relatively healthy life. And as a positive contribution to the genetic diversity of the LAbrador it should be viewed as a potential benefit to include them in the breeding population.

      However, having researched this variation myself as a possible ingredient for outcrossing. You rarely find breeders of them using more than a single stud or two (father and son) and a harem of related females. So although it had true potential as a benefit to the Labrador's breeding population it is questionable since the breeding practices favor close line breeding and even inbreeding. Which is a shame.

      But, Going back to what Jess brought up earlier...

      Even in a closely bred pedigree there will be dogs that exhibit good health which would be an excellent candidate based on signs of a very strong immune system.

      So, going off this... there is still promise with the inclusion of the silver variant to diversify the gene pool.

      Delete
    5. Dessert Wind Hounds is an inspiration. And a perfect example of a breeder who is ethically and morally ahead of the curve.

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  27. So Crufts is uncool... what else is new? Hasn't been remotely cool since musician Chris Amoo and his Afghan got BiS in the '60's. Radio 4, popular culture? Last figures I saw, it's as much a minority interest as dog showing.

    As for Ben Fogle, while sympathising with his grief it does seem to have muddled his thinking. Does he imagine a mutt picked up from a pound is guaranteed against epilepsy? There is an important distinction here which PDE has consistently failed to draw; between on the one hand e.g. breathless brachycephalics or frog-marching GSD's, whose deformities are deliberately bred,and on the other hereditary epileptics or CKC spaniels with syringomyelia, ailments that occur *despite* their pedigrees - no dog ever won a show by throwing a fit, or by uncontrollably scratching itself.

    The pedigree system enables breeders to avoid, or at least reduce the incidence of epilepsy etc., which proves - I've said it before and will say it again - systems can only be as good as the people that use them, in this case breeders. And show breeders are the world's worst - that is, apart from all the others.

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    1. This exactly. Diseases like epilepsy are not related to breeding for exaggerated features. A breeder who researches pedigrees carefully can reduce the risk of diseases like epilepsy over time. A mongrel with an unknown or poorly researched pedigree is a shot in the dark and could have any illness. Competitive dog showing needs to either become less significant or change to be more relevant, because the way it is now I really feel it is harming dog breeds. The general public see exaggerated dogs that do not resemble the breeds they know in dog shows, are alienated by the elitist attitudes of show breeders, and rather than choosing to buy a puppy from a careful breeder or adopt a dog of unknown heritage from a shelter, buy a cute mongrel puppy with a silly portmanteau name from an irresponsible breeder who only breeds for fun or to make money.

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  28. I would hope the vast majority of people back the BBC in their decision and it's nice to see a big corporation taking some responsibility and doing what they can! Krufts also recognize the problems and have banned several classes recently however it will be an incredibly long time before the damage can be reversed!

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    1. No classes have been banned at Crufts!

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    2. The BBC decision was based on a panel of "experts" who they wouldnt say were and what their qualifications were! Even it was requested under the Freedom of Information Act teh BBC declined to give ANY information. Well perhaps recent event might mean the BBC will now think twice about putting up barriers to the outside when complainst are made about them and theirs? They could still correct it and say who they asked about Crufts?

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  29. I took my Greyhound to hydrotherapy today after an accident left her with a spinal injury. She's recovering well.

    The hydrotherapists told me that 80% of their business is from dogs who are under 1-years-old, i.e. dogs with hip dysplasia!

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    1. Fran
      It is well-known that strenuous exercise at too young an age causes joint problems in a pup, regardless of any hereditary factor. Perhaps that is the source of business for your hydrotherapist?

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    2. Well, I had assumed hip dysplasia, but as it turns out it's Labradors with elbow dysplasia. When they first started their hydrotherapy practice 8-years-ago, it was mostly HD, but when the BVA/KC hip scheme was introduced, the incidence of HD went down. These days most of their business comes from elbow dysplasia in Labradors; I understand the BVA/KC elbow testing scheme was introduced today? We do have a lot of Labradors in the area though. They have several Newfoundlands on their books and a St Bernard. Remember, these are dogs under 1.

      They're also seeing more cruciate ligament injuries, particularly in breeds such as Rottweilers and Staffies.

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    3. Fran, the hip scheme has been in operation for 40 years - and, actually, the incidence of hip dysplasia has not reduced very much; the breed mean scores have stayed pretty much the same - particularly so in the past eight years. So am unsure why your hydrotherapy centre is seeing less HD. I think it unlikely that it is reflecting the dog population as a whole. I can believe they are seeing more elbow dysplasia, though, and more cruciates.

      Jemima

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    4. @Jemima: Hmm, I'm not sure then. They definitely said they noticed a big drop when a scheme was introduced and I had assumed it was the BVA. When was the PennHIP scheme introduced? I wonder if that has made a difference, as I understand it's more accurate?

      TBH, I don't know anything about HD, as I have sighthounds, other than the fact that I think Afghan Hounds can have poor hips, as an example of a sighthound breed that can get HD.

      Additionally, Afghans are never used in Lurcher mixes, because they're just not fast enough, whereas Salukis are still used (loved by some; hated by others). Whereas most sighthounds have remained functional, the Borzoi, Afghan and show-bred Greyhound, would never be used for lurcher crosses, because they've lost their speed - which is a bit like a retriever breed losing its retrieve!



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    5. Very few people use PennHIP in the UK so that won't have made a difference. I suspect the story is anecdotal and may not stand up to scrutiny - unless perhaps there's been a huge effort amongst local breeders which is reflecting in the local population improving.

      There are still very vast Borzoi and Afghans to be found; but possibly not in the UK. The Borzoi has particularly good hips as a breed - it is not genetically predisposed to HD and is oft cited as the example that proves that HD is not universal in the dog.

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    6. Yes, should have qualified that it was Borzois, show-Greyhounds and Afghan Hounds in the UK.

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    7. Out of those three breeds, only enough Afghan hounds have been x-rayed to give a meaningful result (ie more than 10). 48 have been tested with scores ranging from 0 (perfect) to 54 (definitely dysplastic). There are no results for either borzois or greyhounds.

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  30. Loved the funny sketch! (heh heh). We smirked a lot...

    I wrote a tongue in cheek thing a few weeks back, recalling similar silliness in the cat fancy :
    http://catwrights.blogspot.com/2012/09/alzheimers-at-judging-table.html

    And on a more serious note, since the discussions are touching on genetic deformity : http://catwrights.blogspot.com/2012/09/battering-breed.html.

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  31. Sorry, Bob, you´re misinformed. The well-known fact is this: in a breed of reasonably normal adult weight and thence normal growth rate as a pup, i e no giant breed, it is in fact hard to exercise a pup to the point where the strain on joints and cartilage will cause dysplasia, if there is no hereditary predisposition. Do you seriously see crowds of over-enthusiastic owners over-exercising all these dogs to the point of severe joint deformity? If so, how do you explain the fact that Fran´s breed very rarely suffers from HD, no matter that they are exercise prone in and by themselves from a young age, whereas Golden retrievers have widespread HD? Only couch potatoes buy greyhounds and only fitness nerds go for a Golden?
    The therapist´s source of business is the frequency of hereditary HD in a number of breeds. If the heredity is there, then the amount of exercise and the body weight become decisive factors. If it isn´t there, you´ll have a hard time causing HD by over-feeding and over-exercising your dog!

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    1. Sorry Bodil, but you are also misinformed. Orthopaedic experts will confirm that HD is multi-factorial, and hip and joint problems can indeed be caused by incorrect diet and incorrect exercise.

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    2. No, Bodil is right. If the dog doesn't have the genetic predisposition to HD, then no amount of exercise/wrong-feeding will cause it.

      Of course many dogs DO have the genetic predisposition to it.

      Jemima

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    3. The average hipscore for 'the dog' in general is 20, so unless a dog has a score of 0:0 it has a genetic predisposition towards it. It follows therefore that correct diet and exercise are vital.

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    4. The Animal Health trust states: "Hip and elbow dysplasia are multi-factorial diseases involving multiple genes interacting with the environment. Environmental factors can include such things as weight, injury at a young age, over exertion on hip or elbow joint at a young age, and diet."

      They will also tell you that the average hipscore of the 250,000 dogs tested is between 19 and 20, so basically all dogs have a genetic predisposition to HD.

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    5. You are misunderstanding. Not all dogs are genetically predisposed to HD and in those dogs, HD will not develop, whatever the environmental factors. HD is rare in many sighthound breeds, for instance.

      Jemima

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    6. Jemima
      Without actually x-raying your 6-month-old pup, how do you know whether it is genetically predisposed? Is it not always wise to limit exercise until muscles & bones have firmed up?

      I wondered what sort of experiment might test what you say. I know if I made a pup chase ball till it dropped (as some will), the wife would have me PTS as a "dangerous dog"! But as to over-feeding, I find someone actually has experimented... http://www.carolbeuchat.com/2012/07/locating-the-genes-for-hip-dysplasia-in-dogs-psssst-look-in-the-kibble-bag/

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    7. Very interesting study, Bob. However, letting any dog, let alone a Labrador 'walking-stomach' Retriever, to eat ad lib is asking for trouble. I shudder to think what some of those puppies looked like!

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    8. Actually, since there are no DNA tests for hip dysplasia, x-rays do not tell you whether the dog is 'genetically predisposed.' It is a fact that a dog with OFA excellent hips can produce dysplasic pups. What you are looking at with hip x-rays is whether the dog in question has the PHENOTYPE of hip dysplasia, not the genotype, and since HD does have a strong environmental component you are never exactly sure what you are looking at. It is mostly genes? How much of that phenotype is caused by the genotype, and how much is environment?

      Don't kid yourself, looking at the x-rays of one dog will tell you ONLY the about PHENOTYPE of *that* dog. To get an idea of the genotype you are dealing with, you must x-ray many, many dogs, including all the siblings, over many generations to generate a breeding value and look at the data as a whole.

      And Jemima is right. There are some sighthounds that are NOT genetically predisposed to HD. They do not have the GENOTYPE that produces the PHENOTYPE.

      I found this study very interesting:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22620698

      as I have long associated the sighthounds that do have some dysplasia in the breed with individuals that are over-angulated, poorly muscled, with loose ligaments (wide sidegaits, great reach in the front.) It is fairly obvious that the genotype that produces those qualities (and poor muscling *is* an environmental component!) is associated with the phenotype of HD, IMO.

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    9. Another study which may be of interest is Differential Genetic Regulation of Canine Hip Dysplasia and Osteoarthritis, which talks about laxity:

      http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0013219

      Check out the CT of the the dog with 'mild' dysplasia in a weight-bearing position. Yikes.

      You should really look at studies on the PennHIP and Norberg angle methods, which measure laxity and are more predictive. Interesting stuff.

      (Aside to Jemima: these 'prove you're not a robot' things are driving me insane.)

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    10. Sighthounds are typically slender and fit. They are not obese. The inherent thinness of these dogs is a contributing factor to not showing signs of HD even when they are predisposed to it, in fact any dog kept lean and fit is better off. As a comparison fact, Obesity in humans is the number one cause of HD. So it would only be common sense to think that obesity in a dog would have the same effects on joints and hips.

      Likewise, we've had a young FCR come up lame at 8 months and had it examined by a hip and joint specialist, only to determine that the joint ligaments were stressed from over exertion and rapid growth. So the owner who typically took this dog out for a long 2 hour run daily since the pup was 12 weeks old only contributed to the problem. A regimen of rest and light activity for the following 2 months and the juvenile was in full fighting form once again.

      So even if the dog has a predisposition for HD. The high activity during its bone growth and joint development only exacerbated the problem. Again going back to humans. We don't expect our juveniles and children to over exert themselves by continually punishing their joints while they are still developing.

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    11. You're right there, CHG; joint problems can definitely be caused by incorrect exercise and diet, as several people have been saying all along.

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  32. I'm afriad you're misunderstanding, Jemima. Unless a dog has totally perfect hips (a score of 0:0 ) it already has a slight degree of HD; not enough in itself to cause it any trouble in life but if incorrectly fed and exercised then things can change for the worse.

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    1. Mary, as Jess says above, hip score reflects phenotype, not genotype. As we're going round in circles here, I've contacted a couple of orthopaedic experts for their input.

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    2. Jess said "To get an idea of the genotype you are dealing with, you must x-ray many, many dogs, including all the siblings, over many generations to generate a breeding value and look at the data as a whole."

      This is correct; so how is it possible to claim that a breed is 'not genetically predisposed' to HD when none of the breed have been x-rayed and scored? Only 9 breeds out of the 36 hound breeds have had any individuals scored, and none of those breeds have mean scores better than the labrador, for instance.

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    3. When Mary says "I'm afriad you're misunderstanding, Jemima. Unless a dog has totally perfect hips (a score of 0:0 ) it already has a slight degree of HD" its sad to see they dsont know more about the hip scoring scheme, the "ideal" 0:0 score is based on a Greyhounds hips, so buy the virture of how they are built comparred to other breeds, what is "ideal" for a greyhound may not be "ideal" for another breed(or type of dog) perhaps for them the ideal would be a 2:2 or a 3:3 or a 5:5 !!

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    4. Anon, the score is based on the assessment of many aspects of the construction of the ball and socket of the hipjoint, and not based on any particular breed; and certainly not a greyhound, seeing that almost none have ever been scored!

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    5. Anon, 4 November, where do you get the impression that the ideal hip score is based on the greyhound hip when no greyhounds have been hipscored?

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  33. PennHIP (which in my opinion is a lot more accurate than other hip screening methods) shows that less than 2 per cent of Borzoi screened have hip dysplasia.

    Jemima

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    1. There are no hipscores scores given for Borzois on the BVA scheme because less than 10 (if any) have ever been scored, so it's impossible to claim the hips are good or bad.

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    2. They have been scored in the US, though, Anon - both OFA and PennHIP.

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    3. OFA ref here - http://www.offa.org/stats_hip.html

      Which shows that Borzoi, along with Whippets, Saluki and Italian Greyhounds all sighthound breeds with an extremely low rate of HD. In fact Italian Greyhounds have zero HD (although not a huge number screened).

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    4. Many sighthound breeders do not do hips because the dogs do not show signs in old age, ie severe osteoarthritis. (Pretty much all dogs show signs of wear on the femoral head with age, this is simply due to normal wear and tear.)

      Saying it is impossible to claim the hips are good or bad without x-rays is garbage. The European kennel clubs keep very good stats based on insurance claims, and it's from these claims that the kennel club issues a report of 'things to watch out for in the breed' and makes health screening recommendations. The latest ones I have for Afghans and Salukis are from the Swedish kennel club, and hips are not considered an issue. Afghan owners should be wary of ear infections. The whole point of that type of data is to see if there is a problem in the population, what the frequency is, and see if there is need to 'test.'

      Anecdote is not data but I had one of my Salukis x-rayed because he had injured his back, and when my vet checked him, his left hip clicked, so we had him positioned to see the hips properly as well on the x-ray. I live in a rural area and my vet happens to be the local ortho referral vet, and he pronounced Spooky's hips "perfect!" I might add that this is a five year old dog with what *I* consider to be loose ligaments and movement.

      The point here that I am trying to make is not that sighthounds have very low rates of dysplasia, but referring back to the study that I posted earlier, that relying on x-rays of the BONES in what is a multi-factorial issue involving laxity (loose ligaments) to tell you about the GENOTYPE behind the dog is basically kind of silly. Sighthounds typically have tight skin and tight ligaments. They have low rates of dysplasia. If you look at the OFA stats Jemima linked above, you will notice that eight out of the top ten dogs have loose skin as a 'breed feature.' The body systems don't exist in separate boxes; connective tissue is connective tissue. So why is there so much emphasis on looking at the bony structure via x-rays, and none on breeding for tight (or even normal) connective tissue? Hmm?

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    5. "Saying it is impossible to claim the hips are good or bad without x-rays is garbage"

      Then your previous statement that "To get an idea of the genotype you are dealing with, you must x-ray many, many dogs, including all the siblings, over many generations to generate a breeding value and look at the data as a whole." is also garbage.

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    6. Jess 1 November 2012 20:16

      "To get an idea of the genotype you are dealing with, you must x-ray many, many dogs, including all the siblings, over many generations to generate a breeding value and look at the data as a whole."

      Jess 2 November 2012 19:34
      "...that relying on x-rays of the BONES in what is a multi-factorial issue involving laxity (loose ligaments) to tell you about the GENOTYPE behind the dog is basically kind of silly."

      You've just totally contradicted yourself there, Jess!

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    7. Jemima you dont say just how many of your dogs you have hip scored over the years ?

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    8. @Anon 02:35: Seeing as the dog will have to be sedated for the X-ray, unless she's going to be breeding from her dogs, what reason would there be to hip score them? It seems unnecessary to put a dog through the sedation, unless the dog is showing signs of HD?

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    9. @Fran; the scores of siblings of breeding animals, even if they're not bred from themselves, help build the picture; is the dog with the great hips typical of its family line and therefore its offspring have a good chance of being similar, or is it just a random blip in an otherwise poor line, in which case its offspring might have hips poorer than would be expected? In an ideal world every dog would be hipscored to get the most accurate picture of HD across the board.

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    10. @Mary: Interesting point about the siblings. However, I think most of Jemima's dogs are rescues, so she won't know the parents.

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    11. That is true - with the exception of my flatcoat Maisie. She is, in fact, a singleton pup. Would have hip-scored her, though, if she'd been under for anything else.

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  34. Fran, we don´t hip score because we´re intent on breeding. We do it first and foremost because it´s info necessary for the breeder we got the pup from - it´s like paying them back. Unless they get to know, how can they select breeding animals?
    Also, we do it for our own dogs´sake. Would you start your young dogs on agility, herding, or whatever and not know that their joints will see them through?

    As to looking at the HD score - imagine I buy this great bitch from, say, Ireland and I come to think she´s a jewel and unrelated to most dogs back here. I have her hip scored, and she looks great. It doesn´t say a great deal about the genes she´ll pass on! Imagine that in all her family, there are many dysplastic individuals, if only I knew it. The fact is that the average hip score of her siblings, parents and parents´siblings tell me much more about the probability of her passing on the genes for dysplastic hips than her very own X-ray plates.
    That´s the reason we try to X-ray as many as possible. About 50% of Rough collies here are X-rayed, meaning we have a fairly good notion of the scale of HD problem in the breed, and as results are public, we (who buy the puppies) can reasonably well assess the risk for ourselves.
    Yes, the dogs have to be X-rayed. But then, dysplastic dogs have very much more trouble in their life... and their owners a great deal more to worry about than sedation.

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