Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The PDE blog: virtual classroom edition

Of course not everyone wants to hear about purebred dog health from a jumped-up journalist with a chip on her shoulder and a grenade in her hand.

So here, for those who like their information in a more... measured manner.. is the Bradshaw + Sargan Show.

John Bradshaw is the author of the very-well received In Defence of Dogs. David Sargan is a gene hunter at Cambridge University who also oversees the BOAS laboratory there.

We interviewed David for Pedigree Dogs Exposed - and he was very gentlemanly indeed when he kindly gave us several hours of our time and it all ended up on the cutting room floor. (He said some great stuff.. it was just that we had interviewed the world and his father and ended up not being able to use every contribution).

The intended audience for this? Not quite sure to be honest... but then I inhabit a world of grabby soundbites. What do *you* think?


  1. Love this. Drs. Bradshaw and Sargan do a fine job of summing up the problems of pure-breeding, namely inbreeding and unhealthy morphology. Watching a 12-minute video is easy enough, but I suppose much of the public would limit their interest to a fraction of that, perhaps only 1-2 minutes. If these two experts would film a shorter version of this for a larger audience, I think it could do a lot of good ... assuming the dog fancy crowd will actually listen.

    One thing I added in the comments section of that video is this: "Drs. Bradshaw and Sargan address the problems of inbreeding and extreme morphology, comparing pedigreed to mixed dogs. However, they do not discuss (perhaps for lack of time) primitive, landrace, or village dogs, which are neither pedigreed nor mixed; they are from populations that were never purebred in the first place, nor mixed back again. These dogs have high levels of genetic diversity and normal morphology, which mixing can attain once again, although it takes many generations."

  2. Yes, I bet they could've talked for many more hours on the subject too.
    But yes landraces like the JRT (not to be confused with the australian "showing JRT") have the same high levels of genetic diversity as pariah dogs.
    BTW I think the UK should declare the JRT a UK landrace under the protection of the UK government, subject to something like the "Interlakan Declaration", Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources:

    Where it may be protected from deleterious breeding practises so common in other breeds. In other words it may not be registered with the KC, bred under a closed registry or globally any type singled out and registered by any other registry and there called a JRT.
    I thought most of what was said between Drs. Bradshaw and Sargan was covered and referenced in PDE and a lot more besides but it makes for a vital archive which Im glad is being aired.
    I was surprised that only 10% of pedigree dogs suffer from inherited diseases due to inbreeding. I honestly think that should be a lot higher?! Only 1- 2% of pedigree breeds......maybe im hearing that wrong? This is not the same of course as breed problems associated with breeding for extremes even though of course inbreeding, linebreeding is common practise for fixing winning extremes, common sire syndrome etc.

    1. I'm glad to learn that an original terrier landrace still lives and breeds; may pure breeding never cause it's extinction.

      There are still some dog land races on Earth: the Chukchi dog from which Siberian huskies were purebred; the Scottish collies from which various collies were purebred; the Asian mastiff from which the Tibetan mastiff was purebred; the European mountain dogs from various LGDs were purebred; the original Salukis and Sloughis of the Middle East; the Africanis of southern Aftica, and more.

      It just bothers me when kennel clubs claim that such and such breed has been around for thousands of years. It hasn't, but it's rural ancestor has, with no help from any kennel club - in fact, precisely because there was no kennel club to mess it up.

  3. These gentlemen appear to be quite ignorant of the fact that the cavalier breed clubs in the USA are doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about trying to breed out syringomyelia (SM). Neither USA cavalier club has endorsed the SM breeding protocol. At best, USA club leaders are wringing their hands and moaning "What to do? What to do?" But to test for the disorder in their breeding stock, and to not breed affected stock, is not part of their program -- with very limited exceptions among SOME individual breeders, of course. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA