Friday, 10 June 2011

Ten steps to help save the pedigree dog


Almost three years ago, Pedigree Dogs Exposed aired on primetime television and changed the way many people felt about purebred dogs.  
Owners of some of the “high-profile” (ie health-beleagured) breeds even say they have had abuse hurled at them in the street.  Where once there was only curious fascination with breeds like the Bulldog or the Neapolitan Mastiff , today  there is often pity and sometimes anger.  Our eyes have been opened – even if the poor Shar-peis' haven’t.
People are still buying pedigree puppies -  KC registrations fell immediately after Pedigree Dogs Exposed but have picked up since.  But sales of designer crossbreeds have never been more brisk and taking on a rescue dog is seen by many as a good thing to do.. These are not people who cannot afford the £500 - £1500 for a purebred pup; it’s a deliberate choice – and they are often pet owners who have been burned by the tragedy of a pedigree dog dying before its time or suffering from a health problem that they've found out is too-common in the breed.
The mutts and mongrels are having their day and the purebred dog’s star has fallen. And I strongly believe that it had to in order for it to rise again.
The purebred doom-merchants talk of the “antis” wanting rid of all pedigree dogs. I am often accused of being an animal rights activist, of being a secret agent for groups like PETA which (say some) sees pet-ownership as some kind of slavery and can’t see any justification for anything other than a randomly-bred bitser.
Nothing could be further from the truth. But morally and ethically, we couldn’t just carry on the way we were. It was the moment to call “time” on the way we breed pedigree dogs so that it can rebuild into something better; something of which we can be truly proud. 
Of course, since PDE, the KC has introduced an unprecedented number of measures designed to improve health and welfare and I have no doubt that some of these will bear fruit.  There is a welcome change of tone in the world of  pedigree dogs and some real evidence at Crufts this year that judges were rewarding more moderate dogs (although very clearly not in every breed).
But I don’t believe that anything yet announced has the potential to stop the tsunami of disease and genetic impoverishment  that threatens to drown the purebred dog and it’s the key reason why I have not shut up and gone away.
So I thought it was time to put my money where my mouth is  - and not least because I am often challenged: “OK, if you’re so darned clever, why don’t you come up with some solutions rather than just constant criticism.”
It’s a fair point. 
How do we mend the pedigree dog? Here is my 10-point guide:
1) REFORM THE KENNEL CLUB
Twenty years ago, zoos were too often little more than entertainment venues run by circus ringmasters. Today, the best ones are true conservation forces with a strong focus on welfare and the genetic management of wild species. Scientific evidence has become the bedrock for policy decisions.  Call ZSL (the Zoological Society of London as London Zoo is now called) and you will be put through to experts who are passionate and knowledgeable about conservation and welfare.
Additionally, they wouldn’t dream of either playing down the seriousness of the genetic situation in some species; or try to convince you that keeping elephants in a small, barren enclosure is OK.  They don’t need to, because the issues are being addressed.
This fundamental shift in focus is what is needed for purebred dogs, too and it hasn’t come yet because of the deeply-entrenched fear that fully embracing science means the end of the purebred dog or dog shows.  In truth, it is the opposite: ignore the science and we will lose the breeds and dog shows will die out as they become increasingly frowned-upon and irrelevant.
As with London Zoo, things can’t go on exactly as they were - but they can go on.   You can no longer see elephants at ZSL in London, for instance, because it was accepted that the enclosures were inappropriate.  But we do still have zoos – and ones of which we can be much more proud.
We need a Kennel Club that sees this level reform as a truly exciting opportunity rather than as a threat.  If this happens, so much else would fall into place.
2) INTRODUCE BREED CONSERVATION PLANS
The KC has introduced breed health plans since Pedigree Dogs Exposed, but they’re nothing like enough. What we need are comprehensive Breed Conservation Plans (BCPs) for every breed. They need to include baseline measurements of genetic diversity for every breed,  tailored guidance regarding popular sires and a coherent plan of action drawn up with the help of geneticists, epidemiologists and breeders. 
The BCPs also need to set targets and incorporate ways of measuring progress.
A matter of some urgency is the genetic management of newly-registered breeds. This is currently often done in a very ad hoc way by breeders without sufficient knowledge – with a lot of inbreeding and the rapid spread of new diseases an inevitable result.  There is then often a mad rush to try and get a DNA test.  But the real answer lies in breeding the right way in the first place.
3) BIG UP THE BREED CLUBS
Breed clubs need to be bigger and better – to become all-singing, all-dancing guardians of their breeds with a very strong focus on the breed as a whole rather than a group of people with individual interests.
At present, breed clubs are too often dominated by show-breeders who look down on pet owners and are in competition with each other – bad news for transparency,  team-spirit and, ultimately, the dogs.  Pet owners and working owners need to be actively recruited and club literature and events need to be much less show-focused. Breed campaigners, very often acting outside of the breed clubs, need to be embraced as having a useful perspective rather than seen as the enemy. 
Information inviting new owners to join the relevant breed club (or clubs) should be sent out with every KC registration, offering no-obligation, free, emailed breed newsletters for life even if owners do not want to become a formal member. This would instantly give breed clubs access to a huge number of pet and working owners who at present do not belong to a breed club and who never get to hear important breed news – such as a new DNA test or research appeals.
Breed newsletters should also offer very strong incentives to join breed clubs – perhaps discounted health insurance, dog food and other dog goodies, in the same way that many communities negotiate deals by offering business to a particular supplier.
It goes without saying, I hope, that breed clubs need to be at the absolute forefront of data gathering – encouraging the reporting of health problems, running properly designed health surveys and publishing open databases (both health and pedigree information) that are accessible to all. Some are already doing this. More need to join them.
4) BUILD BETTER BREED CLUB WEBSITES
Breed club websites clearly have the potential to be the perfect one-stop shop for everything anyone needs to know about an individual breed but currently range from pretty good to dire. Too few are works of art, design-wise – and too many are works of fiction, content-wise.   This is because breed clubs are often run by people who have a vested interest in playing down health problems.
This has led to a proliferation of independent breed websites that often provide more comprehensive information, particularly regarding health, and they sometimes also often offer more in the way of breed databases.  It is extremely confusing for anyone trying to get information on a breed.
The newly-launched Karlton Index (http://thekarltonindex.com/) seeks to redress this by highlighting the best and the worst UK breed club websites and encouraging breed clubs to do better. 
There is a business opportunity here for dog-loving web designers who could design off-the-shelf website templates for breed clubs – allowing individuality but  ensuring some standardisation on what information is provided, developed in collaboration with the Kennel Club and breed clubs keen to offer the very best service to their breed and owners.
5) PRACTICES MAKE PERFECT
Vets have a key role to play in educating the public in all aspects of pet dog ownership and need to step up to the mark.  They are trusted as a source of independent advice but at present very often offer subjective, and sometimes just plain wrong, information on particular breeds. 
The KC recently tried to address this with a breed manual for vets. Unfortunately, it was beyond dreadful in terms of useful health information. The BVA/BSAVA can and should do better by producing their own guide that can provide objective information for vets and their clients.
At the moment, very few people would think of asking a vet for advice on particular breeds but this clearly has the potential to change and in doing so to be a useful marketing tool for individual vets, via conventional literature, touch-screen terminals and open evenings.
Vets also need to embrace VEctAR (http://www.rvc.ac.uk/VEctAR/About.cfm) a new disease surveillance system developed by the Royal Veterinary College in association with the University of Sydney. It is already up and running in the UK, with more practices being recruited all the time..  The beauty of VEcTAR is that it will yield useful information about the prevalence/incidence of inherited disease in pet dogs (and cats ) with very little effort on the vets’ part thanks to clever software that will silently “mine” the data.
6) EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION
A schools education programme involving dogs would be of enormous benefit to both children – and dogs. The dog offers an engaging way to teach children many things  – evolution, genetics, reproduction, evolution, ethics, citizenship and so on.   The upshot would be a better-educated public able to make better dog-ownership choices.  This is the sort of scheme that pet food manufacturers should be falling over themselves to sponsor.
7) RE-INVENT THE DOG SHOW
Ways must be found to reward health in the show-ring, rather than just the appearance of it.  I would like to see a change to a points system where dogs arrive in the show-ring with a certain number of points already earned for meeting specific health criteria – such as long-lived parents/grand-parents, working qualifcations,  taken/passed health tests and so on.  This is easy enough to do in the electronic age in which we live.
There needs to be new functional tests introduced for non-working breeds, too – eg evidence that a bulldog is capable of covering a certain distance at a certain pace. None of the tests need to be mandatory and it doesn’t have to be that a dog that arrives in the ring with no points couldn’t win.  But show breeders will often go to considerable lengths to give their dog the best possible chance of winning and if being provably healthier is a way, it should become a strong incentive.
8) BREED STANDARDS – PICTURE THIS
Pictures that illustrate breeds need to include not just how the show-dog looks now – but a historical picture of how the breed used to look (often so different) and, where appropriate, an example of the working side of the breed. This will help guard against exaggerations.
Breed standards also need to be rewritten to be much more focused on function rather than form.  As  Dan Belkin, evolutionary biologist and breeder of salukis,  wrote about the saluki breed standard: “The standard says ‘eyes, dark to hazel and bright, large and oval, but not prominent.' It doesn't say anything about whether or not the Saluki can see” (http://saluqi.home.netcom.com/belkin.htm).
9)  OUTCROSSING TASK FORCE
Outcrossing (to other breeds) was once part of the good dog breeder’s armoury and many early dog books talk openly about the practice.   Today, the idea of outcrossing is met with abject horror by many, but it does offer a potential rescue route for many breeds which have bred themselves into a genetic cul-de-sac, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  I propose an Outcrossing Task Force made up of experts (to include breeders) offering the very best advice to breeds who either want, or need, to consider it as an option.
10) PUPPY CONTRACTS
Every puppy should be sold with a puppy contract that makes demands on both breeders and buyers. New owners need to know that they are taking on a big commitment with responsiblities.
Dogs are not fridges so there can be no absolute guarantees, of course, but breeders need to be able to show that they have done everything possible to ensure that a puppy has every chance of a happy, healthy life.
Puppy contracts need to list breed specific issues, what tests are available/appropriate, whether they have been done and if not why not (there can be very good reasons why not). Formalising this for every breed would take the embarrassment away from puppy-buyers who often find it awkward to ask about health.
If a dog then falls sick or dies from a breed specific health problem that could reasonably have been prevented, breeders should be liable, not just to take back a dog if required, but to assist with veterinary fees up to the purchase price of the dog. 
------------------
So there it is:  ten broad brushtroke steps that I feel would have a truly positive impact on purebred dog health.

It's intended as a discussion document, not a dictat... so comments are invited. And what other practical steps do you think should be introduced to safeguard the future health of purebred dogs?

This article is adapted from the version that appeaars in the June  2011 issue of Dogs Today magazine.  Dogs Today is now available internationally for iPad and iPhone for the bargain price of 59p for the app, which includes one edition free.

159 comments:

  1. For AKC I'd be happy (well... happier) with CHIC numbers being a requirement for a championship. I would also welcome DNA verification requirements on all sires and dams. I would also appreciate a special championship title for dogs who are highly titled in an appropriate performance activity along with a conformation championship.

    I would welcome enforcement of the rules on cheating and faking at dog shows. I would welcome language in a great many standards along with judges education to allow undocked and uncropped examples of certain breeds to participate and perhaps even excel in shows.

    I would break up the breed club monopoly practices of requiring two signatures and acceptance of business as usual as a requirement to join the breed clubs. Breed clubs would be breed clubs as opposed to trade associations held by a minor few who get sway over an entire standard.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Under ‘Education, education, education’, how about adding a licensing programme for breeders that includes an educational component? There's been enough intransigence. Perhaps it is time to legislate. As you said previously, Jemima, the problems and solutions have been around for a long time and not a lot has changed.

    Dog breeding is the world of the amateur. Anyone can enter it with inadequate education and no qualifications and then start messing around with a sentient being’s genetic structure with dire consequences for health and welfare. To be fair, the science being done in genetics is inaccessible to most breeders, either because it is too difficult or because it is not open-access – usually it is both. How many breeders will pay to read a scholarly article on inbreeding depression using something called Drosophila melanogaster as a subject and describing the results with PhD level maths, after which they then have to make the connection to dogs by themselves?

    National kennel clubs are in a position to rectify this through education programmes for breeders. They are a source that breeders trust and they have access to geneticists who can put together a proper ‘Genetics for non-scientists’ course that includes topics such as population genetics and inbreeding depression. Require every breeder to take such a programme and pass a test before they get their piece of paper and are allowed to put their dogs in the ring. A course on anatomy and the real relationship between form and function with reference to conformation wouldn’t hurt either.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think you dropped the ball on #7. Not nearly far enough.

    If fanciers insist on dog shows, and have a litany of reasons why they are so great -- generally centering on the social and "educational" value of the weekend -- then eliminate the institution of the "champion" and the zero-sum competition aspect entirely.

    Replace five minutes of dog-on-a-string with detailed breed surveys in which animals are graded (including the health documentation previously submitted), working tests are conducted that are breed-appropriate,judges provide detailed public oral and written critiques and justify their grading, mate options are suggested.

    ReplyDelete
  4. thanks jemima......a really well-written, reasonable and honest piece of work. i often think you play the wrong cards in favour of drama and headlines, but think that this is perfectly fair and balanced (im a 'show breeder' by the way who has made up many champions in my breed and had several top winners)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jemima, this was brilliant. Permission to tansalte, please. Most Swedes read English with no problems, but then again, some don´t - and I´d like for everybody to read!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Bodil. Yes, of course, feel free to crosspost/translate, whatever.

    Jemima

    ReplyDelete
  7. More than that: I'd be more in favor of getting rid of zero-sum competitions altogether.

    Competition encourage bad population genetics. The desire to breed from that winning stud is just too strong, and the culture worships at something that is ultimately detrimental to the species at large.

    We should also stop having outstanding sire awards. That merely feeds back into the elite stud dog worship that causes much of the problems in purebred dogs.

    We should do events for dogs, but a testing, rather than competition-based system, might encourage more collaboration.

    It takes collaboration to maintain dynamic gene pools. Could you imagine cheetah or white rhino conservationists getting competitive about their breeding programs?

    They know they can afford to.

    The truth is most breeders in dog breeds really can't either.

    Now, I'm sure I'm going to be called Petanik and animal rights fanatic.

    I'm not talking animal rights.

    I'm talking about how do we fix the population genetics of domestic dogs. I submit that it is ruthless competition that has ruined the population structure of virtually purebred dogs, particularly when we're already operating under a closed registry system.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like the system used in obedience. You need a minimum of 180/200 to pass. When you get three legs, your dog gets its title. The minimum standard is high so the results are meaningful but all excellence is rewarded. You are not competing against anyone except yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Note to Sarah, I think the OTCH titles for Obedience are competitive against other dogs. There is a point system and the judges are not influenced by the other end of the lead.

    ReplyDelete
  10. who knew you could even count up to 10!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes, grafhics, you are right. I should have said something like: 'the basic system for awarding titles'. I also put in the wrong score - should have been 170. Lesson: always proofread before hitting 'send'!

    ReplyDelete
  12. How about in that "contract'.. if the Buyer allows the dog to die .. get hit by a car.gets an obstruction, does not keep up on rabies or other shots..what if the dog contracts ( sorry) a disease like parvo, lepto and dies.. then the breeder gets triple the money back. Puppy "lemon laws' have been in effect here in the USA in some areas.. most courts think puppy contracts should be taken to the bathroom and used there..(or loo, if you prefer). What would be "reasonable"? My breed has say kidney failure.. some do and we test for it but there is no definitive test yet..kidney failure is rife in many breeds so how does that affect my breed and your "contract'.. if the dog dies at 2/4/8/10? what if the owner feeds the dog nothing but high protein food and the vet claims that is what gave the dog the disease.. does the breeder get their money back.. or even more than their money back.. what if the contract calls for breeding the bitch and the breeder getting a puppy and the owner spays her ? Does the breeder get double their money back?
    If contracts are good for pedigreed dogs.. how about for mutts..or designer dogs? or do they skate? if they do that is s sure way to make sure people buy one of those..most American ( at least many that I know) do not want a contract when they buy a dog.. they want to buy a dog period..no strings..
    Contracts are good for one thing.. LAWYERS.. or solicitors if you prefer. oh and that loo thing

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've found a soulmate in you, Jemima. :-) Please don't ever stop writing about all the mess in the dog breeding business!

    ReplyDelete
  14. All good notes, but I wanted to comment on this line from the post:

    "I am often accused of being an animal rights activist, of being a secret agent for groups like PETA which (say some) sees pet-ownership as some kind of slavery and can’t see any justification for anything other than a randomly-bred bitser."

    Let's just be super clear on one item here - PeTA DOES see pet ownership as outright slavery, and in fact would like to see domestic dogs become extinct.

    Some notes from the past:

    "(Pets) are slaves, even if well-kept slaves." --PeTa's Statement on Companion Animals.

    "The cat, like the dog, must disappear..... We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist."
    -John Bryant, Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of a Changing Ethic, PETA 1982, p.15.

    In a perfect world, all other-than-human animals would be free of human interference, and dogs and cats would be part of the ecological scheme, as they were before humans domesticated them and as they remain in some parts of the undeveloped world.---PETA pamphlet, Companion Animals: Pets or Prisoners?

    "One day we would like an end to pet shops and breeding animals [Dogs] would pursue their natural lives in the wild."
    -Ingrid Newkirk, Chicago Daily Herald, March 1, 1990
    Found at Animal Rights.net


    Sorry - just wanted to clear that up. If you own pets and would like to continue to do so, PeTA is NOT your friend.

    Carry on.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Pamela Francis11 June 2011 02:25

    As a start to "Re-inventing the dog show" - which is quite essential to the well being and survival of purebred dogs, I believe - here is a simple suggestion. In my country, the show catalogues simply list each entrant, with its sire and dam and owner. I would like to see added to that information, in the catalogue, the results of any health tests which the dog has undergone and its COI. Just for starters!!! Sadly, I imagine that even that extra information would meet with huge resistance amongst the general show fraternity here.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dog shows are imperative for the survival of most breeds. They provide a forum for passionate and often like minded people.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I read the original version and am happy to have the chance to comment.
    Firstly, I think any contribution on the subject of improving welfare issues for (all) dogs should be valued and indeed encouraged. I am sure there are many, many people with unvoiced ideas which could really help the discussion along. Sadly the majority of them only ever mention their suggestions to friends, it never reaches a wider audience, which is a pity. At least Jemima is acatually prepared to try and do something to make a difference!

    1.I agree wholeheartedly that some reform of the Kennel Club in it's current format is well overdue. There is an elitist, somewhat head in the sand tradition which hasn't helped matters at all. Jemima dosn't exactly say WHAT reform should occur, so this is a good sounding but rather wooly suggestion. Embracing science means what exactly? Incorporating more DNA tests, COIs? This is already being done, gradually yes, but it takes considerable time and expense (mostly provided via breeders) to develop tests and research.
    2. Breed Conservation Plans are I think a good idea (I believe this has acatually been under developement by the KC/breed clubs for some time). Historically, breeders in the main were stock people, who kept large kennels of dogs and regarded themselves as custodians of the breed. These days, for better or wosre, show breeders tend to have far fewer dogs and set their sights on immediate gain for themselves in the form of accumulating wins, rather than looking at the wider, long term picture for the breed. This really has to change and all breeders within a breed pull together to assist one another. Short sighted desicions purely for producing the next crop of show winners should no longer be the order of the day.
    3 and 4. I will deal with these references to breed clus together. Please bear in mind that breed clubs are run by volunteers, some in full time work, with family commitments or health issues. Many of the breed club stalwarts are retired people who are simply not in a position to design fancy websites. You have to work with the material you have here and there is no point expecting hobby clubs to be run as businesses with expensive advertising/literature campaigns. Many are also not in particuarly healthy financial positions either. (I may add here that the revenue generated by shows helps keep most clubs afloat.)
    It is all very well saying pet/working owners should be encouraged, but the reality is most pet owners are simply not interested. They buy the dog but are not bothered about chatting to other owners, discussing issues, attending fun days or anything else. Most people who own dogs are not 'dog' people. Many even find keeping in contact with the breeder too strenuous! It is idealistic to assume that many pet owners would be even remotely interested in what is being offered. As a comparison, I might own a Renault car, but would I be particulary interested in joining an owners' club, even if it kept me up to date with possible potential issues which might arise with the car? Probably not because I have other things going on in my life and any issues can be dealt with by the garage. Overly simplistic perhaps, but sadly, generally true.
    (Not to say however that some breed clubs could be considerably more welcoming to new members than they currently are. Eg Needing to be proposed and seconded before being accepted!)

    ReplyDelete
  18. 5. It is worth remembering with vets that they are not usually in a position to offer unbiased advice, simply beause the majority of animals they see will be poorly in some way. This will present a limited overview. Vets may well see a lot of sick pedigree dogs but do they also see the many healthy, happy pedigree dogs chasing round, doing agility etc that don't have issues? Probably not. Collecting data on disease prevelance is long overdue, but caution is needed. Is the labrador suffering from hip issues a showbred dog, working or puppy farmed dog? Is it a purebred labrador with bona fide papers or a dog from a rescue with no background that might only be 3/4 labrador? Is it clinically obese? Has it been overexcersized as a youngster, perhaps made to run behined a bike for miles? It is all very well collecting statistics that showed x number of labradors presented with severe hip issues, but this is of no value whatsoever without knowing possible contributary factors.
    6. Eductation. No disagreement there. Any extra education has to be welcomed! My only doubt here is how much more can be squeezed into an already stretched curriculum and for most of the population, teaching kids how to be good dogs owners won't be high on the list of priorities.
    7. Reinventing dog shows. I'm sorry but some of this is just silly, for example awarding points for long lived ancestors. (They might have been hit by a car, choked on a bone etc!!)What about breeds for which there is no working qualification (most breeds) or health tests? Are you suggesting bulldogs for example should be judged on a different set of criteria than basenjis or Yorkshire terriers? How would that ever work in practice?
    I want to say here for all the above who want to see the end of conformation dog shows 'full stop', then presumably you would also accept that a lot of less popular breeds will disappear, as will any kind of motivation for 'improving' breeds in the form of health tests etc. No peer pressure or control over backyard breeders and puppy farmers. Presumably the only dogs these people want to own are non descript mongrels from random crosses or dogs bred by ANYONE so long as they're not trying to produce dogs that look a certain way? This may well be the case but there are an awful lot of people that want to buy a dog that looks and behaves in a particular way because it appeals to them and fits in with their lifestyle - should this be denied to them?
    9. Outcrossing is a double edged sword, as are most 'solutions'. It will bring in hybrid vigour. It may well also bring in a host of other problems. Even within distinct lines in a breed, crossing to other lines can result in unwelcome developements, such as poor temprements. It is a tool, and like any tool needs to be used with caution and with proper safty measures in place. At least when you are dealing with a 'pure' line, you know pretty well what you are dealing with. Random, unmonitored outcrossing could open a whole new can of worms.
    10. Puppy contracts are offered by most good breeders anyway. I notice Jemima plays heavily on the breeder's obligations but these should cut both ways. If the owner over feeds the dog, over excersizes it while too young, leaves it alone all day, dosn't groom it etc then they should have equal liability to the breeder.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I was looking forward to reading the article and found it rather disappointing. What about 'exaggerations'? (What exactly is an exaggeration anyway?) What about halting 'inbreeding'? (What is defined as being 'inbred'?)
    I am also very disappointed (but not wholly surprised) that Jemima makes no reference at all to the source of the puppy. No mention of the problems caused by back yard breeders or puppy farmers. This article is meant to encompas all 'Pedigree Dogs' yet it reads as if no one produces these outside of the show world. So what of the puppy farmers, the BYB, the family who want a one off litter from their pet bitch and breed her to the dog down the road? No suggestions? Or do you honestly think that improving breed club websites, reinventing dog shows, puppy contracts etc are going to have a signnificant bearing on these types? Presumably so long as the show world is regulated, controlled and improved, all the other people who breed dogs can more or less carry on as before? Or perhaps you naively think that once the 'show world' has improved, all puppy purchasers will avoid other types of breeder and they will simply 'die out'?

    Jemima is notoriously silent on the subject of large scale commercial dealers. Is it acceptable practice to continue to breed family pets like farm animals, distribute them hundreds of miles away from where they were born, breed repeatedly from exhausted bitches who have perhaps never known a kind word in their lives?

    There are some good ideas in here, (nothing really earth shattering that hasn't been said before though) but yet again this is ignoring the huge problem of large numbers of puppies being churned out by those who have no regard other than for how much profit can be made.

    One final comment for those who have persevered to the end of this, Jemima seems to suggest that the rise in 'designer' crossbreeds, is a good thing. These apparently are being bought by people who have "been burned by the tradegy of a pedigree dog dying before its time". I hope she is therefore poised to tackle the countless problems some of these designer dogs have/will have in her next documentary? Health and welfare shocks will abound here!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. A lot to come back on here!

    My "thing" is the fact that the very people who should be doing the right thing - indeed who are trying to do the right thing - very often are not. And I believe that if it can be put right at the 'top', then it will filter down. If people are determined to do the wrong thing; if they want to churn out puppies like toys in terrible conditions; they will - in the same way that Dodgy Dave down the road will continue to flog burned-out bangers. However, most of us know that it is better to go to an authorised dealer for our cars. Will cost us a bit more, but there are producedures in place that mean we're getting a better product. The answer then, I believe, lies in making well-bred dogs such a no-brainer that the public will eventually click that it would be silly to go elsewhere. The problem at the moment is that is very often not possible to identify the properly-bred dog, for all the reasons I point out endlessly - and because, bottom line, the breeding paradigm needs to change.

    I have no issue with deliberately-bred crossbreeds - as long as they are produced with real care. That happens way too rarely at the moment.

    "Breed Conservation Plans are I think a good idea (I believe this has acatually been under developement by the KC/breed clubs for some time)"

    No, I don't think they are - not in the unified sense that I envisage them. Yes, the AHT is working on effective population sizes (which will hopefully be forthcoming even if the figures are as terrifying as I believe they are); and yes, a small handful of breed clubs are thinking about the genetic management of their breeds. But what I'm talking about is something bigger and more inclusive - and international. It doesn't mean everyone has to follow the same path - I'm for diversity in approach as well as in the dogs. But it should get people thinking more holistically about their breeds and encourage a good deal more sharing of ideas and information.

    "Please bear in mind that breed clubs are run by volunteers, some in full time work, with family commitments or health issues."

    I know and I think that needs to change to become more business-like. Some jobs in breed clubs should be paid to enable people to put in the needed time and commitment - and also to encourage people with the right qualifications to come forward. Many breed clubs have a lot of money in the coffers already - and with the new businesslike model I think should be introduced (ie one that brings in many more members), they should be able to easily fund this - and more.

    To be continued...

    ReplyDelete
  21. (..continued in answer to Julie)

    "It is all very well saying pet/working owners should be encouraged, but the reality is most pet owners are simply not interested."

    Yes, you're right. But there's no doubt that more would be interested if there was, well, more to interest them. You say you wouldn't join a Renault owner's club - but you might if just by joining it saved you £100 a year on insurance and 10% on fuel or garage fees. The feeling at the moment is that breed clubs are only there for people who show their dogs. There's very little incentive for the ordinary pet owner to join.

    "It is worth remembering with vets that they are not usually in a position to offer unbiased advice, simply beause the majority of animals they see will be poorly in some way."

    Yes. And that's why they need reference materials that give the wider perspective. Vets can't help be influenced by their own experience and am sure will give it (my local vet, for instance, is concerned about immune-mediated issues in Border Terriers because they've seen a lot recently but that may in no way reflect the bigger picture). But equally most vets understand the need for evidence-based opinion. That's why I'm proposing something produced by the BVA/BASAVA.

    "My only doubt here is how much more can be squeezed into an already stretched curriculum and for most of the population, teaching kids how to be good dogs owners won't be high on the list of priorities."

    Genetics, evolution, citizenship etc all have to be taught and they all need models. I'm proposing that the dog is included as a model - and not least because it offers a very engaging way to teach. In other words, incorporating the dog into the curriculum requires no additional time at all.

    "Outcrossing is a double edged sword, as are most 'solutions'."

    Indeed - and that includes the 'solutions' being pursued currently ie health/DNA testing and trying to inbreed your way out of trouble. It would be lovely if there was a risk-free solution. There isn't. But I believe there is a lot less risk, long-term, in encouraging diversity and the only way to achieve that in some breeds will be via outcrossing.

    Finally, re designer crosses and dogs produced by volume breeders - I think they should only be sold with a puppy contract, too - one that ensures they have been raised with as much care as I am want for all pedigree dogs - and of course one that also commits the puppy-buyer to responsible dog-ownership. There are organsiations working on the templates for a universal puppy contract right now. Haven't seen a recent version so can't comment, but I believe it has the potential to be a powerful tool.

    Jemima

    ReplyDelete
  22. Why Jemima does it take someone like Julia to ask questions/challenge you that you then finally show some sort of balance?!? this is why PDE failed as there was no balance or challenge made to ALL views and that is why PDE2 is on course to fail too as no one in the world of Pedigree dogs will trust you or talk to you, as they know from before their views will be left on the cutting room floor again. Your words its seem like the puppy contract wont be worth the paper/film they are on until there is a view from BOTH/ALL sides. Walk a mile in their shoes ............... you try and raise a litter, show a breed, judge any breed, care for a breed, run a breed club, face the heartache when a dog/puppy you bred goes wrong despite years of hard work and doing all the test you could and talking all the precautions, yes those are big shoes to fill, but easy to criticise in print.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You have missed the point that breed clubs are run by volunteers and they do not always have time to dedicate to all the recommendations you've listed, the majority or members do a very good job. The committees are made up of show people and of non show people. I will not call them pet owners as all dogs are pets first.
    Also the dog show world fund the breed clubs, they would not exist on the support of non show members alone. Do you not realise that the breed clubs rely on raffles and events held alongside dog shows to raise funds for educational events for non show dogs and new owners?
    Can you tell us if you have ever worked on a breed club committee or indeed attended a dog show to exhibit? Have you ever been a part of this community? It is something you really should try for a few years before you criticise. This post will no doubt be attacked or removed but it is written in good faith.

    ReplyDelete
  24. If the KC get Mate Select fully functional with a complete database they will have a tool to change the face of the poor breeding practices which lead to poor health.
    1. They could then refuse registration for litters which are at the breed average COI and above
    2. Restrict the number of times a stud dog can be used.
    3. Only give AB status to breeders who ALWAYS do the above.
    4. The KC should set up a scheme for all breeding stock to be DNA profiled and chipped and litters should be tested to ensure there is no cheating.
    Just get on with it KC and stop dragging your feet.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Personally, I couldn't give a fig if a certain 'breed' were to disappear into its own genetic black hole. If the genes are a mess, and the dogs are a mess, then surely it's best to let the breed vanish than to perpetuate the misery of poor health and premature death.

    A (say) Cesky Terrier doesn't care that it's a Cesky Terrier. It's a human construct we impose on the dog. The dog wouldn't give a fig if it were a Skye Terrier, or a Jack Russell-ish terrier, or just a plain old mutty, terrier-like dog.

    If we truly care about dogs, then surely health should always come before conformation? Surely the dog's needs come before our wishes? In which case, ditch the breed and save the dog.

    Retromodernist, proud owner of yet another terrier mutt, once again picked up off the street. Random dogs are the best dogs!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Jemima - have you asked the RSPCA education dept whether they would consider producing some teaching materials on dog genetics and evolution?

    There's already a lesson plan and materials on selective breeding as it is applied to farm animals, and one on dogs and cats would be an obvious further development.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you for your reply Jemima.
    I just want to focus on one thing for the moment:

    "If people are determined to do the wrong thing; if they want to churn out puppies like toys in terrible conditions; they will - in the same way that Dodgy Dave down the road will continue to flog burned-out bangers."

    So there is nothing that you feel you can or want to do about this situation then? Just try and persuade people to buy elsewhere.

    "Finally, re designer crosses and dogs produced by volume breeders - I think they should only be sold with a puppy contract, too - one that ensures they have been raised with as much care as I am want for all pedigree dogs"

    If I am reading this correctly you do not seek an end to large scale commercial breeders producing 300+ puppies from one kennel in a year. It is OK for puppies to be shipped hundreds of miles under tremendous stress, kept by a dealer and sold to the first buyer that comes along. Their mother's only human contact is with the person that feeds her and cleans out the kennel. Providing some basic criteria are met and they are sold with a puppy contract does this constitute being 'raised with care'?

    ReplyDelete
  28. "The answer then, I believe, lies in making well-bred dogs such a no-brainer that the public will eventually click that it would be silly to go elsewhere."

    It is simply naive to think that 'the public' will sensibly follow the best course of action, where there is an alternative. For years, huge sums of money have been spent on health edcation campaigns to stop people smoking, taking recreational drugs, eating junk food and drinking too much alcohol. Yet still people in very large numbers continue to do these things. They cannot help but know the likely long term consequenses to their health, but even this isn't sufficient to make them stop, (or stop them starting). Leading a healthy lifestyle might be a 'no brainer' but people are 'silly' enough to smoke, take drugs, get drunk and stuff on take-away food.

    If people are prepared to take the gamble on their own health, why do you think they will be any more concerned about the risks associated with buying a poorly bred puppy? They want it now, cheap, local and no searching questions. What might happen in the future is irrelevant.
    Simply relying on the public to make the right choice and put puppy farmers/back yard breeders out of business is doomed to fail.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Julia, you are labouring under the misconception that because I choose to focus mainly on show-breeding and the role of the Kennel Club that I don't give two hoots about puppies being produced under dreadful conditions in puppy farms or by volume breeders. Strangely enough, this has never been a charge levelled at me by the puppy farm campaigners themselves (who I do talk to regularly because as we all know there is some overlap)and that is, I believe, because they simply recognise that we each have our thing.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Julia, Asking Jemima why she doesn't go after puppy millers makes as much sense as asking her why she isn't helping homeless people or trying to find a cure for cancer. She can't do everything!

    I for one am very, VERY happy she is drawing attention to the problems facing purebred dogs. If nothing is done about this and soon I believe that people will abandon purebred dogs entirely. I was at the park the other day and noticed 95% of the dogs I saw were mutts. Purebreds are less popular than they have ever been, in part because people don't want the heartache and financial burden of owning a sick dog. So, keep up the good work Jemima. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Julia said:

    ‘What about breeds for which there is no working qualification (most breeds) or health tests? Are you suggesting bulldogs for example should be judged on a different set of criteria than basenjis or Yorkshire terriers? How would that ever work in practice?’

    Hello again, Julia.

    Well, what is the problem with treating apples and oranges as apples and oranges? Isn’t the fact that currently all breeds are judged on the same limited criteria part of the problem? I agree it is a complex issue to sort out – far more complex than a blog can provide space for – but the conversation needs to be started somewhere and here are a couple of basic suggestions meant as food for thought.

    ‘Working qualifications’ can be interpreted in many ways. For a companion breed, it might simply be a canine good neighbour test or basic obedience test. For a working breed, it should be a test that demonstrates or generally relates to the breed’s purpose. For example, the purist in me would argue that for a GSD to get a championship, it should have a Schutzhund III but I am enough of a realist to know this is impractical for many – for starters, a perfectly good breeder may not live anywhere near a good club. However, a high-level agility or obedience title is far more accessible and would also demonstrate such a breed’s mental and physical fitness for purpose; there needs to be a little flexibility here so a title in any of a number of agreed breed-appropriate sports could be acceptable. For different breeds, the criteria may be different for the same sport; using obedience as an example, a Pekinese may only need a pre-Novice (no offense to Pekes but I haven't seen a lot of them in the obedience ring and assume this is not their forte) but a German shepherd may require Utility. We are talking about champions so the demands should be high within the context of the breed. Yes, this means that different dogs will require different levels of work on the part of the breeder, but does this not simply reflect what is already known and practiced by responsible breeders and, one would hope, the owners of the dogs taken on as pets or working animals?

    As for health, I agree a points system based on some of the criteria Jemima suggests would probably be unworkable, but requiring dogs to have passed the all of the following in order to be declared champions would not:

    - an overall clean bill of health, including any tests recommended for the breed and an acceptable COI
    - a conformation exam based on criteria related to ability to function
    - a temperament test
    - a working test somehow related to the dog’s purpose

    If each of these categories were awarded a maximum score and any dog that received a certain total score without failing or missing any category were declared a champion, we’d have a system that solved a lot of problems.

    I’m not saying these are perfect examples but I am saying that I think it can be done, difficult though it may be.

    ReplyDelete
  32. In reply to Annie, its those “Show breeders” that Jemima admits she only ever pursues who are the ones who raised the funds for the health test, and use the health test, they funds the research facilities that benefit ALL DOGS (the KCT give more money than anyone has). Its those show people who run import the new blood for breeds, run THEIR OWN breed rescues , yet LESS than 2% of puppies are shown and as most people who show only breed when they want something to show it is the puppy farms, pet breeder and BYB who are THE BIG PROBLEM, but they are the high profile target that its easy to drag through the media when a savvy journalist can link it to a event like Crufts. As for the 1st point made by Speedydog, I think is shows just how little people understand a subject before making comments, if the KC refused to register dogs who COI was the same as or above the breed average, even more genetic diversity will be lost, also COI are not a straight line figure, over history and time they CHANGE they will go up and down , and what may be above the average in one generation can be greatly reduced by the introduction of new blood within just on or two generations. Don’t forget you must also consider a range of things and not JUST the COI as they do not cover all things many other health results have to be considered and most important is the temperament its no point having a dog with a low COI if it has bad hips, blind and is vicious.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Margaret Sierakowski12 June 2011 13:57

    "Jemima is notoriously silent on the subject of large scale commercial dealers. Is it acceptable practice to continue to breed family pets like farm animals, distribute them hundreds of miles away from where they were born, breed repeatedly from exhausted bitches who have perhaps never known a kind word in their lives?"

    Could that perhaps be explained by the rarity of large scale commercial breeding in the UK where Jemima lives and writes? Effective controls by legislation and regulation of commercial dog breeding by local authorities have greatly reduced puppy farming in the UK and other European countries . Perhaps if US breeders stopped their irrational obstruction of all legislation to control puppy farming and large scale commercial dog breeding , it would be less of a problem in the US too?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Cambstreasurer wrote: "Jemima - have you asked the RSPCA education dept whether they would consider producing some teaching materials on dog genetics and evolution?"

    Great suggestions and, no, I haven't. It might be that they have something planned. I will ask.

    ReplyDelete
  35. "an overall clean bill of health, including any tests recommended for the breed and an acceptable COI
    - a conformation exam based on criteria related to ability to function
    - a temperament test
    - a working test somehow related to the dog’s purpose "


    quick question .....would these be required in order to make up a Chmapion in ANY sphere ( i.e would a field trial, agility or obedience Champion also need to have met all these criteria) ..and if not... why ?


    Point 6 - Education - there is already an education programme involving dogs that can be used in schools - I teach it in my school as part of the kids PHSE and Science Curriculum - I use the Kennel Club's 'Safe and Sound' scheme .....but there are others that can be used


    Retromodernist says ..."A (say) Cesky Terrier doesn't care that it's a Cesky Terrier. It's a human construct we impose on the dog. The dog wouldn't give a fig if it were a Skye Terrier, or a Jack Russell-ish terrier, or just a plain old mutty, terrier-like dog. "


    but presumably this goes for any and all breeds of pure bred animal - not just dogs - after all a pure bred Araab does'nt know what it is neither do my neighbours wonderful Highland Cattle - both are bred using restricted gene pools in the same way that pedigree dogs are does this mean we should lose them too ?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Absolutely, Bijou. It should apply to any animal. If its breed's genes are shot, and there are healthy breeds/types around, then its best to let it disappear.

    I doubt there'd be any argument from horse or cattle breeders either, for poor genes would lead to poor performance on the racetrack or poor meat yields. In fact, as in these cases form follows function, it's unlikely that horse or cattle breeders would choose to ignore a growing litany of disease and poor function.

    ReplyDelete
  37. retromodernist well in nature the Giant Panda genes are shot as tehy have problem reproducingshould they stop tyring to preserve thos too?

    As for MargaretS point about large scale breeding farms yes we do have a major problem in the UK with whole sale numbers of puppies form Ireland and as Ms Harrison "pet chairity" then takes the poblem off of those big breeders I suspect this wont be allowed to be seen!

    ReplyDelete
  38. The giant Panda is in the state it is in because of habitat destruction and failure to reproduce in manmade captivity.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Jeez... Well, yes, it will be seen - although it's tempting just to hit the delete button on a nasty anonymous comment suggesting that my "pet charity" as you call it (carefully placing the words in quotes in order to suggest that it is nothing of the sort) fuels the Irish puppy-farm trade.

    However, because this particularly horrible slur is perpetuated on other forums, let's try and tackle it here once and for all - even though I am pretty sure that this "Anon" is the same person that continues to infer this elsewhere despite having been given the facts several times.

    As even the most cursory of looks at my rescue website will reveal, I take almost exclusively adult dogs - almost all crosses - that are in Irish dog pounds and would otherwise be PTS.

    I do not pay for them. Not a penny. Nada. And I have never taken a dog direct from a breeder or paid them either.

    After all, given that we charge only £150 for one of our dogs, which includes vaccinations, worming, de-flea-ing, microchipping, neutering where appropriate and transport from Ireland, it would be financial suicide to pay for them.

    Jemima

    ReplyDelete
  40. Kate P the Giant Panda is in decline in the wild too due to its inability to reproduce, as is the case with many other animals, if mother naturee says no should we be god and try to extend the time for such creatures?!?

    ReplyDelete
  41. "we do have a major problem in the UK with whole sale numbers of puppies form Ireland and as Ms Harrison "pet chairity" then takes the poblem off of those big breeders"

    Does it then mean that "Breed Rescues" in the good old Blighty are taking the problem off the puppy farms in places such as Camarthenshire and Lincolnshire?

    ReplyDelete
  42. It would be useful to know where the original breeding stock for puppy farms come from and whether many of the puppies bought from them subsequently have puppies of their own.

    To give the Kennel Club their due registering pedigrees does make it possible to get a handle on what's actually going on with the genetics of dogs overseen by them.

    From my perspective just looking at the numbers of dogs ending up in rescue is a red herring, because animal charities also get involved when owners can't afford veterinary treatment. I have personal experience of people buying £500+ dogs with eye conditions and and being told by the breeder that the puppy "would grow out of it".

    It's then pretty grim for the owner and dog when it becomes obvious that a £300+ operation is the only way to make the dog's life tolerable but the original £500 was all the spare cash the owner had and being a pre-existing condition pet insurance won't help.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Jemima

    You are still being evasive and not answering my question.
    Are you happy for large scale commercial breeding of puppies to continue providing some basic criteria are met and each puppy is sold with a contract?
    Yes or no?

    Annie said

    "Julia, Asking Jemima why she doesn't go after puppy millers makes as much sense as asking her why she isn't helping homeless people or trying to find a cure for cancer. She can't do everything!"

    Annie, I would agree if I had been talking about fighting or status dogs. However, as I have said, purebred dogs are not only bred by those who show. In fact, most of them are bred by people who never go near a show ring. Even a significant number of KC registered puppies don't come from show breeders.

    Jemima and Annie,
    The same critisisms that have been levelled at show breeders are of course equally applicable to puppy farmers (and BYB) and are compounded by breeding from stock which is probably unwell, too old, too young, poor temprements etc that in addition are kept under poor conditions.

    Tightening the screw on show breeders is not going to lead to some miraculous improvement in the miserable lives of puppy farmed dogs. You simply cannot focus on the show world in isolation while ignoring the magnitude of problems caused by puppy farmers in particular. At least not if you want to make a difference to the health and welfare of ALL pedigree dogs.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Honestly, Anonymous: What you come up with is not just a slur, but a surreptitious sneak of a slur - and even so you´re too cowardly to sign your name? Some bravery!
    Go and ruin somebody else´s discussion, please.
    We have no puppy farms in this country, but if we did, I and many others would hunt our MP:s down until legislation was brought in.
    And you, Anonymous, do - what ?

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hello again Sarah,

    Acatually I do agree wholeheartedly. I think that at the very least, dogs of all breeds should have passed their Good Citizen Scheme Bronze award before being awarded the title of Champion and I would personally love to see more full champions in breeds such as Border Collies and Spaniels. I lament the fact that so many breeds with a true working history are loosing the very reason for their existance in the first place. My personal view is that part of the reason for some of the conformation problems is because some breeders are only interested in the appearance of the breed and just don't know why certain features are important or what their function was.
    For myself, my dogs are what I term 'multi tasking' in many different discplines, something which is common in the US but too rare here. I think not only does it demonstrate the sheer versitility of the breed, the dogs themselves benefit hugely in having active minds and bodies as well as attractive ones.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Julie wrote: You are still being evasive and not answering my question.Are you happy for large scale commercial breeding of puppies to continue providing some basic criteria are met and each puppy is sold with a contract?
    Yes or no?"

    Yes, with the following qualification.

    Large scale breeders that I think you and I would both agree are puppy farms should be closed down. No question.

    However, although I think it is very difficult indeed for dogs to be raised (or kept) well in large scale breeding kennels - I recognise that it is possible. Guide Dogs produce a lot of pups, for instance, and their kennels and standard of care of both pups and breeding bitches are pretty good. I know of others too who do a good job.

    Given that large-scale breeders are probably a fact of life (after all, the KC is happy to accept their money with absolutely no checks at all), my feeling is that we should try to put measures in place to make them as good as they can be and drive the bad ones out of business. The puppy contract as I would love to see it should do that.

    Jemima

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi Jemima,

    Under 'Education':
    I don't know how things are handled in the UK, but here in Switzerland people need to get the SKN when they want to legally buy or adopt a dog. Maybe something similar would also be of good use in the UK.

    The SKN is the 'Certificate of competence' of owning and handling a dog. It consists of two parts, one being a theoretical course, one a practical training.
    The theoretical course needs to be attended before people get their dog and its aim is to teach people about the needs of dogs, how they should look after their dog and so on...
    Then, within the first year after people got their dog, they need to attend the practical training with this dog. The practical training needs to be attended with every new dog, the theoretical course not.

    (Maybe one point of the theoretical course could also be to inform people about BYB, and that they should not buy their pups from BYB...)


    Kind regards,
    Simona

    ReplyDelete
  48. sadly none of you will be happy until all of the fun and all of the JOY of raising and owning dogs is removed from the common person and is legislated into oblivion. Only you few lofty left, with COI's up to your standards and contracts that a lawyer would love.. remind me.. do not move to Switzerland.. the same country that does not allow goldfish to be in a four sided clear aquarium..note the use of the word "legally" in the above.. implying that people buy ( please, people do not adopt pets) pets illegally.. a concept that is unknown in the USA where animal ownership is a right.. so far..
    I would ask Simona does Switzerland have the same rules of humans? do potential parents have to take tests ( and PAY the government ) for them before they can have children?
    YAWN to all of this.. if this is made into LAW which is what most are promoting here.. more or less. then why bother to breed dogs? .. or really any animal.. let them decide on their own who is the best partner..after all they are smart enough to know about COI's.. and "hybrid vigor" on their own.. just look at wolves, etc.. blah blah blah
    no need for breeds.. no need to monitor health.. be like whatever his name is here.. just grab a dog .. or cat.. or heck even a child off the street. That is the best way right.. Jemima why bother with pedigreed dogs.. oh right I forgot about the money..sorry

    ReplyDelete
  49. Bijou said:

    ‘quick question .....would these be required in order to make up a Champion in ANY sphere ( i.e would a field trial, agility or obedience Champion also need to have met all these criteria) ..and if not... why ?’

    That is a very good question, Bijou, and I confess I don’t have a quick answer because there are many factors to think about. Here are a few.

    1. If you are entering your dog into a sport, shouldn’t you make sure the dog is healthy and has no structural problems before you start anyway? A temperament test could easily be incorporated into the first rung of the sport (some sports do this already). So this argument gets a ‘yes’ from me.

    2. Many competitors in dog sports are not going to breed their dogs. They are simply responsible owners who want to have fun with their dogs. Many hard-core competitors aren’t interested in breeding either. Are their dogs’ COIs important? Why make such people jump over hoops such as paying for health tests that are intended to detect genetic problems so that they are not passed on? I would agree this is silly. There could be two sets of criteria: one for those going for their overall championship and another for those who aren’t. But then, the overall championship people would be meeting all the criteria sooner or later anyway, so why bother with the bureaucracy of different criteria for different people? So this argument leads to a ‘no’ for me.

    3. It could be argued that the demands placed on a dog to achieve the highest title in a performance event are so strenuous that physically and mentally unsound dogs are naturally deselected. This may be true in general but performance world is not immune to the problems caused by overemphasizing one part of the whole, in this case function (inbreeding, popular sire syndrome, dogs that are so high-drive they are neurotic...). Health, conformation, temperament and function are inextricably linked. Any time you emphasize part of a whole, you create imbalance leading to detrimental results. So this argument leads to a practical and philosophical ‘yes’ for me.

    4. If the dog’s owner is going for an all around championship, then because of the amount of time it takes to achieve a championship in a performance event, chances are it will have met the other requirements before achieving this anyway. Why create unnecessary bureaucracy? So here’s a probable ‘no’.

    5. If different breeds have different criteria for a working title, requiring all of the other criteria to be met first may be logistically impossible. For example, if we set a basic canine good neighbour test as the working title for a companion breed, the dog could conceivably pass this at 18 months old. What if there is a health test that requires the dog to be two years old before it is taken? This argument necessitates a ‘no’.

    6. Logically, a working title generally builds on health, conformation and temperament. If you are required to have all the other criteria to get the title ‘champion’ in the working component, does this make the working title the de facto championship? Yes, it does, which means we have radically redefined ‘champion’. Not a problem for me personally but I can hear the shrieks.

    Many of these factors are intertwined and I could go on with more. I know which way I would be inclined to answer personally, but to be honest, I could probably be persuaded to go the other way too. There are strong arguments for both sides. I think this is one for the committee!

    ReplyDelete
  50. For the first time I am actually in agreement with one or two of Jemima's points, but taking just 2 of them a) Change to KC - I think you will find the vast majority of the show world are behind you in this, apart from the bulk of the General Committee and a lot of the general membership. The dog world's governing body is very much a closed shop, I have even been told that it's constitution precludes any possiblity of change, so perhaps the way forward is completely new organisation in competition with the KC?
    and b)An unrealistic view of breed clubs, especially in the less numerous breeds. As previously mentioned by others these are run by volunteers most of whom are not even paid an honorarium let alone a wage! There may be a few clubs with substantial bank balances, but you will find there are many, many more subsisting from year to year with a thousand or two in the accounts, likewise with the idea of mandatory websites - there is a vast difference in knowledge and skill levels between club members and committees across the breeds, the clubs are manned by htose most willing, not necessarily in all cases those most knowledgable. Showing is a hobby, not a job, running a club is a side issue of that hobby.

    ReplyDelete
  51. To Anon:

    Animal ownership is still a right in Switzerland too. However, if these laws achieve, that people have to inform themselves before they get a pet and that they have learn how to control their pet, which not only improves living together between dogs and humans, but also between dog owning people & people without dogs, they are (in my opinion at least) justified.

    No, Switzerland does not have the same rules for humans.
    But there are cases, where children have to be taken away from their parents, because they don't care for them, don't look after them or mistreat them. (And I'm sure, sometimes this also happens in the States.) Wouldn't it in such cases be better, if there were some kind of inspection, to check if parents really care for their kids? However, I know, we can't have this for humans, but we can have it for our pets. We can prevent dogs from being raised to fighting machines, which maybe could attack people and then would have to be PTS, for example.

    Do you really think, that a course and test in dog ownership would be something bad for our dogs?

    Oh, and about the paying thing. The course costs about 150 CHF, the practical course & test cost about the same (depending on school and number of lessons, of course). That's really not too much if compared to what people pay for pedigree pets (& I know what I'm talking about, owning two pedigree cats myself).

    ReplyDelete
  52. I would be worried about a course and test in dog ownership simply because it would almost certainly rule out lots of people who don't have any friends other than their dogs and anyway who would volunteer to bell the cat by telling gangland London to go on a course. Don't forget 1 in six UK adults is functionally illiterate.

    There probably is a case for saying ownership of the very large powerful breeds should be restricted to those who can demonstrate some proof of competence.

    Going back to breeding, isn't it arguable that one thing we ought to be doing is encouraging more dog sport people to take an interest. There's no law of nature that says only show people can be interested in puppies.

    ReplyDelete
  53. cambstreasurer said...
    "Going back to breeding, isn't it arguable that one thing we ought to be doing is encouraging more dog sport people to take an interest. There's no law of nature that says only show people can be interested in puppies."

    A lot of them are already very interested in breeding. Many obedience lines and agility lines of border collies for example are developing more or less seperatly from the show lines. People with high achieving performance dogs want to retain these qualities for future generations. Particuarly it must be said, when other lines (including herding and 'pet') don't meet the criteria. It's important to add that within a breed where there are different lines for different purposes, not every dog will suit every home. If you want a pet dog only, buying a collie from working parents is likely to be a disaster. But if you want to do flyball it might be just the ticket. Most dogs with recent working heritage don't make very good family pets (which those who repeatedly critisise any dog which dosn't have a working role would do well to remember.)

    ReplyDelete
  54. At the beginning of this, Jemima asked for other ideas to 'help save pedigree dogs'. In brief therefore:

    Far, far fewer puppies being bred in the first place. There are too many puppies for too few suitable homes. Much tighter controls need to be in place to reduce the numbers being bred and improve how they are bred. My insistence that Jemima lays her cards on the table regarding large commercial kennels breeding pet dogs (so not Guide Dogs, laboratory, hunt etc) relates to my view that one breeder churning out upwards of 300 puppies per annum is neither desirable or necessary. Jemima says it is a fact of life that these places exist, but I would argue, why should it be!

    A puppy raised in a situation as a profit earning 'product', with minimal human contact and shipped off to a dealer to be sold, simply cannot compare with a puppy raised in a caring, home (or kennel) environment where the breeder has only one or two litters at the time and takes care to rear the puppies well, socialise them and find suitable homes. The start a puppy has frequently impacts upon the whole of the rest of it's life. The large scale commercial breeders just can't replicate the way a puppy from a good breeder is raised as this type of care costs money, time and a great deal of effort. Why should it remain acceptable that some dogs, puppies and future owners have to settle for 'second best'? And whatever contract is applied, it WILL always be second best.

    Regarding the point that the KC continues to accept money from puppy farmers with no checks at all, that is a VERY sore bone of contention with an awful lot of people from breeders to campaigners, including myself. As far as I'm concerned they lose all claim to the moral high ground while they knowingly do this and their campaigns against the evils of puppy farms are nothing short of hypocrisy. The fact that the KC is prepared endorse their activities by accepting the blood money from commercial enterprise registrations doesn't mean this practise should inevitably continue.

    Any fight to help save pedigree dogs should therefore include aiming to stop them being bred in large numbers by commercial breeders.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Anonymous said...
    "sadly none of you will be happy until all of the fun and all of the JOY of raising and owning dogs is removed from the common person and is legislated into oblivion.

    ... a concept that is unknown in the USA where animal ownership is a right.. so far.."

    I realise you are talking about the USA but this comment demonstrates part of the wider problem.
    Owning an animal (in any country) isn't a RIGHT, it is a privillage. It also comes with a great deal of responsibility to the animal whose life is in your hands.
    While many aspects of animal ownership are a joy, an awful lot aren't. Cleaning up after the dog, paying to have the cat spayed, scrubbing out the fish tank etc. If you are not prepared to accept the huge commitment having or indeed breeding an animal involves, stick to something inanimate. Too many people buy a puppy with no thought to the amount it will cost to keep over the years, the amount of training it will need, grooming, walking on freezing cold nights, cleaning up after it has been sick on the bed etc.
    Too many people think breeding is an easy way of paying for a holiday or getting another dog for 'free' etc. When you deliberatly bring new life into the world it is your responsibility to ensure that you do the very best you can for it, which means rearing it well and making sure it goes to a suitable home. It also means that 7 years down the line if the animal can't stay with the owner that you must either take it back or help find another home. Breeding dosn't entail washing your hands of the younsters once they have crossed the threshold.

    So yes, having and breeding animals can be fun and enjoyable but these aspects have to be earned by accepting a commitement to the animal(s)for better or worse. If some people are prevented from keeping animals because they cannot accept the responsibilities, then so be it.

    ReplyDelete
  56. "Many competitors in dog sports are not going to breed their dogs. They are simply responsible owners who want to have fun with their dogs."


    and this is true for those that show their dogs too !! ....if they also have no intention of breeding why would they need to 'jump through the hoops ' any more than someone whose hobby is agility ?


    "Logically, a working title generally builds on health, conformation and temperament."



    is this really true ? ...how does an obedience Champion 'prove' it's health or conformationany more than a show Champion ? and temperament ? ...I know of some working Champion Malinois with extemely dodgy temperaments!!!


    I'm not sure what you mean by an 'overall Championship'

    ReplyDelete
  57. Yeah lets save pedigree dogs. Lets get the white middle class pedigree dog owners like we got the fox hunters. Never mind about child poverty or the starving in Africa lets save Pedigree Dogs. I mean pedigree dogs are more important than people. Right?

    ReplyDelete
  58. Is there any hard data on the relationship between numbers of a particular breed and general breed health?

    I would like to see a proper academic study because it seems to me that there are multiple conflicting factors whose real effects aren't known.

    Effective population size - e.g. there are lots of Border Collies but they have quite a small EPS because they were developed from a smallish strain of the existing sheepdogs.

    Does popularity preserve diversity (because there's a market for dogs whose conformation isn't quite show quality) or does it encourage unscrupulous people to breed from dogs with medical defects? With the GSD there was a lot of talk about popularity "deteriorating the breed", but why should it given that there's no reason why good show breeders would suddenly go mad and buy puppy farm dogs.

    What's the relationship between numbers of known genetic problems and their frequency? What I'm getting at is that you could have a very popular and diverse breed with a lot of known instances of heritable problems but that wouldn't be a problem for the breed as opposed to being a tragedy for the individual person who loves the dog provided all the defects were rare. Humans and cats have lots of known genetic diseases but none of them are common. It's the situation where nearly every example of the breed has the defect that's the real problem PDE is trying to address.

    Are puppy farms genetic "dead-ends" or do some/lots/most purchasers go on to breed the dogs they buy?

    What's going to happen with the designer crosses if purchasers try to breed from them? At least a bulldog owner generally knows to expect a caesarian. I doubt whether most owners understand that f2 crosses will be very variable and some may turn out larger than the bitch can whelp successfully.

    What breeds are most suited to people with different lifestyles? The border collie fashion was a disaster for individual dogs because most of them don't suffer boredom well. Lots of people would be much better off and happier with a pug if it was only possible to breed them with eyes that are less easily damaged and better breathing.

    ReplyDelete
  59. No Julia owning animals is not a "privilege" it is a God given right. A privilege is something granted to you that can be taken away, usually by the government. Your rights are there from the beginning: Government can only limit them based on what you actually do. ANYBODY can get a dog, and he can keep it UNLESS he hits some law that says he can't. Privileges, however, aren't there until they're given.
    Animal ownership is one of the most ancient and basic rights. You sound like you would like to remove your own right to animal ownership and replace it with a privilege given to you by someone else. One that can be removed at the whim of the granter.
    I know of no one who does the things you say "too many" people do? how many is that exactly? What if you are one of the people you speak of? you know that ones who should be "prevented" from owning animals. Who will decide who is "privileged" and who is not? What arbiter decides if you are "animal worthy? Be very very careful of what you ask for in this arena

    ReplyDelete
  60. "and this is true for those that show their dogs too !! ....if they also have no intention of breeding why would they need to 'jump through the hoops ' any more than someone whose hobby is agility ?"

    ...LOL ...just read through this again .....no pun intended here !!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Bijou said:

    1. ‘I'm not sure what you mean by an “overall Championship”’.

    I mean that in my nice, hypothetical system, a dog would have to qualify in all areas (health, conformation, temperament AND work) as opposed to just one (conformation OR work) to be called a ‘champion’.

    2. ‘…if they [show people] also have no intention of breeding why would they need to 'jump through the hoops ' any more than someone whose hobby is agility ?
’



    Love the pun!

    I would agree that if a dog entered into any single event is not going to be bred from, there is no point in making its owner jump through unnecessary hoops. However, I believe that if you are going for a title that says your dog is a champion by my definition, it should certifiably fit the bill in all areas (health, conformation, temperament and work) because ‘champion’ is a title given to indicate that a dog is the best of its kind. Whether you are going to breed from it or not is beside the point.

    3. ‘"Logically, a working title generally builds on health, conformation and temperament."



is this really true?’ 



    Would you not agree that it is logical to test your dogs for mental and physical suitability to do a sport before you start rather than once you have received the title?

    4. ‘...how does an obedience Champion 'prove' it's health or conformationany more than a show Champion ? and temperament ? ...I know of some working Champion Malinois with extemely dodgy temperaments!!!’

    I never said that I believe dogs that achieve championships in any given dog sport automatically demonstrate excellence in all these areas. In fact, I don’t and I thought I made that point clearly in Argument 3. To expand on what I said there: different sports/work have different levels of physical and mental requirements. A really good handler can get an average dog through whereas a less experienced handler might not get a title with a better dog. A dog that has health or conformation issues that bar it from field work might be able to get through the less physically onerous requirements of straight obedience. Some health issues might not affect performance in the ring (epilepsy for example – you can cross your fingers and hope the dog doesn’t have a seizure at the wrong moment).

    Temperament is a difficult one, I agree, because different breeds are bred for different purposes and require different temperaments to fulfil them. This also touches on what Julia has been saying in some of her comments about working dogs (which I agree with entirely – almost). I don’t mean to ‘talk Belgian’ here or get into a working dog vs pet dog argument or try to analyze individual dogs I don’t know, so please take my questions as rhetorical, but your example of the malinois with ‘dodgy’ temperaments is a good one. You may well be right about them, but maybe not. Define ‘dodgy’. As I said, there are issues in the working/sport world with dogs that are so high drive they are neurotic. I agree that is an issue and those that breed such dogs are open to criticism. Are we talking about dogs with this problem? Or are we talking about well-bred ring sport champions that have what it takes to do the job they are designed for? The purpose of ring sport is to select breeding stock for police dogs, not family pets. These dogs do have very different temperaments from companion dogs and they are exceptionally high-drive and difficult; they may therefore come across as ‘dodgy’ when in fact they actually have very stable temperaments.

    The excellent overall question you imply is how to define and test for suitable temperament given the demands placed on the breed if it is to be true to its purpose. Can you use the same test for a Golden retriever whose purpose is field work, a malinois whose purpose is police work and a Cavalier King Charles spaniel whose purpose is companionship? Possibly but I don’t know - I don’t pretend to be an expert here and would leave that for those that are.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I'm not going to get into a ding dong argument with Anonymous but you have ignored the point of my comment about the concept of owning an animal. To reiterate, when you take possesion of an animal it is reliant upon you to ensure its needs are appropriately met, to the very best of your ability. (Knowingly) not to do this removes any 'right' you have to assume control of its life.

    I envy you, Anonymous, if you have never come across someone who thinks breeding a litter is a good way of earning some extra cash. Presumably in your neck of the woods everyone also has beautifully trained dogs which are never left along for hours on end and there is no dog mess on the street?

    I'm not talking about a legal right. I'm talking about assuming a moral responsibility to ensure the basic well being of a life under your care.
    You are mistaking the fact that you CAN do something as the RIGHT to do something.

    ReplyDelete
  63. cambstreasurer said...

    "Does popularity preserve diversity (because there's a market for dogs whose conformation isn't quite show quality) or does it encourage unscrupulous people to breed from dogs with medical defects? With the GSD there was a lot of talk about popularity "deteriorating the breed", but why should it given that there's no reason why good show breeders would suddenly go mad and buy puppy farm dogs."

    Popularity, broadly speaking does nothing positive for a breed. Dalmatians, GSDs, Border Collies, Westies, staffies and the list goes on. You are correct in saying this is mainly because unscrupulous people see the 'in fashion' breed as a cash cow. Less popular breeds may well suffer from the problems associated with small populations, but they are in the hands of people who will be aware of what issues exist and will be aiming to minimise these. They will also select homes carefully and not sell to people who only want a fashion statement. When a breed becomes too popular, any example of the breed that can be obtained will suffice for the unscrupulous breeders, no matter what its confirmation, health and temprement problems are.
    Popularity deteriorates the breed, not because puppy farmed dogs infiltrate the show ring but because many more of the breed are puppy farmed with no thought at all as to health and welfare, only cashing in on the craze for as long as it lasts. It's a bit like Tweed. It's not terribly popular so if you buy some it's going to be the genuine article. Whereas a popular designer label soon has second rate fakes and imitations in plenty.

    ReplyDelete
  64. hmm no you are correct.. I know no one who breeds for "extra cash'.. most people I know have to have extra cash in order to breed.. if they make even one penny I say GOOD FOR THEM..I do know people who leave their dogs alone for hours.. is that some reason to prevent them from owning a dog?
    I am not mistaking anything, you said people should be prevented from having animal. I agree IF they have been proved GUILTY in a court of law of animal abuse.. no other reason..because when you start passing laws like they have in the Uk where a dog can be taken from it elderly owner for being "too fat" and that dog is "rehomed' that to me is criminal.. and it is not the dog owner that the criminal.. methods of caring for animals vary vastly.. yours and mine probably are far afield.
    perhaps a better way of saying this that I am sure you will agree with is with rights come responsibilities.. but privilege is something else entirely.. much like "guardianship" and ownership..

    ReplyDelete
  65. Where to begin? Well, I might add - open up studbooks. Registries should be more accepting of other registries' members. Also: colors that occur naturally in a breed should not affect show scores. Also things that are not essential to function and health should not be scored as severely in dog shows - such as ear set and size, degree of tail curl, eye color, etc. Show conformation should be downgraded in importance and things that encourage breeding just for conformation should be downgraded, such as taking away awards for numbers of champions sired or bred. Not require competitors in anything to be intact. The idea that any of these competitions is to promote breeding stock is not really an issue anymore.

    Ban the birth defects - the achondroplastic breeds didnt start that way and there are examples at least in some breeds of non-achondroplastic dogs. Another defect is the Chiari I of Cavs - they didnt start that way but IMHO the flattened back of the head that can give or be seen as part of Chiari I was a mistake.

    Education of breeders - if I had my way, there would be far fewer things that would rule out breeding of a dog - so often a dog will be tossed out of the genetic pool for one fault. BReeders should breed for fewer conformation champions. The goal should be maintenance of a breed - not "improvement" and the characteristics not related to outward appearance should be more strictly defined and weighted when considering breeding than they are now and the really striclty defined and interpreted aesthetic qualities should be weighted less. Dog who cannot breed or breathe or keep themselves at a normal temp without assistance should be taken out of the pool - perhaps gradually, but eventually out. The big coat and rapid growth should be discouraged.

    The main thing IMHO is to open up the kennel clubs to other registries and to new entries.

    ReplyDelete
  66. We recently bought a whippet puppy from a local pet owner that was an accidental mating between her dog and bitch (ironically, she was a pedigree cat breeder who had imported breeding Toms from America, so as to inject fresh blood into her line). What attracted us to this puppy was that the sire and dam were completely unrelated - the sire was from coursing lines and the bitch was from show lines (even then we checked with a breeder friend to ensure the dam's show lines were healthy and with a good temperament). Both parents were very friendly and appeared healthy. Fortunately whippets also tend to be a healthy breed.
    Whilst it could be argued that a puppy from an unplanned litter is quite risky, we saw it as far less risky than buying from a show breeder - someone who would put conformation rather than health and temperament first. At least we could see both the sire and dam and assess their temperaments, and we knew they weren't related.
    The problem that we found, was the lack of reputable breeders breeding healthy pups with excellent temperaments specifically for pet owners. There's either the dreadful puppy farms or the inbreeding show breeders. I wouldn't have gone for a show-bred whippet unless it was an outcross, but even then the dogs are unlikely to have been bred with temperament and health as their two most important attributes.

    ReplyDelete
  67. What closed minded comment from Fran about show whippets, has she ever been to a dog shows?, whippets at shows are sweet in nature and ALL show breeders live with their dogs so temperaments and health is in the utmost in their minds when they do breed them, to make such sweeping statements about show dogs is naive at best and downright stupid at worst! The coursing lines are the ones who are bred to chase ANYTHING and as a result could have a problem fitting in a family atmosphere with other animals. It’s about time people get over the closed view about show dogs and how they are bred and their temperament. I went to my vet the other day with a puppy to get its vaccinations in the reception were three working dogs one collie who was scared of everything hiding under the chairs and its owner was sitting on and two "Springer types" both had to be muzzled as could not be trusted around other dogs!! My vet works with many show people and says they are the ones he love to deal with (note not treat as he admits besides having health test done i.e. hip x-rays as they rarely have any problems) as they are the ones who are easy to handle and have better temperaments. Perhaps she should see what Roger Mugford has to say on the subject and then not make such seeping statements.

    ReplyDelete
  68. but statements like Frans are the most accepted on this forum while statements like yours are most likely to be shredded by frequent posters here. Put on your flack hat. It should start raining down soon

    ReplyDelete
  69. Fran, what health tests did the parent dogs have?
    A quick google tells me that conscientious whippet breeders, although have no recommended KC health tests, are testing for heart and eye problems.

    ReplyDelete
  70. To Anon (12:30) :

    "ALL show breeders live with their dogs so temperaments and health is in the utmost in their minds"

    I think it's more naive to say "ALL", because I doubt that you know every singe whippet breeder...

    ReplyDelete
  71. Anonymous (22 June 2011 12:30) said...

    "ALL show breeders live with their dogs so temperaments and health is in the utmost in their minds when they do breed them, to make such sweeping statements about show dogs is naive at best and downright stupid at worst!"

    And yet show breeders make the same sort of sweeping statements about breeders who don't show, all the time. In fact, going by those oh, so useful "how to spot a responsible breeder" guides that proliferate on the web like maggots, I will never, ever be a 'responsible' breeder, no matter what, because I don't show and I crossbreed.

    In fact, those sweeping statements feed a culture where it's perfectly acceptable to harass, both publicly and privately, a breeder who doesn't 'fit the mold,' while show breeders who are committing obvious abuses simply get whispered about in venues that the poor puppy buyer has no access to. Allowing those breeders to continue on their merry way, producing and selling puppies to the unsuspecting puppy buyer, who *might* hear about problems *after* they've bought their pup and fallen in love with it. Like our first Great Dane, whose sire, with both a conformation championship and a CD (obedience title), was dog aggressive, and passed that temperament on to his son.

    ReplyDelete
  72. "I will never, ever be a 'responsible' breeder, no matter what, because I don't show and I crossbreed." so what health test do you do for such cross breeds Jess? and as resuce centres are full of cross breeds why are you adding to them? as for your "Like our first Great Dane, whose sire, with both a conformation championship and a CD (obedience title), was dog aggressive, and passed that temperament on to his son." if you knew the dogs sire was aggressive why did you buy a puppy?!?

    ReplyDelete
  73. It's interesting that in the Kennel Club's Dog Health Group Annual Report for 2010, that nine out of the fifteen high profile breeds were noted by judges and observers as having issues with temperament. And that is just the 15 high profile breeds.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Anonymous, either you're a moron or your reading comprehension is very poor.

    Anonymous said...

    "So what health test do you do for such cross breeds Jess?"

    Click on my name and look at my litters page. My Azawakh get eyes and thyroid (tgaa), my Afghans get tgaa and eyes, and my Salukis get auscultation, Holter monitor, and I'm thinking of adding the Cardiopet proBNP test as well. My puppies come with a health warranty.

    "and as resuce centres are full of cross breeds why are you adding to them?"

    None of my puppies has ever ended up in rescue. All of them are microchipped with my name as the secondary contact. I offer a sixty day money back guarantee, and there is a financial penalty in my contract that I will pursue if the dog doesn't come back to me if the owner can no longer keep it. I do these things because I want the dog to come back to me if the owner cannot keep it, for any reason. I screen homes carefully. All of which you would know if you had bothered to click my name instead of just assuming that I'm one of 'those breeders.' So, tell me again how my puppies, especially since it's been almost two years since my last litter, are filling up rescue centers.

    For the record, I breed Saluki/Afghan crosses and backcrosses. Since I consider these dogs to be members of the same landrace, I don't consider it cross-breeding. Other people who live in the land of breed boxes and closed registries do, however, so I say 'cross-breeds.'

    "As for your "Like our first Great Dane, whose sire, with both a conformation championship and a CD (obedience title), was dog aggressive, and passed that temperament on to his son." if you knew the dogs sire was aggressive why did you buy a puppy?!?"

    I think I'm going to go with 'moron' for you. I wrote: 'while show breeders who are committing obvious abuses simply get whispered about in venues that the poor puppy buyer has no access to. Allowing those breeders to continue on their merry way, producing and selling puppies to the unsuspecting puppy buyer, who *might* hear about problems *after* they've bought their pup and fallen in love with it.'

    I think that's pretty self-explanatory, but I'll spell it out simply just for you: we thought we were doing the right thing by going to a show breeder who did health testing. But AFTER we bought our pup, we were at a show and our handler told us that the sire was known to be dog aggressive. And watching the way his owner dealt with him at the same show, yeah, he was. As novice puppy buyers, we had no connections to find this out before we bought the puppy. Even the owner of the bitch may not have known at that time.

    I get very, very tired of this 'we're sooooo much better than you' nonsense. It is perfectly possible for a breeder to be highly ethical without showing in conformation. It's possible to breed crosses ethically. Show breeders do not have a lock-down on 'responsibility' as some people like our good anonymous might think.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Fran your comments worry me, how can you say a accidental litter was bred for health and temperament? It can't possibly be can it as it was accidental therefore not planned in a conciencous manner.
    I traveled 200 miles to collect my health tested pup from the best show breeder around and it took me months to source my pup not just a local dog that wD bred willy nilly round the corner with whoevers dog.
    Really it's time that those who live in glass houses stopped throwing stones.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Simona said “I think it's more naive to say "ALL", because I doubt that you know every single whippet breeder...” let me correct you as to what I said “Show breeders” and not those like Frans “Mistake” BYB litter type, and yes having been a third generation person to show, bred and judge my breed and being much older than I care to be yes I think I can make such a claim, indeed most long term devotees of a breed can make such claims but also include the majority of established kennel across the world too. What so many people fail to see (especially on such blogs/forums as this) is that many people live a life time protecting and advancing their breed they choose to live with and we are not all the “big bad breeders” that is always painted by miss informed members of the media.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Just how does Fran know the parentso f her whippet were unrelated unless she has a pedigree to go with it? she only has the word of person who seems to let such accidentail mating happen. As for having the dam's health tested just because the sire was from coursing lines it does not mean it cant have problems too, indeed many crossbreeds and mongerals because they dont have any record of their ancestors have potential and indeed do have an array of problems to deal with.

    ReplyDelete
  78. My goodness, how can one accidentally or unintentionally breed? If the person did not want puppies why not neuter or spay? Also to make an uninformed statement like Fran did, just shows...

    ReplyDelete
  79. Jess said

    "For the record, I breed Saluki/Afghan crosses and backcrosses."

    I have a question. Why do you breed Saluki x Afghan Hound together? You should know Afghan Hound and Saluki have common disease such as Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy disease, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand's disease, Umbilical hernia, corneal dystrophy, Persistent Pupillary Membranes, PRA, Retinal dysplasia, Calcinosis Circumscripta etc. Crossing-breed will not solve this problem and it actually will have high possibility to "double up" this genetic problem in the breeding to future generations. So why bother to cross breeding??

    ReplyDelete
  80. Doirs I suspect Jess breeds only for the money after all there is no need for such a cross breed. Afterall there is nothing here to hunt with them, no races for them to run in, and as they arent bred for a function why else would she bring yet more dogs into the world?

    ReplyDelete
  81. Jess lives in West Texas-- United States, just north of Mexico.

    And there is very strong sight hound coursing culture out there and throughout the Southwest.

    Jess is producing an Afghan hound that can be used on jack rabbits (which are hares) and perhaps coyotes. The modern Western Afghan hound has lost much of its functional conformation-- the coat is too long and the gait is so wrong. There is a classic American coursing dog text that clearly states that the best way to have a good coursing Afghan hound is to breed it with a Saluki.

    Salukis and Afghan hounds-- and their cousins, the taigans and tazis-- are very closely related dogs. At one time, it was possible to find saluki-type dogs in Afghanistan and Afghan-type dogs in Iran. Many of the original Afghan hounds imported to the West were quite Saluki-like. There were even a few smooth-coated Afghans in their number!

    The problem is that the dog fancy is operating under an out-dated typological "taxonomy" system that rewards splitting. It's been disastrous to gene pools-- because everyone wants to contrive something unique.

    I can tell you that Jess doesn't breed just for money. She spends plenty of time agonizing over the health of her dogs, and she produces so few litters that I doubt that she makes very much on them at all.

    You people are still operating in outdated typological fairy land, and she's not.

    And you don't like it.

    ReplyDelete
  82. 'Doirs I suspect Jess breeds only for the money after all there is no need for such a cross breed. "

    Yeah, because there's such a HUGE mass market for Afghan/Saluki working crosses. What a ridiculously stupid accusation to make, Anon.

    ReplyDelete
  83. So Jess only breeds her dogs to kill things!!! a real animal lover then

    ReplyDelete
  84. Fran, I think you made a great decision to buy a puppy from an "oops" litter over a puppy from a show bred litter. I've bought a LOT of dogs in my lifetime and the show dogs have been the ones that disappointed me the most--in terms of physical soundness, temperament and overall health. While this could be just a sad coincidence, I don't believe it is. I believe it reflects the fact that conformation breeders place WINNING over temperament and health. A conformation breeder will keep and breed from the puppy in the litter that is most likely to win in the ring--not the puppy that is the healthiest or the puppy with the best temperament. You can't breed for everything.

    And Jess--I think your crossbreeding is awesome! Keep up the good work. The rest of the world will gradually, sloooowly come around to your way of thinking, and the dogs will be the better for it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  85. Doris Lan said...

    "I have a question. Why do you breed Saluki x Afghan Hound together? You should know Afghan Hound and Saluki have common disease such as Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy disease, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand's disease, Umbilical hernia, corneal dystrophy, Persistent Pupillary Membranes, PRA, Retinal dysplasia, Calcinosis Circumscripta etc. Crossing-breed will not solve this problem and it actually will have high possibility to "double up" this genetic problem in the breeding to future generations. So why bother to cross breeding??"

    You forgot myelopathy, laryngeal paralysis and chylothorax in Afghans, and black follicular dysplasia in Salukis.

    Let me turn that question around on you, Doris, since you have Siberians. Let's check the database here, and see what it says about Sibes:

    http://www.upei.ca/~cidd/intro.htm

    Cataracts, Corneal dystrophy, Deafness, Entropion, Glaucoma, Hemophilia A(factor VIII), Hip dysplasia, Laryngeal paralysis, Pannus, Progressive retinal atrophy, Zinc-responsive dermatosis, Entropion, Degenerative myelopathy, Epilepsy, Follicular dysplasia, Lupus erythematosus, Tetralogy of Fallot, Ventricular septal defect, von Willebrand's disease.

    My goodness, what unhealthy animals. Why in the world would you want to breed dogs subject to all those diseases? After all, since you're breeding purebreds your odds of doubling up on the genes that cause those diseases is very high. That's hardly responsible. What's that, you say? Most of those are very rare, rare enough that there's no way to even guess the hereditary mechanism? Rare enough that you can be in the breed for decades and never see or hear of a dog suffering from most of those diseases?

    Oh. Well, all right then.

    Where did you get your list of diseases that my dogs suffer from? A site like the one I quoted above? Not only are some of those sites unreliable (the one above doesn't list either heart disease or cancer, the two biggies for Salukis), but a single case in the literature does not mean that the problem is rampant in the breed. Even Afghan hound myelopathy, caused by a simple recessive and named after the breed, is extremely rare. In both breeds, the biggies are cancer, heart disease, and in Afghans, thyroid and juvenile cataracts (fairly rare now, for a dog to be affected.) Except for JC, which is a simple recessive, there is no known hereditary mechanism for any of those diseases. It is pretty safe to say, though, that cancer and heart disease are NOT caused by simple recessives. Corneal dystrophy in Afghans is a joke of a disease; it causes no pain, doesn't affect vision, doesn't produce lesions, and interestingly, will pop and then go away a few years later. Interesting 'disease' actually, since it's due to an error in fat metabolism and this can be corrected by antioxidants, but that's neither here nor there.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Answer to Doris Lan, cont.

    If you really want to bake your noodle as a breeder, look up epigenetics and nutrigenomics. Also check out the studies being done on gut health in neonates, and the long-term health affects associated with that.

    All of which is beside the point because not only are Afghans and Salukis rather healthy breeds, as health goes, but I'm not cross-breeding for health reasons. In fact, my Afghans, even though they exist only within the closed registry system, have been generally healthier than my Salukis. I am cross-breeding to reduce coat, and improve speed in my Afghans. Salukis are an ideal cross for this. In short, I aim to return my Afghans to what they were before the show ring hair beast mentality turned them into something else.

    Here are some links that may interest you:

    Saluki health (heart disease in Salukis is quite complicated and interesting): http://www.salukihealthresearch.com/

    Fabulous picture of the first Afghans imported into the West, and their offspring (that is what I'm breeding for, btw):

    http://www.afghanhoundtimes.com/jung30.htm

    You may also wish to check out the KC health surveys for both breeds.

    Pre1950s it was fairly common to do a cross-breeding in order to get a desired physical characteristic into a breed. Some of this was clandestine, some above the board. I am simply returning to that time-honored tradition to do what all responsible breeders are supposed to be doing: 'bettering' the 'breed' (well, my own personal dogs, anyways.)

    I love my Afghan hounds. Salukis are close, but there is really nothing like an Afghan. I love them so much that what has become of them disgusts me, and I won't contribute to it by breeding purebred Afghans. It is just too bad that I was born a hundred years too late to get the Afghan type that I really want.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Anonymous said...

    "Doirs I suspect Jess breeds only for the money after all there is no need for such a cross breed. Afterall there is nothing here to hunt with them, no races for them to run in, and as they arent bred for a function why else would she bring yet more dogs into the world?"

    Oh, damn, Anonymous, you got me! I was setting outside the local Walmart the other day, peddling my pups to anyone who walked up, and thinking, "Gosh darn it! Gonna have to breed me another litter, the hubby wants one of them big new TVs that hang on the wall, and they ain't cheap."

    Oh, wait. The last litter I bred will be two in August, they all have homes, they were purebred Salukis, and were co-bred with a friend of mine who spends almost every weekend at a dog show. I find conformation shows mind-numbingly boring, but she gets a real kick out of it.

    I don't have another planned until next winter, and that's tentative and depends on the results of health tests. If I wanted to make money with my dogs, I would have chosen popular pet breeds that sell easily. There isn't a huge market for Afghans, Salukis, crosses, or Azawakh, my other breed. The three digits worth of gross I made off of may last two litters wouldn't even pay for food for my dogs for a month. Crap-lousy business-woman I am.

    I find it very sad that you think that some kind of competition should be the primary purpose for breeding a dog. IMO, nothing corrupts the morals more quickly than getting really competitive. My dogs are pets, companions first and foremost. That is, quite frankly, a function, a fine, honorable function at that, and one I would be perfectly happy with even if I didn't breed specifically for functional dogs. You'd be surprised at the number of people who are interested in an Afghan type that has less coat. And I fail to see why I would be wasting my time driving to races when I can open my front gate and let them chase rabbits through the cactus. It's too brushy here for them to catch much unless we get lucky, much less jacks, which just laugh as they dash off (and although I've no objection to coyote hunting it's a bit outside my comfort level at this time) but running them in the desert tells me more about their function than, say, running in a circle or pattern over manicured grass. Or that ever-exciting trotting in a circle.

    Of course if you'd bothered to click on the link in my name, you'd know all that. What is it about people who don't have the balls to own their words and attack people under their real names? What a disgusting closed-minded little coward you are. I am quite happy that people like you just keep handing me more opportunities to show how stuck in the mud the closed-registry-only-one-way-to-breed-dogs proponents really are.

    ReplyDelete
  88. "I love them so much that what has become of them disgusts me, and I won't contribute to it by breeding purebred Afghans. It is just too bad that I was born a hundred years too late to get the Afghan type that I really want." so what you are doing a labour of love is it? crossing a breed out of existance!! I suspect Miss Niblock would be spinning in her grave at the actions you are doing to ruin such a noble breed, just to suit your own personal tastes

    ReplyDelete
  89. Why hasnt Jess answered what reason she has got to breed such dogs?

    ReplyDelete
  90. Well she's probably in bed... Jess lives on the west coast of America.

    Jess is more than able to stand up for herself but I would ask all those posting unthinking anonymous accusations regarding her breeding programme to at least do a bit of research first.

    You can read more about Jess's life, her dogs and her philopophy here:

    http://desertwindhounds.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  91. desertwind dogs, labradoodles, cockerpoos, puggles, arnt they all just another name for puppy farmers with an ego who hide under the banner of hybrid vigour but just rake in the cash from the gullible public, heaven only knows what the rescue centre will be like in 5 years time when they get bored of them.

    ReplyDelete
  92. OK, that's the last totally unconstructive purely bitchy comment from an anonymous pedigree dog breeder that I'm allowing through on this thread.

    It makes you look terrible. Really.

    Bitchy and constructive is still allowed. Especially if you put your name to it.

    Jemima

    ReplyDelete
  93. I think it's fantastic, to see a breeder like Jess thinking long and hard about how to breed better dogs. If only the closed mind/registry breeders could stop being so petty and anal about keeping it in the family.

    I do wonder sometimes if the problem is in part to do with the terminology. Purity denotes something positive in many people's mind. Pure = good, impure = not so good. Ergo, a 'purebred' dog has to be the best, right?

    ReplyDelete
  94. I think it blows some people's minds that someone could breed crosses/non-show dogs and be doing it out of love for the dogs/breed at the same time. They honestly can't wrap their heads around it -- in their tiny world, you can only -really- love a breed if you perpetuate them for the purpose of competition and winning beauty show ribbons.

    And if you like a breed in a type that went 'out' of the ring ages ago and is no longer bred in the West, like Jess? Well, too bad, if she tries to recreate that type FOR HER OWN PLEASURE she gets slandered up and down by petty people who don't even know her, purely because she commits the 'crime' of not kowtowing to the herd-think of the show ring community.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Anonymous said:

    ‘Why hasnt Jess answered what reason she has got to breed such dogs? ‘

    Jess said:
    ‘I am cross-breeding to reduce coat, and improve speed in my Afghans.’

    I’m not sure what part of Jess’s above statement is beyond your reading comprehension.

    Before those of you in the ‘purity’ brigade condemn cross-breeds, take a look at the history of… oh let’s go for golden retrievers. A quick Google search will suffice. Then come back to those of us who support outcrosses and tell us how they are such a bad thing and should no longer be allowed.

    If you look at Jess’s blog and read her posts on closed registries, you will see that she cites science-based, academic studies. Could you please provide some science-based academic studies that support closed registries?

    Jemima, please add the following to my earlier comment regarding a basic education course for breeders: a section on how to make a polite, logically sound and evidence-supported argument.

    ReplyDelete
  96. "Desertwind dogs?" Ridiculous. It's just the name of her blog. Guess you're looking for her "halfghans." Quite frankly, the name is quite apt-- not a designer breed at all. Hell, not all of the litters are crossbred either.

    If you follow her blog, Jess dedicates a lot of time to researching the old-type Afghans one used to find in the show rings, as well as commenting on the native Afghan hounds in Central Asia. Most show breeder I know, knows almost nothing about the history of their dogs; let alone their original functions. If anything, all they cite is who and who bred which dog, and which kennel was famous and why they were famous. Jess is one of those rare types who actually went above and beyond such a low bar on knowledge of a breed.

    Heck, she still criticize the movement, structure and personality of every single dog she own. Not very many breeders do that. Most have one or two dogs they see as the pinnacle of dogdom, and continently ignore the obvious flaws, for romanticism sakes.

    People still use lurchers, greyhounds, wolfhounds (Borzoi and Irish), staghounds and longdogs in North America, and they certainly do use them in Britain. Even then, in places where hunting is prohibitive, many people still participate in open-field coursing and luring.

    I would buy one of her tazis or one of her comrades' taigans if I was interested in coursing in the Pacific Northwest. They have good feet. After all, I did hail from a region in which greyhounds were traditional dogs.

    If I was in the market for a dog, I would rather side with some "evil crossbreeder" who actually research the history of dogs instead of some old guard who only know the history of Crufts and Westminster.

    ReplyDelete
  97. I would like to make a constructive comment if I may?

    When people post sweeping statements on here and elsewhere saying "pedigree dogs are rubbish, unhealthy, people only buy them to boost their egos, show people only care about winning" etc I find it as objectionable as others find the "all cross breeders are puppy farmers" type statements. It is wrong for either 'side' to make such broad opinionised generalisations.

    The benefits of owning a specific breed, means it is possible to chose an animal which is going to have all the features which suit/appeal to you. The critics frown on this and say every dog is wonderful and it shouldn't matter what it looks like. But it does to an awful lot of people who don't want to take a gamble that a 'mutt' will work out, because what if it dosn't? A 'one size fits all' approach is unrealistic to say the least.

    There are pedigree breeders/owners within and outside of the show ring who are stupid, uncaring, egotistical etc. You find bad apples in any walk of life but the vast majority I've come across who are involved in either showing or any of the other recognised discplines adore their dogs and try always to do their best.

    Equally, I know there are excellent breeders of cross breeds, where this is being done with a sensible goal in mind and a well thought out breeding strategy. These people rank alongside the top 'pedigree' breeders and should have equal recognition of their efforts.

    HOWEVER, there are a huge number of people breeding 'designer' crossbreeds without a thought in their heads but what 'catchy/funny' name their cross can have and how much money they can make. Shih tzu x bulldogs springs to mind. I have seen this cross advertised so it isn't a joke. There are breeders with fancy websites producing all manner of staffy crosses which in the wrong hands could well be trouble and others that are blithely crossing together breeds which are both on the KC's high profile list for health concerns. None of these breeders have an aim in mind of producing a suprerior (healtiher)dog or one which fills a particular niche.

    At best some of these crosses are peculiar, at worse, hybrid vigour or not, they are going to have some pretty significant welfare/health/temprement issues. Those who are producing crossbreeds purely to cash in on the current craze for 'designer' dogs without any thought as to what they are producing deserve your condemnation as much as those who are breeding pedigree dogs with little further thought than how much they will win.

    A sense of balance is required and the ability to recognise that just because someone is breeding crossbreeds, or because they are breeding pedigrees, it dosn't make them a bad person.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Anonymous said...

    "so what you are doing a labour of love is it? crossing a breed out of existance!! I suspect Miss Niblock would be spinning in her grave at the actions you are doing to ruin such a noble breed, just to suit your own personal taste"

    This one is obviously math-impaired. As if the few dogs that I will breed over my lifetime has any chance of crossing a breed out of existence! It is, however, quite amusing to be the cause of such hyperbole. Fun, fun.

    Yes, my dear, it's a labor of love. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing something that sucks away all of my time, energy and income, and being public about it, only to be attacked by people who don't have the courage to sign their name to their comments.

    I think Miss Niblock might give me a tip of the hat, considering what she wrote in the Afghan Hound, A Definitive Study, regarding 'Anomalies' on page 242:

    "The Afghan Hound has been westernized for barely sixty years and these animals (referring to the heavily patterned Lokhanda Kara Mia and the smooth Afeena's Mastermind) should be closely studied and act as a timely reminder of the insidious exaggerations, which are now becoming accepted as authentic in the breed."

    She includes a number of images of native Afghan hounds in her book, including a parti-color specimen, and interestingly, makes NO comment on their quality or lack thereof. She even gives the very early dogs like Afghan Bob and Muckmul a fair shake, unlike many other authors. Although the book does suffer from the 'show ring influence' sort of thinking, Miss Niblock seems accepting of the fact that the Afghan HAS CHANGED SUBSTANTIALLY in the West.

    And what of Miss Clara Bowring? What do you suppose she would have thought of my crosses, Afghan hound expert Anonymous? You want to go toe to toe on what an Afghan hound IS in it's native state, a tough, all weather, rough ground running dog, instead of the mockery it has become? Let's dance.

    Suit my own personal tastes? Isn't that what breeders who breed for the show ring do? Suit their own personal interpretation of the standard? Isn't that why we pick certain kinds of dogs to live with and love in the first place?

    ReplyDelete
  99. Anonymous said...

    "Why hasnt Jess answered what reason she has got to breed such dogs?"

    Who has GOT to breed any dogs? Who decides what an acceptable reason to breed IS, or is NOT? You?

    I would like to thank the people who have excellent reading comprehension, and who understand what I am trying to do, for their kind comments.

    To the Pure Blood Brigade: keep it up. You do yourselves no favors, and you've become a great source of amusement for a goodly number of people.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Dave is open to critise people, yet I assume he has heard of Miss Niblock then as I knew her for many years and I suspect she and the old school breeder he is apt to critise knew more about ALL types of Afghans than anyone else around. Having looked at the the Desertwind site I suspect suspect they are more selective in thier views than anyone could be. As for closed registers being in place, it shows just how little people actually know about such things, over the years and even now many dogs have been accepted on registers be they from native stock, working packs or other forms of stud records, but for many its is easier to protest yet not actually understand what can and does happen

    ReplyDelete
  101. No one in the West created the Afghan hound or Saluki.


    Neither of these breeds existed as "breeds" in their native countries-- and still don't.

    The Westerners got their hooks in these dogs and contrived all sorts of esoteric differences.

    The truth is that from Egypt to Western China and south to India there is a single drop-eared landrace of sight hound. This landrace is one of the oldest in existence-- not the Afghan hound and the Saluki as we know them today. Those are contrived from that landrace.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Jess, let me tell you that the common diseases I listed in Afghan Hound and Saluki were not via website. Well I am a bit old-styled, I prefer reading books. When I was studying uni, my professor always told me that you’d better get the reference from books rather than internet. The book’s name is “Control of Canine Genetic Disease” by Professor George Padgett. It is a book every breeder should read prior to do any breeding. According to the book, Siberian Husky does not have von Willebrand's and Tetralogy of fallot genetic disorder. The common diseases that I listed common diseases in Saluki and Afghan hound are most marked as recessive inheritance in the book.

    For example: von Willebrand's disease is a recessive gene in Saluki and Afghan Hound
    Case 1
    Your Saluki AA (homozygous dominant) x your Afghan Hound AA (homozygous dominant)
    You will not have problem even you backcross another Saluki and Afghan hound with heterozygous
    Case 2
    Your Saluki Aa (heterozygous) x your Afghan hound Aa (heterozygous)
    This breeding can produce 25 % affected, 50% carrier and 25% normal even this is an outbreeding.
    Case 3
    Your Saluki AA (homozygous dominant) x your Afghan hound Aa (heterozygous)
    This breeding can produce 50% carrier and 50% normal. If you keep any carrier and backcross to any heterozygous with von Willebrand's disease, you will have 50% affected. Did you test von Willebrand's disease on your dogs??

    So you can see why I said that cross breed those two breeds will have a high possibility to "double up" this genetic problem because it is hard to know whether your dogs are heterozygous or homozygous dominant and not every disease can be tested by DNA today. Therefore, I am asking you why bother cross breed and backcross both breeds that have too many common diseases. By the way, Afghan hound has 43 genetic disorders and Saluki has 25 genetic disorders for your reference according to the book.

    Thanks for listing the genetic disorder in my breed. I am glad you did it. Otherwise, I could not get the chance to compare Siberian Husky to Alaskan Klee Kai (a design breed from Siberian husky)! Siberian husky does not have Factor VII Deficiency, Liver Disease, and osteochondritis dissecans, however Alaskan Klee Kai have all those genetic disorder and on top of those, they all have skeletal and ocular diseases. Thanks for cross breeding!! Simply speaking, outcrossing/outbreeding is not a “Saint”. Not at all!

    ReplyDelete
  103. Jess, let me tell you that the common diseases I listed in Afghan Hound and Saluki were not via website. Well I am a bit old-styled, I prefer reading books. When I was studying uni, my professor always told me that you’d better get the reference from books rather than internet. The book’s name is “Control of Canine Genetic Disease” by Professor George Padgett. It is a book every breeder should read prior to do any breeding. According to the book, Siberian Husky does not have von Willebrand's and Tetralogy of fallot genetic disorder. The common diseases that I listed common diseases in Saluki and Afghan hound are most marked as recessive inheritance in the book.

    For example: von Willebrand's disease is a recessive gene in Saluki and Afghan Hound
    Case 1
    Your Saluki AA (homozygous dominant) x your Afghan Hound AA (homozygous dominant)
    You will not have problem even you backcross another Saluki and Afghan hound with heterozygous
    Case 2
    Your Saluki Aa (heterozygous) x your Afghan hound Aa (heterozygous)
    This breeding can produce 25 % affected, 50% carrier and 25% normal even this is an outbreeding.
    Case 3
    Your Saluki AA (homozygous dominant) x your Afghan hound Aa (heterozygous)
    This breeding can produce 50% carrier and 50% normal. If you keep any carrier and backcross to any heterozygous with von Willebrand's disease, you will have 50% affected. Did you test von Willebrand's disease on your dogs??

    So you can see why I said that cross breed those two breeds will have a high possibility to "double up" this genetic problem because it is hard to know whether your dogs are heterozygous or homozygous dominant and not every disease can be tested by DNA today. Therefore, I am asking you why bother cross breed and backcross both breeds that have too many common diseases. By the way, Afghan hound has 43 genetic disorders and Saluki has 25 genetic disorders for your reference according to the book.

    Thanks for listing the genetic disorder in my breed. I am glad you did it. Otherwise, I could not get the chance to compare Siberian Husky to Alaskan Klee Kai (a design breed from Siberian husky)! Siberian husky does not have Factor VII Deficiency, Liver Disease, and osteochondritis dissecans, however Alaskan Klee Kai have all those genetic disorder and on top of those, they all have skeletal and ocular diseases. Thanks for cross breeding!! Simply speaking, outcrossing/outbreeding is not a “Saint”. Not at all!

    ReplyDelete
  104. Reply to Jess, cont.

    You don’t know that I am the first Siberian husky breeder to heavily introduce thyroid test to the breed in Australia. I can desex an import dog and did not do any breeding because the dog had epileptic. I am the one to do all eye test, Hip and thyroid test for my dogs prior to breeding. I am the one to hold more stud dogs than brood bitches in the kennel because I believe unequal sex ratio can cause low Ne in the breed. I am the one to import 14 Siberian huskies and over 20 frozen semens into Australia to expand the gene pool. I am the one to write 8,000-word breed notes to the judge training program to explain Siberian husky’s original function and structure. I am the first one to introduce Female Family Linebreeding/inbreeding to the pedigree dog world because I believe the pedigree dogs need to have balanced pedigrees to solve popular sire effect. I am a breeder to use second degree inbreeding for consistent producing quality or removing undesirable traits, rather than just setting the style in the show ring. I am the one to write an article to explain how important for the ANKC to consider researching Ne for the pedigree dog world. Now I hope you are able to know about me a bit more.

    To be honest, if you have 10 and even more breeding every year, you may at least gain my respect. You only do 1 or 2 litters a year and you have no idea what you are doing now. How do you control the effective population size (Ne) in this design breed? Like what you said, both Afghan Hound and Saluki are rare breeds. This design breed will have an extremely small population size (N) because of your breeding practice and the public interest. Let me remind you, a small population size always has small Ne. Don’t forget 50/500 rules and also the past problem of founder effect in the pedigree dogs. Less than 50 mean the breed is a rapid loss in the % of original heterozygosity retained by the population. Remember heterozygosity can result in greater fitness for the overall population. When you backcross the breed, can you maintain their Ne close to 50?? I really doubt that from your breeding practice and the public interest in your design breed. Pre1950s, the dog breeders had no idea about Ne. Today, some of the purebred dogs, which were crossbred at that time, started with very limited gene pool and small population size. Hence why some of today’s pedigree dogs are heavily influenced by founder effects and are resulted in low Ne. History is history. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. BTW, the RSPCA suggests all canine breeding is required to have Ne monitored.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Reply to Jess cont.

    Let us talk about the function! Thanks Jemima to show your blogs to us. When I look at your dogs’ photos, I have many questions in my head. Why do your dogs have so steep croup? Why do your dogs have that short rib cages in proportional? Why are your dogs lack of arch loin? Steep croup is for hill mountain animals such as Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. They all have steep croup. Is your dogs’ main function is to run uphill? I doubt it. Short rib cage should not be happened in any working/hunting breeds because short rib cage means less lung capability than long rib cage. Less lung capability means less metabolism. Your dogs are designed for hunting, so they must have a good metabolism system. You dogs must have arched loin because your dogs are designed to hunt rabbits. For hunting rabbits, the dogs must be able to do double suspension gallop because double suspension gallop is the only gait which the dogs can fully extended and run faster. Arched loin can also benefit good quick turning same as Damara Zebra. Do you seriously think rabbits run slowly and only go to straight lines. Who knows what you think!!

    We all know Afghan hound is a mountain breed and Saluki is a desert breed, They live in different climates and how could you do outcrossing with both breeds? Remember, Capra Ibex was bred to two other subspecies Capra Hrcus and Capra Nubiana and outbreeding depression occurred because they all live in different weather conditions. All the juveniles were dead in winter based on this outbreeding. Don’t tell me outbreeding depression or hybrid vigor is only happened by two different species. Two subspecies or two different populations can cause outbreeding depression or hybrid vigor as well such as hybrid corn with two inbred line.

    Let me ask you, how is your COI in your breed in generation 1, 2, 3 and 4???

    ReplyDelete
  106. Well, my Anonymous Afghan Expert, let's take a look at the native blood that's been incorporated into Western Afghan pedigrees, shall we? (There are 31 founders for the Western Afghan, btw.) Let's count from 1932, well, just because:

    Chota 1/1/1942 (probably shouldn't count as a founder because it's likely this dog was a Western domestic)
    Irani of Sreebas 1/1/1950 India
    Rex 1/1/1961 Afghanistan
    Chipak Barqak 1/28/1968 Afghanistan
    http://proeco.visti.net/naturalist/cynology/saluk_e.htm
    http://www.ahpedigrees.com/modules/animal/dog.php?id=32546
    Lada 1/1/1972 Russian aboriginal
    Haraddin Ben Ghazir 7/22/1972 Turkey
    Kallila of Ghazni 1/1/1974 Afghanistan
    Farina DWZB A Reg. 129 4/10/1976 (Western bitch)

    So much for "even now *many* dogs have been accepted on registers be they from native stock, blah blah blah." I've been offered a puppy from a native litter in Pakistan; I'd likely have to go to Germany to get it registered if I wanted to go that route. Let's see how many native Afghans get registered in the UK with the B register re-opened. The above dogs, btw, do not figure prominently in modern pedigrees. Nothing like the Ghazni dogs, and they did not dominate until the Bell Murray hounds lost popularity.

    Knowing "more about ALL types of Afghans than anyone else around" does not mean that you ACCEPT THAT THE WESTERN SHOW CULTURE HAS CHANGED THE DOGS almost beyond recognition. For the elucidation of the audience, and some shits and giggles, lets have a look at some real native Afghan hounds (oh, yes, I'm selective in my views! My standard is the real dog):

    http://www.afghanhoundsoz.com.au/Afghan_Gait.htm
    http://desertwindhounds.blogspot.com/2010/08/native-afghan-hounds-in-pakistan.html
    http://desertwindhounds.blogspot.com/2011/02/neelai-native-afghan-in-pakistan.html
    http://stephenbodio.blogspot.com/2007/08/real-afghan.html

    Fuzzy 'Salukis' in China, about 700 and 1100 AD, respectively:
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Zz39lIHAfQA/TUxO4vhPhfI/AAAAAAAAEPo/A6i6KMMJWvg/s1600/TangDynastySalukis.jpg
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Zz39lIHAfQA/TUxO2T59cVI/AAAAAAAAEPk/PMgfuh3AIfk/s1600/ChineseFuzzyDog.jpg

    The problem with the Afghan in the West, Anonymous Afghan Expert, is that the Western fancy believes the 'real' history of the Afghan begins in the UK, and it's origins as part of a landrace that spans a vast amount of geography is lost in the mists of time. You cannot take a tiny snapshot out of a vast history and say, "This IS the dog." Will the real Afghan please stand up? What IS a real Afghan? Obviously something different for you than for me.

    And my ruining the breed? As if the Western fancy hasn't already? Big deal. The 'breed' still exists in it's countries of origin, living, breathing, hunting, and even changing as the very cultures that shaped it are changing. The concept of 'Afghan' in the West is a conceit.

    Ask me, and I'll tell you the same thing about Azawakh and Salukis. The idea that these breeds are being perpetuated or preserved in the West is delusional.

    A real Afghan in Afghanistan, 2006:
    http://nomadphotos.photoshelter.com/image/I0000J9szcCEjt4s

    If you want a dog even remotely like that in the West, you have to either make it, or get a racing line Afghan. And the racing people are treated pretty much like I am, by the likes of Anonymous here. You could also go for a Russian Aboriginal Afghan, but they are pretty inbred, and since they are registered as a separate breed, you have that problem as well.

    You know, a friend of mine sent me a link to an article on the History of the Afghan Hound a couple of months ago. I was terribly excited, maybe there would be something new and interesting! Nope. The whole article was about show dogs.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Why would you outcross to a Klee Kai? Wouldn't it make more sense to outcross to a West Siberian Laika or East Siberian Laika? The differences between the two Laikas and the Husky are relatively nebulous-- two strains are bred for hunting; one was bred for mushing.

    In fact, if you really need fresh blood-- why not go back to where Siberian Huskies originated from? The Yakut Laika.

    Using Klee Kai as a potential outcross is moronic when you consider it was designed to be a toy breed. It's especially confounding to why one would consider using the Klee when there are working dogs who are more or less remained unmodified.

    At least Jess is making a wise choice, crossing an Afghan within the same landrace. Crossing a mushing dog with a toy breed is not akin to what she is doing; crossing with a related breed within the laika landrace would be along the same vein.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Doris, you really need to learn the difference between population genetics and a simple Punnett Square. You are making horrible assumptions trying to translate an example mating where you take as given that a disease exists in one or both parents and assuming that such genes are saturated in a population.

    You are also making the horrible assumption that the NUMBER of diseases is in any way relevant or important. The _incidence_ across all diseases in a population is what is important.

    For example, let's assume we have a population of 1 million people. What's worse?

    A)We have 500 named diseases and 20% of the population has one or more of those diseases.

    or

    B)We have 2,000 named diseases and 10% of the population has one or more of those diseases.

    The easy choice is B. Half as many people are sick. The number of diseases is NOT an indication of how healthy a population is. It's an indication of how long a list of diseases is. Health is important. The Length of a list is not.

    I'd suggest that a better measure would be to sum over all diseases:
    (Severity of Disease)*(Number of dogs with that disease)

    But since this is probably over your head, I think if you look over the history of inbred diseases in various populations, high concentrations of one disease versus low concentrations of many diseases has been significantly more detrimental.

    To your point that it's somehow dangerous to outcross between breeds which share a number of common diseases, how can this not, at worst, be an averaging of the probability of disease by breeding both breeds only with themselves?

    For example, let's mix two breeds Hound and Terrier. For ONE disease, the Hounds have a greater percent of their population that are carriers and affecteds.

    If we did a bunch of random crosses, the outcome of which populations had the most concentration of this one disease would be:

    Terrier x Terrier lowest
    Terrier x Hound medium
    Hound x Hound highest

    This is an improvement from the Hound's perspective, worse from the Terrier's. All of this modulated by how different the disease numbers are for the two breeds.

    But remember, this is only one disease. We get to do this over all diseases, and for all the diseases where one breed doesn't even have it, all of the crosses will only get one copy at most.

    So explain to me how breeding a cross could be less ethical than breeding the hound x hound in the first place?

    Outcrosses are a mix, they are not a doubling up. If you breed two border collies, you don't get a dog that has twice the drive as the parents, any more than if you breed a border collie and a terrier you'll get a dog that is smarter than either parent because both breeds are smart.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Let me task your minds for a moment with a little example of an out cross between two populations which share a common disease, but not to the same degree. For every disease they don't share (that are recessive, of course), the cross will result in carriers at worst and clears at best. Thus an instant improvement for all non-shared diseases.

    But what of shared diseases? Is it a simple average? No. It's actually better than a simple average.

    We are going to mix Hounds and Terriers. Both share the same disease. In both breeds, we shall assume that the disease is stable (in Hardy Weinberg equilibrium) at near the same rates from generation to generation (it's not getting better or worse).

    In Hounds: 5% are affected. 35% are carriers. 60% are clear.

    In Terriers: 40% are affected. 46% are carriers. 14% are clear.

    If Hounds breed to Hounds randomly, those rates do not change. Same with Terriers.

    If we let Terriers and Hounds breed randomly, what would our cross population look like?

    Well, we'd have 14% Affected. 57% Carrier. 29% Clear.

    From the Hound perspective, we bred to a HIGHLY diseased population of Terriers (40%!) but our rate of affected dogs only went from 5% to 14%. So even a very risky cross isn't that bad. It is tamed by the laws of dilution.

    From the Terrier perspective, we have a HUGE drop in affected dogs.

    If we look at both Terriers and Hounds at the start compared to their hybrids, we see fewer total Affecteds, fewer total Clears, and a lot more Carriers.

    This is actually ideal. We trade a few clear dogs in the first generation for a LOT fewer affected dogs. And the trade off is more carriers. But we can manage Carriers rather harmlessly to the dogs.

    The Hybrids ARE healthier. In the combined original population (Terriers + Hounds) We had 22.5% affected dogs. In the hybrids, only 14% are affected. All the rest are healthy in both cases.

    So, even when both breeds carry the same disease, the force of outcross pushes the genes toward carrier status.

    When used in a breeding program where we can also apply smart selection and do more than one generation, we gain SO much more than we risk.

    ReplyDelete
  110. Doris, I am very confused by your use of the term Ne and why you think it is an issue for Jess. Jess is not trying to create a breed; she is crossbreeding to find what she's looking for in terms of function, temperament, health and look. Effective population size (Ne) is a measure of genetic diversity within an isolated population/species/closed gene pool. I can't see how it applies here.

    Jemima

    ReplyDelete
  111. Dave, read my thread first before making your criticism. Don’t fight back just because I am a pedigree dog breeder! Where in my thread saying that I would outcross my Siberian husky? People here are very interesting…

    ReplyDelete
  112. BorderWars, yes indeed I always think that I need to learn more and more genetic knowledge. Learning should be continuous, so thank you for your advice. Pedigree dogs are homozygous because they have genes where the two alleles are identical by descent so we call homozygous by descent. Outcrossing dog can be homozygous as well because they have genes where the two alleles are identical. They are alike in kind so we call homozygous in kind. Do they have any difference? Both homozygosity do not have any difference. I am not the first one to use Punnett Square to explain such outbreeding situation. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations actually produced a FAO Fisheries Technical report to explain this as well.

    Let’s take Labradoodle as an example. Labrador Retriever’s hip score range is between 0 and 106. Its BMS is 14 and Median is 10 in the UK. Standard Poodle’s hip score range is between 0 and 74. Its BMS is 14 and Median is 11 in the UK. How about Labradoodles? Most people think that Labradoodles should have better hip score than Poodles and Labrador Retrievers due to the fact that it is a result of outcrossing. However, I think most PDE readers know it is actually not. Labradoodle’s hip score range is between 0 and 92. Its BMS is 13 and Median is 11. BordeWars, can you explain why Ladradoodles have this hip score range? To me, it is just a good example of homozygous recessive in kind.

    That’s why I did use a quotation for the words “double up” in my first thread.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Jemima, did British bulldog or Labrador Retriever have breed standards at the beginning when people created both breeds?? No, they were same as Jess. People were crossbreeding to find what they were looking for in term of function, temperament and look. At that time, people may not know too much about dog’s health, so I cannot say health as well.

    Another example is the Alaskan Klee Kai. According to its history, the breed was cross-bred with Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, Scipperke and American Eskimo Dogs. This breed was developed to create a companion sized version of the Alaskan Husky. At the beginning, the Alaskan Klee Kais were bred in private and then were released to the general public in 1988. Now, it has its own breed standard in the US.

    On Jess’s website, She mentions that she is crossing Salukis, Azawakh and Afghan hound with desert-type woking coats. Hence why I think Jess is creating a breed although she is doing this in private at present. However, like the Alaskan Klee Kai, Jess’s dogs may be released to the general public one day with breeding right. Therefore, she needs to know what happened about the history of pedigree dogs. If she does not like the current Afghan Hound, she can choose to open stud book to her breeding stock, rather than outcrossing the breed without sufficient ideas and resources.

    Jemima, here let me tell you that I am not against you even though I am a pedigree dog breeder. I even agree with many points in your ‘Ten steps to help save the pedigree dog’ and I find them very thoughtful. However, I do not agree with the points regarding outcrossing. Why don’t you suggest opening stud book?

    ReplyDelete
  114. Doris, the issue is so much more complicated than a single Punnet square. If we want to look at one disease among two populations, we need to do NINE Punnet Squares and factor each by the probability of outcome.

    For any single gene, there are 3 states it can exist in a breed: affected (doubled up), carrier (single copy) and clear (no copies). These 3 states exist in the other breed too. The meeting of these three cases in each parent in a potential mating result in 9 possible outcomes.

    Affected x Affected, 2 Affected x Carrier, 2 Affected x Clear, Carrier x Carrier, 2 Carrier x Clear, Clear x Clear.

    These are not equally likely, so we must do a square for each and then multiply the results by the likelihood that that pairing would happen randomly for genes that we can not knowingly select against or if we are doing multiple or random breedings.

    If we know exactly what each parent has, then we are not bound by looking at population statistics because we then have performed selection. And that's where breeding brains comes in. For all the common diseases that each breed shares for which we have diagnosing techniques (be they DNA, x-ray, etc.) we can select breeding stock that is healthy.

    For genes we can not select for and against, outcrossing benefits in proportion to the breed structure even though we might not be able to assign percentages. This is why outcrossing is good for all the unknowns.

    I will post an example here that you're welcome to work through. I think you'll need a spreadsheet, as I did to create it.

    ReplyDelete
  115. Let me task your minds for a moment with a little example of an out cross between two populations which share a common disease, but not to the same degree. For ever disease they don't share (that are recessive, of course), the cross will result in carriers at worst and clears at best. Thus an instant improvement for all non-shared diseases.

    But what of shared diseases? Is it a simple average? No. It's actually better than a simple average.

    We are going to mix Hounds and Terriers. Both share the same disease. In both breeds, we shall assume that the disease is stable (in Hardy Weinberg equilibrium) at near the same rates from generation to generation (it's not getting better or worse).

    In Hounds: 5% are affected. 35% are carriers. 60% are clear.

    In Terriers: 40% are affected. 46% are carriers. 14% are clear.

    If Hounds breed to Hounds randomly, those rates do not change. Same with Terriers.

    If we let Terriers and Hounds breed randomly, what would our cross population look like?

    Well, we'd have 14% Affected. 57% Carrier. 29% Clear.

    From the Hound perspective, we bred to a HIGHLY diseased population of Terriers (40%!) but our rate of affected dogs only went from 5% to 14%. So even a very risky cross isn't that bad. It is tamed by the laws of dilution.

    From the Terrier perspective, we have a HUGE drop in affected dogs.

    If we look at both Terriers and Hounds at the start compared to their hybrids, we see fewer total Affecteds, fewer total Clears, and a lot more Carriers.

    This is actually ideal. We trade a few clear dogs in the first generation for a LOT fewer affected dogs. And the trade off is more carriers. But we can manage Carriers rather harmlessly to the dogs.

    So, even when both breeds carry the same disease, the force of outcross pushes the genes toward carrier status.

    When used in a breeding program where we can also apply smart selection and do more than one generation, we gain SO much more than we risk.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Doris wrote: "I even agree with many points in your ‘Ten steps to help save the pedigree dog’ and I find them very thoughtful. However, I do not agree with the points regarding outcrossing. Why don’t you suggest opening stud book?"

    The conservation plans I suggest for each breed would endeavour to make the most of the available genetic diversity within a breed. For instance, new research shows that UK Dalmatians are genetically rather different from US Dals in some respects so, clearly, there are some opportunities there and indeed many breeders do already import new blood - although not quite in the way I am suggesting (ie as part of a coherent overall breeding strategy for the breed). It might be that this would be sufficient.

    The outcrossing task force is intended as a body of expertise that can advise breeds that need to go further because of very low genetic diversity that cannot be helped by using different sub-populations or because a particular condition has become fixed or near-fixed in a breed (eg the uric acid problem in Dals/SM in cavaliers).

    ReplyDelete
  117. Doris,

    Your hip score example is a dangerous one because you are making a lot of assumptions, but let's run with it.

    First, we know that hips are not likely to be controlled by one single gene. So it complicates the math and the language.

    Second, we know that our hip scores are a substitute for knowing what the actual DNA is. We don't know a gene, we don't know multiple genes, and our tests don't guarantee results like a DNA test for a single gene disease do.

    So we're already in muddy waters here, so this is not a good example. BUT...

    No, I'm in no way surprised that the hybrid hips appear to be an average of the parent gene pools versus an improvement over both. This is likely what would happen if you don't have the power to SELECT cleanly and aggressively for health.

    Remember, hips structure is not a disease. It's not some biological process that is broken in a single allele. It's a very complicated morphology. We find all over the place that offspring between two different body shapes often have a mix.

    DJD and HD are diseases, they have a genetic component, but they also have environmental factors AND it is probably not a lie to say that with DJD and HD we get arthritis and dysfunction as a secondary effect of poor hip structure. That's why we can't say "affected" "carrier" and "clear" like we can with other diseases.

    That's also why we have nebulous measures in our hip scoring. See how many levels we have to go through from DNA to disease? And so many of our measures are subjective, and even the objective measures they are not perfectly correlated to disease.

    Big grey area.

    So in as much as the scores you mention relate to hip health and genetics, yes, that's actually exactly what you would expect to see with a cross!

    Just like if we mix a very tall breed with a very small breed, the result would be what? Probably a mix, no? Why would hips be any different?

    If we have the power of testing and selection, we can do more interesting things, but when it's big and complicated and we are ignorant, then yes, we get mixes, averages, and blendings.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Doris Lan said:

    ‘To be honest, if you have 10 and even more breeding every year, you may at least gain my respect. You only do 1 or 2 litters a year and you have no idea what you are doing now.’

    So the number of breedings one does every year automatically increases expertise and those who produce less by definition know less? Darn it, I should have got my dogs from a puppy mill after all (which is no doubt the label you’d attach to Jess if she did in fact do the number of breedings you say you require for your respect). So-called responsible breeders who think you are doing the world a favour by producing one or two high-quality litters a year (or even fewer even less often) and not flooding the market, take note!

    Doris, you appear to be a good, conscientious breeder but on reflection, I think you will have to admit that this argument could politely be described as weak.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Doris sez:

    "Dave, read my thread first before making your criticism. Don’t fight back just because I am a pedigree dog breeder!"

    On the contrary, I am considering importing from Finland within the Finnish Kennel Club. However, unlike most of the Kennel Clubs in the world, they have rules on COI (cannot be more than 6.25%), limits on how many offspring a stud can father and how many time a stud can be used. Also, they have published guidelines how a breed can be improved to be healthier and how to get there. The Swedish Kennel Club have a similar foundation in place. So I am not a staunch supporter of pedigreed folks.

    Similarly, within the breed I am interested in, the FCI approved of the merger of the Finnish Spitz and Karelo-Finnish Laika since they are so genetically similar-- and the Finns were looking for ways to reduce epilepsy, bringing down the COI and improve their hunting prowess, which was lost through breeding for pet temperament, since the Russians still value good hunting dogs.

    A similar merger is very much likely to happen between Russo-European Laika and Karelian Bear Dog someday. Although if and when that will happen, we will see.

    Similarly, theoretically, the studbook on one of the breeds I own is still somewhat open. One would have seek permission from the Kennel Club, have their dog evaluated before their unregistered dog becomes part of the system even after forty or fifty years after the studbook was closed. Given what I learned in University about population genetics, I have no problem with this practice.

    However for someone like Jess, who can't import a dog from a war-torn country like Afghanistan or Pakistan due to circumstances, and given the natives are not big on purity-- but rather function of the dog, the Salukis and Tazis are fine choices in her journey.

    Unlike Jess, I am fortunate I do not have to make the same choice. So I can still work within the registry system. You see, instead of bashing people for their choices, I try to see why they make that choice.

    Doris sez:

    "Where in my thread saying that I would outcross my Siberian husky? People here are very interesting…"

    Never once I said you were outcrossing. I am just saying the Klee Kai is a very poor choice. It doesn't make practical sense to bring a companion breed into a mushing breed. It is far much more rational to breed to a dog of similar build. For the Siberian Husky, those related strains are: the East Siberian, West Siberian and the Yakut. When you outcross to related dogs of the same working function, you lose less, but win big.

    Comparing Klee Kai to Jess's program would be like breeding Afghan Hounds to Italian Greyhounds. She is not doing that. She is outcrossing the Afghan to a breed of similar build, similar build and of similar function, the Saluki. Who in their right mind would try to restore the old-style Afghan by crossing out to an Italian? If you want to debate about purpose-bred experiments, at least apply commonsense, and pick good examples.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Correction, since I goofed in the first paragraph:

    I am not a staunch supporter of working folks and crossbreeders.

    ReplyDelete
  121. The notion of an outbreeding depression with crosses between salukis and Afghan hounds might be the silliest thing I've ever heard of. Afghanistan has hot deserts, and Iran has rather cold mountainous regions.

    Historically, one could find dogs with a variety of coats throughout the range of the landrace.

    Jess found a record of an "Afghan hound coated" dog from Iran: http://desertwindhounds.blogspot.com/2010/12/persian-barukhzy-greyhound.html

    And just recently she posted a photo of some Afghan hounds in which the claim was the long coat was protection from the desert climate:

    http://desertwindhounds.blogspot.com/2011/06/true-reason-for-peculiar-coat-of-afghan.html

    But this is really silly.

    An outbreeding depression in dogs would be if you did something like breed a hairless crested dog to golden retriever. The hairless trait is dominant, so you'd produce hairless retrievers that would have no protection from cold water or brambles. They would also be smaller than normal, which means they couldn't retain heat in the water as well as a larger dog. They also would likely have all the oily retriever traits, which would make them rather greasy to the touch-- not good pets at all. The possible problems with dentition from the crested side would also hurt the dog's ability to retrieve.

    Your goat example is valid as is what happens when you cross a white-tailed deer and mule deer. Mule deer stot. White-tails bound. In the hybrid, the behavior is mixed up, such that the deer just leaps around, making it very easy for a predator or a hunter to kill. That's an outbreeding depression.

    Outbreeding depressions are situational. If you cross two related sighthounds-- particularly two that developed from The same landrace, you don't produce things that are as poorly fit as the examples I just gave. All that the cross does is improve upon the Afghan hound gait and coat for working purposes. That's not an outbreeding depression.

    And seeing as Jess actually lives in a desert, I think she'd know what works in that climate better than any European. Where are your deserts anyway?

    ReplyDelete
  122. Doris,

    I see you live in Australia and keep Siberian huskies for the show ring.

    Here's something you might try: Go to Iditarod in Alaska and give those people a lecture on why they must keep their racing dogs pure.

    See what they say.

    Purebred Sib huskies can't race with the purpose-bred mongrels, which are usually about 15-20 pounds lighter.

    That's a good example of cross-breeding for function-- which is EXACTLY what Jess is doing.

    ReplyDelete
  123. Doris-

    You can sit on your high horse and look down at me if you like. Unfortunately, your horse has only three legs. Be careful lest you fall.

    Your example of Von Villebrands might hold water if it was at all common in Afghans or Salukis; it isn't. Like I said, a case in the literature does not mean that the disease is common. The simple recessives that are at all common in Afghans are Afghan myelopathy and juvenile cataracts, both of which are extremely rare and have no DNA tests. Maybe you should actually listen to and learn from the breeders who keep these dogs, and they will tell you that cancer and heart disease are the big problems for Salukis, with thyroid added in for the Afghan. Your example simply exposes your ignorance. Did you even bother to go look at the UK KC health surveys on Afghans and Salukis that I mentioned?

    I ask you again: If doubling up on a very, very obscure disease were such a gigantic risk, why would you breed purebred dogs at all? Your chance of producing affected dogs would be just as high, wouldn't it?

    Thank you so much for the lecture on sighthound physiology! I'll be sure to tell my friends that run Salukis and Tazis in the arroyos of New Mexico that their dogs really can't go up and down hills. Let me step outside for a moment and tell my own dogs that they're defying Doris' edicts. "Get off those bluffs, Salukis, you can't run up hills! Flat ground only!" I'll let you in on a not so secret: Salukis are not just bred for desert running. There are quite a few mountains in Iran, and Kazakhstan. Afghans are not just bred for mountains. There are plains in Afghanistan, and India. What do you imagine a Saluki does if it encounters a hill while running? Stop? The concept of Salukis and Afghans being vastly different is a myth; their phenotype is a result of prevalent genes in the area. I've seen COO Salukis that could easily pass for Afghans if you slapped a little hair on them, and Afghans that could pass for Salukis if you gave them a shave. Phenotype in the early imports into the West was all over the place. Afghan and Saluki appearance in the West is the result of breeding for a specifically different appearance (check out Sarona Bin Kelb and Saki of Paghman if you don't believe me.) The concept of desert Afghans and mountain Afghans is also a myth, as you would have seen had you bothered to look at my links.

    I find it quite hilarious to be lectured on function by someone that doesn't even own my breeds, and has never seen my dogs run over the local ground. Hubris. Breeding for function means exactly that: you test the dog. You don't breed it based on it's appearance. Here's an informative link for you, which I'm sure you won't read:

    http://saluqi.home.netcom.com/belkin.htm

    ReplyDelete
  124. So, I'm breeding Azawakh, Salukis and Afghans all together, am I? No, I'm not. Why don't you actually read what I write instead of making shit up to suit your own perceptions? Why would I lie about what I'm doing, and why would I need to? I've already been attacked online and in print, simply for the sin of crossing breeds. I'm already damned.

    Here's the truth, Doris: I'm not creating a new breed. It doesn't matter how many or how few litters I breed because I don't need a self-sustaining CLOSED population and have NO intention of creating one. I don't need to inbreed to set type. I don't particularly care about making a bunch of cookie cutter dogs. I breed first and second crosses, and I do know what I'm doing, because I'm getting exactly what I wanted out of my breedings. And I do sell my dogs to the public, on spay/neuter contracts. If you'd bothered to read my posts or my blog, you'd actually know that.

    What you really want, Doris, is some kind of excuse that crossbreeding, specifically my cross-breeding, is wrong. There are literally thousands of purpose-bred, functional longdogs and lurchers just in the UK that prove you wrong. Many of these dogs have mixed breed pedigrees that go back decades. None of them are 'pure-bred' and they aren't bred in a closed system. In fact, neither Afghans, nor Salukis in their countries of origin have closed registries, and they've managed to maintain both type and function. I have discussed and researched the Saluki/Afghan/Tazi/Taigan landrace with the people who know, the people who own and know the dogs and have seen them in their countries of origin, people like John Burchard, Sir Terence Clark, and Steve Bodio, people who agree with me about the idiocy of the breed boxes these dogs are put into in the West, people who have informed opinions that I respect.

    IOW, Doris, people who are not know-nothings. People who aren't you, passing judgement on and making pronouncements about breeds and breeders you quite literally know nothing about.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Jess, I think Doris' comments about your dogs are quite telling. Show breeders, fixated on form, have become so disconnected from the interrelationship between and function they can no longer understand how one follows the other.

    Those trippy-uppy leathers? They channel scent. Skin rubbing on the ground? That allows a dog to run through bramble. Poppycock. And no, I don't need to spend two decades breeding closed breed dogs to come to that conclusion. Some things are plain evident.

    I'm increasingly of the opinion that conformation shows are dangerous. No conformation shows would mean no closed breeding, a practice we really need to stop before we do much more damage. We need a radically different kind of dog show. Obedience, tracking, agility, flyball. Save the conformation shows for tomatoes.

    ReplyDelete
  126. I've been thinking more about this today.

    Perhaps it's not the conformation shows that are the problem, but their rules. I've not seen Jess' dogs in action, but they look and sound fascinating. Why is there not a place in shows for these type of dogs?

    Perhaps then, the problem is this obsession with taxonomy, and the wretched 'standards' by which closed-breed dogs are judged.

    So, ditch the endless petty divisions into hundreds of breeds, and open dog shows to all dogs. If we were more imaginative about the standards we judge dogs, we could free ourselves of an incentive to breed in exaggerations.

    Let's celebrate all dogs, not just from closed registries.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Oh, and one more thing. More than once I've read closed-breed dog fanciers dismiss dogs as mutts. I remain astounded that anyone could dismiss a healthy dog in this way. It betrays a focus on 'purity' worthy of white supremacists.

    A closed-breed dog is only 'pure' insofar it comes purely from a closed-breed register. Craftily eliding this meaning to also encompass some kind of superiority is not only attributing a value judgement as an actuality, it's also incorrect.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Whoa retromodernist... Just because a dog is a mutt doesn't guarantee their health. Crosses and mixed breeds of course suffer from all kinds of diseases and other problems too. It's just that on average they suffer from them less. But as I've said elsehwere, there are some hardy little terrier breeds that are, on average, healthier and longer-living than the average mix.

    I also believe that there IS something special about a carefully bred dog that has been honed for its looks at abilities over generations.

    But superior? Like you, not a word I would use.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Borderwars, I did not expect you would use Wilhelem Ostwald’s Law of Dilution to prove that crossbreeding can also cause homozygous in kind in the whole population. Let me remind you, when I took an example to Jess’s breeding, I did use “your Saluki” and “your Afghan hound” I did not expect you would take my Punnett Square example that far away from an individual breeding to population genetic and then to law of dilution. But I am very interested in discussing all these with you. Let’s discuss your theoretical assumption in Hound x Terrier crossbreeding by using Law of Dilution. Firstly, you really need to know that the clear dogs for any genetic disease are always the most valuable in each breed and any animal breeding. To be responsible breeders, we should remove any carrier or affected dogs for some genetic diseases from the population because DNA testing is still not able to provide tests for all inherited diseases at the moment. For example, in Australia, there is only one DNA test (xPRA) is being developed for the Siberian husky to identify carriers for PRA. Therefore, how could the Siberian husky breeders identify which dogs are carriers or clear for inherited cataracts without DNA testing??? No, we could not if the dogs are healthy in phenotype. So, what we can do is simply to remove any suspect carriers from the population and only keep the clear animals in the breed. Breeding is about how we control risk but not about trading risk!!
    Secondly, how can you assume that the genetic disease is stable from generation to generation? OMG!! It’s such a crazy assumption! Perhaps you may make such assumption to natural breeding but definitely not for selective breeding. Indeed, there are lots of variables in breeding and it is impossible for you to assume this at all. It’s too silly.
    Thirdly, regarding hip, hip dysplasia is a classic example of a polygenically controlled hereditary disease. It is a disease with many factors involved in the cause. The most important are genetic and environmental factors. In the German Shepherd dogs, a detailed genetic analysis was carried out and based on that, the disease in that breed is only described as being moderately heritable. Even though it is only moderately heritable, it is still a hereditary disease. Hip test is a great way to identify hip dysplasia and decide whether the dogs should be included in the breeding program. The larger the number of animals does the hip test, the less room for error. There is no BIG GREY AREA. Those unethical breeders will use your BIG GREY AREA to refuse doing hip score which will become a disaster to the dog world. By the way, let me remind you that I did not mention Labradoodle’s hip score as ‘affected’, ‘normal’ or ‘carrier’. What I mentioned are its hip score range, its BMS and its Median.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Sarah, in all honesty, I don’t think Jess could breed 10 litters and sell them all as it is a rare breed. Small population size always comes with small effective population size (Ne). If you understand this concept, you should realize what I meant “if you have 10 and even more breeding every year, you may at least gain my respect”. I will never suggest puppy farm/mill to this concept because they always use only one or two males and breed them to all of their bitches. They also don’t care about dog’s welfare, dog’s health and breeding plan. They are just breeding their dogs for money!! Fairly speaking, I could not see Jess doing that for money!! She just has no idea for what she is doing!!! Regards Doris

    ReplyDelete
  131. Dave, again read what I wrote carefully. Have I ever compared with Alaskan Klee Kais’ function, form or size??? I just used Alaskan Klee Kai as a good example to explain that outcrossing can also bring out genetic disease!! And as far as the warzone, I am not sure if there is any dogs in the USA which have the blood from Pascha x Candy from Europe. If not, Jess still has another choice rather than choosing crossbreeding, which is to import from Europe. There are always choices, don’t give yourselves a ton of excuses and think that outcrossing is your only option.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Retrieverman, I think Jess should be able to tell you that Saluki does have 2 different types: smooth-coat and feathered. Each tribe have different strains - light blond and fawns saluki from Golden desert, Black saluki from Fetile Crescent Deserts and the one strain in the northern part of Syria, Iraq and Iran, called northern strain, were raised to hunt in the cold, rough mountain terrains. Those bred in the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt called southern strain. I don’t think I need to talk about the Afghan hound because Jess has already mentioned about Ghazni (High Mountain) and Bell Murray (Lowland). Most of the Afghan hounds in the USA were developed from the Ghazni strain.
    If breeding the Afghan hound (with Ghazni strain) to the Saluki (with the northern strain), I believe it’s very low possibility for outbreeding depression to occur because they live with similar environmental condition. If breeding the Afghan hound (with Bell Murray) to Saluki (with southern strain), I believe it’s also very low possibility for outbreeding depression to occur. How about breeding Afghan hound (with Ghazni strain) to the Saluki (with southern strain)?? Please remember that the majority of Afghan hounds in the USA are developed by mountain strain. I believe that the Afghan hounds with mountain strain are true native dogs and should be never crossbred with any other breed. However, on the other hand, I believe that Afghan hound with lowland strain may have been influence by Salukis in the past.
    Let me give you another example of outbreeding depression - that is Asiatic Lion X African Lion, the breeding program of Asiatic and African lion was started in late 1970s in Indian zoos. At that time, like you, nobody would expect that crossbreeding to those two subspecies would cause outbreeding depression. Problems were found 20 years later. At the beginning of their breeding program, they in fact hoped that introducing hybrids to the wild would benefit the Asiatic Lions. The zookeepers did not care about the similar diseases in both species and crossbred both species. As a result, both outbreeding depression and inbreeding depression occurred in those hybrid lions. Hybridization with both lions has apparently weakened the Asiatic lion’s gene pool and as a result, the hybrid lions are affected by weakened immune system. Recombination among the chromosomes from Asiatic Lions and Africa Lions can disrupt existing co-adapted gene complexes resulting in fitness depression and that’s the reason why outbreeding depression occurred in hybrid lions.
    The hybrid lions sickened and died because of poor immune system. The hybridization program ended in early 2000 and all male lions were desexed to stop further hybridization. Under the Indian law, the lions cannot be put down even if they are extremely sick. So, think, who is suffering the pain?? Not us but the poor hybrid lions!! Hence you can see that outbreeding depression is not just caused by only hairless or non-hairless!! Don’t be silly.

    ReplyDelete
  133. Regarding Siberian husky, do you FULLY understand Siberian husky’s history and original purpose? I don’t think so and LET ME GIVE YOU A LECTURE. Yes, you are right that Leonhard Seppala made Siberian husky become a famous racing dog in the past but it does not mean that Siberian husky is a racing dog for Chukchi people in East Siberian. Siberian husky is an enduring sled dog for Chukchi people. In my breed notes, I did mention - “The difference between the Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky. The Alaskan Husky trust the musher that the musher does not drive them into danger. Chukchi people trust Siberian Husky that the Siberian husky alerts them if there is any danger in the Arctic condition.” Siberian husky has an analytical skill to bring their mushers back home in different situations and environment.
    Comparing the Alaskan husky with the Siberian husky, Siberian husky has better feet size than Alaskan husky. Therefore, the Alaskan husky mushers always put booties on their dogs to protect their paws. Do you think Chukchi people will put the booties on the Siberian Huskies? In summer, the Siberian husky in East Siberian always leave the Chukchi people and go hunting because Chukchi people need to save their food for winter. I doubt that the Alaskan husky can go hunting as well.
    Siberian husky is bred for moderate body with maximized endurance and LOW ENEREGY CONSUMPTION. Alaskan husky is bred for long RACING and they requires double amount of food than Siberian husky. So, let me tell you that the Chukchi people prefer Siberian husky rather than Alaskan husky in East Siberian based on the concept of Chukchi people - “Less is More”. Siberian husky eats less and provides maximized endurance for the work in East Siberian. If you have a team of Siberian husky with LIMITED FOOD, I am sure that you can go back home safely under East Siberian’s weather. But if you have a team of Alaskan Husky in East Siberian WITH LIMITED FOOD, I will make sure to have a rescue team stand by for you. Remember food is a very valuable in East Siberian and it’s totally different from Iditarod in Alaskan.
    If I look at speed performance in East Siberian, I will definitely choose snowmobile rather than Alaskan husky. If I look at most reliable sled dog with low energy consumption in East Siberian, I will definitely choose Siberian husky rather than Alaskan Husky. So do you still think “That’s a good example of crossbreeding for function”? Don’t be silly.
    Also, let me quote Sir Terence Clark speech in Saluki World congress in 2008 “I certainly saw some Greyhounds with the wealthier shaikhs in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf and some of them were crossed with Salukis but in my experience the crossbred offspring were never satisfactory as hunting hounds in the local conditions being neither as fast as the Greyhound nor having the stamina of the Saluqi.” Food for thought!

    ReplyDelete
  134. Jess, have I read Dr Dan Belkin “The Function Saluki” before? Of course I did. To me, he was an example of a great breeder to understand function and I always remember what he said: “Breeding to a standard will not preserve function. All it can preserve is appearance.” That’s why I always study and research from wildlife animal’s form and function to understand better function for Siberian Husky. Also, without reading his article, I would not be able to write the breed notes for my breed in 2009.
    Most Salukis do have slightly arch loin which benefit them to run uphill and agility. Whereas flat loin does not give the flexibility to do double suspension gallop and agility in desert and it only benefits running uphill. To me, form and function should work together in each breed. Why not just find a native Afghan hound or Saluki and then open the stud book?? It’s a more reasonable thought!!! If you think quite hilarious to be lectured on function by someone that doesn’t even own your breed, I think Jemima should be very busy because she must have GSD, Cavalier, British Bulldog, etc at home.
    Let me tell you, obscure disease is not a major disease in our breed. We don’t need to use crossbreeding to rescue the breed. I do all the eye tests prior to breeding and avoid breeding any suspect “carriers”, so it will not cause any mutation. But I still know how to decrease mutation rate in my breeding. Let me tell you why I became a breeder so that I can continue to answer your question. My first Siberian husky from rescue has genetic disease and she actually cost me a fortune to save her life when she was around 11 months old. I decided to be a breeder because of her. I hope I can breed healthy Siberian Husky in Australia. Of course I did not breed her and decided to import dogs from the USA, Canada, and Europe to expand the gene pool in Australia. You may think I am silly but I think I should not give up the breed because I love this breed.
    Cancer is not only a hereditary disease, but many experts have also said that diet could be one of the contributing reasons for Cancer. Even though you do outcrossing, those dogs can still get cancer! I think I did list the Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy heart disease in both breed.

    ReplyDelete
  135. I did read your post about puppy contract and that’s why I do not think you are a money hunter and I believe that you are an ethical breeder.
    However, you are crossing two NATIVE BREEDS!!! I think you would say that there is similarity and obvious common origins in both breeds but they are split into isolated area. We should try very hard to protect the Native breeds, same as what the zoologists do to protect wildlife animals. Why the zoologists don’t do any outbreeding for African Lions again?? You should consider asking Dr John Burchard, Sir Terence Clark, and Steve Bodio whether they would suggest outbreeding African Lion or African Wild Dog or Cheetah? Remember African Lion is endangered species while there are only around 3000 – 5500 left African Wild dog in 14 countries and Cheetah is nearly-zero genetic variability. I am sure their situations are worse than Afghan hound and Saluki. Native breed/animal is part of local, regional, history and national cultural such as African lion is a symbol of Africa. If King Khalid were still alive, you should ask his or Bedouins’ opinion about crossing two breeds rather than asking Dr John Burchard, Sir Terence Clark, and Steve Bodio.
    For example, Australian Dingo is a Native breed and is currently endangered and threatened with extinction. One of reasons is hybridization (outbreeding) with domestic dogs. Hybridisation with domestic dogs has rapidly diluted Dingo’s gene pool. Pure Dingo will most likely be threatened with extinction in less than 50 years. Do you think that crossbreeding is the only solution on the table?? Have you researched the relationship between mtDNA and Y chromosome in the breed before considering crossbreeding? Have you tried to calculate inbreeding trend in both breeds before considering crossbreeding? We should never consider doing outbreeding/outcrossing to enhance FUNCTION. Outcrossing/outbreeding should be regarded as a genetic rescue tool, for example, if we consider preserving, enhancing and adding traits favorable to increased production, fertility, survivorship or adaptability to particular environmental condition. It should only be used when there is no other option on the table.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Retromodernist, in my reply to Jess, did I give any examples in regards to the form and function of some wildlife animals? Yes I did such as Damara Zebra and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. I think a breeder should be able to understand wildlife animals’ structure and movement. In Siberian husky breed standard, it does not mention about the length of rib cage. But in my Siberian husky breed notes, I particularly mentioned the length of rib cage that can benefit lung capability. I used Cheetah as an example to explain why Siberian husky should not have over rear angulations and also used Polar Bear to explain Siberian husky’s body temperature. I also used wolff’s law to explain that Siberian husky should not have oversized bone.
    And WHAT? “No conformation shows would mean no closed breeding…” What a joke! Let me ask you a question: Which breed has better genetic diversity?


    Breed X
    Year Average Annual COI
    1996 24.13%
    1997 24.32%
    1998 24.50%
    1999 24.70%
    2000 24.88%
    2001 25.06%
    (Allelic frequency (q) is 0.004)

    Breed Y
    Year Average Annual COI
    1996 2.71%
    1997 3.02%
    1998 5.25%
    1999 5.61%
    2000 6.78%
    2001 7.09%
    (Allelic frequency (q) is 0.004)

    I am sure most people will choose Breed Y including you but in fact Breed X has much higher Ne (mean) than Breed Y. Breed X’s Ne (mean) is 203 whereas Breed Y’s Ne (mean) is 46. Higher Ne (mean) means less probability of losing alleles and means the breed has better genetic diversity. Therefore, inbreeding does not mean a low genetic diversity. It really depends on different circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
  137. Jemima, I understand what you mean regarding Dals and Cavalier. As above mentioned, outcrossing/outbreeding should be regarded as a genetic rescue tool, for example, if we consider preserving, enhancing and adding traits favorable to increased production, fertility, survivorship or adaptability to particular environmental condition. In the “Dalmatian backcross project”, an outcross breeding of Pointer sire to Dalmatian dam is a good example for outcrossing based on the reason for survivorship. On the other hand, we should understand that the zoologists regard outbreeding as a genetic rescue tool for endangered animals because they are worried about outbreeding depression. At present, do we have any solution on the table other than outcrossing? I think we still have some solutions for the problem of pedigree dog world.
    Regards, Doris

    ReplyDelete
  138. Most of these breeds are in need of genetic rescue or will be very soon. So we should be doing a lot more outcrossing ASAP. These closed registries should be converted to appendix registries to encourage breeding truly healthy gene pools.

    But beside that, Doris, in Alaska, the huskies that are actually used are all what should be called "performance-bred mongrels." They have a name for people who use pure Sib huskies in races up there-- they call them losers. The outcrosses to border collies, foxhounds, pointers and setters, and other endurance breeds have proven much better sled dogs than the purebred version. Those are objective facts.

    Outcrossing is a tool for genetic rescue, but it's also a tool to increase function. At one time, there was no such thing as a purebred retriever. Any dog that retrieved naturally was a retriever, and it was bred to other dogs that retrieved naturally. Within these breeds, they have St. John's water dog (a type of Newfoundland) at their base, but they likely have collies, water spaniels, setters, poodles, terriers, and even greyhounds, bullmastiffs, and bull terriers crossed in at some point. People were always crossbreeding for function. They were like the gentlemen's lurchers.

    The idea of a closed registry breed called a retriever is relatively recent, and even those breeds have historically been crossbred until relatively recently. The Labrador was still outcrossed to St. John's water dogs and flat-coated retrievers as late as the 1940's. Golden retrievers have a well-known outcross to a yelow Labrador, and many of the foundational dogs in the KC pedigrees had both flat-coat and curly-coated retrievers in their ancestry.

    Dog breeds are not separate species. They are contrived genetic bottlenecks. They are not based upon any good science, and the only good science that says keep them closed population are those instances where a breed club misrepresents the science-- not unlike the way creationists do.

    The problem is that too many people think that breeding dogs is only an art. It is an art. But there is a science to it, and sometimes the science flies in the face of what has been traditionally considered a good practice.

    And that's what it's saying about the closed registry system.

    It was an idea that was created a very long time ago-- in ignorance of population genetics. Now that we know better, it is simply stupid to hold onto something because of tradition.

    Tradition can be wrong.

    And if it is wrong, there is no moral reason to hold onto it.

    ReplyDelete
  139. I doubt the Chukchis want to use the Siberian Huskies people purchase as pets or for conformation. Their Yakut Laikas are very much different from the Siberian Huskies found in breed clubs. I am serious.

    This annoys me to some extent: breeders who claim their dogs are functional, when the ancestral population is very much different from the breeds touted around the ring. It's not really function that annoys me, but rather claiming fame to something that is not really tested.

    How do you test -50C tolerance in Australia anyway? Send them to Antarctica? Right, forgot... it"s right in your backyard-- just need to cross the strait! (sarcasm)

    Maybe I should start posting pictures of "Chukchi dogs" on my blog. The ones found in the Yukon and Alberta in the early 1900s are very much different from the modern Siberian Huskies. They looked more like Laikas than Huskies. However that would be unfair... and snide. (sarcasm)

    However with all due seriousness, I suggest to read up on landraces. I don't care if you are breed for function, for conformation or for pets; but the concept of landrace should be grasped by breeders:

    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/CBH%20chapter%201.pdf

    http://www.gompalhasaapso.com/Resources/Articles/Landraces.htm

    http://www.givskov.it/Diverse/AnneGrete/Breeding/hellmuth.htm

    (Thanks Andy Ward for providing these links)

    ReplyDelete
  140. Doris Lan,

    What are you doing? I got an A+ in AP Chemistry, a perfect 5 on the Advanced Placement exam, a perfect 800 on the SATII test, and was a national finalist for the Chemistry Olympiad.... so I'm pretty sure I was not confusing the law governing acid, base, or salt solutions in equilibrium.

    I don't know whether to congratulate you on attempting to educate yourself using Google or shake my head at your failure to arrive at relevant information.

    Are you just being contentious?

    Statements like this don't make any sense:

    "To be responsible breeders, we should remove any carrier or affected dogs for some genetic diseases from the population because DNA testing is still not able to provide tests for all inherited diseases at the moment."

    Ahem, how does one remove a carrier dog if there's no test?

    And should we really remove all affected dogs? I think a smarter strategy is to breed AWAY from disease, not to get all cull happy and remove any affected or carrier dog.

    Instant results are almost always inferior to breeding patiently and breeding smart. If we followed your advice, we'd have breeds that would simply not exist in one generation. Want to get rid of kidney disease in Dals by getting rid of all carriers and affecteds? HAHAHA, no more Dalmatians.

    Diseases should be managed, not eradicated by impatient puritans bent on making near clone dogs.

    "So, what we can do is simply to remove any suspect carriers from the population and only keep the clear animals in the breed."

    So what's your test then? Do you strap the dogs to a weight and drown them, and if they float they're clear? Or perhaps you torture the dogs until they confess that they are carriers!

    I don't have much hope for Australian Siberian Huskies given that you're almost guaranteed to have a very small gene pool coming only from far away imports, you have no ability to test these animals in the manner which they were created, and you're hell bent on throwing away breeding dogs based upon your HUNCH that they might be carriers for one disease.

    ReplyDelete
  141. Doris,


    *Secondly* your complete lack of understanding of population genetics and your inability to educate yourself correctly on the subject makes this conversation near impossible. You reject my condition of Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium and then make a fool of yourself thinking that this is some boon for your position.

    It's not.

    Assuming H-W equilibrium is the way population geneticists say "all other things being equal." It's a fundamental assumption in an example like this so that we are attributing the right effects with the right causes. I.e. We are looking at the benefits of outcrossing and how that changes the distribution of disease.

    If we don't have H-W.E then we have to define in more clear numbers what the initial population looks like so that we can see how it would change on its own without an outcross. In this example, that simply muddies the water for no benefit. And given you inability to grasp more simple concepts or to address the numbers I've already posted, why should we do this? I don't think you're ready for such a discussion.

    Nor if we did make our example more complicated would your position be any stronger. In fact, it'd be worse! If the distribution of a disease allele is such that it's becoming more concentrated, a smart outcross is even more effective than if it's stable, as we've turned the car around 180 instead of just 90 degrees.

    Think of it this way, if we have a jet pack and we're standing on the ground, we get to a higher point. If we are falling down a canyon, our jetpack changes our direction from falling to rising.

    H-W.E is assuming that we are on level ground and not falling. If we're falling, it's even better. So yeah, you're welcome to NOT assume H-W.E, but your position that it's "OMG!!! It's such a crazy assumption!!" really invalidates anything you're trying to say.

    As for GSD hips, now you're just being silly. It's not hip testing that will save the GSD. It's rewriting the standard and outcrossing to breeds that have better hips. The breed did not go so far south (that means getting worse) so fast because of some evil genes that snuck up on good meaning breeders. The breed tanked because the standard called for a look that was only achievable by having horrible structure.

    Conforming to the roached back standard is what has tanked the GSD hips. There has been little to no culling for hip function and a lot of culling for weak rear ends, poor leg structure, and poor spinal structure to create what some people consider a pretty picture.

    Trying to test your way out of this and not breeding for better structure is simply inane. It's basically battling the symptom instead of the disease. Trying to find some magical GSD that doesn't have crappy hips despite having kangaroo legs and a decrepit spine.

    I'm all for hip testing, but you could fix the GSD without it. And using a prelim hip score to justify keeping the horrible fad of roach backs is not ethical, it's insanity.

    As for the grey area, there is one and it's important to navigate it smartly. You are so poorly informed about genetics, and at the same time so confident that black and white instant results are the way to go, you will do more harm to your breed than good.

    Not that anything of value will be lost. I can't imagine there are many mushers in Australia in need of show bred dogs.

    ReplyDelete
  142. Doris,

    To be honest with you, it is really none of your business what a person chooses to do with his or her breeding program.

    That's the problem with this purity for purity's sake argument. It is about controlling what others do.

    The most ironic statements against PDE and anyone who crossbreeds are those that attack both for "taking away freedom." The truth is the closed registry system has taken away important freedoms from breeders, freedoms that could ultimately be used for good.

    It's also created this bizarre thinking about how dog breeds are so unique that if you cross once, you lose the dog forever. That's a theological statement. It is not based upon any empirical reality.

    Closed registries are toilet ideas from the Victorian Era. Not only are they stupid, they are pretty evil, too.

    ReplyDelete
  143. Oh dear Doris. Your Breed X and Breed Y example... you really got it wrong on that. What book or study did you pull that out of?

    You're asking about "genetic diversity" but then you give an example that doesn't include data about genetic diversity. The example you show is about an assumed allele that is VERY rare (0.004!) and then you're using a measure of the probability that such an allele will become fixed in the population under either scenario.

    That's not talking about genetic diversity. To discuss genetic diversity we should look at the effective number of genomes in 1996 vs. 2011 in both of those breeds.

    As it is, your [incomplete] example is just asking "if you have a very rare allele, will it it become more popular if we inbreed on it a lot?"

    This is simply the principle of genetic drift. Genetic drift drives a population towards genetic uniformity over time. Most often very popular alleles become fixed and very rare alleles get removed.

    If we wanted to actually look at genetic DIVERSITY and not the frequency of a single very rare allele, your example would be useless as we have no data to work. If we assume that both breeds start with the same genetic diversity, the second breed will have retained much more of it over those years than the first breed which has 25% COIs.

    How could it be any other way? High COIs mean that we are doubling up on genes, and that means we are throwing away the alleles that don't get doubled up to make room. Inbreeding is a one way street, you can't add diversity with it.

    ReplyDelete
  144. Doris,

    ‘Small population size always comes with small effective population size (Ne).’

    First, it is perfectly possible for a large population also to have a small effective population. Please see the peer-reviewed study by Carboli et al Jemima linked to in her post on Mate Select. You may also be interested in the following (thank you Christopher for the link!):

    http://www.bcdb.info/article1/WSN1c.htm

    Second, it is entirely possible for a smaller population to have a larger effective population size than that of a larger population. The smaller population may have more founders and less inbreeding.

    ‘If you understand this concept, you should realize what I meant “if you have 10 and even more breeding every year, you may at least gain my respect”.’

    Frankly, no – I don’t realize what you mean at all, even though I do have some grasp of effective population size. Your argument seems to go as follows:

    small population = small effective population size
    therefore
    breeding 10 or more litters a year = respect from Doris

    You have made so many leaps in logic in such a short space that I admit utter defeat in trying to understand.

    I admire your willingness to embrace science and honestly wish more breeders would do the same. However, your justification for saying that Jess does not know what she is doing consists of arguments that apply equally to ‘purebred’ dog breeders or arguments that are logically impossible to follow.

    Regards,

    Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  145. Doris Lan said...

    "For example, in Australia, there is only one DNA test (xPRA) is being developed for the Siberian husky to identify carriers for PRA. Therefore, how could the Siberian husky breeders identify which dogs are carriers or clear for inherited cataracts without DNA testing??? No, we could not if the dogs are healthy in phenotype. So, what we can do is simply to remove any suspect carriers from the population and only keep the clear animals in the breed."

    Or you could do test breedings. You know, like 'responsible' breeders used to do before the advent of DNA testing. That is how juvenile cataracts were reduced to next to nothing in Afghans. There's still no DNA test for that, btw. According to your logic, we shouldn't even be breeding purebred Afghans, on the off chance that we just *might* pair up two that carry the recessive, since there is no test.

    "Breeding is about how we control risk but not about trading risk!!"

    All breeding is risky. There is risk to the bitch, risk to the pups, and risk of problems that are genetic but not hereditary. I lost a puppy in one of my backcross litters to a developmental screw up. There is no way to eliminate such risks entirely, if you want that you should probably stick to breeding something like tapeworms. Or they have virtual animal breeding now, that may be a safe choice for you.

    "And as far as the warzone, I am not sure if there is any dogs in the USA which have the blood from Pascha x Candy from Europe."

    I see you have been using the Googles.

    That is a dead bloodline. Those dogs do not figure in any modern pedigrees at all as far as I am aware. There was not enough interest in them. Nobody wanted an 'impure' dog with a 'poor coat.' The German studbook is now closed to native dogs, as well. Even if Pascha's offspring had carried on, here's a little lesson on selective breeding for you: if you want to maintain the native type and coat you cannot breed just one dog in. You have to either breed many dogs of the same type in or you have to inbreed on the original dog. The racing Afghans maintain a workable coat both due to utilizing the really naked dogs instead of eliminating them, and because some of those lines are very closely bred. Same with the Russian Aboriginals.

    ReplyDelete
  146. Doris Lan said...

    "If not, Jess still has another choice rather than choosing crossbreeding, which is to import from Europe. There are always choices, don’t give yourselves a ton of excuses and think that outcrossing is your only option."

    Here's something that you don't seem to able to wrap your head around: I don't care about registering my crosses. Don't care, not interested, don't lose any sleep over it. Not important. Getting them registered was never in the game plan. You really want to make your head explode? I'm perfectly happy to register and breed purebred Salukis and Azawakh, and breed but not register my crosses. Surprisingly, there is a place for both kinds of dogs, the registered purebred and the not purebred, in the world. You need to broaden your horizons a little and not assume that every one else thinks like you do.

    If I had the slightest interest in having my crosses registered I would have instead imported European racing Afghans. But there again you run into the problem of maintaining the sparse coat. You will lose the sparse coat after two generations of breeding into the heavily coated dogs. Either I must inbreed on the original import, or continually import new dogs (which would run into problems, again, due to the relative scarcity of racing lines.) Why would I do that if I have no interest in registering the dogs? I can just beed a Saluki in to reduce coat, with the added effect of longer more flexible loin and the attendant speed. The fact that I made such a choice is what bothers you. You can't fathom it. Grow up.

    "Retrieverman, I think Jess should be able to tell you that Saluki does have 2 different types: smooth-coat and feathered."

    Both types occur over most of the Saluki's geographical range, in the same litters. They are not different conformational types, but different coat types. Actually, in the West, we have mostly mutt Salukis. Many of the early dogs came from all over the place and never would have been bred together in their countries of origin. The Saluki has never been a popular breed and there simply were not enough dogs in the West to divide them into 'purebred' geographical strains. Few people maintain pure strains even now. There are not enough dogs of those bloodlines to do so without continual importation, and that is expensive, and can be if (getting a dog out of Iran right now is very complicated.) Of course, you could always just heavily inbreed.

    ReplyDelete
  147. Doris Lan said...

    "I don’t think I need to talk about the Afghan hound because Jess has already mentioned about Ghazni (High Mountain) and Bell Murray (Lowland). Most of the Afghan hounds in the USA were developed from the Ghazni strain."

    Actually, what I said was: "The concept of desert Afghans and mountain Afghans is also a myth, as you would have seen had you bothered to look at my links." Or actually read my comments. I could give you a lesson in how the Ghazni dogs ranged from very leggy, naked dogs to very close-coupled hairy dogs, all of them coming from around Kabul. I could show you pictures of Begum and Pushum, who belonged to Maj. Bell Murray, came from around Quetta like all his Afghans, and were definitely NOT desert type. I could tell you about how the very hairy Zardin's kennel mates also belonging to Capt. Barff were not nearly as hairy. I could tell you about Afghan Bob, who looked something like a skinny Golden Retriever. I could link you to pictures of a 'mountain type' bitch and a 'desert type' dog who are alive today and both came from the mountains around Quetta, Pakistan. Or Saki of Paghman, who was quite bald and came from a very, very mountainous area. She could pass for an Asian Tazi, easy. And I could tell you about Mustapha, an early Afghan hound that came from Tehran, Iran. I have dozens of pictures that prove my point there is no distinctive segregation of type in Afghanistan or the surrounding areas, probably due to Afghanistan being a cross-roads, with a very mobile population, and a history of bad governments that caused said population to pick up and move around a lot, taking their dogs with them.

    I could write page after page about that. But I won't, because you won't read it, and you won't look at the photographic evidence, because your mind is already made up.

    "Most of the Afghan hounds in the USA were developed from the Ghazni strain."

    This is true but most Afghans today bear very little resemblance to Sirdar of Ghazni, who has approximately 30% impact in modern pedigrees. You also have to understand the early dogs were heavily bred on the Bell Murray dogs, until he lost the popularity contest with Mrs. Amps. Usage of the Bell Murray dogs dropped drastically after that.
    http://www.ahpedigrees.com/modules/animal/dog.php?id=55794

    ReplyDelete
  148. Doris Lan said...

    "How about breeding Afghan hound (with Ghazni strain) to the Saluki (with southern strain)?? Please remember that the majority of Afghan hounds in the USA are developed by mountain strain. I believe that the Afghan hounds with mountain strain are true native dogs and should be never crossbred with any other breed. However, on the other hand, I believe that Afghan hound with lowland strain may have been influence by Salukis in the past."

    What you 'believe' means doodly squat, especially to me. Only a moron would believe that after a hundred years of breeding for pretty looks and pretty movement in Western society that any trace of the dog that was formed and mercilessly culled by a very harsh environment actually remains. In order to breed native dogs you must breed them in the native land, under the native conditions, and within the proper cultural context context.

    "Also, let me quote Sir Terence Clark speech in Saluki World congress in 2008 “I certainly saw some Greyhounds with the wealthier shaikhs in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf and some of them were crossed with Salukis but in my experience the crossbred offspring were never satisfactory as hunting hounds in the local conditions being neither as fast as the Greyhound nor having the stamina of the Saluqi.” Food for thought!"

    Tahawi Sheik breeds English Greys into his Salukis at the turn of the century, and keeps breeding from them:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=pkAs3hkQJwYC&lpg=PA42&ots=Ydc2WGpxZg&dq=brian%20duggan%20greyhound&pg=PA62#v=onepage&q=greyhound&f=false

    You need to note Sir T's careful language there. "In my experience." Meaning, that others experience may differ. Sheik Rashid Al Maktoum runs Greyhound/Saluki crosses and backcrosses along with pure Salukis in what they call races in Dubai, where a muzzled dog chases a gazelle or hare for very long distances. Some people eventually dub such backcrosses 'pure' and breed them freely with Salukis, some do not. There is a breeder in Northern New Mexico (rough terrain) with dogs that are 7/8 Saluki and 1/8 Greyhound, which she prefers over her pure Salukis so much that she no longer breeds purebreds. (Lest you think this is just some ne'er do well like me, this breeder has bred coursing and conformation champions and is a judge in both venues.) YMMV, of course. Which is exactly what Sir T meant when he said, "In my experience."

    "Jess, have I read Dr Dan Belkin “The Function Saluki” before? Of course I did."

    And you seem to have entirely missed it's other point, which is that you cannot tell by looking how a dog will perform. It's what's on the inside that counts, that you must breed for by testing the dog, not just looking at it.

    ReplyDelete
  149. Doris Lan said...

    "Most Salukis do have slightly arch loin which benefit them to run uphill and agility. Whereas flat loin does not give the flexibility to do double suspension gallop and agility in desert and it only benefits running uphill."

    This is probably why native Afghans and the early imports had an arch over the loin. Unlike many modern Afghans, which are often bred for a level back, which is due to a misinterpretation of the AKC standard and a lack of knowledge of the historical dog. Download the judges educational material from the AHCA web site, you will see many mentions of an arched loin from the old time breeders and the ones who know the history. Breeding a Saluki with an Afghan restores the arch in the loin, increasing flexibility and thus, speed.

    "Why not just find a native Afghan hound or Saluki and then open the stud book?? It’s a more reasonable thought!!!"

    You cannot export Afghans from Afghanistan, it's illegal, and frankly, dangerous. Pakistan is likewise a very dangerous place to be looking for dogs. The Saluki stud book is open, which you would know if you'd paid attention to the University of Google. I own two gen 3 dogs, both of Iranian descent, that are AKC registered and will eventually be bred, and those offspring will in their turn be bred into my crosses. I also own a Tazi bitch out of Kazakh/Russian lines that will eventually be bred to an Afghan.

    Petitioning to open the AKC Afghan hound studbook would be problematic for me at best, a nightmare of harassment at worst, and frankly, since I have no interest in registering my crosses, I don't see the point. Whoops! Was that the sound of Doris' brain exploding again?

    "Let me tell you, obscure disease is not a major disease in our breed. We don’t need to use crossbreeding to rescue the breed."

    I really question your reading comprehension Doris. You keep ascribing all these motives to me; first I was creating a new breed of defective dogs to unleash on the unsuspecting public, now I'm rescuing 'the breed.' No. Stop lying to yourself about me to justify your position. I BREED DOGS THAT I LIKE AND SUIT MY PURPOSES. Period.

    "Cancer is not only a hereditary disease, but many experts have also said that diet could be one of the contributing reasons for Cancer. Even though you do outcrossing, those dogs can still get cancer! I think I did list the Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy heart disease in both breed."

    Um, duh. Did I EVER say that I was avoiding cancer by cross-breeding? EVER? No. DID I EVER SAY I WAS CROSS-BREEDING TO IMPROVE HEALTH OR RESCUE BREEDS? NO. STOP LYING TO YOURSELF ABOUT MY MOTIVES TO JUSTIFY YOUR POSITION THAT WHAT I AM DOING IS WRONG.

    Here's a little something about DCM I learned when I was researching it (Saluki hearts are very, very interesting in a weird anomalous way, BTW. Which you would know if you'd actually looked at the Saluki health link I provided.) When a large breed dog dies due to cardiac arrest under anesthesia, purebred or not, one of the first differentials is DCM. In all large dogs. There is no known hereditary mechanism for DCM in either Salukis or Afghans, which is why I bought a bloody Holter monitor (I don't have access to echo here, and normal Saluki hearts do not actually fit in the 'normal' parameters for regular dog hearts, anyways), and spent hours on Pubmed researching the proBNP test to see if it would be a useful prognostic indicator.

    ReplyDelete
  150. Doris Lan said...

    "However, you are crossing two NATIVE BREEDS!!!"

    No. I am not. I am crossing the highly domesticated versions of those native types, selectively bred for many generations under completely different criteria than native dogs. Except for my dogs that have recent imports in their backgrounds.

    "I think you would say that there is similarity and obvious common origins in both breeds but they are split into isolated area."

    See above comment about Afghanistan as a cross-roads. Also, read up on the Silk Road, and the concept of landraces.

    "We should try very hard to protect the Native breeds, same as what the zoologists do to protect wildlife animals."

    There are movements in most countries to protect and preserve the native dog types. That is where such things should be done. It is the height of arrogance to believe that we can 'preserve the native Azawakh, or Saluki, or Afghan' in the West, under completely different conditions and selection criteria.

    "Why the zoologists don’t do any outbreeding for African Lions again?? You should consider asking Dr John Burchard, Sir Terence Clark, and Steve Bodio whether they would suggest outbreeding African Lion or African Wild Dog or Cheetah?"

    Dogs types are not different species. Only a moron would think so. And you need to look at the Florida Panther, which recently underwent genetic rescue by breeding to the Texas subspecies. I know you can use the Googles.

    Dr. Burchard, Sir T, and Steve all consider the Saluki/Tazi/Afghan/Taigan/Xigou to be part of one contiguous landrace. They agree with me that it is perfectly acceptable in the West to mix these types of dogs in order to get desired characteristics or increase genetic diversity. They also agree with me that preservation should be done in the country of origin, and that native breeders should keep their options open and not follow the Western closed registry system. Sir T and John actually go so far as to include Sloughi and Azawakh in that landrace. I do not.

    ReplyDelete
  151. Doris Lan said...

    "If King Khalid were still alive, you should ask his or Bedouins’ opinion about crossing two breeds rather than asking Dr John Burchard, Sir Terence Clark, and Steve Bodio."

    Please see discussion above about cross-breeding and native breeders. I will also add, that my friend in Pakistan tells me that Greyhounds are sometimes bred into the local Tazis, and after a couple of backcrosses, you cannot tell by looking. As for King Khalid, here are some pictures of dogs from the King's kennels. I know you won't look at them, but others might.

    http://www.ahinternational.net/gallery2/v/kennelname/world/kings/

    Interesting that dogs from the mountains have such an arched loin, don't you think?

    The offspring of two dogs gifted to Nikita Khrushchev by the king:
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Zz39lIHAfQA/TO3mTFKDDQI/AAAAAAAAD_o/8gpEA842r9k/s1600/AglayaandAgafya.JPG
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Zz39lIHAfQA/TO3mrxXMkiI/AAAAAAAAD_s/FAvHr3fk7XQ/s1600/MaybeAglaya.jpg

    Two smooth Afghans gifted to the President of France in 1968:
    http://desertwindhounds.blogspot.com/2009/05/smooth-afghan-hounds.html

    The top three rows are dogs in Afghanistan. Most of the dogs in the bottom are Khalag Tazis, a specific, very closely bred European strain:
    http://www.ahinternational.net/gallery2/v/kennelname/world/tazi/

    "Do you think that crossbreeding is the only solution on the table?? Have you researched the relationship between mtDNA and Y chromosome in the breed before considering crossbreeding? Have you tried to calculate inbreeding trend in both breeds before considering crossbreeding?"

    Explain to me why either of these things is actually important for my dogs. On second thought, don't, because I don't care. These are dogs, not different species, and I am neither rescuing a breed nor creating a new one.

    "We should never consider doing outbreeding/outcrossing to enhance FUNCTION. "

    And here we have confirmation that for Doris, the closed registry purebred system is, in fact, a religion, with commandments that thou shalt not break. Where do you think the 'breeds' we have today came from, Doris? Where do you think the breeds developed in the last fifty years came from? Here's a little fact for you, Doris. That story about Afghan hounds being on the Ark? Not true. And the dogs on the walls of Egyptian tombs being Salukis, the direct ancestors of our modern Salukis? We really have no idea. Dog breeds do not spring directly from the hand of god, fully formed. There is an entire world out there of mutts with pedigrees, purpose-bred mixed breeds, bred for FUNCTION. Your dismissal of these dogs shows your dedication to an outmoded purity concept. It's not flattering.

    "Outcrossing/outbreeding should be regarded as a genetic rescue tool, for example, if we consider preserving, enhancing and adding traits favorable to increased production, fertility, survivorship or adaptability to particular environmental condition. It should only be used when there is no other option on the table."

    I am an atheist. I have had many conversations with True Believers™, people who actually believe that without religion to tell us right from wrong, people will literally run around raping and murdering with abandon, that the world was created in less than a week, and fossils are thing planted by god to 'test us.' You and your increasingly inapplicable, specious and ignorant arguments against what I am doing with my dogs show a very strong taint of True Believer™. Your arguments are based on 'beliefs', Doris. Specifically, your belief that what I am doing is wrong. You have no standing morally, scientifically, or culturally, to condemn me. You have to apply false motivations to me to even discuss the subject.

    I'm done with you, Doris. Your mind is made up, and firmly closed.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Dog breeding appears to be a lagging indicator of human culture by about 70 years: blood purity, nativism, eugenics, fear of miscegenation, abortive attempts at pseudo-science.

    In a manner this is worse for dogs because unlike with humans, who usually come around to moderation by accepting their own genetic faults and then forgiving such in others, or by falling in love with the "wrong" person, we get to play god with dogs. We can't change ourselves, but we can change our dogs.

    We have seemingly endless forgiveness for our own faults, but yet we are sure we can prefect our dogs!

    And as with most true believers, once we adopt some irrational faith based one-true-path (TM), we are insufferable with others who are non-believers.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Outbreeding Depression: When the pure blood brigade gets depressed that other people are outcrossing and not bursting into flames while doing so.

    ReplyDelete
  154. Jess, thank you for sharing all those links & photos!

    ReplyDelete
  155. Absolutely fascinating discussion, folks! My only contribution is to correct something Retromodernist said early on:

    "It should apply to any animal. If its breed's genes are shot, and there are healthy breeds/types around, then its best to let it disappear... I doubt there'd be any argument from horse or cattle breeders either, for poor genes would lead to poor performance on the racetrack or poor meat yields. In fact, as in these cases form follows function, it's unlikely that horse or cattle breeders would choose to ignore a growing litany of disease and poor function."

    Sorry, Retromodernist, you couldn't be more wrong -- I owned a dairy/beef/horse farm for years. The modern dairy cow is bred for one and only one thing: milk production. Because of this, the average dairy cow produces 20 times more milk than her calf can consume, but despite the fact that Holsteins can live 11+ years, most dairy cows burn out and are sent to the slaughterhouse after only 1.5 lactations (at 3-4 years of age). Many (most) Holsteins show no mothering instinct and will walk away from their hungry newborn calf. The breed is notorious for bad legs, bad feet, bad temperaments, a predisposition towards numerous health issues (gastric torsion, mastitis, reproductive issues, etc.) and a host of other maladies. In Belgian Blue cattle, breeding for meat production has resulted in a breed that cannot give birth naturally -- most calves are delivered surgically. In race horses, selection for speed over all other traits has resulted in horses that win but require the drug Lasix or they bleed from the nose after every race, and heavily-muscled world-champion Quarter Horses are notorious for dropping dead at an early age from heart problems. In short, dog breeders have only one thing to learn from horse and cattle breeders: selection for one trait over all others will give you that one trait and at the expense of all others. This is part of the reason I left farming: try selecting for maternal instinct when there's none of it left in your breed!

    I have another truth that many dog/horse/cattle breeders don't seem to recognize; I call it the "Murphy's Law of Animal Breeding": if the trait is good and you don't select FOR it, you will lose it; if the trait is bad and you don't select AWAY from it, you will get it.

    BTW, Jemima: You GO, Girl!

    ReplyDelete
  156. Everyone is missing the point regarding breed clubs, as did Anonymous:

    "...an unrealistic view of breed clubs, especially in the less numerous breeds. As previously mentioned by others these are run by volunteers most of whom are not even paid an honorarium let alone a wage!"


    It's not the wages paid or not paid, the bank balances of the breed clubs, or the administration by volunteers: human nature is the limiting factor in expecting breed clubs to step up to the plate and exhibit REAL concern for the breeds they allegedly protect.

    True story: In 2000, I started a breed club for my very rare breed, the Caucasian Ovcharka, called the United States Caucasian Ovcharka Preservation Society (US-COPS). In order to protect this precious gene pool, which had taken thousands of years of natural selection to create, (the Caucasian is considered a "natural" versus man-made breed), I developed and demonstrated the feasibility of one of the most rigorous Breeder’s Code of Ethics in the world. It mandated specific genetic screening before litters were bred and required breeders to back their belief in their breeding program with a lifetime 100% money-back written guarantee on the genetic health and temperament of the pups they produced. Over the 6 years previously, I had adhered to this exact Code of Ethics to ensure its feasibility, and it had worked. Using the Penn-HIP program to select for better hips, in this time span I had reduced the incidence of CHD from roughly 66% in the general population, down to about 33% (not all puppy owners did their pups' hips).

    Want to know what happened when the Code of Ethics was passed? All the breeders left US-COPS and formed another breed club with a Code of Ethics that contained a one-liner on health guarantees: "I will maintain high standards of health and care for my dogs, and guarantee the health of my puppies at the time of sale." (see http://www.aacoo.net/CodeofEthics.htm)

    I reiterate: it is extremely unrealistic to expect breed clubs to suddenly acquire ethics they did not have before. An educated consumer is what is needed. Change what the marketplace is demanding, and you'll change the product. And how do you change the marketplace? With documentaries like Pedigree Dogs Exposed.

    ReplyDelete
  157. Finally, here are links to two very different methods of mitigating inbreeding depression. I will be utilizing both in the protection of my breed:

    http://www.wisdompanel.com/optimal_selection/ -- This service helps identify the optimal pairing within the existing gene pool.

    http://www.EthicalCanineImports.com -- (My company) This service aims to expand the gene pool.

    ReplyDelete
  158. You guys should ask yourselves - why is it so important to YOU (not the dog, but to YOU) for your dog to have a "title".

    It's kennel club breeders who set the bar for backyard and puppy millers. i.e. that "coveted purebreed" mentality - they're going to breed whatever is the biggest seller.

    From a consumer/animal advocate point of view, puppy millers and kennel clubs are peddling the exact same goods: highly sought after puppies. And this is exactly why the public and media tend to lump both in the same animal "use" category.

    And, of course, you have orgs like the Naia who make no qualms about defending puppy mills ... which ties the reputable breeders in with the puppy millers - due to Strand's Akc affiliations.

    The solution is simple really - the reputable breeders need to un-align themselves with the puppy mill and backyard breeders - and Naia.

    ReplyDelete
  159. Solving the purebred problem is gooin to take a lot of money. How do we make money in dogs? By selling more pups, which makes the problem worse.

    ReplyDelete