Friday 11 March 2011

Crufts 2011 Day One - keeping it in the family

Bournehouse Golden Days                        © The Kennel Club

Here's the orange belton English Setter that went Best of Breed yesterday.

She is clearly highly-rated - but she is also eye-wateringly inbred with a co-efficient of inbreeding of 34.9 per cent (8 gens) against a breed mean of 12.7 per cent.

Just to put that in perspective, a mother/son or full brother/sister mating would produce a dog with a COI of 25 per cent. So this girl really is keeping it in the family.

In fact, this dog's parents were half-siblings (which in itself would have produced a dog with a COI of 12.5 per cent). But there is a lot of background inbreeding which has pushed her COI up even further. One of her ancestors, Sh Ch Latest Dance at Bournehouse, is her great-great-great grandfather 10 times over.  There is a huge cost to this in terms of the breed's genetic diversity - and that's on top of the fact that  show-ring has, in the main, reduced this breed to a sweet but dimwitted simulcrum of its former, proudly-working self.


  1. I too thought that English setter had far too much coat. I don't like it when it obscures the outline of the dog. Ditto the cockers.
    Whenever I see those show ones, I always think of how beautiful-looking and fit the working cockers look in comparison.
    I also thought the Lab, and several of the other gun dogs, looked too fat. I wouldn't say any of them looked fit, but maybe show dogs don't get the exercise. The flatcoat was easily the best.

  2. thats nothing ,some of the king charles spaniels ( not cavs ) are over 40 % according to the online database, with many dogs from a particular breeder being as high as 49%

  3. Wow! This database is showing how badly bred these dogs really are. Beautiful they may be, but no wonder pedigree dogs have such problems with hereditary diseases with values like this. Hopefully this will show the breeders who are doing this why they need to change.

  4. I fully understand the arguements "against" inbreeding... but what about the original purpose of inbreeding? This still stands today--- we breeders want to breed to dogs that are/should be "dominant" for certain structural traits, to ensure that those traits carry on to the next generation. To ENSURE that this happens, inbreeding is done/should be done to set those structural traits strongly within a line.

    That said- inbreeding should ONLY be done with dogs that are proven to be healthy overall!

    Referring to the genetic diversity of a "breed" when referring to this specific dog (English Setter)... stop and think... THIS particular Setter is not the only one in the whole breed- so I'm sure there is far more genetic diversity within "the breed" as a whole. HER influence will be considered important to her owner who would obviously wish to maintain this line, this look, this dog's structural traits...
    (while hiopefully breeding out to other lines to introduce additional traits that are needed).

    Re: King Charles Spaniels- as a breeder of KCS myself... I;m not aware of any specific breeder(s) whose dogs are of such high COI- however, considering the EXTREMELY LIMITED GENE POOL TO BEGIN WITH, there's no other choice within the breed. (and frankly, the breed is so riddled with genetic health issues- NOT ONE SINGLE LINE is free of any of the known health issues in the breed...regardless of what breeders of KCS tell you--- but there's NO WAY TO BREED AWAY from these issues, BECAUSE every single line carries them--- so where do you go?)

  5. look at a few kennels on the kcs database and you will find them

    maybe an outcross is the only solution. perhaps a japanese spaniel would be suitable. smooth griffon is also of a smilar type and are descended from KCS so could add a few new genes . though they also have syringo

  6. You have obviously done your homework with the statistics, which of course, if correct , cannot be argued with. However, Can you now tell us ,as closely as you state this inbreeding to be the particular problems this has caused in this instance? and back up your comments. Breeders of long standing know their stock inside /out and have considered what good or what problems a mating may bring. In today's climate why would a responsible breeder want to cause themselves and others heartache if they can avoid it?

  7. Looks a picture of health though!!!!

  8. I have owned and bred English Setters for 35 years and u are way out of line with your comments Penny produces healthy stock What in your opinion is better to line breed from healthy stock or bred from stock where both sire and dam have high hip scores then sell cripples to buyers I know which one I would go for As a matter of interest where did u go for your English Setter Jemima?

  9. I dont think its a matter of wanting to cause heartache it is just easier to hide their head in the sand. especially problems that dont get serious until the dog is past its showing days ( & perhaps been sold on to a pet home )

    I have just discovered my young beautiful dog has a serious health problem , He looks great ,moves beautifully and is in every other way healthy.
    I know in other hands he may have been bred from many times over by now. it would be very easy to pretend he is ok , no one would know there is anything wrong with him and indeed his close relatives have been bred and bred and bred with no health tests whatsoever.

    I love My breed but I cannot see me having another. 4 out of 5 of my dogs have had various serious genetic illnesses , can that really just be bad luck ?.
    They are too inbred , popular stud dogs are used too much and there is just nowhere to go to avoid so many different issues
    I dont see how so many problems can be fixed in such a small gene pool unless an outcross is allowed and that doesnt seem likely.

    I believe up until the 50's dogs could be registered if a judge said they looked enough like a given breed, maybe we should go back to that