Thursday 15 October 2015

Still bluffing it re co-efficients of inbreeding?

It was at Crufts 2008, five months before Pedigree Dogs Exposed broadcast, that the KC's then-genetics advisor Jeff Sampson told me: "We will never give breeders COIs (co-efficients of inbreeding). They wouldn't know what to do with them."


Three years on, in May 2011, the Kennel Club launched Mate Select - giving breeders, owners and researchers access to inbreeding data (and health info) on individual dogs and breeds for the first time.  The KC has claimed several times that, at best, PDE sped up reform and didn't instigate it. But of course it had had plenty of opportunity to tell me about Mate Select if it had really been in development pre-PDE and it didn't.

(One day, I'll blog what they sent me regarding the breeds on the then high-profile list pre-PDE too... absolutely pitiful.)

Now, Mate Select has its flaws but there's no doubt that it's a fantastically useful tool - as is its sister utility MyKC, which gives access to more detailed breeding data. Both are free, too - all kudos to the Kennel Club for that and the other data it is now making available.

So... for those of you still struggling with COI is, here are two guides.

The first is this very simple explanation written by me a while back - how hosted on Carol Fowler's website:

And here's a comprehensive guide from Carol Beuchat at the Institute for Canine Biology:


  1. That is good news, but it's still just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. Until kennel clubs change their paradigm and open all registries, they are dooming their dogs to inbreeding depression.

    BTW - The photograph above is such a clear illustration of inbreeding. If that doesn't help proponents of pure-breeding realize that many of their breeds are really just canine versions of those human genetic disorders, I don't know what we can do to get through to them.

  2. I've long been a fan of PDE and your efforts, Jemima, but the inflammatory picture at the head of the post is rather in poor taste.

    1. There's no indication as to the source. To me, they look like unrelated individuals with various genetic and perhaps birth defects. There is no evidence that they are related and that their conditions are a result of inbreeding. Also, it's unseemly to poke fun at people at people with genetic disorders or disabilities, even obliquely like you've done here.

    2. It hurts your mission by making you look like you're mudslinging. I understand completely what you're driving at with the image, but it's not making the point you think it's making.

    3. You're missing an opportunity to provide an image or images of dogs who DO suffer both inwardly and outwardly as a result of inbreeding.

    Just something to consider. There is more than enough legitimate science and research behind your mission and there are plenty of pictures out there of dogs gone awry. You don't need gruesome or shocking images of people (like the fellow in the somewhat recent Boston Terrier post) to bring your point across.

  3. Anon 7:19, in essence I agree with your comments. HOWEVER, breeders do not seem to understand the "conditions" they breed into dogs hurt or are damaging to the well being of that animal and future generations. English Setters for eg. now plagued with awful itchy skin, painful for the dog, stressful for their usually pet owners not to say expensive, but the breeders pass it off as a minor problem. It isn't. Throw a breeder into a bed of stinging nettles naked and then come back with what their response is, they won't be happy. SO - in order to get breeders to relate to the horrible afflictions that they are deliberately breeding into dogs a photograph of the sort shown above should make them think. Think "how would they cope with poor hips, skin condition, digestive problems, sore eyes, etc etc" assuming that they are intelligent of course, and have compassion they may come to understand. By relating a word to an illness should make them realise that that word is causing pain, discomfort, and life comprising afflictions. The photograph shows a classic state of what will happen if there is too much inbreeding in a bloodline in my opinion. Too many breeders have no actual understanding of what they are doing they just don't feel the pain of what they are producing in their dogs and until they do the dogs will continue to suffer.

    1. UrbanCollieChick17 October 2015 at 02:05

      Thank you Georgia Spiers

  4. I was wondering if you heard that October 15th was National pug day?

    1. Please no. It's happens to be my birthday!

    2. many people are born around this time count back and you will see why .. just a great example of human breeding and timing..I agree the picture is in very poor taste but I am not surprised and "shock journalism" is the norm here.. oh and Happy Birthday

  5. For a really striking example of what inbreeding depression looks like in tigers, here's an article on Kenny the white Bengal tiger:

    Kenny's condition is a sad byproduct of market-breeding for the recessive white coat. There's some debate as to what disorder Kenny actually has, but it's pretty clear that his brachycephaly is very similar to that of modern cats like the Persian, Himalayan, and Burmese, as well as modern dogs like pugs, bulldogs, and boxers. Why is it tragic when it happens to tigers, but just another "breed" when it happens to domestic cats and dogs? Answer: ignorance.

  6. Monitoring co-efficients for show breeders is diametrically the opposite of how most breeders achieve success in the ring with their dogs.

    Even the term "outcross" to breeders is a scary thought and this only refers to dogs of the same breed that are only not very closely related.

    I think the picture is a good one. It's very sad of course yes. That line up to me represents all the unhealthy mutations people seem to think are so wonderful in their breeds, this makes it plainer that they really are not.

    A belated Happy Pug Day Jemima!!! (:

  7. I recently came across a KC assured breeder advertising a litter of pups which appeared from looking at pedigrees to be an aunt to nephew breeding. Previous litter from the same mating had an inbreeding co-efficient of 18.69 and upwards! That is high. The highest is 25 which is a father to daughter mating or mother to son. I called the Kennel Club to ask if this was acceptable for a KC assured breeder and was told that they can’t even query this with the breeder. So what use is being directed by the KC to one of their so called assured breeders I ask. Anyone without basic knowledge of breeding would buy a puppy from this breeder and be none the wiser.. Be aware that the KC is powerless over this state of affairs and from this evidence also gives it their seal of approval.