Tag archives: dog breeding

Nature Versus Nurture- The Case of the All-Male Litter

Nature Versus Nurture- The Case of the All-Male Litter

The often-debated biological argument of “nature versus nurture” is at the center of the challenging considerations dog breeders must make in their effort to produce the healthiest, happiest, and most beautiful dogs they can. Breeders routinely contact the veterinarians or geneticists at Paw Print Genetics (PPG) looking for genetic testing to identify dogs that may be at risk of producing puppies with certain diseases. Given the emotional, temporal, and monetary damages associated with being forced to remove a dog from a breeding program, it is important for breeders to understand whether the disease in question appears to be inherited or whether there might be a more likely environmental explanation for what they see in their blood line. However, when no genetic testing is available for a particular condition, the answer to the question of nature versus nurture may not be quite as straight forward as it may seem at first glance. Keeping your mind open to environmental factors associated with disease might prevent your clients from having to remove their prized breeding dog from their gene pool.

An All-Male Litter?

As a veterinarian, one of the great joys of helping improve the genetic health of dog kennels are the many ...

To Anyone Dedicated to Breeding Better Dogs, an open letter by Cheryl Hass

To Anyone Dedicated to Breeding Better Dogs, an open letter by Cheryl Hass

Brief personal history as credentials . . .

In the world of dog breeding, I started long before any genetic testing was readily available, with Chesapeakes, more than 25 years ago now. We performed OFA Hips and that was about it. Then I went back to my herding dog roots with Australian Shepherds, Miniature Australian Shepherds and now Miniature American Shepherds. What I have to say about genetic testing however, applies regardless of breed.

Some of you that have been in this for a while, may remember a company that offered a slew of testing, all in one package, for $25. It was the hottest item on the market. I remember feeling very virtuous about being able to test all my dogs, for a reasonable price, for a whole bunch of things that I didn't understand at the time. But as breeders we educated ourselves, found out that testing really DOES matter and learned how to breed away from some of the unfortunate genetics that our dogs carried. It really was an exciting time in breeding because it gave us such powerful, valuable information that increased the overall health of the dogs we produced. The problem was that this company was not all ...

Amelogenesis Imperfecta: An Inherited Dental Disease of the Italian Greyhound

Amelogenesis Imperfecta: An Inherited Dental Disease of the Italian Greyhound

The Italian greyhound (IG) is a wonderful breed. As a true greyhound, the IG is happiest when provided an opportunity to exercise frequently. However, in their down time IGs are just as content laying on the couch with their human family. Their sweet demeanor combined with easy grooming has made this breed desirable to many. Unfortunately however, like most pure bred dogs, the IG can develop a handful of inherited diseases that make life a challenge for the breed and those that love them.

It isn’t a secret among IG aficionados that one of the biggest health concerns for the breed is their oral health. Though the exact reason is yet to be fully understood, it is not uncommon for IGs to develop early-onset dental disease resulting in significant problems in early adulthood. Though a commitment to daily tooth brushing can help prevent many dental issues, there is also an inherited dental disease in IGs that can now be eliminated through genetic testing of dams and sires prior to breeding!

In the “Health Concerns” section of the Italian Greyhound Club of America website, there is a discussion about “a condition in IG's where the teeth are small ...

The Importance of Testing for Adult-Onset Conditions in Your Dog

The Importance of Testing for Adult-Onset Conditions in Your Dog

An earlier article discussed congenital vs. adult onset conditions.  There seems to be some confusion as to the importance of the timing of disease symptoms.  I wanted to expand on the topic that we refer to as “age of onset”, or the age in which a condition starts to show symptoms.  Breeders may initially only be concerned with conditions that are congenital – present at birth.  While I agree that genetic screening for congenital disorders is important, screening for adult-onset conditions is also important, and should not be ignored.

Testing for congenital genetic conditions is probably a “no-brainer” for most breeders.  Genetic testing gives someone the knowledge to selectively breed dogs in order to reduce (or even eliminate) genetic diseases in the newborn pup.  As you may already know, breeding takes time and considerable resources.  Most breeders are also emotionally invested in the dogs they breed.  For many, it’s not just a hobby; it may be a full-time job or even a way of life.  Congenital diseases may cause a lot of discomfort to the affected pup, and can cause anxiety for everyone involved.  The cost of medical care may ...

Popular Sire Syndrome: When Winning Results in Losing

Popular Sire Syndrome: When Winning Results in Losing

A phenomenon in canine competition circles known as popular sire syndrome can produce strong, competitive and intelligent puppies that go on to become, and produce, champions. The occurrence can also produce puppies that fill the breeding pool with genetic maladies.

When a male dog wins a prestigious championship, he obviously has what it takes to win at the highest levels. The effect is that his value as a stud dog skyrockets as breeders with females hope to produce puppies that can replicate their father’s accomplishments.

Often that trendy stud dog is bred with many female dogs throughout the country. When this happens, you can see that male dog show up in pedigrees from previously unrelated lines. In a large breeding pool, say with Labradors, the effects aren’t as profound as in a smaller population, but they’re still present and can cause issues for future generations regardless of population size. If that popular stud dog has any genetic disorders in his DNA, his puppies will likely harbor those mutations – at best becoming carriers and at worst being affected with the related disorder – and can continue to contaminate the breeding pool.

Even in a large breeding population, the bottleneck ...