Monday, 1 July 2013

New kid on the blog...

Well this is just fab... a new journal dedicated to canine genetics and epidemiology, with a genuinely unique feature: every piece of new research published by Canine Genetics + Epidemiology (CGE) will be accompanied by an extensive lay summary "so non-scientists can capture key messages for the research."

The new journal is open access which means it's free.. anyone can download and read all the articles, no subscription required.

And the venture is being supported by the Kennel Club Educational Trust, which will fund 50 per cent of the manuscript-processing costs.  This is a great use of the KC charity's funds and I wish it every success.
“I am hugely enthusiastic about the new journal, Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, " says the Animal Health Trust's Cathryn Mellersh who is on the editorial board. "The current field of canine genetics and epidemiology is an extremely dynamic and exciting discipline to be a part of, but it is vitally important that all canine stakeholders, and not just scientists, can access, understand and ultimately implement the findings from all this research. 
"A key, and unique, feature of CGE is its aim to make research findings accessible to veterinarians, dog breeders and owners, as well scientists, and to facilitate this aim each published article will include an extended lay summary plus key “take home messages” for non-specialists and an educated lay readership.  I believe this aim will set CGE apart from other similar journals in the sector, and means CGE will play a central role in disseminating the research riches that the dog provides.”
Joint Editors-in-Chief are Bill Ollier, Professor of Immunogenetics at Manchester Univeristy, and my old foe, Jeff Sampson, former genetics advisor to the Kennel Club. 

Managing Editor is Lorna Kennedy who works alongside Bill Ollier at the University of Manchester with a special interest in the MHC - the area of the genome that codes for immune function.

An international and mostly-impressive editorial board includes many well-known names in canine genetics (and one or two rather notable absences such as Åke Hedhammer and epidemiologist Brenda Bonnett... perhaps just too busy?)


  • Prof Bill Ollier, University of Manchester, UK
  • Prof Jeff Sampson, The Kennel Club, UK

Managing Editor

  • Dr Lorna Kennedy, University of Manchester, UK

Editorial Board

  • Jerold Bell, Tufts University, USA
  • Matthew Breen, North Carolina State University, USA
  • David Brodbelt, Royal Veterinary College, UK
  • Brian Catchpole, Royal Veterinary College, UK
  • Dylan Clements, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Lluis Ferrer, Tufts University, USA
  • Merete Fredholm, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Francis Galibert, Université de Rennes 1, France
  • Urs Giger, University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Sergey Knyazev, Novosibirsk State University, Russia
  • Aimee Llewellyn, The Kennel Club, UK
  • Hannes Lohi, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Cathryn Mellersh, Animal Health Trust, UK
  • Kenton Morgan, University of Liverpool, UK
  • Mark Neff, Van Andel Research Institute, USA
  • Clare Rusbridge, Stone Lion Veterinary Hospital, UK
  • David Sargan, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Peter Savolainen, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Jennifer M Seddon, University of Queensland, Australia
  • Robert Shiel, Murdoch University, Australia
  • Andrea Short, University of Manchester, UK
  • Armando Sánchez, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  • Claire Wade, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Matthew Webster, Uppsala University, Sweden

Can't really think of a single bad thing to say about this and I look forward to reading it.

Hopefully, this journal will become the repository for research that we are still waiting for from the Animal Health Trust/KC - such as the long-promised effective population size data on UK dogs; research that was completed ages ago but has still not been released.  

You can read more about the new journal here where, inexplicably, there is a picture of a rather bemused Labrador surrounded by bubbles. 

You can sign up to receive the journal's articles - for free - here.


  1. Wow! That's brilliant news! I'm delighted it's free and adding a lay section makes it accessible to all. It will also help me to better understand the genetics papers, as I can read the lay section first.

    Kudos to the KC for funding this.

  2. This is great news! My thanks to everyone involved. I will read everything on their site - and the hard parts twice.

    I am looking forward not only to getting the latest dog science news all in one place, but also to posting/commenting with other dog people who read it. It is useful that the people who study dogs and the people who breed dogs exchange information.

    The dog science news from this site will probably be on many blogs, thanks to their pre-chewing the grizzly science terms for us who don't use science words in our everyday lives.

    It is very nice of them to offer it free like that. Christmas for everyone.

  3. Ummmm......some people on the list are not among my favourite sources, but I presume I can just ignore them. But what about the complete beginner?????

    1. No kidding. Bell and Wade! They're like the KC apologist brigade.

    2. so don't sign up no problem there

    3. There is no doubt that (most of) the editorial board are not exactly radicals. But then there are also more conservative, more establishment names that I might have expected to have see here who are not.

      So let's wish it well and see what it has to offer.

  4. Forgot to say: I am pleased that your old "enemy" Jeff Sampson is on the list!

  5. They need to publish an RSS feed. I don't want to sign up for an account just to get email notification.

    1. RSS feed here:

      It was in the launch email they sent me.

    2. That feed is for a blog which post news about studies from from various journals by this publisher. I found one for this specific journal( but it is not live yet since there are no articles that has been published.

  6. The only negative MIGHT be that KC funds it, and that can add political pressure to what is released or highlighted versus info that can give a negative light to what Kennels do. But I guess the money has to come from somewhere.

    1. The trick lies in knowing where the funding comes from, who did the research and why. It's a potential flaw in most research as the money always comes from somewhere, and usually somewhere big. With experience you can learn how to assess the quality of a paper and therefore know how much weight to give to it's conclusions.

    2. I agree. Great idea so long as it isn't Shanghaied by pet industry marketing interests. We don't need yet another commercial source telling us we must feed our dogs synthetic bones instead of real ones, to use expensive flea medicine when our dogs don't have a flea problem, and pushing a patchwork of individual genetic tests for diseases, many of which are not important concerns for dog health. (In the long term dog health will be much better served by whole-genome testing rather than a patchwork of little tests: see Christopher's great article at

  7. Margaret Carter2 July 2013 at 18:11

    I think this promises to be a great idea.

    I'm interested in the subject but certainly need a lay summary and "take home messages" to understand what I am reading.

  8. Will make that ill thought out and inaccurate site run by Margaret Carter a thing of the past I hope!

    1. It's generally not a bad idea, when you're criticising something for being inaccurate, to ensure your criticism is accurate. You don't mean Margaret Carter, do you?

  9. Margaret Carter4 July 2013 at 18:26

    I am involved with three sites:

    They are meant for pet owners, so designed to be easy to read but informative. They were carefully thought out and as accurate as possible considering the complexity of the cavalier health issues.

    There is nothing, but ignorance, to stop Anonymous 3 July 13:27 from improving on my efforts.

    1. I am pretty sure, Margaret, that the reason Anon has not replied to my comment above is because they got it wrong. I don't think they meant your site/s at all - all of which are excellent.

      I am pretty sure we know which site they are referring to. But as that too is well thought out and makes every effort to be accurate, I am not going to name it.


  10. Hi Margaret Carter,

    I checked your sites, everything looks good to me. One site to help people wanting to buy a puppy - very good, with excellent health information. Another site for people who have a dog of the breed, very good with lots of nice health test information, and set up to make it easy for owners to socialise and share health information - this is very important front line action - not just words, but getting people together so they help each other breed healthier dogs. And a site with basic science on the health tests for your breed, where people who want can help.

    What more could anyone want?

  11. While I approve of Margaret Carter's sites, I am emotionally pained and sickened by the sad state of health in Cavs.

    If someone asked me about how to buy a CKCS puppy, I would have no problem answering "Just don't".

    Harsh? Not so harsh as the pain the sick puppies go through, is it?

    Better that potential CKCS breeders read the truth now, than any of them be allowed to sell puppies so very prone to these health problems. If breeders don't care about the suffering of the puppies they sell, then they should read and care about the emotional pain which the family who love the puppy feel. This is all so very sad.

    I hope that everytime a breed with such health problems is mentioned, that someone comments on the need to only buy puppies from health tested parents. And IMO, the breeders of all breeds of dogs should be happy to read health warnings for their breed, which advise only to buy puppies from health tested parents. That is most of what being a responsible breeder is about, isn't it?

  12. I think many of us agree on the need to breed dogs which are free from genetic diseases.

    You may occasionally read where someone asks what to do about the breeds that have many health problems, and where a high percentage of the dogs in the breed are affected.

    It is not unusual for someone to comment that the kindest thing to do would be to let the severely affected breeds go extinct rather than trying outcrossing, or narrowing the gene pool more trying to create a healthy version of the breed.

    But this post is all about exciting new information in canine genetics, and making that information free to the public. It would seem like quitting just before the finish line if we gave up on the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel now.

    But genetic tests will NOT work if people continue to use show winning sires even when they are affected with one or more genetic diseases. So the question becomes how to make the results of the genetic health tests more important to the people who breed dogs than how important winning in the show ring is.

    That is not easy. The thrill of winning is often a stronger motivator than the knowledge of which dog is genetically healthy and which is not. What if a young beautiful male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel won Crufts? And what if, even though he was a beautiful stud dog and a glory to look at, what if he had, or carried, several serious genetic diseases which are found in his breed? Your nightmare for the breed?

    But isn't that, to a lesser extent, what happens all the time? One dog wins over others of his own breed, or even over other breeds as well, but the judge never saw the genetic problems in the dog he picked, nor did the judge see the genetic health in the dogs he did not pick.

    But how to correct this problem? Let the judge see health test results? Require health testing BEFORE showing? Would this work?

    One sure way to get dog breeders to focus on breeding for health is for the breed to take a hiatus from the show ring. A ten year period of time where puppies would still be registered, and where the breed could enter event like obedience, but where the breed could not be shown in conformation, would refocus breeders' priorities wouldn't it?

    And a 20 year suspention from the ring, while bringing dismay to show breeders of that breed, would ensure the breed did not attract people more interested in the thrill of winning instead of the health of the breed.

    Because if the health of the breed can NOT be seen by the judges, then the judges can NOT factor in the genetic health, or lack of health, of the dogs in the ring, so how can any judge pick which dogs are the best breeding stock? Therefore, it is possible that a dog with several genetic faults could win any number of dog shows, and seriously have a negative effect on his breed. Right?

  13. Hi Anon 02:53 you've made some interesting points to consider. I always understood that when entering and signing a show entry that one had read the terms and conditions, and I may now be a bit muddled, but I thought one of those conditions was that the dog being entered suffered from no illness. Anyone entering a dog who knew that the dog was suffering from illness or heriditary condition would be accountable for their actions because in effect the owner was defrauding fellow competitors and much, much worse their dogs. Perhaps somebody would let me know if I understood correctly or if my memory is in shreds? Anyone who is showing a dog with the intention of putting him out to stud has to have them tested and I would suggest that most responsible people do, as a club member of a responsible club again I would have thought that the club would demand that ALL breeding stock is fully checked and it was a condition of membership because if it isn't it jolly well should be. A lot of what you document is definately relevant and should be considered by all.


    1. Georgina, you are indeed a bit muddled about the declaration on entry forms when you say "I thought one of those conditions was that the dog being entered suffered from no illness. Anyone entering a dog who knew that the dog was suffering from illness or heriditary condition would be accountable for their actions because in effect the owner was defrauding fellow competitors and much, much worse their dogs. Perhaps somebody would let me know if I understood correctly or if my memory is in shreds?"

      The actual wording is:

      "I/We also undertake to abide by the Regulations of this Show and not tobring to the Show any dog which has contracted or been knowingly exposed to any infectious or contagious disease during the 21 days prior to the Show, or which is suffering from a visible condition which adversely affects its health or welfare, or to bring any dog which has been prepared for exhibition contrary to Kennel Club Regulations for the Preparation of Dogs for Exhibition F (Annex B)."

      As you can see this only refers to infectious or contagious disease, not any hereditary condition.

    2. Hi Georgina,

      And I always thought that when a club gave a dog a ribbon, it was the club's endorsement of that dog. And I always heard that the reason dog shows exist is for the more knowledgable people in the club to inform the less knowledgable breeders in the show ring just which dogs were better breeding stock.

      So if I buy a puppy whose sire and dam are both champions of the show ring, it should to be genetically more healthy than the mutt puppy from a person selling mutt puppies at a park.

      People don't herd loose sheep - it is too much bother to even try. People get a dog to herd the loose sheep. If the sheep aren't going where the person wants them to go, the person doesn't yell at the sheep, he yells to the dog.

    3. Hi Mary, Hi Georgina,

      Thank You Mary for looking up and posting that exact quote from an entry form.

      After reading the quote, I'd say that it forbids entering 3 types of conditions in dogs:
      1. dogs that have contagious disease or who have been exposed to contagious disease in the last 21days.
      2. dogs that are suffering from a visible condition which adversely affects its health or welfare.
      3. dogs which have been prepared contrary to the rules.

      I assume it is number 2 which Georgina is remembering? And I agree with what Georgina says about this applying to visible genetic diseases.

      I don't know where the law stands on this one, and I am sure that the law varies from place to place, but it would seem to me that some of the dogs entered could be in violation of the entry form rules. I guess the club could turn these dogs away just as they could violators of rules 1 and 3. But a club would want to think this through and apply the rules fairly to everyone.

      As to what Georgina said about defrauding, I didn't get it when I first read her comment but I believe I do now. People who enter their dogs in the show expect the show to turn away obviously sick dogs, dogs who are prepared against the rules, AND dogs suffering from visible conditions which affect their health or welfare. Those are the rules. People who enter any sport expect the club to enforce the rules. What would happen in a ball game if the referee sat down and read a magazine and nobody enforced the rules of the game?

    4. Anon 12:23 - when a judge (not a club!) awards prizes they are awarded to (in his opinion) the best of the dogs in front of him on that day. No more, no less.

    5. "Suffering from a visible condition which adversely affects its health or welfare" refers to such conditions as conjunctivitis making its eyes sore, or an infected toe making it lame, for example; the sort of condition where, on another day, the animal would NOT be affected.

      It DOESN'T refer to conditions which can't be seen with the naked eye.

    6. Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your reply. What I was trying to say, to enlarge on what Georgina said, was that if the club enforced its own rules, which are right there on the entry form, I believe that some dogs would not make it to the ring at all, and therefore the judge could not choose them.

      If the club had a man at the gate to turn away any dogs in violation of any of the 3 rules, there might be whole breeds turned away - until breeders wised up and got dogs who weren't "suffering from a visible condition which adversely affects its health or welfare".

    7. Mmm, thanks Mary, now I've seen it again (12 years since I've shown) you're right but in many ways the responsibility of the owner who knowingly shows a dog under KC regs that has produced "sick" puppies is taking a big risk in entering the dog as a good, "HEALTHY visually and hidden" specimen of his/her breed. I too hope the Gvt don't get involved because it will just become a scrum but if the breeders/KC don't self regulate themselves somebody will have to. You know we sit back and look at our pedigree dogs and love them and are priveledged to have them in our lives, and the same goes for any dog. But in the case of the pedigree dog, generations before us bred them using sensible, sound knowledge because the dogs were required for a purpose. The dogs of their breeding bred on and were successful. They must have had sick dogs but say a dog suffering from HD couldn't run across a moor so he was not bred from, he may have been the most stylish dog ever seen but they wouldn't use him. However, something less attractive but fit for purpose would be the dog used. It was in a funny way natural selection. And, of course, the world was a larger, less intimate place so judging their standards and criteria by today's is a bit silly of me but it does have a bearing. Today the world has shrunk to our back gardens, a dog in America can sire pups here etc etc etc so the damage that can be done to a breed is instantly felt by the breed and thus the little pools of genes tucked away here there and everywhere disappear because of the influence of one big winning prepotent sire. And of course, the makeup of those dogs, say gundogs, is altered because they are bred to run a few steps up and down and in a triangle (!) and not miles over rough terrain, and their coats are so long they stir up the dust (!) and not just weatherproof jackets trimmed to keep them comfortable etc etc etc. The toy breeds that were companions have been deformed beyond recognition, I like you, I adore Cavs and had 3 and they were robust, cheeky loveable characters who would swim and run and chase and laugh in the face of adversity. But today's Cavs, some may but the majority couldn't, terrible. So in a very few years pedigree dogs, that the generations before us developed and enjoyed are now brought to their knees purely because of money. Re the judge comment, as the judging is so political today there is every likelihood that breed judges will have a pretty good background on the top dogs in front of them and will know the health issues associated thereto. Consequently the judge is as bad as the exhibitor if he/she awards a prize or even pulls a "sick" dog out because he/she is contributing to the downfall of that breed and all because they want to curry favour or appear to want others to know that he/she "knows a good dog", pathetic. Morality, standards, honesty etc need to be revisited by judges before accepting their next breed judging appointment, but they won't because in today's culture they don't know what they mean. But again thanks for your well rounded sensible responses, much appreciated.

    8. Hi Mary,

      "suffering from a visible condition which adversely affects its health or welfare"

      It seems clear to me that not being able to breathe easily while trotting or wobbling when walking or having gunk growing in skin folds, all fit the above quote.

      The term "refers" ? Is there some other place in the rules which is being referred to?

      We can all "guess" what whoever wrote that quote meant, but we can also all read what it says.

      It does NOT mention an infected toe or conjunctivitis, but you can certainly argue that those would be barred from entering because of the first clause about infectious disease. That is the other part with "contagious disease". Those are the first barred condition.

      The second barred condition is the one in question. That's the quote on the top line of this comment. To me, it clearly bans dogs who have any of several common inherited conditions. It doesn't limit itself to inherited or not inherited conditions. It reads clearly to me.

  14. Hi Georgina,

    I like your comment and I like other comments you have made on other posts, but when I first read your comment above, I thought:

    "Does she have her own rocketship or does she just teleport?"

    Because it seemed to me that we must have gone to dog shows held on different planets!

    Are you Nordic? Are there really dog shows where people sign something like that? Can I move to your country?

    Or do people sign but everyone ignores what they have signed except to use it against whistle blowers who talk about the health problems in their dogs? Laws are only as good as the people who enforce them.

    A rule like that COULD cause people to clam up and shut up about health problems. It would likely make those who hide the health problems in their dogs and who continue to show anyway to become very defensive towards truth-tellers, possibly even violently hostile because they would have so much more to lose if exposed. Good try, I love new ideas, but I don't believe that would stop a psychopathic dog breeder, I believe it would just make the breeder lash out more.

    Okay, maybe "psychopathic" isn't technically correct, what should we call show breeders who knowing show, and then use for breeding, dogs who they know have an inherited genetic disease like SM?

    I am really willing to read other ideas, but I fear that some breeds need to be banned from the show ring for as many years as it takes to establish the health of the breed.

    1. Hi Anon 17:21, no I'm not from Mars but recently I feel as if I am!! Made me laugh out aloud, I'm not showing your blog to my brothers tho', they'd have a field day!!! Mary has kindly printed the correct wording, I knew I was on thin ice because I couldn't recall the exact wording. But I responded to Mary so I won't bore you with more of my rantings..... You know what they say, a rant a day keeps the doctor away, or in my case the straight jacket and the cushioned walls, though if I learn any more disgusting, cruelty done towards dogs, they are looking increasingly more inviting. What is supposed to be fun that can be shared with a pet dog that escalates into the horror we see to day is so sad and such a waste of time and energy. I don't know what the correct understanding of psychopathic is in reality but whatever, I think you are too near the truth to be comfortable. Somebody one day soon is going to bring the breeders to court as in Holland, and they will be accountable and will have to face what they have done to innocent dogs and passed on that responsibility to a new owner just for money. Because as sure as eggs is eggs the owners who have held their dear little puppy in their arms whilst he takes his last painful breath because he suffered from an avoidable heriditary condition are going to want retribution. It won't bring their much loved dog back but it will stop more from being bred. I'm now just going off to stick my head (my freezer is too small for the rest of me) and bite lumps out of the rock solid frozen food!!

    2. Hi Georgina, is there a heat wave where you live? I've heard that one shouldn't chew ice because it will damage your teeth. Or are you saying that this subject has you very upset?

      Perhaps you are upset because you believe something which you have ben told, but which conflicts with what you can observe? For example: you state "What is suppose to be fun that can be shared with a pet dog...".

      I assumed that too when I first went to a dog show. But look around the dog show. Are people still relaxed, wandering around, talking to other people? Or are they tense, busy, nervous, trying to win but afraid that they wont? Are they still having fun with their pet dog?

      And who is wrong? The dog lovers who assume a dog show is held as a "Come have fun with your pet dog." day, or the people who say that the dog show exist for more knowledgeable people to inform the exhibitors as to which dogs are of better breeding quality?

      If you don't expect it to be about having fun with your pet dog, you MIGHT enjoy what it is to various other people there, but there are many different reason which people assume the dog show is really about, and who can really say?

    3. Hi Anon 1:20, I was trying to indicate that most of us who show/showed dogs had bought a dog as a pet for themselves or the family and who are then encouraged to show him/her because it is "of good breed type and thus potential dog show quality". And what was originally fun turns into a competitive red rag for a lot of people. They don't win, or not what they think and have been led to believe they should have won. And then a stud dog owner approaches them and suggests that their beautiful bitch would produce super puppies when put to her dog etc etc. And like Topsy, their situation just grows and grows and they forget about the little pet puppy they bought because their desire to win "at any cost" is born and the downfall for the breed of choice sets off on it's downward spiral. There are people of integrity, honesty, knowledge and love for their dogs in the exhibition world but they are they are in the minority, they just can't compete on a level playing field because they are overwhelmed by their love for their pets that they just happen to show. And fine, if people enjoy the cut and thrust of competition that's up to them, but when the tool for their gratification is a living breathing animal that is unjust. They could go and beat hell out of a tennis ball, race a car, bungy jump, personally I think the more dangerous the sport the greater their pleasure just don't do it with animals. When breeding a litter and there are 10 puppies, at a value of £800 per puppy that is a value of £8k that is what showing dogs is about today, money money money, pure and simple.

    4. Hi Georgina,

      Exactly! That's what I found too. Seemingly normal people with a pet purebred, go to a dog show, and it's like they've been taken over by a cult or something. They start answerig questions with the same phrases that other dog show people use. They seem obsessed with winning a ribbon. Sometimes they get taken away with breeding the perfect show dog. They scorn the very same pet they did once love because he is not of "show quality". Like some of them have been Borged.

      I think the money thing is sometimes a different subtype of person. A person can just breed dogs for money not shows. And a person can just breed for shows not money. A person can have both off the path focuses. But a person can show their dogs and make money from puppies but still be breeding dogs to fit into the types of homes they sell them into. All types of dog breeders can be good or go bad IMO.

  15. Margaret Carter5 July 2013 at 17:33


    Okay, I understand now. I wish that particular website was mine. I would be very proud if I was capable of producing such well researched work.

    1. Coo, I wish I did????

    2. I can see why the CKCS Club, where pleased you left, after hearing about all the foul things you did

    3. What were the foul things she did, Anon? Blow the whistle on breeders who were breeding from dogs with syringomyelia and MVD? If you loved your breed, surely you'd be supporting someone who didn't want dogs to live in excruciating agony?

      If breeders of CKCS had accepted the horrific health problems in their breed and taken action, she wouldn't have had to go public now would she?

      I'm reminded of the Winston Churchill quote:

      "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

  16. Georgina,

    We might live in different countries. I think I remember something on an entry form at some event about the dog not having any disease. I presume it meant contagious disease like distemper or rabies. The one conversation about the subject which I remember is where a person said that, for legal reasons, they might have to remove that part from the entry form.

    If I recall correctly, the fear was that some idiot would read the entry form, assume that it was some sort of guarentee that all the other dogs at the show were disease free, and therefore the idiot would bring his healthy but unvaccinated dogs to the show and if his dogs did catch distemper at the show, the idiot would sue saying that logically if all the other dogs were disease free then his dogs should have been safe and therefore the show club owed him money. Therefore the event club might need to make their entry form "idiot proof" meaning "worded so clearly that even an idiot would understand it correctly".

    I believe the final form only said that people were strongly advised to vaccinate their dogs prior to the show. One person did say that it should have said how long before the show as vaccinations take a few weeks to work.

    I have never heard it interpetted to include genetic disease. That would take a big pow wow to sort out.

  17. Hi Anon 17:52 yes, I think you are correct. Obviously a dog that is coughing, or being sick etc is the obvious interpretation of the rules of the show entry. But anyone who shows a dog knowing that it has produced puppies suffering from known heriditary conditions and has signed the form is laying themselves wide open to be sued. The way I see it is that the owner and the show committee are entering into a contract and if either party reneges on that contract then there is potential for a law suit. Litigation is going to be the future and it is why dog breeders are going to have to be much kinder and careful with the stock they produce for sale on the open market because the case in Holland where a breeder was successfully sued because they had denied that they bred sick puppies when it was proven otherwise. I am convinced it is going to be the first case of many and at the risk of sounding unpleasant, the bad greedy breeders deserve everything they will be subjected to by the law courts.

    1. Hi Geogina, good try again!

      But the other side already had a snappy come back answer in use 20 years ago. Suing people who breed and sell unhealthy puppies wont stop them from continuing to breed and sell unhealthy puppies.

      People who breed merle to merle just sell the double merle puppies "as is", telling people the truth "the price on this puppy is less because he might develop health problems". People could just say they have an inbred line of show dogs, and yes the puppy could have any of the genetic health problems found in the breed.

      If people could not sell puppies who had parents with genetic diseases, then some whole breeds would be divided like a group of little islands, with each breeder just breeding down from their own small group of dogs.

      Funny that you commented about this because I was just thinking about what a woman at a dog show told me years ago. I had a puppy of her breed. She told me about a late oncet fatal disease in our breed. But when I asked her about this "health problem", she said the breed didn't have a health PROBLEM.

      She said to just show the puppies and the dogs during their first year or two, put to sleep the dogs who don't win, breed the winners once or twice then have them put to sleep too. If you put the dogs to sleep young, then any late oncet disease is no problem because the dogs never are allowed to live that long anyway.

      She sounds like a monster but to meet her she seemed to be a nice woman. But to her, showing dogs was like showing cattle or chickens. She showed dogs because she liked shows, not because she liked dogs. She said she had a few kennel runs built in her backyard and she couldn't keep many dogs at one time, so she just kept the puppies she wanted to show and a few winning dogs to use for breeding.

      Do you believe show only breeders like her care much about health tests? She could easily tell people that if you get a puppy who lives more than 4 years you got a healthy one, if not then buy another and try again.

      I keep trying to inform dog lovers that not all people who breed or show dogs like dogs. The problems wont go away until dog lovers understand that sometimes they are alone in a group of dog people. That there are bunches of people who breed dogs for winning, for competing, for money, or just because it is what their friends or boss does. Not all dog breeders like dogs. They don't care about health tests, they care about wnning, or traveling to shows, or about money. They do NOT care about dogs not even their own dogs.

      Do you care about the chicken or cow you ate for supper? Some people are not keeping dogs because they like dogs, they like showing.

    2. "Litigation is going to be the future..."

      Dear god I hope not! The goverment can't even get the DDA right, so goodness knows what a mess they're going to make of any breeding legislation.

    3. Hi Fran,

      I agree. I agree. I agree. That should be the last tactic pulled out of the hat, not the first. It would scare away many good people from dog breeding and leave dog breeding to a few aggressive breeders.

      The DDA tries to deal with a social problem. It is like trying to keep weapons from people who might use them on their neighbors and on people they meet in public places.

      Trying to get people to breed and sell only healthy dogs is a different problem. The right answer has not yet been found.

    4. And so do I, so somebody is going to have to tell the blighters (er The KC) to self regulate before it is too late..................

    5. Shhhhhh Georgina,

      I thought about this blog today whilst I was out shopping. I realised that I had once lived where, for whatever reason, there was a vigilante mentality going on, using the idea of: we regulate other dog breeders or the government will regulate us. It didn't work out well for the dogs. And it left people, like myself, with a bad opinion of the whole lot.

      If the government makes a stupid law - lets say that only show champions may be bred - then, no matter how stupid you think the law is, you know what the law is BEFORE you start breeding dogs.

      But when a clique of breeders gets together to scheme to make thing go their own can get ugly. Many people get so into dogs that it is like an addiction. A person trying to help them see reason is like someone standing between a drug addict and their drug of choice.

      Well, maybe it is more like people who have an addiction to gambling. What do you call it when something in a persoon's head keeps them from seeing what is right in front of them? What do you call it when a person's whole life becomes taking care of dogs and winning dog shows? I believe some of these people really have an addiction to dogs or shows. Like you said about they can't help themselves, they can't stop themselves. For some people, it is more than just a pet dog or an occasonal litter. I don't know if people 'step over a line' or 'slowly wander off the path' but at some point almost anything, including dogs, can become an obsession.

      What was that series on film? I remember one about a young woman who started keeping snakes. Then she had to have the ultimate snake, some venomous snake. Fatal attractions??? Something like that. It was on a few years back.

      I believe that some dog people could benefit from an intervention, or maybe sort of like with the film PDE, to help them see themselves, and to see their own problems. Of course I do NOT mean exposing anyone who needs insight by filming them without permission, just letting them recognise themselves in the stories of other who are willing to speak.

      But if gentler methods fail, it might be better to let the club, or the courts, or the government, or the RSPCA, step in than to push breeders to try to fight it between themselves.

  18. I read about all the new genetic tests. We have people studing the DNA of dogs and wolves and all sorts of animals. People studying old bones and old photos. And it sounds fun.

    But then I get this feeling that something is missing. That there is something which will dampen my hopeful optimism that these new tools will make for healthier dogs who fit better into our lives. I can't find the words, the feeling rolls around in my mind, on the tip of my tongue, there but not there, I know what I want to say but I can't quite find the right words.

    Now the words come to me. It is the same old story of what makes so many things fail. Why do planes crash? Why do cars drive off of roads? Why did supper burn? Why are dogs suffering from inherited diseases? Why does that breed of dog look like that? It's the Human Factor, it is us, we cause so many of these failures.

    The car did not drive its self off the road. Supper didn't decide to scorch. The dogs didn't make themselves look like that. These are things people did.

    The errors are in us, so the answers must come from a change in us, a change in how people think. All the health tests in the world will not do one lick of good if PEOPLE will not use them.

  19. One can NOT assume that people want to breed healthy dogs.

    It isn't so much that anyone wishes to breed unhealthy dogs as it is simply that they have other priorities.

    So many of us go to dog shows and look at the dogs. We study what we are told makes for a good dog of each breed. We learn to judge gait. We watch what makes dogs move differently. We study dog expression.

    And none of that is worth a pile of puppy poop when in comes to learning what we need to know to restore failing breeds, and to shape the futures of the organisations that lead dog breeders.

    It is PEOPLE who we need to understand. Do you know more about the dogs in the ring than what you do about why the owner entered their dog in a dog show? Maybe you know your dog's pedigree for several generations back, but do you really understand why his grandparent's breeder got involved with breeding dogs for shows?

    To really know dogs, you need to understand the motivations of the people who bred them. You might be surprised to find that there are so many different reasons that all bring people into the ring.

    Of course, few people will tell you their emotional truths, but if you listened to them well enough to know them as well as you do their dogs, you might find that although we stand in the same ring, we are each playing a different game.

    1. Not all breeders want to breed healthy dogs, but some do. There are breeders who go to extraordinary lengths to ensure their dogs are healthy and free from inherited health problems. There are no guarantees in breeding of course, but if something does go wrong, these breeders take it on board and do their best to avoid it happening again. These are the breeders others should be emulating.

      Then there are those breeders that will breed from a sibling of a dog affected with an autoimmunde disease. These breeders claim they're able to do this, because they know their lines so well, the effected dog was just a one-off. Missing the point that if they knew their lines that well, they wouldn't have bred an affected dog in the first place!

      There are also breeders who think they know what they're doing, but their approach to health testing and reactions to any health problems that arise, clearly indicate that they don't.

      None of the above take into account the BYB or puppy farmers, who are merely in it for the money, and therefore health doesn't even get a look in.

    2. Hi Fran,

      What you said is true. But there are respected breeders who will breed their bitch to a popular sire who they know is affected. What can we about them?

      I am not sure what you mean by "BYB". To me, the term means a hobby breeder who breeds dogs from their home and their yard/garden. The dogs are usually also their pets. This would be opposite to a kennel breeder, often of the 1950s to 1970s style, who owns a grand kennel with professionally built indoor/outdoor runs on a larger estate.

      "Puppy farmers" would be what I would understand to mean anyone who breeds dogs for money, be it a few dogs at home or many dogs in kennels. Is this your understanding of the terms too?

      I don't think "BYB" should be used as an insult. Not everyone owns a big estate. And it might just be the BYBs who save the dog from the situations which many dogs are in.

    3. BYB is any breeder who breeds with little care and consideration for the health and welfare of the puppies they produce. They generally lack knowledge about the health of their dogs. Their dogs are usually pets, yes, but they're breeding for the money.

      Many show breeders can also fall into the category of the BYB, despite all their claims to 'knowing their lines', and I'm including the much-flaunted ABS breeders in this too, although I'm sure they'd both deny this. BYBs:

      Don't health test their stock;
      Know nothing about health problems in the ancestry of their dogs;
      Don't care whom they sell to, or at least they're not overly fussed;
      Don't provide back-up care to the puppy buyers;
      They don't want to know if the puppy goes on to develop health problems (which may have been inherited and would mean no scrupulous breeder would breed again from such stock);
      Won't take the dogs back if the owner can no longer keep them.

      The dogs may be raised in the home and even socialised, and some may provide back-up care to the owner... until the dog comes down with something and then they abandon them. Usually though, they're breeding to make a quick grand or so. However, most will not admit this to themselves and will therefore justify their breeding with another excuse. If they're show breeders, it will undoubtedly be because they want another dog for themselves.

    4. Hi again Fran, thanks for your reply.

      I guess your meaning of BYBs is that they don't "get with the program", that they don't follow the commonly set ethics? That is quite a list of offenses, is a person a BYB if they break one of these rules or only if they break all of them? What you discribe would be what I might understand to be a "for profit" breeder, or a "greeder breeder", or a "casual breeder".

      Kind of hurts me to hear you use "backyard breeder". Usually it is people who say that if you clean your own runs, or groom your own dogs, then you must be a backyard breeder. And certainly if you haven't proper KENNELS where each dog has both an indoor and an outdoor space, then ou definately are a backyard breeder or something far worse.

      I shudder to think of the language people with proper kennels would use if they knew that some breeders keep their dogs in shipping crates!!!!

      But "backyard breeders" really, literally, actually means people who raise their dogs in the house and garden/yard. And that is good, not bad. The dogs that live in homes and gardens are probably happier than those who live in chainlink kennels.

      I know that richer people often insult less wealthy people by saying that they can't afford health tests, major medical vet bills, boarding of extra dogs, and so on. But, so long as the regular person doesn't go too far with more dogs or litters than what they can care for, they can provide loving homes for their dogs.

      It seems to me that the term "BYB" has come to mean: any breeder the commenter looks down on.

      I don't know how anyone else feels, but I would like to replace terms which have become used as insults with terms that say what they mean.

      HVB or High Volume Breeder = they produce many puppies.
      Crate Breeder = they house their dogs in shipping crates or other small crates.
      Home Breeder = they raise dogs in their home or garden/backyard.
      Money Breeder = they raise dogs for profit.
      Greeder Breeder =they raise dogs for profit and invest little towards helping the dogs or producing healthy puppies.
      Ribbon Breeder =they care more about winning than health or tempament.
      Trusting Breeder =they do other parts of breeding and raising right but will sell to anyone.
      No Return Breeder = you bought it, it is yours.
      Wont Let Go Breeder = still thinks she owns the puppy she she sold you years ago.

    5. Anon 18:33: BYB is a phrase frequently used for breeders who don't care about the dogs they breed, it has nothing to do with the breeder having kennels. Many BYB probably do raise the dogs in their homes, but they don't health test, or care where the dogs go to. Certainly, they are better than the puppy farmers, but they don't really care about the dogs they're producing.

      I like your list of terms. That gives greater clarity on what the breeder is doing exactly. I would also like positive terms for reputable breeders too, so we can appreciate just what they're doing and how well they're doing it.

      There are many breeders whom, because they are breeding to win in the showring, breed dogs with high to very high COIs (>12.5% over 10 generations). These breeders could do everything else right, but I still wouldn't buy a puppy from them.

    6. Hi Fran, thank you for the reply.

      I'm glad you liked my list. I like your idea of a list of terms for good breeders. I never though of that. Good point. And it is a new point too. Maybe we can work on that list together? Have you started a list a terms that state exactly what a breeder is going right? I would like to read it.

      Maybe we should all settle on which terms to use. The terms would have to be very simple so that everyone reading them (even in translation) immediately knows what we are talking about.

      Maybe instead of just saying "BYB", we could say "the type of BYB who...", ...doesn't health test, or "...doesn't take dogs back", or so on.

      Maybe we could say "the type of responsible breeder who...". I need to think on this more.

  20. Hi all the above Anons. You've all twigged and got it right AGAIN! I am shameful that I showed dogs for nearly 40 years (God help me) and had an occasional litter so that I could show on. Your statements that people who show dogs, particularly these days, are in it purely for their self gratification and money and that the dogs are just a tool of the trade, 100% right. I have been a member of my breed club since 1972 but when some information came to my attention recently I have written to the club expressing my horror at the blatant disregard of a serious issue and told them that I did not to be involved and could be deemed to accept such deplorable behaviour, I would have ousted the member immediatey and distanced the club quicker than you could have shouted the breeder's name. It degraded the breed and their acceptance of it has degraded them. I love my dogs, they are pedigree, but if I were to have more in the future I certainly, definately would have a rescue. Do you know, somebody told me the other day, and he was an informed, intelligent individual who is passionate about dogs, that for every pedigree puppy that is bred anything from ten to twenty happy, healthy rescues are destroyed. I was physically sickened by that statistic. I am certainly not advocating a cessation of pedigree dog breeding but I am advocating a slow down, restrained, kinder and more considerate activity. So that all dogs, regardless of the jacket they are wearing, are all given a chance of a long and happy life. Fearfully, and I mean it, the Government will have to step in because of the lack of morality and restraint of the present day dog breeder. The breeders should self regulate for the benefit of all but they won't because of their greedy, competitive attitudes. They will have to be made to behave more responsibly. The KC should be restricting the number of litters a breeder can register, stud dog activity etc but of course, they can't control themselves either because they too, are in pursuit of every penny that can be rung out of dogs. The Gvt will have to oversee their activities too, and then the Inland Revenue will have to be included because they will become aware of the vast sums of money that is being pocketed tax free by the breeders and, of course, it will be easy for them because the KC hold all the records and traceability is going to be a doddle and they will descend and demand 7 years back tax. Hobbyist breeder, tosh, these people are hard faced despicable people, they deserve what is coming their way. And yes the point about DDA is spot on too and if these breeders had any intelligent genes instead of an overload of the greedy gene they would do their utmost to avoid Gvt intervention by behaving more responsibly but they won't because "THEY JUST CAN'T HELP THEMSELVES" which results in the ones who are true animal lovers also being brought down and the result of that is that as happened with DDA the dogs will suffer.
    The recall of the lady at the dog show who destroyed young animals but bred on, I can't print what my thoughts are on that one, but I too knew a lady who bred boxers and afghans and she was pretty vile too when I learned what she was up to (mainly selling to Japan) under the guise of a nice old lady who had the occasional litter but in reality was churning out puppies in the stables. I blew her cover. I'd gone to "help her out" because she was "struggling" and when I saw the dogs I was furious. She even asked if she could have one of my puppies as a gift and she would give me the proceeds of her first litter, well I didn't and I think she wished she had never met me because her little cottage industry came to an abrupt end.

    1. "Do you know, somebody told me the other day, and he was an informed, intelligent individual who is passionate about dogs, that for every pedigree puppy that is bred anything from ten to twenty happy, healthy rescues are destroyed". I'd advise you to check sources and not believe everything you are told. When providing quantitative statements you really should name the source and give people the option of finding out what lies behind a statement. Also...the statement implies causality. But my guess is the 10-20 rescues who are destroyed would still be destroyed if no pedigree dogs were bred. Dogs are good at reproducing. The problem of there being more pups born than good homes to take care of them is inherent in reproductive biology and will not go away until all the groups that produce pups do more to control numbers.

    2. Not necessarily Jennifer. Because there are so many dogs of all shapes and sizes, characters and temperaments, languishing in rescue kennels the over load of pedigree dogs denies these dogs an opportunity of being seen and met and who would more than likely fit the needs of most people. The only difference being is that they are of no traceable background but in essence they are just as lovely and loveable. Look at the dogs JH has rescued from the most unpromising set ups, especially A&A from Greece - 9 years in a kennel, no contact, no love, nothing and yet they have crossed the water to an entirely different environment and with all of the kindness and consideration they are being given they are slowly adjusting. Hopefully during the last few years they have left they will learn to love and be loved. Other rescues deserve that same kindness and opportunity, they are no less deserving the only difference being is that they don't have a pedigree. But I hear what you are saying and it is valid. I don't accept all that is told to me but this particular source, who has a mixture of peds and non peds, knows what he is talking about and is not a fool he does not wish to be identified and I respect his wish. His identity has no bearing on his findings, the facts are the facts. Your last sentence is so right and restraint and control by pedigree dog breeders is going to have to be excercised for the benefit of the whole canine population. I don't know how to stop the worldwide production of staffy crosses, I really don't. But it was the same with german shepherd crosses some years back, then the rotty crosses etc. The mindset of the people who want to own "attack" dogs will continue in our society, it's how we best tackle that mindset is the question and it should probably start at schoolage, at school, when human beings are at their most receptive stage in life, to learn to respect other living beings/species should be part of the school curriculum. But again despite how many times we say it, shout it, scream it, it is the dogs who suffer because of the human condition.

    3. Georgina, I agree with you in part. However, one of the merits of buying a puppy from a responsible breeder, is they're knowledgeable about health problems in the various lines, and therefore know which dogs to avoid in a breeding programme. Not all breeders go to such lengths, but some do, and they're the ones we should be holding up as a standard for which others to aspire. Whilst there are no guarantees of health in any puppy, no matter how responsibly bred, the odds of a well-bred dog being healthy, are higher than from a litter where the two dogs were just thrown together.

      There is also the risk that the dog was poorly raised on cheap, rubbishy food, which could impact the dog's health longterm. How a dog is exercised as a puppy also makes a difference - too much and you risk damaging the joints, too little and the bones may be weak.

      None of these are the dog's fault of course, but as an owner, it's something to take into account, as we're the ones paying the vet bills.

    4. Hi Fran, we are in the main discussing genetics and I may be the one who has focused a little too strongly on rescues in an effort to explain why I think overbreeding/production of dogs per se has to be restrained. Your points are correct, no question. And personally when I have reared a litter of puppies I showed them off with great pride knowing that I had done all that I possibly could for their welfare then and in the future. The pride and delight of seeing them regularly and watching their progress and the bond that builds with their new owners was so gratifying. But seemingly that is less likely to be the norm these days because the proof is in the topics raised by PDE and why we are discussing it now. With regard to mongrels, your points about feeding and circumstances are 100% and the point about inheritance is valid too, mainly because dogs roaming the streets may well mate with a relative and a health issue/trait may well be passed on and create an unsatisfactory outcome for dog and owner. But like you say, life is full of the unexpected/unknown despite the best "laid plans of mice and men". Humans breed "sick" people, all species breed sick species. My point is that the wretched pedigree dog breeders are knowingly breeding on catastrophic health issues causing a poor of quality of life, sufferring and anything else they care to throw at them all in the pursuit of money, because it certainly isn't love or compassion that drives their interests in dogs.

    5. Georgina,

      What would you do if you found a little old lady breeding totally healthy heirloon Cavaliers in her barn? She never breds a spaniel until it is vet checked after its 6th birthday, and all her dogs are fine. The pack has been in her family since the start of the breed. She has a litter or two a year and exports most of them, all purebred but no papers. But she keeps the dogs in chicken pens, only cleans the pens once a week, and feeds them meat scraps and hog feed. Would you shut her down or tell her to breed more?

      She is just hypothetical, but you'd be happy to have her breed her dogs more, right? Maybe even help her care for her dogs? There was said to be a case somewhat like this years back with a different breed, where the couple's dogs were siezed and neutered by a rescue before other people heard about it.

      The question of who should breed dogs and who should not get to breed, dogs is not so easy and most people answer that people who are like themselve should brred but not other types of dog breeders. But truth and fairness are more nuanced.

      Maybe we all could sit down and work out which is more important to shut down: breeders producing unhealthy puppies or breeders who don't care for their dogs. It isn't that easy of a choice is it? I might well of agreed with you if I were there, but I might have different priorities. But then I didn't see what conditions the dogs were in so I can't say what I would have done.

      Sometimes people can be helped. Even people who are doing things wrong. Remember that just a few years back, many dog people divided good/bad dog breeders by how well they showed their dogs, not by health. And some still do.

    6. I'm sorry Anon 04:16 but your response is bizarre and I am unsure as to what you are saying/asking. The dogs welfare is of the utmost importance, all of the health checks in the world, not bred from after 6 and only one or two litters (I assume and hope you don't mean from the same bitch but mean the whole population of her dogs) is utterly pointless if the dogs are kept in filthy, stinking, cramped conditions and badly fed for what is to be expected from them. That is totally, wholly, completely, utterly unacceptable. The health checks etc don't keep the dogs tested happy, well adjusted, contented on a day to day basis, but their offspring are protected for future generations and that in itself is good. I absolutely would not approve of her breeding more puppies just for financial gain, because regardless of the fact that the bloodline had been in her family for generations etc etc she, herself, is not a dog lover, just a trader for money. If she was otherwise the dogs would be part of the family, loved and respected, this "case" would indicate that she is not. She is just a trader. A few years back there was a case of a pair of breeders who were very famous and respected, had several different breeds, judged, showed, bred etc etc, the whole gambit. But somebody visited them and blew their cover. I believe they had a life ban from keeping dogs and the dogs that were able to be rehabilitated went to new homes. Other breeders must have known what was going but were too "in awe" of them to help the dogs, they just wanted to stay "friends" so that when the pair judged they may, and only may, win a crummy cheap piece of cardboard. Pathetic. I always wondered if those same people ever felt uncomfortable to have walked away knowing the atrocities being enacted on innocent dogs and that some kind, brave soul refused to let it go. I just wonder. In the case I was involved with, it was the afghans that hurt the most. The person had "rescued" them, a dog and a bitch, from a council flat because people complained of the smell and when investigated by the RSPCA were found to have bred lots of puppies, all for export too, in appalling conditions. The lady took them on, they were quite wild as afghans were in those days, pathetically thin and very traumatised. When I first got to know the lady I was very fond of the affies because they would creep up to me and look so deep into my eyes, heartbreaking. At the time she had them in the house, because I hadn't realised that she was being monitored, she promised to have them speyed when they were stronger etc but she hoodwinked the lot of us. The visits tailed off after 6 months and the minute she knew she was in the clear, the bitch was back in whelp and off she went, and when she told me that they had had an "accident" and then I realised that there were dogs in the stables, mainly boxers, some beagles too, I went ballistic. I was a very passionate 16 year old at the time, had no idea of what the real implications were, I just instinctively knew it was wrong. And you know what, when those two affies crept up to me and gazed deeply into my eyes, they were telling me weren't they, they knew that their situation hadn't in reality changed but I didn't hear what they were telling me.
      Yes I know people can learn and improve, but when money is the main driver for involvement in dogs, those dogs are in jeopardy believe me, they really are.

    7. Georgina,

      We seem to be having trouble understanding each other. I have read your reply 4 times and I am still not sure that I understand what point you are making. Are you saying that all that really matters is that the dogs have a good home and are happy? That it is OK to breed dogs with genetic faults so long as the parent dogs and puppies are happy and well cared for? That it is OK to breed dogs whose type is so overbred that there are already hundreds of that type in shelters needing homes, so long as the breeder keeps her dogs in the house and cares for them well?

      I don't understand why you mention this one breeder, was it because she tricked you into giving her your rescues? Or do you feel that strongly about all people who raise dogs for money or whose dogs are not part of their family?

      I understand that rescue is sad. Myself, I guess I focus on the problems which lead dogs to end up in rescue in the first place, and the genetic mess which causes so many dogs to end their lives being put down at the vet's office, and especially what can be done to prevent the flaws in breeding dogs which doom puppies to a future with only two choices: die young or suffer long.

      The hypothetical case about the cavalier breeder: my point was that not even my own main pet-rants are totally correct and complete. A person could be breeding the best healthiest dogs, and in the breed which IMO really needs it most, yet still not be a good breeder.

      I presented the hypothetical case backwards so that you could see it that way - that a person who raised dogs like hogs in a pig sty, could still have a great redeeming feature in being one of the few breeders in her breed to have gotten it totally right genetically speaking.

      The conclusion I hoped that we would make together was that reform is needed on several fronts. And that many flawed breeders still have something to contribute to their breed, dog breeding as a whole, and the future of dogs.

      And that change needs to come down evenly upon all the trouble spots, and that the answers can best be found in helping people see and understand the problems, and in providing better events and acitivities which will guide dog breeders to understand that they are not to produce art to please a show judge, but healthy living puppies whose best judge is the person who buys them.

    8. Hi Anon 18:16, we are heading in the same direction my point was there is no point in a breeder doing health checks if the dogs themselves live in poor conditions that makes them miserable, it is unacceptable. For future generations the health checks are good, no question, and I would applaud the breeder for undertaking them, but I would "...................." them for keeping the dogs in horrible conditions. There is a happy medium, dogs don't have to sleep on the couch to be happy, they can live in clean, comfortable kennels with daily walks and love and consideration. I didn't have any rescue afghans, the person had rescued them from a council flat. I had no involvement in it. My involvement arose when she asked for help and the rest is documented above, she was devious, sly and corrupt just because she was in hot pursuit of money from dogs.
      You are absolutely correct, reform reform reform, and restraint because the dog breeders will not stop themselves. Like you though I would much prefer they self regulate because I am in total agreement that Gvt intervention can have a disastrous effect and I certainly do not advocate it, but I am aware that it will come into being unless there is reform. So we are on the same page and I appreciate your comments. Flawed breeders will always be flawed, they have nothing to contribute to dogs now or in the future.

    9. Hi Georgina, thank you for clarifing yor comment. We agree on so much, except that I believe that flawed breeders can change direction.

      If we leave out all the flawed breeders, what would we have left? Perfection is a hard standard to reach. People who loved their pets can go back to loving their pets once the obsession of winning or of breeding the eugenically perfect show dog is released.

  21. Hi Georgina,

    I enjoyed reading your comment, you sound like a person who loves animals like I do.

    We might have travelled different paths but it seems that we got to the same place in the heart as far as our love of dogs goes. I try to judge dog people very gently. When I learned why people made the choices they did and how they ended up where they are, it was hard for me to not be sympathetic.

    Some women married young and had never worked, then their husband put them to work whilst still keeping them tied to the house, by having them raise and sell puppies who could not be left alone.

    I asked one woman why she chose a breed with a great need for coat care. She said it was out of love for her mother. She said her mother raised and groomed dogs for shows. When the girl was little, her mother ignored her because, even though she was a stay at home mom, the mother was busy all day and evening long grooming her own dogs and grooming other people's dogs for much needed income. But when the girl was 7 or 8 years old, she started helping her mother groom dogs. She spent her summer sitting grooming dogs, but now the mother would take the time to speak to the daughter. The daughter was happy, but she got fat sitting all day and snacking with her mom as they worked on dogs. Then the kids at school bullied her for beig fat, but she ran home and groomed dogs with her mom, and her mom mad her feel loved again.

    I asked her what happened next? She said "nothing". She continues to live with her mom, just the two of them. She said she seldom left home except to buy fast food to bring home for the two of them to eat, and go to a few local dog shows. She said she was an only child. She didn't mention a father. And she said she never had a job. She seemed very nice but being fat, no job, not getting out, I doubt she ever dated much.

    Another woman seemed to only care about winning and showing, not about dogs. Her friend told me that this woman had been entered in those beauty shows for little kids since she was a very small child. Then she was entered in teenage beauty shows. Then her own mom died and she got married and quit showing herself because she was too old. By "too old" she meant early 20 something. So now she shows dogs. Her whole life has always been shows. When her dog wins it is like she is winning.

    All these people who got into a hobby and it became a lifestyle, was it good for them?

    I don't judge them, I don't judge you, and I have made my share of mistakes too. We have to make the future better because the past is gone and cannot be changed. It is more productive to help people into a better future than to verbally spank them about their passed mistakes.

  22. Georgina,

    About unwanted dogs being put to sleep. This varies depending on location, in the only location where I have some knowledge about this, huge numbers of bully type dogs are put to sleep, some friendly big dogs like retrievers are adopted, and most little dogs are quickly adopted.

    There is a shortage of little dogs, especially quiet ones who don't bark too much. Some of the large dogs are in about the right numbers, but there were way too many unwanted muscle type dogs. So you can't blame all the breeders.

    You can't expect a person who wants a little poodle to be happy with a 40, 60, 80 or more pound dog.

    1. "You can't expect a person who wants a little poodle to be happy with a 40, 60, 80 or more pound dog. "

      A very valid point and one that too many people choose to ignore. It's all very well saying that there are xxx number of dogs in shelters needing a home but if they're not the sort of dog that suits people's lifestyles then they won't get a 'forever' home. In the UK resues are overflowing with staffies and staffy crosses; although this type of dog can be delightful only a fool would suggest that they're suitable for anyone who wants a dog in their life.

    2. Mary - once again your snobbery blights any common sense or compassion too for that matter.

      Have you ever tried looking at things from the dog's perspective? Your reference to Staffy crosses is just pathetic really. Do you realise that we are needlessly executing dogs because of statements like that? Or are you so entrenched with the stupidity of the show world you can't see what the issues of canine welfare are actually about?

      Education is the key to everything - it allows people to make an informed choice and empowers them to understand the nature of a different species such as the dog. Writing off a Staffy Cross is the kind of snobby, misinformed clap trap I have come to expect to read from someone like you.

      I am sorry to sound so hostile but your post has made me cry. You demonstrate very little understanding about the implications of bad breeding and what it actually entails IMO. The reason staffy crosses are crowding rescue centres is because of bad breeding. Pedigree dog breeding included. People who breed 'pretty' dogs and show them off as the 'standard' to have. Nothing wrong with a staffy cross usually unless it has had a clueless and uneducated owner who has managed to mess it up in the first place...and the latter is nearly always the issue with 'behavioural problems'. I am prepared to accept that Terriers require management and thorough training in order to thrive with their human guardians in our crazy world. But before you start writing certain types of dogs off with breed behavioural bias, get your facts right first and look at the REAL issue at hand.
      Very Upset.

    3. Anon, get off your high horse and put your feet on the ground, where those of us who actually work with these dogs have to be. It's not in the slightest bit snobbish to face facts; the type of dog that predominates in rescue is the staffy/staffy TYPE (if that euphemism panders to your sinsitivity better) because THEIR OWNERS give them up; THEY DON'T WANT THEM. Whether or not they have behavioural problems when they went in is neither here nor there.

      What people who bang on about giving a home to a rescue instead of buying 'new' as it were, laudable though it might be, is that not everyone can give the right home to a strong powerful muscular type of dog, just as not everyone can give the right home to a large, very hairy type of dog, or a very small fragile type. It's not snobbish, it's reality, and has zippo to do with the show world. It's down to too many people producing puppies that sadly people don't want once they've grown up and stopped being cute.

      You might well be very upset - so am I when I have to hold these poor dogs when they're put to sleep. That's the reality of rescue - deal with it and stop being so fanciful.

    4. Mary - do you work in rescue with these 'types' of dogs?

      Because your comments are laughable. Really, they are. Dogs are in rescue because they are too 'muscular'; too hairy or too small and fragile? Again, you are referring to THE LOOK OF THE DOG!!!! And how, may I enquire is the show world NOT responsible for that then?
      The Show World where the aesthetic is everything.....

      And you better believe it that behavioural problems are a very real issue that rescue organisations have to deal with because people who choose certain types of pets are clueless about how to get the best out of the temperament of Staffy Mixes or terrier types for example. The puppy that ceases to be cute but has a strong instinct for chasing and killing cats can easily end up in rescue the same as a teacup poodle whose vain and shallow owner realises that the 'accessory' that fits in her handbag actually is an emotional being with drives and instincts to fulfil.

      Priceless....contradicting yourself.

    5. Anon 11:26 thank you for your comments and understanding. I am in no way advocating that just any dog in rescue will suit every human need. That would be irresponsible but whichever way we look at it staffies seem to be the type that are filling the rescue kennels. My brother has a rescue staffy cross and she is delightful and much loved. But the chance of a new home,whatever shape or size a dog arrives that needs to be rehomed, is lessened considerably because of the overbreeding of pedigree dogs - full stop. Mary cannot deny that fact, it is so sad for the dogs and it must be heartbreaking for her to hold a perfectly lovely dog as he takes his last breath, just because he was a cute baby but grew up to be a dog that had needs that were not met. He was ousted from his home because the next new puppy was about to arrive. It must be horrible Mary, and you have my respect for being kind to them at the end. I do think you were a bit harsh in your response to anon because she clearly wrote from the heart and like us all trying to understand and cope with the dreadful situation in dogs today. But Anon, Mary is at the sharp end and sees and feels the dogs dying, I couldn't do it consequently I understand why she was sharp in her retort and I guess you will too.............

    6. Mary - your statement 'whether or not they have behavioural problems when they went in is neither here nor there' is naive and irresponsible.

      It is extremely important for us to understand why people submit their dogs to rescue organisations for the ethical and welfare obligation that all of us have who claim to love the domestic dog. Otherwise, nothing is going to change. Neither does it have 'zippo' to do with the show world either. The show world creates the desire for dogs that look pretty or have a certain Aesthetic appeal to certain people. Including large, muscular dogs. They show Staffys too at these silly dog shows don't they? Clearly there are people who like the look of these dogs too then? That creates demand for these type of dogs. Period. Some of those show dogs or their ancestors will also be in rescue organisations. Unless you have a DNA test to prove otherwise?

      We live in a society where some people think it is ok to choose a dog based on it's aesthetic, whatever that may be, neglect to educate themselves on canine behaviour and the actual practical realities of owning a dog and then when inevitable problems develop it's ok to then get rid of the dog because a rescue organisation can take it in or they can euthanise it.
      'They don't want them'.
      How did we ever get to a situation where because a person doesn't want a dog anymore they can simply give it up? How is that socially acceptable? It's feckless, irresponsible and shameful.

      Look at Scandinavia. Such an attitude doesn't exist in some of those counties because their canine policies dictate otherwise.

      The show world has a LOT to answer for. If you quit breeding sick mutant puppies, some of these mixed breed dogs that 'people don't want' may get a chance. Aesthetics should only be important for the dog's health and welfare not to fuel the human's warped view of beauty. Damn right size is important though, particularly when it comes to aggression. But that is an area where behaviour and training is extremely important to understand before you get a dog like this in the first place? Sadly, any idiot can own any type of dog, even when it can be argued that some primal hard wired predatory behaviour in certain types of dogs makes them unsuitable family pets. But that is an area for canine policy makers....and for show dog breeders actually because breeding types of dog such as Mastiffs, Staffys and Akitas to parade around a ring is silly and useless.

      There is no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner. Bad incorporates a whole load of adjectives that probably isn't polite for me to write here!


    7. Hi everyone,

      I am Anon 6 July 1803, at the top of these replies, and I just want to say that I am NOT any of the other anons which replied to that.

      I am going to have to get my own name, but I thought I'd wait until I started my own blog so I wouldn't have to change it. And I was waiting to start a blog until I sorted a few things out in the regular world. But it does make for too many anons, doesn't it? Maybe, in that one way we are like staffys in a rescue, if people don't like one anon they mistrust others anons.

      Except that people with the same name are not at all alike, but dogs have been bred to be good at a certain task, like herding sheep, fetching birds, fighting other dogs, pulling sleds cross snow, guarding or such. And because of this, pointer puppies will point all sorts of things before being trained, some herding breeds will try to gather younger puppies.

      Peoples whose experiences and desires are with dogs designed for sheepmen, duck hunters, farmers, or house pets, are not looking for, wanting to adapt to, or capable of dealing with any other breed of any other group.

      For example: I know a man who wanted a guard dog. He was given a puppy. It grew up to be a friendly Lab mix. He go rid of it. He really wanted something like a GSD staffy mix. A friendly Lab mix was not able to scare away tresspassers.

      The reverse is true too. An extrovert with lots of company, whose children are always bringing home friends, wants a dog who never scares people away. He wants a dog who is friendly, very tolerant of abuse from children and drunks, and who is submissive to people, guest's yappy little dogs, and their visiting Great Aunts Siamese cats. The first time the homeowner's dog shows a dominating ego or growls at a guest, the owner thinks "What is wrong with my dog?" the second time it happens or even the first time a guest leaves because the dog's behavior drove the guest away = doggie goes bye bye and never returns. And who can blame the homes owner? Maybe he has had 6 dogs over the past 40 years, some healthy some not, his friends have pet dogs, none of them had to be taught not to growl at guests, the dogs loved company coming over, people dropping in. Oh one dog did hide under the bed if Uncle Leo came over, but the owner somewhat forgave the dog for that. But growl at a guest? If the owner didn't like a guest he'd ask him to leave himself. Nasty dog has to go, can't have that.

      Note that the nasty dog could have a cocker or a collie or a terrier or a .....

    8. Anon 8 July 1535,

      Something you said. Have you been watching the Nat Geo channel? You aren't referring to CM are you?

    9. Anon 20:15. dog's don't possess egos. It's the human beings who have those and what gets dogs sadly into trouble and explains the behaviour you sadly describe by the humans.

      Also, it is not useful to label a dog as 'nasty'. Behaviour should be taken in context and a dog isn't ever deliberately harmful out of spite. Behaviour modification is not difficult if you understand and can apply the principles of positive and negative reinforcement. I do agree that any dog, regardless of breed, can display aggressive traits if the guardian fails to honour the dog's needs by not socialising and conditioning.

      It's never OK to relinquish a dog to rescue because it fails to fulfil your personal desires. It isn't a car. It's a sentient being.

    10. I don't want a staffie or staffie cross though. I would rather not have a dog, than get a terrier (of any breed).

      Dogs from reputable breeders do not clog-up the rescues, because these breeders are very careful about whom they sell to and will take the dog back at any time. As they take the dogs back, they will do their utmost to breed for good health and temperament. Who wants to keep getting nasty or sick dogs back?

      It's unfair and dishonest to tarnish every breeder with the same brush - lumping them all in together with puppy farmers and BYB. There are dog owners who abuse their dogs, does that mean we assume every dog owner is the same? No.

      If all breeders stop breeding, how will that lead to healthier dogs? Where is the next generation of healthy dogs going to come from? Following that train of thought, the dog will be extinct in less than 20-years. If all breeders stop breeding, the only dogs available for producing the next generation, will be the (probably) poorly-bred/puppy farmed dogs in rescue centres. All neutered. Even if they weren't neutered, they're not the ideal dogs to breed from because the health of their ancestry is unknown.

      No more breeding until every rescue dog has been rehomed? That's just not going to happen - there are dogs that people don't want. This is an absolute tragedy, but unfortunately, also reality. Additionally, why should responsible owners be foreced to get a dog that they don't want from a rescue centre? Surely it is paramount that the right owner gets the right dog? Getting the wrong dog is just plain misery for both dog and owner. People should get a dog that fits in with their lifestyle, as that makes it most likely that dog and owner will live in harmony.

      One of the reasons why too many dogs end up in rescue is because people don't consider the original purpose of the breed before getting a puppy. People buy collies with no intention of doing herding, gundogs with no intention of going shooting, sighthounds with on intention of taking them rabbiting. Problems arise when their dog exhibits traits inherent in the breed that they don't like. It's not what they signed-up for.

      I can't believe the show world is to blame for the staffie over-population, apart from the KC and breed club doing more to prevent the careless breeding that's going on. People who buy staffies as status dogs, are not getting one because they've seen it ponce around a show ring. They're getting one because of how they think it will make them look to other people.

    11. Anon 2102

      You have criticised my comment but not answered my question.

      Are you quoting from the CM 'bible'? Or are you getting you opinions from his Nat Geo programs?

    12. Blaming breeders for the dog overpopulation unfairly exonerates the irresponsible owners. Lots of people buying dogs have not educated themselves about their chosen breed wrt their lifestyle.

      An experienced dog owner is more likely to consider how much space, exercise and mental stimulation a specific breed will need. They are more likely to get a dog that fits in with their lifestyle.

      A new owner is less likely to do this research. Let's say he or she is looking for a border collie and goes to a responsible breeder. This breeder will ask lots of questions about the person's lifestyle, children, work commitments, home and garden, etc.

      If the person wants a puppy, but is out at work all day, a reputable breeder will point this out, and not sell the person a puppy.

      A responsible owner, will then take on board the guidance of the breeder. An irresponsible owner, will ignore the good advice, because they want a dog and therefore should have one. However, as no reputable breeder will sell to them, they get a dog from a BYB breeder, who doesn't care that the owner will be out all day (or probably doesn't even know because they haven't asked).

      This puppy is then left at home for 8-hours a day where it urinates and defecates everywhere because it can't hold on, and chews everything out of loneliness and boredom. The puppy is blamed and ends-up in rescue. This is now a dog with no socialisation, no toilet training, no basic training, and is clueless about how to live in the world of people, because his owners weren't around to show him.

      The reason why so many BYB are able to sell their puppies, is because people will buy from them when good breeders turn them down.

      I'm not saying BYBs aren't at fault, but blaming them, misses the point that people who shouldn't get a dog, get one anyway, because they're ignorant or stubborn and won't take on board the good advice they've been given.

    13. Hi Fran, obviously humans make the choice to buy a dog, dogs may have a different opinion when they see with whom they are going to live!! We have the choice, they do not. Thankfully not all dog breeders are bad and greedy, there are a number (small) who do care and love their dogs and if it became necessary, they would gladly take back a puppy at whatever stage during it's life. But smaller homes, busy lives, but still a dog breeder, means that these days most of the breeders just don't have the space to take back a dog they have bred even if they wanted to help. Consequently it is another consideration when breeding a litter, because the responsibility is all yours as that breeder and you SHOULD BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE ANY DOGS THAT MAY BE RETURNED, if you can't then don't breed. No body is advocating a cessation of good dog breeding, but a restraint is absolutely vital because like a candle if it burns at both ends it will so burn itself out, and that is what is happening Fran, I am certain. Regarding your comment about dogs from reputable breeders not clogging up rescue, in the main probably true but watching POG'S Battersea programme I am astonished at the number of pedigree dogs available for re-homing, ok maybe not from RB and possibly BYB PF's, but they are there nonetheless. From my experience, not personally, listening to the bragging at the ringside but some of the puppies that were returned to their breeders were rehomed AFTER THEY HAD A LITTER, good eh, it was a way of "easing" the extra "burden" on the household. Not always I grant you but there was/probably still is that mind set. Even better for them because they probably didn't reimburse the owner by telling them that they would "give" the dog away to a pet home. You are quite right, not all dog people are bad but my goodness I have learned over the past few months that there are some really dishonourable, greedy, nasty, selfish people in dogs and Fran it sickens me to my very soul. One of the positives about dogs that find their way into rescue however, is that at least their owners/or rescuers didn't subject the dogs to major cruelty as is seen in Europe, at end of season greyhounds left hanging from trees, gundogs with their legs tied unable to move, and yes the cruelty cases we see here too, all caused by us, the human. I don't understand any cruelty done to anything that doesn't have a voice and can shout "HELP ME, I NEED YOU" emotive maybe but true, I am so sorry.

    14. Just to say Fran that you are missing out on staffies and terriers. They can be hardwork but they are delightful. My brother has a rescued Staffy cross and she is delightful, kind, loyal, a wonderful pet and much loved by all who know her. I have a PRT, Jemima, and she is funny, clever, mischevious, ten steps ahead of me, bossy, self opiniated, a reincarnated traffic warden in fact. If I were to lose her I would be devastated. Unfortunately the shape and style a dog arrives in is because we designed it, they are no lesser beings for all that, love all dogs, not just some dogs please, please, please. You'd be surprised at what you found behind that shape, coat, statue you really would.

    15. Anon 22:46 CM is simply a hack and I fail to see how the application of animal learning principles (positive and negative reinforcement) can be attributed to my post at 21:02??

      Can you clarify and amplify your statement relating to why a person who clearly has more understanding of the cognitive and behavioural understanding of dogs than you seem to would seem to fit with the CM brigade? Your comment seems to be randomly fired as a way to antagonise as opposed to critically debate?

      If you are the Anon at 20:15 (apologies if you are not) then your comments really don't fill me with any confidence that you have the welfare of dogs at heart or actually understand them as a species. Your justification on relinquishing certain dogs to rescue is frankly worrying.

      The behaviourists of choice that I actually would recommend are patricia McConnell, Jean Donaldson, Dr Ian Dunbar and Dr Sophia Yin. They are all practising scientists and behaviourists and understand how to apply the principles of animal learning using operant and classical conditioning. CM doesn't get a look in....and neither do you.

    16. @Fran - interesting your comments on terriers. I feel that there are a lot of people in the dog world who are uneasy about these types of dogs as pets, but nobody seems to be debating it seriously. Would it be fair to both dogs and people to acknowledge that some types of dogs definitely make safer and easier pets than others? I think so. Terriers require experienced and knowledgable owners who also understand the rigours of environmental management. The average dog owner perhaps doesn't have the time, inclination or ability to set these dogs up to succeed and although people may love their dogs, they don't necessarily love training them. A report was in The Guardian today about some feckless staffy owner who let her dog drag her into a garden to attack and kill a Pomeranian. I know for every story like this there are hundreds of dogs who are well behaved, but it's a sensitive issue isn't it?

      I know Jemima prefers to take in Gun Dog mixes too. I think that some sort of 'pet and breed appropriateness' discussion is required for the future of pet dogs too

    17. Anon July 8th 15:35

      You say that I suggest that "Dogs are in rescue because they are too 'muscular'; too hairy or too small and fragile? Again, you are referring to THE LOOK OF THE DOG!!!! And how, may I enquire is the show world NOT responsible for that then?"

      No, I did NOT suggest their look is the reason for them being in rescue - I'm pointing out that dogs in rescue are no different to dogs not in rescue - they all have particular physical and mental needs which vary depending on their size, coat, strength and genetic instinctive behaviour - what their ancestors, whether working dogs or show dogs or companion dogs or fighting dogs - were bred for.

      These undeniable differences mean that any particular dog might not be suitable for a particular owner, and if there's a seemingly inexhaustable supply of a particular type then the good forever home becomes harder to find. It's not snobbish or naive or contradictory to realise this! It's not the fault of the dog but people who think that there is a suitable dog in rescue for everyone doesn't have their logical head on.

      The show world is NOT responsible for the proliferation of pitbull terriers, for example - the breed is banned in the UK, there are NO show breeders of them, it's illegal to breed them - so who is providing them?

      Show breeders MIGHT be responsible for a proportion of pedigree dogs in rescue, but they're certainly not responsible for the numbers of crosses and mongrels, any more than your parents are responsible for the number of children taken into care.

    18. Georgina, my dislike of terriers has little to do with shape and style and more to do with temperament and biddability. I don't want a dog that is prone to fighting other dogs. I don't want a dog that's harder to train than the sighthounds I currently have. I don't want a dog that will never leave my chickens or other pets alone, no matter how much training I put in, or whatever kind of barrier I put up. I don't want a dog that needs such a huge amount of exercise for such a small dog. I know what I want in a dog and it doesn't come in the package marked 'terrier'.

      I want a gentle, affectionate pet, that doesn't need constant mental stimulation like a collie does either. I have found the right breeds for me - what is wrong with that?!

    19. As a quick guess, I might say that "I want to adopt a rescue dog and I don't care what the breed is" might seem to be a person who was adopted as a child. But I think my own quick guess is not quite on the mark.

      I lived for many years in a large American city. The county dog pound was not a nice place. Barking dogs, smell, no windows, chain link pens, and a steady stream of usually hopeless dogs.

      The county started to implement a new hiring policy.
      The county would hire both men and women for these jobs but gave priority to those recently released from jail/prison.

      He told me that he was told that the county's idea was that honest people were not a problem, but criminals cost the county a lot of money each year to house and guard, so the county would simply pay the parolees good wages for a government job to keep them out of trouble.

      This semed to be the start of a huge movement to change of fate dog pound dogs. It is an example of how the government can try one change and unknowingly set off changes they never guessed would happen.

      One woman was in tears telling me about what was going on at the dog pound. She had to take care of dogs for several days and then kill the ones who weren't adopted and stack their bodies in a truck. She didn't know if God would forgive her. But she had some serious arrest record and said it would keep her from ever getting a private job.

      I undrstand that one of the emotional tugs is the empathy the prisoners feel for these dogs. While many people would have believed that a healthy good dog would not die unclaimed by its owner and unadopted by everyone else, people who have lived behind bars respect the dogs who now live behind bars in 'doggie jails'. At some point, someone somewhere started calling this taking care of death row dogs.

      So I believe a little understanding can be felt for people who look at dogs waiting to be adopted or die, and who identify with the situation these dogs are in. But I still believe in finding ways so that people can find and afford the types of dogs who they can live with which would keep dogs from ended up in a dog pound.

      I also believe that no one person, or any one group of alike persons, has a broad enough understanding to solve the dog problems alone.

    20. Oh dear Fran, I didn't mean to offend you and I accept that we all have a choice to make with regard to whatever we are buying whether it's animal, vegetable or mineral. You are of course entitled to prefer sight hounds, I've had whippets, saluki and borzoi and they were lovely too, aloof, but adorable nonetheless. But all terriers are definately not as you describe, especially if they are on a one to one basis. The worst terriers I have experienced have been as show dogs kept in multiples, generally crated even at shows, little stimulation other than swearing at one another. Regrettably because this is where most people see terriers, they are in fact seeing them at their absolute worst. When a terrier is kept as a pet, mine is together with a working cocker and a 14.5 yr old dalmation they are lovely Fran, really lovely. Not the obnoxious portrayal you have given. Jemima is very obedient, doesn't run off, enjoys the walks with the others, and is cheeky but a fantastic little dog. Little Pip who is a JR and lives further down the lane oversees her chickens and ducks with great pride and aplomb. She was told not to touch them firmly, not hit or kicked, just told and she obeyed when terriers respect you, they respect big time. There is no breed of dog that I "hate" or dislike. All dogs have their merits. The comment about pitballs is a bit difficult. When the DDA was in full swing, Staffi/Lab crosses were deemed to be pitbulls, tho' they looked like attack dogs, a lot of them were, in fact, perfectly nice dogs with a big heart. So many of their owners experienced dreadful situations, their lovely pets stuffed into cells for flipping years and then destroyed. The dogs that do attack were, of course, trained by their owners to be antisocial and the way they are trained to be thus is criminal, shocking. So what looks like a pitbull in this country probably doesn't exist as such, what we see is just a lookylikey on the outside but is a lovely dog on the inside. You will remember a few years back that Alsations were attacking everyone, Rotties doing the same, Dobermans too, when the photos were shown the dogs were either prick eared (therefore an alsation), black and tan and fat (therefore a Rottie) etc. My comments were not intended to be inflammatory and I'm sorry you took them that way. At the end of the day we all love dogs and want their futures to be as good as possible don't we.

    21. @Fran talk about breed behavioural bias! But you are sensible in your choice of companion and honest about what you want in a dog. At least yours won't end up in a Rescue centre!

      What you put in to your dog, you get out of course and terriers and their mixes aren't for everyone. Certainly not for young families I think but older, well behaved children perhaps. However, its worth remembering that their breeding is subject to the genetic lottery of sexual reproduction. They are not behavioural clones, so I think one has to understand that they are not all going to be potentially OCD killers bouncing off the walls! Particularly if you are dedicated go their wellbeing, enthusiastic and able to redirect that drive and focus into appropriate outlets for these fantastic and sadly misunderstood dogs. Yep, for sure they require stringent environmental management and some people clearly can't be bothered with the effort.

      Progressive and respected trainer and behaviourist, Jean Donladson, advises that we should all quit inappropriately labelling, judging and categorising dogs and try to appreciate that it doesn't help anyone - dogs espeially - if you continue to do that. We have to look at behaviour within specific contexts. Accept dogs as the individuals they are, regardless of breed.

    22. Perhaps, one answer to suplying people with the type of dog who would be loved and kept forever, would be to encourage people who have a nice family dog who is good with children and guests, and who is good when left in the home alone, to breed it to an unrelated healthy middle aged dog who is also good and friendly.

      I remember one such mom looking for such a dog. She said that dog books were useless. She didn't care what breed the dog was. She didn't care what size the dog was, so long as it wasn't huge, nor too tiny for her youngest son to handle. She said she didn't even care what type of hair it had, so long as it didn't take too much time to care for.

      Yeah, I can see where a dog book would be useless to her. And she wouldn't have cared about any breed's history or if could run like the wind or herd sheep. But do purebred dog breeders understand this? Do people showing in the ring understand how very useless their goal of getting a championship is to the mom wanting a nice dog for her family? Do organisations like th KC and the AKC understand this or not?

      Would a showdog breeder understand that many families would rather buy a five year old, 3-legged mutt than the show breeder's retired champion, if the mutt was any better with children or a better house dog?

      Where are your priorities? Are you breeding dogs to be a good fit into normal families? Does the show ring help or hinder breeders in getting their priorities straight?

    23. As to the original post by Jemima about the new genetics site, I hope they find something about behavioral genes - one way or the other.

      Also I am wondering about epigenetics - it's not so much about what genes are there in the dog, but which genes are turned on or off. Since tramatic events, that happen to either parent, can affect offspring concieved after the tramatic event, are we properly breeding dogs with this new knowledge? Or is it just a new theory not yet truely proven? That's something I want to read more about.

    24. I am also hoping that the editors of this new journal cover all aspects of canine health, including behaviour as it is so important to the welfare of the dog. Dogs who can end up in rescue due to their 'behaviour problems' have on the whole been failed by their human guardians who do not understand how to manage and teach their canine companions. Some canine behaviour is more challenging than others - reactivity and expression of the full predatory motor pattern sequnce in certain breeds especially. But I am really interested in studies that look to the environment to shape emotional states and the resulting outward behaviour as a pet dog's environment is so key to it's success. Epigenetics is a fascinating and exciting new area which a lot of geneticists are thinking could help explain a lot about the areas such as behavior which still remain quite elusive. Behaviour is extraordinarily complex genetically, governed by many, many genes of the endocrine system How does the environement therefore shape behaviour? Which genes are switched on and off? etc.

      I hope this journal will be able to help educate some people in the dog world who continue to be extremely anthropomorphic regarding the cognitive and resulting emotional and behavioural world of our pet dogs. They really do need our understanding, not our condemnation.

    25. Anons: 22:59 & 09:32:

      That would be fascinating. I hope so too.

    26. To Anon 1038,

      If I have correctly picked you out from other Anons, and MY apologies if I have not, you:

      1 Do dog rescue or watch dog rescue? Whichever, you do write about dog rescue.

      2 You are interested in staffies/pitties.

      3 You seem to believe that rescue dogs with behavioral problems and aggression problems should be re-homed.

      4 You seem to believe that it is easy to reform powerful dogs with aggression problems using behavioral modification, to the extent that thhey may be safely adopted.

      I can't imagine why anyone might think you might have been watching CM.

      I am NOT trying to upset you, I am just trying to make sure that I understand your points, and to answer your question as to why someone might guess some link between you and CM.

      You claim superiority in this matter? Here is your chance to brag.

      You state which trainers you like. So you have read them? Fine. But now tell about the dangerous dogs you have rehabilitated and rehomed. You say it is easy? Tell us, not about who you have read, but about the dogs you have turned from aggressive to safe.

      I am NOT trying to insult or upset you. I really would like to read about your successes in training and rehoming aggressive staffie rescues with behavorial problems. Your audience awaits with ears up. I do really want to read this.

    27. Hi Anon 932,

      I like where you wrote about epigenetics and "...Behaviour is extraordinarily complex genetically, governed by many, many genes of the endocrine system..."

      I clicked on the links on Jemima's post and link hopped, and found one bit that I thought might be helpful (one I could sort of understand some parts of):

      It is by Claude Roberts and 7other people. Here is a quote snip:

      Epigenetic marks are defined as enzyme-mediated chemical modifications of DNA and/or of its associated chromatin proteins. Being epigenetic, these marks do not alter the primary sequence of DNA, but nevertheless contain information that may be heritable in daughter cells or potentially transmitted to downstream generations through germ cells".

      I hope I got that right, I'm not on a full computer so I can't cut and paste, or make links, but I thought that sounded like a good starting point. I do hope the lay summary is easier to read.

    28. Stick to the issues Anon 15:59!

      What have you to offer on canine genetics, health and behaviour?

      Why are you bullying an anononmous poster into insisting they 'brag' about their 'superior' knowledge?

      You refer to 'dangerous' and 'aggressive' dogs being rehomed. If you actually knew anything about rescue and rehoming you would understand that truly dangerous and aggressive dogs are actually rare and are never adopted out into the community by reputable rescue organisations. Reactive dogs, yes. But reactivity is different to aggression and has actually been selected for when breeding terriers. They are 'reactive' by their very nature in order to do the jobs we wanted them to do. Kill vermin, independently from their himan guardians. Go to ground for their quarry etc. Reactivity isn't great in pet dogs though, however, it can be successfully treated and re-directed by dog savvy owners and good trainers and behaviourists.

      Learned aggression? Look to the owners - quit labelling dogs with the 'dangerous' and 'aggressive' tags simply because they are staffy mixes in rescue!

      Suggest you savvy up yourself and get reading around the issues before you go off on a tangent with your ego.

    29. Hi Anon 20:45, Anon 09:32 here.

      Many thanks for posting the link.

      What is exciting is that the genetic changes can be heritable but there is no change in the DNA sequence - it's purely to do with activation and expression. That's why I am excited about it's possible impact on understanding canine behaviour and the environment. Studies on rats have concluded that food can alter epigenetics depending on the diet too. There's huge discussions and debates on the effects of raw/dry food on dogs. Some behaviourists for example, do tend to think that a carbohydrate rich diet can help with aggressive dogs. Although I think this may be more to do with the effect of insulin release. However, it's all very exciting!

    30. Anon 09:32 here again.
      'Recent work suggests that so-called epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation, which alter the activity of genes without changing their DNA sequence, could explain how early life experiences can leave an indelible mark on the brain and influence both behavior and physical health later in life. These effects may even carry over to subsequent generations. Meanwhile, other researchers have implicated epigenetics in drug addiction. Still others have described important roles in cognition. Some researchers speculate that if these rodent findings extend to humans, epigenetics could turn out to be at the heart of some of the most vexing problems in society. These ills include the long-term health problems of people raised in lower socioeconomic environments, the vicious cycle in which abused children grow up to be abusive parents, and the struggles of drug addicts trying to kick the habit. Tempting as such speculation may be, others worry that the young but fast-growing field of behavioral epigenetics is getting ahead of itself. They point out that so far there's very little evidence in humans that epigenetics connects early life experience to behavioral or health problems later in life. Moreover, several experimental obstacles will make finding proof exceedingly difficult.'

      Yikes! The plot thickens....

    31. Anon 09:32 again...

      This may help people understand the futility in labelling and blaming the poor old Staffy/Pitty and their mixes.

      'It was Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, who coined the term eugenics and really put the idea into the public consciousness that intelligence was inherited and the result of natural superiority.

      That the debate still rages on is absurd. It’s easy to forgive the radical position of those 19thC thinkers; they knew nothing of DNA, GxE interactions or epigenetics. The same can’t be said for those making the argument today.

      This debate can become especially vitriolic and extreme whenever people begin discussing pit bulls – particularly if it associated with an attack on a person. The nature side comes out swinging; claiming that the dog is genetically dangerous ignoring any influence the dog’s experience may have had on its behavior. The nurture side counters the irrationality with irrationality by claiming it is all about how the dog was brought up ignoring the effects of selective breeding.

      Anyone espousing either extremist view, doesn’t know what they are talking about. Surely both sides recognize that the whole argument is based on a false dilemma. The simple fact is that genes can influence behavior. Behavior can influence environment. Environment can influence genes. It’s an interactive and ongoing bouillabaisse with behavior as the ongoing product, but all are affected by each other. And behavior is not the final product because as long as an organism is alive, it has the potential to change.'

    32. In reply to Anon 11 J 1038, (and maybe Anons 8 J 2102 and 9 J 1038),

      The comment you are blasting and questioning is a reply to a reply of a comment.

      The part being answered on 10 J 1559, refers to this quote from Anon 9 J 1038:

      "Can you clarify and amplify your statement relating to why a person who clearly has more understanding of the cognitive and behavioral understanding of dogs than you seem to fit with CM brigade?"

      Anon 1038 is asking me to "clarify and amplify". He/she WANTS more.

      I'm not sure what he/she wants more of, but I guessed at it and tried to answer. Anyone else who thinks they can answer better is welcome to try. Don't just tell me my own answer is wrong, give the right answer. That is how people learn, isn't it?

      The part about "superiority" and "brag" comes from the part about "...clearly has more understanding...than you seem to have...".

      In some cultures like Australia and in some American classrooms, showing off and bragging are considered a healthy sign of a good personality or a classroom requirement. Some social situations reward such, but look downupon shyness and lack of wholehearted honest participation. I do try to understand the person replying to my comments, and I try to reply in a culturally equal way.

      I can't hear accents from a blog, so I might guess wrong. But I do try to get it right and I do feel bad when I don't. I try to use a very soft voice when replying to very soft comments. These were NOT soft remarks.

    33. Hi Fran,

      Sorry it has taken me so long to reply to what you wrote. Did you know that in the US, even homeless people can adopt dogs? You wrote about a puppy left alone all day. A border collie puppy would probably be happier tramping about with his leash tied to a homeless person's shopping cart/trolley, than left alone all day.

      You sometimes see these people and their dogs in downtown areas after business hours. The dogs are usually heavy fur type dogs not too big, not too small, because small dogs aren't free and big dogs eat too much. They are usual aloof or friendly because people would report a dog if it tried to bite.

      They are usually bonded to their owner because they spend almost every minute of the day with him. They are usually dogs adopted after they are grown and neutered. Because their owner is out in public so much, the dogs are usually brushed often during the day so that they look good - you can see the comb marks in the fur.

      I think it is more the dog who is the guardian than the owner, but whatever, it seems to work out fine for both, especially for the dogs who was probably given away by a shelter worker who didn't want to kill the dog.

      About puppies not fitting into modern lifestyles? I've had puppies who were house trained young. What happened to dogs that they are more diffficult now? I think it might be crating. People use to NEVER crate a puppy or dog. They put a board up to keep the puppy in the kitchen, with a pile of newspapers in front of the door, and the puppy was house trained and able to have the run of the house in a few weeks.

      I believe crates allowed breeders to take shortcuts. Before crates, home breeders had to keep only dogs who got along well with each other and who could roam free in the home. People who bought a puppy expected that it had been bred with these traits. Those are the traits we could use a gene test for!

  23. Hi Anons 16:38 and 18:03. 16:38 I too would hope to show a lot of compassion when dealing with people and in the main I don't jump to a conclusion about someone until something comes to light. In the case of pedigree dogs and their breeders I am not referring to past events, I am in the now, now is the time, today, that breeders are abusing their priveledge of being in a position to breed dogs but that priveledge isn't driven by compassion and love for their dogs, their priveledge is paid for from the proceeds of their dogs, their stock, their trading objects. They show too because they want more kudos because that equals more money, simple equation. The past, more than 40 years ago, there was an innocence, an intelligence, honour and respect both for dogs and people. Today nothing, except huge sums of money to be made quickly with no responsibility or accountability. I understand why people direct their lives towards the welfare of dogs and in the main they are good people. I understand that dogs fulfil a need within some to nurture, love, use as a "social" contact, I do understand all of that and it does take all sorts to make a world and the more variety the better. A mix of like minded people from different backgrounds enables all involved to meet and come to understand what others have experienced in their lives. It was this part of showing dogs, apart from the pleasure of watching new puppies come along and grow into beautiful adults, that I really enjoyed because it was enlightening and sparked my compassion. I do understand what you are saying but I am not judging a particular person, I am judging the immoral conduct and lack of humanity within the pedigree dog society today. And I will add that I find it sad and sickening. We have a choice, we can do, buy, say, choose whatever we want but dogs are at our mercy, they are conditioned to fit in with us and they oblige but if they were able to speak I often wonder what they would say to us about the life style choices we subject them to.
    Anon 18:03, I know, terrible, my young brother has rescued a staffie cross and she is delightful, loyal, gentle, absolutely charming. But if there was more restraint when breeding pedigree dogs then possibly some of these bully breeds/greyhounds/collies etc could be given a sporting chance of a loving home, couldn't they? I don't expect or think it would be responsible for someone to take on a dog that would be unhappy in an inappropriate home, that is obvious, so agree with your last statement. In essence I am saying that this is ALL ABOUT DOGS AND HORRIBLE GREEDY PEOPLE, not the rest of us who love our dogs and want the best quality of life possible for them, that is all.

  24. Thought you might get a chuckle out of this reaction, Jemima:

  25. Thank you for sharing this. :-) I heard about it earlier from a breeders' group and have subscribed, and I have high hopes for it.

  26. Hi Jess, I tried to find this site but no luck, there was one in America and the other one was Pedigree Chum advertising with photographs and some of the photographs are PDE/JH related, is that the site you mean? Sorry to butt in but it would be interesting to read the item.
    Thanks Georgina

  27. Wasn't this a discussion of a new journal dedicated to canine genetics and epidemiology?

    It's amazing how some people can turn any conversation into a discussion of the hobbyhorse they are riding. It gets boring when they take over a blog.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Like their dogs, the staffy people are numerous and have great endurance. Rescue people too. For them the war will go on and on. What other choices do they have?

      But it does edgeout my hobbyhorses sometimes, like my pet rant about people who breed and sell genetically unhealthy doomed-to-die puppies, or temperamentally unfit-to-any -pet-home puppies, and then they say that they are responsible good breeders because they show their dogs and have champions.

      But I can get tired of commenting even on my own pet rants. Who would want to eat their favorite meal three times a day, seven days a week? Sometimes you want something different even when you don't like it as much. So I like to ride other people's hobbyhorses sometimes too. I hope you forgive me for contributing to a rant you must be tired of, and so, lets let YOU start the next dog hobbyhorse race until the next post. Name your hobbyhorse and lets race.

    2. 'Like their dogs, the staffy people are numerous and have great endurance. Rescue people too. For them the war will go on and on. What other choices do they have?'

      Goodness, what a deeply unpleasant comment Anon. Frankly, it says more about you than the people involved with Staffys and rescue...

      Jennifer, your point on science is well made. I too understand the frustration when people are too emotionally attached to their opinions and polarise any chance of an objective, empirical and rational discussion. However,as I understand, part of the reason Jemima started this blog was to help educate and raise awareness by drawing attention to the science in dog breeding because most people involved in it are not educated in this particular area. Indeed, some comments on here indicate that there is a lack of understanding of the scientific language mentioned so far. Therefore, it stands to reason that the discussion threads on isn't going to be to an academic standard.

      Empathy is a wonderful thing.....

  28. Unpleasant and unneccesary comment Jennifer, I don't know to whom you refer but everyone who has an opinion is given an equal chance to express it. If you resent others being able to express their concerns and ideas on resolution that is your problem. Conversation or argument is a way of others, especially me, learning from others knowledge and it also gives those, like myself, who are not as intelligent being given the opportunity to understand and open up other thought processes. People like Mary, I didn't know or understand why she appears to be sharp until she informed everyone that she helps at a rescue centre and is the last person a lovely dog smells before he dies in her arms, that is what sparks her passion. She totally understands the real implication of overbreeding, whether by design or by accident, she has all of my respect because I most certainly couldn't do it, perhaps you do the same job and help with rescues, I think she is inspirational. I don't know about you, I do know that you have involvement with dogs but being unkind about/to other contributors is pointless, you do have a choice however, either contribute constructively or just press the off button, it is quite simple, but I personally hope your choose the former.

  29. Yeah Jennifer,

    That is what this post is suppose to be about, but I clicked on it and I didn't find any "lay summary". Who can read it? So there is nothing for us to do but sniff each other's posts, and bark along with the terriers.

  30. I recognized 2 names on the editorial board as canine geneticists doing cutting edge research.

    1. What do they write about? Please answer in words I already know, or explain the meaning of any new terms you use. I want to know what is happening in canine genetics, but I don't have a degree in it.

    2. Basically you are asking me to freely give up my time to tutor you on all published research in the field of canine genetics.

      Do what i do when I want to learn about published research, search for it using google scholar. Using google scholar one can search with these terms (canine OR dog genetics) which will return all articles with the word "genetics" and either "canine" or "dog",21&q=canine+OR+dog+genetics&scisbd=1#

      This search returns 355,000 literature articles on canine genetics based upon research projects or reviews of previously published research projects. Access to the abstracts is free from which you can determine what the research was about and the overall results. Some of the links will provide free access to the entire publication.

      Abstracts are summaries. I suggest you start reading and when you find a word you don't know, do what I do, search for a definition of that word using google (or a dictionary).

    3. Hi pipedreamfarm,

      I'm glad you replied before you wasted your time, but your guess about me was way off the mark. I really expected something like: "One studies how diet effects rats, and the other studies cat spleen DNA". I didn't expect a book, and I only wanted simple English.

      Really I figured you commented on a slow thread because you wanted to chit chat. I was being social, and letting you choose the topic. I figured you and Jennifer were squeezed off topic ,so I'd pause and wave you both onto the lane ahead of me.

      Thank for mentioning google scholar, I've always liked reading science, but I want to help the future of dogdom, and it seems to me that the solutions there are with people and the SYSTEM which leads them. Genetic testing helps individual breeders and some people buying a puppy, but without a major paradigm shift in the system, dog breeds are doomed.

    4. Here is a good overview article on canine genetics research.

  31. There is nothing to read, yet, because no articles have been published in this new journal.

  32. Ok Jennifer and Anon 19:47, I will cease contributing to any further topics/discussions/conversations, I hear the sharpness and dislike of me in your words. I'm sure your contributions will be far more entertaining, informative, intelligent than anything I have been able to offer. Over to you.

    1. Georgina, your empathy, compassion and love for dogs shines through in your posts. I like reading what you have to offer here. For sure, we all veer off topic now and again but usually it is sparked by something we feel strongly about and then like to use the opportunity to help spread our knowledge, experience and maybe, just maybe, it can help somebody to think and look at things in a different way...I'm sure Jemima keeps a close eye on proceedings to ensure things stay under control! :)

  33. Hi Georgina,

    Please don't leave. Please don't be hurt. I am Anon 1947. I didn't mean you. I answered Jennifer's comment in case she meant me, for feeding off topic comments.

    I was trying to say that the train of Jemima's post wasn't so much as derailed, as that it (commentwise) never came into the station at all. What comment can a person make about something which hasn't started yet? It had three or four days to collect comments before some troll made a cruel remark to Margaret, then the 1000th running of the Rescue Staffy Hobbyhorse race was on. But it is often a good race, and I have gone to several myself.

    Jennifer does comment. Perhaps she is not as pushy as you or I am. Maybe we can help her feel less shy about talking about HER hobbyhorse. Everyone has a hobbyhorse or two. (Heaven help if one of Jemima's posts ever starts one of my hobbyhorses into full gallop). So lets remember that the dogs need every supportor that they can get, even when the people bump into each other's words sometimes, and try to have no hard feelings towards Jennifer's hobbyhorses - some of her hobbyhorses might be my hobbyhorses too, or some of your hobbyhorses also.

    Even the Anon which keeps making unpleasant comments to MY comments, probably has several hobbyhorses in commom with me.

    1. I guess my hobbyhorse is science.

      I long for better sources of information on canine genetics and epidemiology. It's frustrating that data collection in the pedigree dog world is so sparse and unsystematic, and much of the useful data doesn't see the light of day. It's also frustrating that the field of genetics is advancing rapidly, but most of us are left in the dark due because we can't see through the jargon and are missing some basic concepts. And it's frustrating to read an interesting abstract and then be asked for twenty bucks if you want to read the whole article. The journal, so to speak, promises to scratch an itch.
      Maybe this thread could have been a discussion of studies people would like to see published. JH mentioned the Animal Health Trust/KC. Perhaps others have other studies they'd like to see. I just read an interesting, fairly-technical article arguing that there will never be genetic tests for diseases like epilepsy (see . It would be good to have an environment in which to throw around the questions of where genetic tests are possible, why or why not? Or to see thoughts on how long it is going to take to make rational sense of polygenetic diseases such as hip dysplasia.

      If we're going to go through the terrier discussion yet again, can't someone please pull out some research results ... eg, consider the causes of death for terriers as opposed to non-terriers on the Finnish KC's database (if you do this, you'll find out that many terrier breeds would be long lived if it weren't for high accident rates and for some breeds, high rates of euthanasia for behavioral reasons). Or pull out Svartburg (2006)'s paper on breed-typical behavior and look at terrier breeds (based on 16,000 temperament tests of pedigree dogs). If it's the overpopulation discussion, can we please base it on some sort of evidence showing the respective contributions of pedigree breeders, BYB'ers, and commercial breeders in terms of numbers of pups produced and numbers of dogs who end out in shelters. Without facts in the discussion, we're merely chasing our tails.

      I infer you want backstory. Ok. I taught science at a university that put a premium on writing. I have put in thousands of hours marking student papers and exams. This sensitized me to the difference between opinionated mouthing off and a well constructed argument backed by evidence. It also left me with little tolerance of judgmental and emotive language. If love of dogs was going to fix things, they'd have been fixed long ago.

    2. Jennifer,
      PLOS is an open source on-line journal and one of the editors of this new journal publishes there.

      Epilepsy in dogs is currently being studied in several research groups and I know one will be publishing (open source) their results from a recently completed study.

      The genetic testing technology has come of age to allow for well-designed studies to tackle polygenetic diseases with genome wide association studies using gene chips that test 172,000 different regions of the genome simultaneously. The hard part is obtaining samples from an appropriate number of dogs that have been correctly identified as having the disease (correct clinical diagnosis) and an appropriate set of unrelated controls. The appropriate number increases as the genetics for the disease moves from autosomal recessive to polygenic. The number of samples can move towards 100 affected dogs and 100 controls.

      So how do I know these things?
      PhD in science
      Health & Genetics Committee Chair for a registry

    3. I think I am right in saying that there is not, as yet, a single definitive genetic test for any polygenetic disorder.

      I am sure they are on the way; but I really don't see that the complex interplay of possibly many genes is doing to be as easy to nail - in a useful way - as the low-hanging fruit of disorders caused by a simple recessive.


    4. I believe, based upon what researchers have told me that the technology is in place to identify the genes responsible for polygenetic diseases which are controlled by 2 or 3 genes (and possibly more). The key is having enough of the right samples (affected dogs and unrelated normal dogs). As the number of genes involved goes up so does the number of samples required. To date, I have not seen published research or heard about the identification of genes responsible for a polygenic disease.

      What would make this research go faster is open access to the data generated by the testing. The data generated in one study for disease x could be used to study disease y as long as the disease y status of each tested dog can be determined.

      That means, the data from studies for diseases a-h (where each study may have 50 normals and 50 controls) can be combined creating data for 800 dogs. Assuming the data is compatible in terms of the chromosomal regions tested (or the gene chips used). The data from these dogs could be used for many more disease studies without additional testing. When you start adding up the data from all of the independent studies we might have enough data to study the more complex genetic diseases.

    5. Hi Jennifer, thanks for the reply and background!

      I also love reading science, not just about dogs but about any NEW information. I have reached the point where I am even tired of even really good ideas, if I have heard them too often.

      Like this morning, I went and read one of my favorite dog blogs. And there was a very good post about inbreeding, and how it is not just the recent pedigree which must be studied, but the lines of the whole breed. I agree 100%, and the post was very well written, explained, and scientically backed up.

      But farmers knew this long ago. There are probably old Greek texts about it. I understand that each new generation must learn thesethings. But once you learn something you want to learn something else, right?

      We are educating each new generation about the problems of inbreeding, both within families and within groups. But we are not doing anything to correct the inbreeding mess left by the past generation of dog breeders, and which is still being carried on today. No information was written about how to get out of this problem, only instructions on how to prevent it.

      Now we need to know how to catch the horse who got away because our parents/grandparents left the barn door open -against THEIR parents/grandparents warning.

      And the arguement about where someone in rescue feels bad about the dogs being PTS and it dawns on them (like it has a thousand people before them) that maybe they can solve the Mathusian problem with canine birth prevention, so they write something like:

      I wouldn't have to kill so many staffies/pitties if you would just quit breeding your toy poodles and your friends would quit breeding Yorkies and Maltese dogs.

      It seems that each week, somewhere in the world of internet dogs, yet another person needs it explained to them why this will NOT work. Then when the rescue people realise that they need to slow down the breeding of pitties and staffies, they back off, because they don't want to bother those breeders.

      I understand that each new rescue person has every right to know what the people who have gone ahead of them have learned. Knowledge is NOT just for the first few to ask a question. But it does get tiresome to explain the same things every week.

      Isn't there something NEW under the sun?

    6. I hope everyone knows how pro-science I am, but I confess I am filled with foreboding re the ever-increasing emphasis on DNA tests as a route out of genetic disease.

      My fear is that they will be used to justify continued breeding in a way that is ultimately unsustainable.

      Genetic testing is complementary to breeding that embraces wider genetic principles (ie re diversity/selection for fitness) not a replacement for it.


    7. This same genetic testing can be used to replace COI. Image a stud book where the genotype of every dog is known. Now when you want to select a mating you can know ahead of time the real genetic diversity possible in the litter and not rely upon an estimate using COI.

      All tests (genetic, clinical, radiological, performance, etc) are only useful tools when breeders choose to use them and use the information appropriately.

    8. Ah, well I see the idea of genotyping in this sense as more useful. Stand by for a post on Genoscoper's new test.


    9. Anon 16:31 said about the nonsensical "I wouldn't have to kill so many staffies/pitties if you would just quit breeding your toy poodles and your friends would quit breeding Yorkies and Maltese dogs."

      You're 100% right. Stopping breeding the sort of dogs that people want isn't going to help the dogs that people DON'T want one iota. The breeders/puppy producers who have to reduce their output are the ones producing the types that are filling the shelters.

      To suggest otherwise is like blaming a tomato grower for a glut of cucumbers!

    10. The only problem I have with the /Staffy mix issue is that some people fail to understand that nature and nurture are bedfellows. Behaviour CAN be modified, so writing them all off as dangerous simply fuels the ignorance people have of behaviour due to their lack of education in that particular area. This also fuels their unpopularity as pets and adds to their lack of appeal. It is breedist. And rather ignorant to be honest. The reason a lot of people don't want a Staffy is because rather common people walk around with them in order to look hard and so they don't want to lumped into that class of people. Come on. Be honest. Dogs as accessories? It's like having a KIA Piccanto as opposed to an Audi A5.

    11. Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your reply at 1903. I like your tomato/cucumber comparison. I think it is an easy to understand concept, and I don't understand why it has to be repeated so often. I guess hurting hearts are desperate to find an answer, I understand that, but the only way to fix the problem is to find answers that work.

    12. I'm sure they'll get this working for humans before dogs. I'm fascinated by the service offered by They do whole genome genotyping and give risk factors for 40+ inherited genetic conditions and a couple hundred other things. I don't see any mention of polygenetic conditions, though . . . just multi-locus conditions. Seems like it may be worth the $99 just to learn about what can be done on a commercial scale with present technology. I wish the canine genetics companies were following a similar, whole-genome approach.

    13. Hi Jemima,

      Thank you for all the good work you have been doing to help dogs.

      IMO: People will keep breeding dogs to win at shows and events, and those are the dogs which produce the next generations. There are good breeders, but there are also too many breeders who have lost the focus of producing puppies with the goal in mind of having healthy puppies bred to be good pets.

      There is always some selection factor which breeders use to decide which dogs to breed. They can use show wins, health tests, behavior tests, or just breed from the biggest puppy of the color they like, but every breeder uses some criteria for selection.

      I would like the criteria used to be which dogs would make the easiest and most loved pets. But book after book has been written telling breeders NOT to keep or breed the healthy puppy who makes the best pet, but to choose to keep and breed the dogs who will be the best show dogs. That is one of my favorite hobbyhorses.

    14. They are. See MyDogDNA.

      Post to come shortly.


    15. Genotyping of dogs has a much bigger purpose than identifying the mutations that cause canine genetic diseases to facilitate breeding out these diseases.

      Many canine genetic diseases have human analogs and in some cases they are controlled by the exact same genetic mutation. Genotyping humans to identify these mutations is much more difficult due to the lower level of in-breeding and the more complex ethical concerns. The level on in-breeding in dogs (even breeds that are the least inbred) facilitates the identification of these mutations as does the recorded heredity. Some of the current canine genetic studies are being funded via human disease research monies.

      For example:
      The Canine Hereditary Cancer Consortium, a joint effort by two human disease research institutes (TGen and Van Andel Research Institute) and the US National Cancer Institute. (Do a search on this consortium and read up on their efforts.)

      Once these mutations have been identified, how these mutations cause biological changes (changes in the production of certain proteins) can be determined and then drug therapies can be developed to counteract the mutation caused changes in the biochemical pathway. These drug therapies could be used treat "affected" dogs and ultimately "affected" humans.

    16. Jemima, thanks for the MyDogDNA link. Fascinated by this as it would definitely enable potential puppy buyers to lobby pressure on breeders to get their dogs tested and to force some more ethical and empirical choices.

      It's certainly better than the vet check at Crufts for example....I would definitely be asking breeders about their knowledge and views on genetic screening of their dam and sires. I have no idea of the sensitivity and specificity of this test, but it certainly is encouraging.

      I share your view that it may also enable some pedigree obsessed breeders to continue a long a path of genetic self-destruction too. They may feel that they can simply carry doing what they always have done with a negative result.

      How do we encourage breeders to focus on 'pet friendly' dogs, focusing on their appearance and temperamant for the benefit of their health and their ability to thrive alongside humans and other dogs? I am sure lots of other people just want a healthy and fairly laid back companion without any focus on the length of his ears or the flatness of his face.

      As long as the show ring exists for pedigree dog breeders, I fear that we'll always have these problems...

    17. There is no comparison between the genetic testing chips used by and uses gene chips that test 730,000 different markers on the human genome while (and other "what is my dog breed" tests) test no more than 100 markers on the canine genome. The state of the art gene chip for dogs tests 173,000 different markers on the canine genome.

    18. Actually, Anon, MyDogDNA tests for around 10,000 markers - much more than the average "what is my dog breed" test.


    19. Jemima,
      Where do you get 10,000? I don't see this info on their website. I did find this indicating my estimate less than 100 was incorrect.

      "At DNA My Dog, our laboratory uses over 500 data points while performing breed identification tests. Our testing accuracy is validated daily by performing repeated control tests on the same dogs to guarantee accuracy. Our database of validated breeds is kept at a size representative of approximately 97% of the mixed breed dog population. This ensures our database has the most relevant breeds. We don't test uncommon breeds or breeds not AKC registered. While having a large number of breeds is advantageous to a point, it may also lead to a greater possibility of inaccurate results."

    20. Aha... you're getting mixed up between two different companies. DNA My Dog (US) is different to MyDogDNA (Finland). The MyDogDNA test is a much more comprehensive tests from Genoscoper - blog to come shortly. It looks at 10,000 markers. Or, to be more precise, this was the answer when I checked with Genoscoper:

      "...around 10,000 (this is mentioned for instance in our infographics) and these spread across the dog’s chromosome pairs."



    21. This excerpt from the MyDogDNA website is essentially what I was talking about on July 12 @ 16:43.

      "MyDogDNA provides also the next generation tool for breeders:
      With MyDogDNA Breeder™ you can rank mating partners based on the genetic health of the offspring!
      In addition to delivering to dog owners the widest possible genetic health information about their dogs, MyDogDNA is also a global dog database that provides breeders and Breed Clubs with up-to-date insight into the breed health. Each tested dog automatically grants its owner an access to a unique matchmaking tool MyDogDNA Breeder – designed to help breeders to search for breeding pairs that optimise the genetic health within breed and to network with other breeders nearby and across the world."

    22. So is anyone lobbying the KC about this?

    23. In the sense that moving towards utilising these sort of prognostic tools before puppies are born may be a bit more sensible than waiting for the vet checks at Crufts. Prognostic as opposed to diagnostic allows better breeding decisions perhaps?

  34. Has anyone else heard or read about a single shot/injection that erases/resets a person's entire epigenetic marks? Sounds impossible but it is said to exist. CREEPY. Sure some of our experiences have left us with mental battle scars, but I don't know if I like the idea of losing all of them. And with just one injection?

    I think I first heard about it in reference to PTSD (Post Tramatic Shock Disorder). Like with soldiers who can't get the war out of their heads, and people who have been through terrible shock. Perhaps soon people will sit around a pub/bar that only sells fruit juices, and they'll say "I remember the time before The Shot when we could just get drunk instead". Another quick fix or bad medicine? Guess it depends on how badly your past bothers you.

    Still, it might erase accumulated epigenetic unspoken knowledge that our species had been building up since we hunted with wolves and wore animal hides.

    I figure people aren't going to want to google it themselves, so I went looking for a link, and found that there is a Nova show about it. Nova is usually very good. The link I found is long, but maybe it will cut and paste into your browser or you could google it. Sorry but I can't make you a proper link.

    I had to add an "enter" after the date for size.

    1. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing) is a therapy of choice for PTSD. It's highly effective as it takes the trauma out of the memory, so that it drops back into the subconscious like a normal memory would. It doesn't work in everybody though and can only be done through a therapist, although it usually only takes 4-12 sessions.

    2. Epigenetics is trendy and subject to a lot of hype. I would tend to be skeptical. Recently came across a good review of epigenetics as applied to the human brain at:

    3. Hi Fran,

      Thanks for the reply, that was kind of you. I though of the epigenetic eracer injection because of what someone said about behavior problems in rescue dogs. If it is a choice between killing the dogs or tampering with their epigenetics then I guess it might be worth a try. The eye thing you mentioned probably is safer for people.

  35. Just to say thank you to Anons 13:25 and 19:47. I'm afraid I can be rather outspoken and a tedious but like all our comments it stems from the love of dogs and fear for their vulnerability in the wrong hands. My words are well meant and I had promised previously to shut up and then off I go again. But the real topic here isn't about me, my and mine. It is an open forum for sound, intelligent contributions just the comment above Anon 04:36, fascinating. It is why we are so lucky to live in a free world where we can exercise our right to inform and be informed without fear of retribution. I just wish that people like Jennifer who are also passionate could express it in another way other than attacking by sacrascm (lowest form of wit) and aggression when the energy used to express thus could be used so much more constructively. But thank you both again, it is much appreciated it confirms to me that 95% of the population who have an involvement in dogs are lovely, compassionate, kind people from whom the remaining 5% could learn so much.

    1. I agree. Sarcasm isn't nice. I have used it as a way to avoid getting personal. If you'd prefer, I'll be glad to provide an example of how your comments would be marked on a paper graded for critical thinking.

      I read this blog because JH says some things that need saying, and consistently provides links / evidence and references for statements made. I have issues with focus -- eg, JH relies heavily on photographic evidence. This is great for cutting through jargon, but photos, almost by definition, are superficial and heavy reliance on photos tends to put the focus on visible problems such as exaggerated features of pedigree dogs, meanwhile tending to detract from focus on invisible problems, such as propensity to cancer or deterioration of immune systems or temperament.

      I dislike seeing discussion deteriorate into emotive 'love of dogs', 'wicked cruel breeders', and 'vulnerability in the wrong hands' statements, backed, at best, with anecdotal evidence.

      By all means . . . use your free speech. But it would be good if you'd buttress your value judgements with some material evidence. And if no one stops me, I may periodically get sufficiently annoyed to use my free speech to some un-tactful things about lack of evidence and/or weak critical thinking.

      Btw., I'd say you comments are more tedious than outspoken. Broadly anti-breeder statements are commonplace. These days it takes more courage to defend good breeders than to attack breeders as a group.

    2. Hi Jennifer,

      I guess you aren't as shy as I thought. If in the future, I should ever be the one to upset you, please post exactly what I said which bothers you, so I don't just read it as "I don't like you", okay?

      I like Jemima's photo method. Myself and oodles of other have been saying and posting these complaints for decades and it didn't seem to do any good. Then Jemima makes a film about it,and it works. She has to be doing something right.

    3. Jennifer, Your comments are totally clinical, sterile and heartless. Dogs are not objects and if what you say above is how you feel then why are you bothering to comment at all. You come across as defensive of bad, greedy breeders who breed dogs that subsequently become vulnerable. Enjoy your scientific approach, my anecdotal evidence is from the heart from living and loving dogs for a very long time and I will continue to enjoy them. I think you are horrible, cold, nasty, not all of us have a scientific background but appreciate learning from those who do, but your approach, lack of humanity is degrading and vile and reflects badly on your persona and generally on the scientific approach. If you had bothered to properly read the words in my notes I certainly have not advocated cessation of breeding but a slow down, I have not advocated that people who want a yorkie would be happy with a staffie, never. But I do, and agree with my friend with whom you rudely took issue, understand that lovely dogs regardless of type are being destroyed, not given a chance to live a natural lifetime because the market is saturated with pedigree dogs bred inland or offshore. It's a fact Jennifer and not everything in life can be proved to be right or wrong, black or white scientifically, there is always the unexpected, impossible event that throws out all the research and development and a return to the base line. This is absolutely my last contribution. If I annoyed you so much by my mutterings, then when you saw my name why didn't you just ignore it, you didn't have to analyse my words and be so spiteful, you really didn't. Sleep well and tomorrow is another day and try and be a little less analytical and a bit more human or preferably canine. You come across as an embittered old school mistress whose only way of communicating would be to assess what is being said by a contributor as "marked on a paper graded for critical thinking" you really are so rude, patronising.

  36. When it comes to comments, better heartless than mindless.
    I hope, in future comments, you will take the time to back your statements with some evidence, and be a bit less prolific with emotive and judgmental language.
    It's not just science that demands evidence . . . journalism, law, management, and any sort of rational decision making require credible sources.
    If the dog world is to end out with pugs that can breathe and flatcoats that aren't doomed to early death from cancer, it will require that good breeders have scientifically correct information to make decisions. It is also going to require that good breeders produce MORE puppies, not fewer. It's also going to require educating more breeders so that they make the right decisions. Lambasting breeders as a class is counterproductive. The love of dogs, the show version of 'betterment' of breed", has gotten the pedigree world into the mess it's in. It will require rational, science-based understanding to begin to counter the health and temperaments problems found in many breeds.
    Your cries of 'greed' are destructive. If a breeder invests heavily in their dogs, works many hours a week, and is producing healthy pups with good temperament, they deserve to make a living wage for the hours they put in and some return on capital.
    CGE's mission is great, and the journal could potentially fill an important niche in righting problems with pedigree dog breeding.

  37. It is also going to require education of puppy buyers to research where they buy puppies. As long as buyers are willing to fall for that cute cuddly puppy from a "bad" breeder; the "bad" breeders will continue to produce puppies. People seem to spend more time researching which phone to buy and which carrier than which breed of dog and the source of the dog.

    1. You're correct. However, finding a reputable breeder is fiendishly difficult. Breeders can appear to be responsible when they're not. If I, as a puppy buyer, can look online to see what questions to ask the breeder and what kind of answers to expect, I'm certain any breeder can look online for the right answers!

      There are also those breeders who seem to be responsible, until a problem crops up in their lines, and then they either blame the owner for the illness, and/or bury their heads in the sand.

      You can't even be certain you're getting a purebred dog! If the breeder has registered a previous litter with the KC and registered more puppies than were born, that gives him/her extra pedigrees to slap on dogs of unknown parentage, but s/he wants to breed from. If you keep breeding back to a purebred dog, the offspring will eventually bear sufficient resemblance to that breed to fool most pet owners. I don't have an issue with outcrossing, but I do want it to be formally documented, to know when it's been done, why, and the health and temperament of the breeds involved!

      You also have no guarantee that the sire and dam on the pedigree are the real sire and dam! There is no mandatory DNA profiling to ascertain this. Currently, pedigrees comes with a disclaimer.

    2. You're quite right. The number of morons who buy a puppy from a pet shop, or indeed from anywhere without having seen the puppy interacting with its mother, is just furthering puppy farms, and these are the puppies, often with false pedigrees, or no pedigree and sold under the "pedigrees are unhealthy so these crosses/designer oodles are all right" sales pitch who are likely to be unhealthy.

      Not all breeders who have the litter and the mother in the home are automatically 'good' breeders - they can be utterly appalling with puppies disadvantaged from the start - but NO good breeder would ever sell a puppy without meeting the potential buyer first, ergo ALL puppies from pet shops are from 'bad breeders'.

      And puppies in pet shops look 'cute'. Soft-hearted people buy them to 'rescue' them and another bitch in the suppliers' puppy farm is doomed to yet another litter to replace it. Nobody would spend hundreds of pounds on a car 'because it's a pretty colour and it was the last one left in the garage' so why are they so stupid about animals?

    3. Anon 16:07

      while I agree I principle with your post, you are emphasising pedigree when it really isn't important in this regard. For sure, if it IS a crossbreed, genetically, it's bound to be a better bet from a health perspective because of genetic diversity. However, it's the temperament issues that are most worrying - dogs that grow up to be fearful, haven't learned how to interact properly with their own species because they have been taken form the bitch too early etc. that should be communicated to people. Less emphasis on pedigree, more on the science of breeding, behaviour and ethics.

    4. Very eloquently put anon 16:07, and Pipedream - Jennifer read it and understand what dog lovers are saying

    5. Anon 16:53

      " For sure, if it IS a crossbreed, genetically, it's bound to be a better bet from a health perspective because of genetic diversity"

      NO! it's NOT "bound to be a better bet"!! That's the sort of twaddle that fuels these conmen's scams; the oxygen for their lies! Have you never seen crossbreeds with appalling HD, or that have gone blind through hereditary cataracts, or have patellae luxating every few steps, or rely on anti-epileptic medication to prevent brain damage, or any of the other ailments that are hyped as the purlieu of pedigrees but affect crosses and mongrels as well? Very few genes, if any, are limited to pedigrees, and a crossbred puppy from carrier parnets, regardless of their background or 'genetic diversity' will suffer just as much.

      If 'genetic diversity' was a guarantee of good health, just think how healthy the most random-bred species on the planet (our own!) must be?

    6. We are quite healthy actually with regard to inherited diseases. Westernisation has fuelled the vast majority of our health problems - cancer, obesity and the resulting diabetes and cardiovascular diseases not withstanding.

      Inherited autosomal recessive diseases such as thalassaemia are screened for in pre natal programs. X linked diseases such as Haemophilia are relatively rare etc. We tend to not have children with our cousins and siblings because we understand the implications on the likelihood of increasing risk of autosomal recessive diseases. Tribal societies where they keep it in the family can be rife with diseases, some known some unknown. I know that from professional experience. Why we have to keep justifying pedigree dog breeding is beyond me, really.

    7. Anon 17:48
      You miss the point.....or perhaps, I did not explain it very well.

      No living animal is immune from disease. A mutt stands a good chance of dieing of cancer when statistically speaking, cancer is the biggest killer of dogs.
      We are never going to be able to breed dogs with an aim to obliterating disease....that would be unrealistic, clearly. Of course, the canine genome is extremely malleable, this we know to both our benefit and detriment to the dogs health unfortunately. The genome is the same for a village dog as it is for a purebred Pug. It's the expression or lack of and resulting turning on and off of specific genes and effects of the environment that results in the individual breeds. we have today. Therefore, focusing on pedigree is futile. Look at the bigger picture. Of course a cross breed may have a risk of inherited diseases if it inherits the alleles! So might a mutt! And so might a pedigree! It's the genetic lottery of sexual reproduction. But don't expect a puppy farmer who flogs his dogs to a pet store to have the health and welfare of his dogs at heart.

      However, when you introduce genetic diversity, you decrease the chances of autosomal recessive diseases, particularly if

    8. Sorry - incomplete post above.

      particularly if you are breeding with the health and temperament of the dog as a priority and not for the breed standard and appearance.

    9. Puppy buyers want that cute puppy and a lifetime guarantee of health; but how many buyers actually make the effort to find the breeders of these types of pups?

      Breeders of these types of pups are out there and from what I can tell very few buyers make the effort to find them. You will not identify these types of breeders by a website; websites are just like a TV ad trying to sell you something. If you want to really know a breeder; go visit their home, ask around about their reputation and previous pups. In other words, research a puppy just like you would any other long term purchase. As long as buyers continue to buy from breeders producing defective pups, they will continue to breed and sell. Stop whining about how hard it is to find them, make the effort, do the research, don't financially support those producing pups doomed to a lifetime of pain.

  38. Oh Boy Jennifer, brilliant, one cannot express a non scientific opinion - great. I was unaware that we are living in a police state. Dogs are emotive, you are emotive, I am emotive. There are good dog breeders, but in this day and age, and the reason why I assume Pedigree Dogs Exposed was born, was because of the greed of the breeders who enacted injustice onto an innocent species? Your statement "If a breeder invests heavily in their dogs etc etc" is outrageous. If these people are running businesses then they better be paying all relevant taxes, meet all health and safety requirements, their local councils know they are running businesses from domestic premises, and that no welfare, rules, regulations, legal, council stipulations are being contravened. Dog showing and breeding is a hobby, like fishing, cricket, football. Do all of those pastimes create enjoyment but only because financial benefit is the main reason for participation, as you are suggesting for dog breeders. To make a living a wage goodness how many puppies do you think it is acceptable for them to breed and what is a living wage? According to recent information from the Government people who are on social benefits with a couple of children appear to receive £26,000 pa from the tax payer, me, you, JH everyone who works and supports the tax system. Your statements are preposterous, rude, inaccurate and I will say it again your attitude is inhuman. Like greedy dog breeders you are considering the dog, our dogs, my dogs, as stock, the only value in them being money generation, not because they are just lovely creatures to have in our lives. Your are quite correct my cries of "greed" are destructive, not for the people but for the dogs. You disgust me with your views and outlook on dogs, sadly you really do. If these people want a hobby that pays, rent an allotment and grow vegetable and sell those for money and leave dogs alone with those who love them.

  39. You do realise what you have written Jennifer and the nonsense therein? To earn a living wage from dogs would entail ownership of at least 3 bitches and let's take a popular gundog breed as an example. Each litter would average 10 in number, each puppy would gross £500 that equals £5k gross/litter. To earn the Gvt stated living wage of £26k pa that would entail 5 litters per year. That means either each bitch is bred every other season (more probably ever season to keep costs to a minimum which is what running a business for gross profit requires) or there are more bitches kept on the property. That means that annually 50 puppies are produced from the same genetic pool for a number of years. Now most dog owners these days live in small homes with small gardens usually in a densely populated area (say a housing estate). To keep five dogs with at least one litter of puppies on "the go" at any one time takes up a huge amount of space, just their feed bowls, beds, dog food, waste would reduce the living space substantially. The garden is their toilet and that ground becomes saturated/contaminated with the urine alone in a very short space of time. If there are children in the family where do they play? The other considerations are a) the neighbours, b) the extra volume of traffic from puppy buyers in a constricted area, c) the smell and noise from the dogs, etc etc etc and worst of all the genetic effect on that one breed and of course the welfare of those particular bitches day in and day out. Because Jennifer if there are other households supporting their families, tax free, breeding dogs at this rate within a 50 mile radius of each other the impact on those breeds is huge thus your arrogant statement that they have an entitlement to do this is sickening. It is absolutely why the ped ds are in danger from scurrilous, ignorant, greedy people. I have not denegrated the responsible, kind, intelligent dog breeder ever and I agree that the dog world needs them and their experience in conjunction with a scientific approach to improve health issues. But our ancestors knew a thing or two, dog showing was an elite past time and because they were canny and wanted dogs bred for purpose as well as beauty when a litter was born two, three or more puppies were run on. And only those that proved themselves in the field and were good looking (less importantly) then a litter was bred from them. Breeding at the rate you suggest means that dogs are bred from far stoo young before any hidden problems are revealed at maturity. It is why there has to be a slow down, more dogs bred does not equate to healthier animals whether with or without scientific guidance. Leaving time for dogs to grow, reach maturity, assess their health issues and then breed on is more desirable, I would have thought. Time is the most important factor, not production and most definately not, ever, as a means of deriving a living wage from breeding dogs. I have vomitted up these words so many times I can understand how sick of me everyone is and perhaps from the higher echeleons of the Scientific Cloud where you hover perhaps the smell of the vomit may finally penetrate your brain and make you and yours realise that dogs are beings not squiggles on a chart, they are a fact and not a figure. If you are correct in your assessment of how to remedy the problems it is probably why there are 1000s of beautiful dogs either being destroyed or held in rescue kennels because there are insufficient homes to go around.

  40. Buying a puppy as a pet when hundreds of perfectly healthy adult dogs are available to adopt from reputable shelters is immoral.

    Well, that's if you care about dogs as sentient beings and not stock.

    Unfortunately, lots of people in the dog world think differently about this.

    Principles and ethics founded on science and rational discussion should always prevail whenever we are trying to change anything. But when it comes to the reason we gravitate to having dogs in our life in the first place, for most people, it's because they love the animal. That understanding requires a level of emotional intelligence -it's about EQ and not IQ. How do we persuade and influence breeders that continuing to breed dogs within a paradigm of closed gene pools is going to destroy the animal they are supposed to love and care about and also destroy their source of income. The lack of common sense is the most worrying of all, because the information is out there. There is no information shortage about this!

  41. I also think that focusing on the academia and science takes us away from the root cause - how do we help people change their practices when they don't actually want to change? It's the human psychology of change.
    You can throw whatever you want at people with regard to evidence, education and ethics. But unless they have a mental shift or are motivated and rewarded to change, then why should they if they like breeding deformed dogs?

    What you are left with is then forcing people to change - enforce laws, regulations and ethics and monitor it - based on empiricism. Prosecute 'bad' breeders; puppy farmers etc. It's a punitive action, but that seems to be the societal norm. I prefer education, so why not get in at the grass root level in biology lessons at schools? Dissecting a frog never really helped me in life.....but understanding my pet dog's health and welfare needs would have both interested me and I'm sure a lot of other kids who have pets would benefit too. Mark Evans makes a good point when he mentions that because we are so familiar with the dog as a pet, we somehow think we understand it because of it's familiarity. Just because we are so familiar with Pugs and Pekes as a breed of dog, doesn't make it right either!

  42. Very pleased to announce that Canine Genetics and Epidemiology will publish its first articles on 16th April 2014 at

    All articles in CGE are published with an open access license and are free to read! They will also be accompanied by a short summary for non-scientists.

    Many thanks,

  43. Many thanks for the update, Matt. I will look forward to reading.