Tag archives: dog dna test

Happy Responsible Dog Ownership Day

Happy Responsible Dog Ownership Day

If an intelligent, alien visitor happened to land on Earth, I can’t help but think they would be fascinated by the relationship between humans and dogs. Developed over thousands of years, our once important working relationship with dogs has given way to a deep friendship built more upon our common needs for social connection and acceptance than a hard day’s work. However, without an understanding of what it means to have a dog, one might think that humans were getting a raw deal. We spend our time and hard earned money feeding, entertaining, providing shelter and medical treatment, and otherwise spoiling our dogs with little expectation of a tangible payoff, other than love. But, as any dog owner can attest, it’s hard to put a value on the love from your favorite fur ball.

One of the most impressive examples of our culture’s commitment to our canines is the AKC’s Responsible Dog Ownership Days (RDOD). This time of year since 2003, the AKC has asked its 5000 affiliated clubs around the country to hold community events in an effort to entertain and educate the public about the best practices in responsible dog ownership. Events vary around the country, however it is ...

Preventing Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome in the Border Collie

Preventing Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome in the Border Collie

The history of the modern border collie is generally regarded to have started with a dog named Old Hemp who was born in late 19th century England. Old Hemp was a tri-colored sheepdog with unique and extraordinary abilities in herding. According to reports, Old Hemp was a product of his owner, Adam Telfer’s attempts at developing a sheepdog with a milder temperament than other sheepdogs of the time while still maintaining a high level of ability to control livestock. Old Hemp’s success in the field was paramount in him siring over 200 puppies and thus, creating a foundation stock for the border collie we appreciate today.

Widely regarded as one of the most intelligent and obedient dog breeds in existence, the border collie has branched from its roots as a working dog as breeders began showing their dogs in the conformation ring in the last quarter of the 20th century. The movement of border collies into the show ring has remained controversial as some breed lovers are concerned that border collies bred for aesthetic purposes are at risk of losing their natural abilities as herding dogs. Due to an emphasis on breeding dogs for working ability over form ...

Friendship Day and Our Relationship with Dogs

Friendship Day and Our Relationship with Dogs

Though reliable sources for the early origins of a holiday to celebrate friendship in the US are scarce, it is probable that the first Friendship Day was proposed by the Hallmark greeting card company in the early 1900’s. Despite Hallmark’s attempt, the holiday’s luster had faded by the end of the century only to be resurrected by citizens of several Asian countries in the early 2000’s. Renewed interest in a day of friendship eventually led the UN General Assembly to proclaim July 30, 2011 the first International Day of Friendship in over 40 countries. Aside from the International Day of Friendship celebrated on July 30 annually, other countries (including the US) celebrate Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August or other dates. In 2015, Friendship Day will be celebrated by the US on August 2.

The ambitious intentions of the UN-established holiday were to promote friendship between cultures, countries, and individuals in an effort to maintain peaceful relationships on a global scale. On a less ambitious level, the holiday gives us a reason to be mindful of the great people in our life that we are privileged to call our friends. For us simple dog lovers, a day of ...

Degenerative Myelopathy- Should Yorkshire Terrier Lovers Be Concerned?

Degenerative Myelopathy- Should Yorkshire Terrier Lovers Be Concerned?

The adorable Yorkshire terrier has become an important fixture in American households since its introduction to the United States in the late 19th century. Originally bred in Scotland and going by the name “Scotch terrier”, the Yorkshire terrier was given its modern name after great improvements in the breed were made in the county of Yorkshire in northern England.

Like most dog breeds, the Yorkie has developed some inherited diseases on its path to the modern breed. The genetic mutations responsible for some better known, inherited diseases of Yorkies such as primary lens luxation (PLL) and a form of progressive retinal atrophy known as progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRA-prcd) have been identified. The identification of these mutations has made it possible for Yorkie breeders to test their dams and sires prior to breeding and to use informed selective breeding practices to prevent the birth of puppies with these conditions. While most Yorkie breeders are familiar with PLL and PRA-prcd in the breed, another inherited condition known as degenerative myelopathy (DM) is less well known by Yorkie breeders. However, DM may be a concern worth investigating further in the Yorkie as the associated mutation has been identified in the breed.

What ...

Preventing Inherited Von Willebrand Disease in the Kerry Blue Terrier

Preventing Inherited Von Willebrand Disease in the Kerry Blue Terrier

The Irish-bred, Kerry blue terrier (KBT) is historically a well-rounded working dog with its roots in hunting small game and rodents. However, their intelligence and diverse abilities have also led to their success as guard dogs and as a herding breed. Like many terriers, the KBT is known for its high energy and tends to benefit greatly from daily exercise. Though early KBTs were often selected for their tenacity and aggressiveness to perform their duties as hunters and guard dogs, these attributes historically made them less suitable companions for other dogs. However, modern breeding efforts have focused on maintaining their high energy while decreasing tendencies toward aggression.

One of the most striking attributes of the KBT is their characteristic hair coat. Kerry blue terriers are born black, but develop their beautiful, soft and wavy blue/gray coat during the first two years of life in a process of color fading, commonly referred to as “clearing”. Dogs displaying black coloration on the body after 18 months of age are disqualified from the AKC show ring. However, black on the extremities (muzzle, head, ears, tail, and feet) is allowed at any age.

This spirited breed, though relatively healthy, has developed some inherited disease concerns ...

Preventing Inherited Congenital Stationary Night Blindness in the Briard

Preventing Inherited Congenital Stationary Night Blindness in the Briard

With depictions in artwork from as early as the 8th century, the ancient Briard is a French dog breed that has been employed in diverse roles throughout its history, but is most commonly recognized as a herding breed or as a guard dog for flocks of sheep. Though documentation of its early history is sparse, the first breed standard for the Briard was written in the late 19th century and the breed was accepted for registration by the AKC in 1922 after being brought to North America from Europe (including Briards imported by Thomas Jefferson). Praised for their intelligence and memory, the Briard is a naturally protective dog that can benefit from early and extensive socialization in order to establish proper boundaries and temperament toward strangers. They are often regarded as extremely loyal and bonded to their owners and appreciate significant time with their human “pack”. Though the breed is regarded as relatively healthy, as with most purebred dogs, the Briard has developed some inherited disease concerns during its path to the modern state of the breed. One of the best known Briard inherited disease concerns, unique to the breed, is a disease known as congenital stationary night ...

Preventing Inherited Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Poodles

Preventing Inherited Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Poodles

Despite their characterization in popular culture as a gorgeous, yet delicate dog breed with more beauty than brawn, the ancestors of today’s poodles (especially standard poodles) were revered for their ability to work. Still well known for their exceptional intelligence, the standard poodle (the oldest poodle variety), was commonly used as a gun dog and water retriever to assist European hunters. Portrayed in drawings and paintings from as early as the 15th century, the standard poodle was eventually bred to smaller breeds in order to create poodles of smaller size. The resulting smaller dogs, which reportedly disliked water, were used for truffle hunting and formed the ancestry of today’s toy and miniature poodle breeds. Though no longer commonly thought of as gun dogs, interest in using standard poodles as hunting dogs has reemerged with some standard poodles experiencing success in AKC and CKC hunting trials since the mid to late 1990’s. Toy and miniature poodles are most commonly recognized today as family-friendly companion dogs. During their path of development, like other purebred dogs, all three commonly recognized varieties of poodles have developed some inherited diseases that can make life challenging. One particular disease of poodles known as progressive retinal ...

The Path to Independence from Canine Inherited Diseases

The Path to Independence from Canine Inherited Diseases

The art of medicine today is nearly unrecognizable from its state in 1776 when the original thirteen colonies of the United States declared their independence from Great Britain. Without knowledge of bacteria or viruses, physicians and veterinarians of the day had few worries about sterility or the fact that they could play a role in the spread of deadly diseases between their patients. Bolstered by anecdotal evidence, dangerous treatments to purge various ailments from the body such as bloodletting and enemas (then called clysters) were commonly practiced in both people and animals in opposition to our modern understanding of their risks and lack of efficacy.

The Birth of Modern Genetics

The 19th century saw great advances in science including progression of the scientific method by which scientists could more objectively test their observations and develop an explanation for them. These methods also allowed for the modification of previous theories as new information was uncovered through experimentation. It was also the 19th century in which the foundation for the modern era of genetics was laid by an Augustinian friar named Gregor Mendel. Far ahead of his time, Mendel’s study of trait inheritance in the common pea plant went relatively unnoticed ...

Preventing Inherited L-2-HGA in the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Preventing Inherited L-2-HGA in the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Despite its 19th century reputation as a ferocious and fearless competitor in the cruel sport of dog fighting, the modern, well-bred Staffordshire bull terrier (SBT) is an affectionate, friendly, and loyal companion. At only 24 to 38 pounds, the SBT’s impressive, muscular frame is now a relic from a distant time when dogs slept in the backyard instead of the bedroom and often proved their worth through the use of their agility, strength, tenacity, and teeth. Through nearly a century of careful selective breeding for temperament, the SBT has become as suitable for the family as they once were for the fighting ring. As with other purebred dogs, along the path of breed improvement, the SBT has developed some inherited diseases that have caused problems for SBT owners and breeders alike. One of the most concerning inherited diseases in the SBT is the neurometabolic disorder commonly referred to by the acronym L-2-HGA; short for L-2 hydroxyglutaric aciduria.

What is L-2-HGA?

Dogs affected with L-2-HGA lack functional copies of a protein important in eliminating L-2 hydroxyglutaric acid (a normal product of metabolism) from the body. As a result, L-2 hydroxyglutaric acid accumulates in the urine, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid. Though ...