Eliminating Mutations – The Impossible Dream

Though it is not practical to eliminate all deleterious mutation, the incidence of affected individuals may be significantly reduced through a combination of intelligent breeding practice and the development of DNA tests. Why do we have mutations? Mutations are changes in an organism’s DNA that potentially affect the correct functioning of genes. They occur naturally […]

Eliminating Genetic Diseases in Dogs

Introduction This paper is the first product of an effort I have undertaken that was prompted by the discovery that our five month old Scottish Terrier suffered from Type III von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD). The existence of this genetic bleeding disorder was unknown to us until he suffered a near fatal bleeding episode for no […]

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 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 […]

Hip Dysplasia and Scoring in the UK

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and The Kennel Club in the UK (TKC) have joined together to run a hip scoring scheme for breeders, in order to test for canine hip dysplasia, the most common inherited joint problem of large breed dogs. This current system came into effect in 1984. Dogs are scored from the […]

Hip Dysplasia

Dysplasia literally means abnormal, so hip dysplasia literally translates as abnormal formation of the hip socket. The hip is a ball and socket joint, in a normal hip the ball fits snugly into the socket, forming a pivot point. Dogs which have a genetic predisposition for hip dysplasia are born with normal hips. However, as […]

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 […]