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  #1  
Old 08-27-2006, 10:44 AM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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Why is there the inbreeding problem with dogs?

It seems to be fairly common knowledge that a lot of dogs have health issues because their breed is being inbreed by people to keep the animals up to the Kennel Club standards, but without having to go through the hastle of setting up matches.

Why is this allowed? If it's done to get into the official dog shows, and it's hurting the animals, you would think the Kennel Club would require something like second-cousins or less to not be allowed to breed or something--and enforced.

Or if they don't, you would expect the government to start putting in some legislation.

Do people just not care enough? Anyone who wants a purebreed is more concerned with "purebreedness" than the health of the dog, and anyone who doesn't care can buy a mutt? It seems a rather simple problem to solve, for it to be so blatantly perpetrated for so long (which is for as long as I can remember so around 20 years.) So what gives?
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2006, 10:45 AM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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And...why yes there are such words as "bred" and "inbred" but who needs proper conjugation anyways....
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2006, 12:22 PM
SailBunny SailBunny is offline
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Inbreeding dogs is called "line breeding". I only know for hunting hounds, not sure about show dogs, but I believe its to enhance the "good" traits of a particular line, ie when you breed dog X to dog Y. without similiar bloodlines, its a bit of a tossup as to whether youll get the good traits (ie a good nose). When you breed two dogs that are a bit more closely related, this increases your chances of getting the trait you desire, (or so is the belief). Im not sure if Im explaining it clearly.
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2006, 12:32 PM
astro astro is online now
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PROS AND CONS OF INBREEDING
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2006, 12:37 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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No, I understand why one would do it, I just don't see why it's allowed. Sure it's harder to maintain "the look" the more you vary the gene pool, but when you can say, "Well this breed all die because of this once heart defect" or, "Half of all the puppies of this breed are born deaf" or whatever and that's due inbreeding, you would expect someone to stand up and go, "Ya know, maybe we should stop doing this...."
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Old 08-27-2006, 12:46 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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It's allowed because the fancy goes after "the look" more than temperament or health of the animal. More responsible breeders will try to avoid linebreeding or inbreeding unless they have thought it over carefully. Responsible breeders will also try to avoid mating their females to THE most popular stud, in order to diversify the gene pool a bit.
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Old 08-27-2006, 12:47 PM
SailBunny SailBunny is offline
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No one I know with hunting hounds breeds mother/son, siblings father/ daughter. I was thinking more along the lines of cousins and such. I think this is also due to the fact that "the look" isn't quite as important. I agree with you that its pretty sickening that if you acquire certain types of dogs, its pretty much guaranteed that their hips or eyes will go. Perhaps there would be an uproar from the dog breeders who do this, which is why no governing bodies have really sought to end it.
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Old 08-27-2006, 12:49 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni
It's allowed because the fancy goes after
The fancy?
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  #9  
Old 08-27-2006, 12:56 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat
The fancy?
The people involved in breeding and showing animals. Sorry.

Wiki says:
Quote:
Animal fancy - a hobby involving the appreciation, promotion and/or breeding of pet or domestic animals
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2006, 04:52 PM
tygerbryght tygerbryght is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat
No, I understand why one would do it, I just don't see why it's allowed. Sure it's harder to maintain "the look" the more you vary the gene pool, but when you can say, "Well this breed all die because of this once heart defect" or, "Half of all the puppies of this breed are born deaf" or whatever and that's due inbreeding, you would expect someone to stand up and go, "Ya know, maybe we should stop doing this...."
Allowed? Who is going to stop it? Americans are not generally predisposed to tame submission to authority.

To the best of my knowledge, the only country in the world where there are any controls on dog breeding is Germany. There, the breed registries (analogous to the AKC) have "breeding masters". You cannot register pups from a litter unless the breeding master (IIRC, zuchtwartmeister {sp?}) has first approved the mating. And "inbreeding" isn't a disqualifier in Germany; it's bad breeding that's a disqualifier. Many of the dogs that are bred from here would be disqualified there; couldn't be bred at all, and owners would be directed to neuter/spay them. We need more of that - people not breeding dogs that aren't that good (in terms of the breed) to begin with - and fewer (preferably no) puppy farms and backyard breeders.

I have neither the time nor the patience right now to correct very many of your misconceptions. However, I will point out to you that hip dysplasia is found in mongrels as well as purebred dogs. Ethical breeders of affected breeds have their dogs' hips X-rayed (and send the film to the OFA for certification) before breeding, and wouldn't dream of breeding dogs that hadn't been certified sound. The same kind of certification is available for other kinds of skeletal defects that occur in specific breeds. I always OFA'd my breeding stock.

One thing that would make a dramatic difference in the incidence of genetic diseases in dogs would be for people to learn something about genetics before they can breed dogs (but see my first paragraph). A great many "dog breeders" become breeders because "I paid $500 for this dog, and I want to get my money back out of it." I would refer such people to this page, which is a sub-section from this page at the AKC site. The greedy people who are determined to get a return on their investment have much more to do with the problems you see than the breeders you will see at a dog show. Of course, there are some you'll find there that aren't that good at it, but at least they feel a greater sense of responsibility toward the breed.

But they, too, would get more of my respect if they were willing to cull litters, and put down pups that have something wrong with them. Of course, there's the other side of the coin, too. People who aren't involved with dog breeding are shocked and appalled at the idea of putting a puppy to sleep because there's something wrong with it. I can tell you that it's much more humane to put a puppy with health problems to sleep than it is to sell it for a few dollars to someone who may bankrupt themselves trying to take proper care of it, or to someone else who will let the dog suffer rather than spend the money.

tygerbryght - Great Dane breeder/owner/exhibitor for 20 years (1971-1991)
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  #11  
Old 08-27-2006, 04:57 PM
BluePitbull BluePitbull is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tygerbryght
tygerbryght - Great Dane breeder/owner/exhibitor for 20 years (1971-1991)

Thanks for an informative post. I will hopefully do my best to seek the best breeders if I ever want to own a purebred.
I hear about mongrels getting Hip Dysplasia, but isn't the frequency of the disease very low in mongrels?

And I would love to own a Great Dane, sweet dogs but they have short lives. Why is this?
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Old 08-27-2006, 05:59 PM
LVBoPeep LVBoPeep is offline
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People who aren't involved with dog breeding are shocked and appalled at the idea of putting a puppy to sleep because there's something wrong with it. I can tell you that it's much more humane to put a puppy with health problems to sleep than it is to sell it for a few dollars to someone who may bankrupt themselves trying to take proper care of it, or to someone else who will let the dog suffer rather than spend the money.>>tygerbryght


Very well said.. and a good reason that breeding should be left to the people who know what they are doing and not just any owner of a dog "with papers".

What most pet owners don't know or understand is that no breed of dog would exist without linebreeding. All breeds have a certain number of common ancestors and the popular sire syndrome can make one dog common in a very large percentage of bloodlines. In my breed, I can think of two dogs (sires) that are so common in Border Collie pedigrees that it would be an exception to find a dog that did not go back to either of those dogs. My breed is not known for using a lot of close breeding and because we have a good way to test function and health we have a generally healthy population of dogs. I personally have owned 10 or so working border collies and none had hip dysplasia or any other genetic disorder. I do know a few stockdog breeders (border collies and kelpies) that occasionally breed very tight (father/daughter being most common) but every one of those people keep the whole litter and cull any problem dogs. I don't recommend that for most breeders, but it does have its place. I personally haven't bred a litter for about 6 years because I'd like to be able to keep more than one littermate (preferably most of the litter) for a least two years and we are all full up on dogs (and crazy ) here .
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  #13  
Old 08-27-2006, 06:11 PM
jayjay jayjay is online now
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The sad thing about this is that it is, in part, the public's fault as much as the disreputable breeders'. Every time there's a movie/tv show/national news story with a particular breed of dog, that breed is in demand, and disreputable breeders will go all out in puppy milling so they can pocket their profit while it's hot. 101 Dalmatians, Frazier, "Great Pyrenees Rescues Girl Trapped In Well"...
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Old 08-27-2006, 06:20 PM
BluePitbull BluePitbull is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjay
The sad thing about this is that it is, in part, the public's fault as much as the disreputable breeders'. Every time there's a movie/tv show/national news story with a particular breed of dog, that breed is in demand, and disreputable breeders will go all out in puppy milling so they can pocket their profit while it's hot. 101 Dalmatians, Frazier, "Great Pyrenees Rescues Girl Trapped In Well"...

I agree. At the vet clinic I work in, 50-60% of the dogs are shih-tzus or mixes. They don't care about temperament, standards, purebred or mix, health or how to comb the hair. They just care about the fact that it is a cute dog.

I am looking for breeds that are not overly popular but rare. I would love to own a labrador but I am worried about meeting the bad breeders.
On the other hand, rare breeds mean a smaller gene pool so that means more genetic health problems.
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Old 08-27-2006, 06:34 PM
tygerbryght tygerbryght is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluePitbull
Thanks for an informative post. I will hopefully do my best to seek the best breeders if I ever want to own a purebred.
I hear about mongrels getting Hip Dysplasia, but isn't the frequency of the disease very low in mongrels?
The frequency is much higher in first generation crosses to affected breeds, and also higher in second generation crosses of affected breeds. For example, if you have a first generation German Shepherd cross with almost anything, the frequency is not that different from what it is in purebred GS. If you cross that mutt with an Akita/something else, you're still likely to have HD

If Akita breeders have improved their situation since last time I had direct information, I apologize; the German Shepherd situation may never improve; they're too popular, and too many that fall into the hands of backyard breeders.

If you're talking about "Heinz 57" mutts, and they're not very big (under 40 pounds is my best guess), then the likelihood is lower. The best way to be sure you won't get a dog that winds up with HD eventually is to get a purebred dog that has three generations or more of OFA certified ancestors.


Quote:
And I would love to own a Great Dane, sweet dogs but they have short lives. Why is this?
All of the giant breeds (Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdogs, Mastiffs (any kind), Saint Bernards, Komondorok ... Can't pull any more out of the memory bank right now) have shorter lifespans than smaller dogs. There are a variety of reasons, and I can list them for you, but in any breed, there are bloodlines that live longer than average, and each of those has a (different) most common reason of death, as well.

If a person absolutely demands that a dog have a very long expected lifespan, then there are several toy breeds that often live to 15 or more - toy Poodles, Chihuahuas (but not the teacups - they have much shorter average lifespans) and Affenpinscher are ones that come to mind just now. Any of these, if it's a healthy puppy to start out with, and from a bloodline (there are real advantages to good linebreeding) that has a reputation for being healthy and long-lived, has a good chance. But of course when you do something like that, better hope the Fates aren't listening. Accidents can happen, and there are infectious diseases that can kill off any dog.

When you say "short", what do you mean? The average is usually given as 7 years. Many dogs of my bloodline lived to 10 years. The champion that my line was based on lived to 12, and litters sired by him were born after his death (i.e., he was healthy and fertile up to the end). A number of his offspring lived to 10 or more. The oldest Dane I've heard of lived to 14, but that was another bloodline. I could tell you how to find one that would have a high probability of living to 10, but I shouldn't do it here. If you want me to do that, send me an email.
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:19 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Quote:
The sad thing about this is that it is, in part, the public's fault as much as the disreputable breeders'. Every time there's a movie/tv show/national news story with a particular breed of dog, that breed is in demand, and disreputable breeders will go all out in puppy milling so they can pocket their profit while it's hot. 101 Dalmatians, Frazier, "Great Pyrenees Rescues Girl Trapped In Well"...
I don't think the puppy mills are the cause of this particular problem. Most of the people who decide to buy a dog because of its appearance in a movie or TV show are not going to be concerned about (or willing to pay for) their dog's show-worthiness. These buyers are willing to accept a dog that looks like the one they saw on TV without worrying about the fine details that dog show judges look for.

The problem is that in the world of competitive dog breeding, you have a group of people essentially chasing one batch of genes. In order to breed a dog to a specified exact appearance you have to breed from within the very small set of dogs that have the appropriate genes.
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Old 08-27-2006, 11:11 PM
tygerbryght tygerbryght is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo
I don't think the puppy mills are the cause of this particular problem. Most of the people who decide to buy a dog because of its appearance in a movie or TV show are not going to be concerned about (or willing to pay for) their dog's show-worthiness. These buyers are willing to accept a dog that looks like the one they saw on TV without worrying about the fine details that dog show judges look for.
To an extent, I agree. The demand comes first, or the perception that a demand exists, or is about to. But then the puppy mills and backyard breeders start breeding lots and lots of that particular kind of dog - including those who breed mutts (cross-breeds, such as Peke-a-Poos) because a mutt with a particular look starred in a movie or TV show.

The market for purebred dogs for showing and (ethical) breeding is pretty stable. It's the influx of the would-be money makers (and ones that will make money regardless, at cost to the dogs themselves and the gullible buyers) that a breed gets when it becomes popular (regardless of why) that wreck a breed. Collies, as a breed, have never regained the soundess, etc., they lost beginning with the original Lassie movie. Demand was too frequently refueled by new Lassie movies, then by the original TV series, and then by the second series - along with another Lassie movie, occasionally. Other breeds that have suffered to a comparable extent are American Cocker Spaniels and Irish Setters.

I feel sorry for the ethical Chihuahua breeders. First they had the Taco Bell commercials, and then Paris. If you Google teacup Chihuahuas, you can find some frightening sites. I won't give the URL, but there's one site that offers the teacups, and prefers to sell them without papers and will knock $1,000 or more off the price, as she admits they shouldn't be bred. She gets astounding prices for them, and will sell & ship - apparently with little or no checking on what kind of person(s) are buying her pups. She also breeds a variety of mixes (e.g., Malte-Poos). I must say that she has some decency left; she warns buyers how to identify some kinds of unscrupulous sellers trying to foist a puppy that's unsound on them by telling how she got cheated when she bought her first dog.


Quote:
The problem is that in the world of competitive dog breeding, you have a group of people essentially chasing one batch of genes. In order to breed a dog to a specified exact appearance you have to breed from within the very small set of dogs that have the appropriate genes.
I disagree. That "limited gene pool" issue is only true for rare breeds, and nearly all of those people are exceedingly careful about genetics. For the less common breeds, there's always somebody importing breeding stock from some other part of the world.

Even in German Shepherds, where you can actually find decently sound dogs - if you can find the right breeder - there will be one or two new imports from elsewhere (often Germany, for reasons in my first post in this thread, and also because that's the homeland of the breed). It's usually a stud, because normally they will have a greater impact on the domestic gene pool (as well as having a chance to earn back some of the cost through stud fees).

I don't know of any AKC-recognized breed that doesn't have at least two or three distinct bloodlines in this country - dogs which have similar sets of ancestors (usually most easily seen in a pedigree through the same kennel name(s). And some of them have a number of different sets of bloodlines; of my own knowledge, this is true of Danes and the gazehounds (AKA sight or coursing hounds).
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