Breeding Strategies for the Management of Genetic Disorders

With each new generation of dogs, breeders ask, “How can I continue my line and improve it?” Aside from selecting for conformation, behavior and ability, breeders must consider how they are going to reduce the incidence of whichever genetic disorders are present in their breed. There are no answers that will fit every situation. There […]

The Ins and Outs of Pedigree Analysis, Genetic Diversity, and Genetic Disease Control

As breeders, you engage in genetic “experiments” each time you plan a mating. The type of mating selected should coincide with your goals. Outbreeding brings together two animals less related than the average for the breed. This promotes more heterozygosity, and usually more variation in a litter. A reason to outbreed would be to bring […]

The Downside of Inbreeding: It’s Time For a New Approach

“Inbreeding was once a valuable tool in shaping today’s breeds. As these have now reached a high degree of homogeneity, it has lost its importance and turned into a fatal and disastrous habit.” Hellmuth Wachtel, PhD. Inbreeding (which, for the purposes of this article, includes “linebreeding”) has been the rule in dog breeding for the […]

The Brood Bitch

If you are serious about breeding, and wish to do so responsibly and to a high standard, then there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration. These standards apply to all breedings, especially those of puppies intended to be “just” pets (or, in other words, life-long and very important members of […]

The Effects of Genetic Testing: Constructive or Destructive?

Every breed has genetic disorders. Finding tests that identify carriers of the genes which cause these disorders is a goal in all breeds. Once a genetic test is found, however, it is a double-edged sword: Its use can enable breeders to improve a breed or devastate it. Without genetic tests, the number of dogs that […]

Achieving Genetic Health for Our Dogs – Part 1

Purebred Dog Breeds into the Twenty-First Century WHAT IS A BREED? To put the question more precisely, what are the necessary conditions that enable us to say with conviction, “this group of animals constitutes a distinct breed?” In the cynological world, three separate approaches combine to constitute canine breeds. Dogs are distinguished first by ancestry, […]

Achieving Genetic Health for Our Dogs – Part 2

The Demise of Typological Thinking DNA RESEARCH has radically changed zoological concepts of species, subspecies and varieties. In the nineteenth century and the first half of this century it was thought that a species could be represented by a type specimen, that the vast majority of individuals of a species were virtual photocopies of the […]

Achieving Genetic Health for Our Dogs – Part 3

Lessons from Population Genetics Gene Frequencies Much of the work of population genetics involves estimating or calculating gene frequencies, which quantify the relative commonness or scarcity, within a particular population, of alleles at a particular gene locus. If there is only one version of a gene in the population, then the entire population is necessarily […]

Achieving Genetic Health for Our Dogs – Part 4

The Crux of the Problem AS WE FACE the millennium, the one problem which most concerns the entire purebred dog fancy is genetic defects. Breeders used to worry about overshot/undershot bite and cryptorchidism. Not much else of a genetic nature was cause for concern; fanciers were a lot more worried about distemper, hepatitis and internal […]