Pedigree Database


by Marilyn on 21 August 2020 - 05:08

I have been updating my research on epilepsy in the GSD an have noticed in the various threads that lines to Quadrille are still being problematic.

I also noticed that some of the european breeders are being very cavalier about the subject, including the comments about the risk of affected puppies is only being 2% so what is the problem? What a truly appalling attitude.

In my personal opinion, any percentage of fitting progeny is too high. At the end of the day, in years to come, some poor unsuspecting buyers will purchase a pup for whatever reason. That pup will start fitting between 6 months and 4 years of age. This means the owner has to make a choice whether they keep the dog with the added expense of a lifetime of vet fees or have it euthanised. They go back to the breeder whom might or might not have known their have been previous cases in the line. It depends how open and honest the breeders have been throughout the lineage. Information can only be found out about if it is out there in the public domain. There are some breeders out there who mate a dog, it becomes apparent there is fitting in that line, so the dog disappears out of the gene pool. What about the hundreds of mating that dog has had? Has it thrown any fitters or carriers? The attitude with some breeders appears to be 'Who knows?' 'Who cares?' Luckily these breeders are in the minority but they do exist.

A breeder has diligently done their homework on the 2 dogs to be mated and can see no problems highlighted so they go ahead with the mating. One of the litter starts fitting but no cause can be found so it goes down as 'could be hereditary'.

As the SV do not keep a record of fitters or suspected carriers, there is not really any way for the diligent breeders to do the impossible.

I truly believe that this information should be on some sort of register. Not for a witch hunt, but for true betterment of the breed and peace of mind for the diligent breeder and buyer. If there is no way of finding this information out, and a breeder has done all the research humanely possible with the information available, how can we ensure the future of our wonderful breed?

mrdarcy (admin)

by mrdarcy on 21 August 2020 - 05:08

Having owned an epileptic dog ( not GSD) and witnessed this horrible condition any breeder that disregards it needs banned from breeding. I agree with your thread/post.


by Hundmutter on 21 August 2020 - 10:08

Quote from the Secretary of the UK GSD Breed Council in this week's Our Dogs newspaper:

"Chris (Hazell, Breed Health Co-ordinator) has just received the pedigrees of two new fitters on the same day; not from the same litter (although one of these already has a fitting sibling). ... I sent  a third recent pedigree to Chris, and there lurking in the background is the usual suspect ...Quadrille of Eveley"  (and yes therefore Eclipse)  "...now very far back on any pedigree, but how many fitters that we don't know about  have there been in between him and the bitch in question ? There are 466 lines to him in this particular GSD's pedigree ..."

We can check through the record Chris keeps; but the onus is on everyone breeding a litter to check the pedigrees before doing any mating, and not to 'double up'. That involves going back further than most bother to do. I think I'm correct in saying the SV spent years denying epilepsy even existed in the GSD in Germany. They have moved on a bit in recent times, but I still would not be looking to the SV to collect & disseminate this information;  partly because the problem was made so much worse by many breeders outside Germany not dealing with epilepsy as an issue when they should have been doing so.

by Marilyn on 21 August 2020 - 11:08

Thanks Hundmutter

Chris Hazell has actually gone through my dog in questions pedigree and Hendrawens Quadrille doesn't appear anywhere in the dim dark past. I contacted the SV and they gave me the stock reply of no knowledge or no information held.


by Koots on 21 August 2020 - 12:08

Here's my epileptic dog's story. It's a bit long, but I want to give full disclosure so you can make your own conclusions.

At about 5.75 yrs of age, my dog had a seizure, which had never happened before. I was with him on his nightly before-bedtime round of the yard and he suddenly 'panicked' (for lack of a better explanation), ran a little bit into the bush on our property, I called him and he ran back towards me, then flopped over and did a full-blown Grand Mal seizure. I had never personally seen one in an animal, and although I knew what it was, it was still dreadful to watch.

I was not sure why he had that, and all my online research indicated that most dogs start having seizures at anywhere from 6 months to 4 or 5 years. I monitored my dog carefully, and when he had a second seizure a couple weeks later, took him to the vet. The vet did a full panel, with bloodwork and medical history - this dog had been very healthy and was only at the vet for examining a broken canine tooth (no complications or action needed) years previous. The vet said that his blood panel indicated a 'general infection' by white blood count, as they could not find any outward signs of infection and I had not seen anything either. The general infection was dealt with by antibiotics, then they saw my dog again after the infection was cleared by another blood panel results.

The vets did not find any cause for his seizure, and recommended he go on some anti-seizure meds, starting with Levetiracetam (Keppra) which is a very 'safe' med with few side-effects. We took him home with the meds and after a short time he had another seizure. So, back to the vet we go, and the vet recommends adding Phenobarbital to the Keppra. We did this and the Pheno actually changed our dog, it made him 'dull' compared to what he was like before - he wasn't his usual self but we were willing to accept that if the meds would make his seizure frequency and intensity less.

Fast forward just over a year, and 35 seizures later - we did not see any appreciable benefits of keeping our dog on the pharma 'fix', as his seizures continue, mostly with predictable frequency, but sometimes he did have 2 or 3 within a short time interval (1 every 24 hrs or so). We took him off the meds, and he is now back to his 'normal' self, with more intensity and liveliness. His seizures are at fairly regular intervals, usually every 10 days or so, but sometimes the interval increased to 21 days, and now he hasn't had a seizure for over 30 days (to our knowledge - he's with us almost all the time so we can monitor him). The intensity and duration of his seizures is about the same as when he was on meds - full blown Grand Mal, and they last about 1 min. or so. The meds did not reduce his frequency or duration of seizures, they only seemed to make his recovery time slightly less.

Every seizure has been of a Grand Mal type, with more or less the same duration and intensity. The only difference the pharma meds made was in recovery time, but not enough of a difference to continue keeping him on them with the possibility of liver damage or other negative side-effects. Does my dog have idiopathic epilepsy as the vets diagnosed? The breeder was very surprised to hear about his epilepsy, and told me that she had never bred a dog with that condition before.

In conclusion, there is not a known genetic link (supposedly) to my dog's epilepsy, but without EVERY breeder disclosing this type of information (highly unlikely), one cannot determine a genetic association to the condition. Epilepsy is not the only condition or health effect with a genetic link that is seldom disclosed by breeders, but unless every person is honest we will never be able to reduce or eliminate genetic diseases or conditions from the breed. Even if everyone is honest, with some conditions such as epilepsy, the dog could have been bred prior to having a first seizure. I think if a genetic link to epilepsy is identified conclusively via DNA sample, and breeders DNA profile their breeding stock, then there is a better chance of reducing the incidence rate in the breed (or any breed) - but this is a big task and requires money and effort from all who are breeding.


by Hundmutter on 22 August 2020 - 01:08

There is ongoing research, we may get there; but epilepsy is complicated because it can have many causes.


by Sunsilver on 22 August 2020 - 09:08

Yes, it can, but genetics is definitely one, and it's the one we can DO SOMETHING about, by tracking it and avoiding the lines that carry it!

If you do a search for the topic on this board, numerous threads will pop up, and you will see a lot of research has been done, and some of the carrier genes have been identified. It's also been proven that if you double up on the carrier genes when breeding, the chances of having a dog that fits greatly increases.


by TIG on 22 August 2020 - 12:08


Are you aware of the very high fat low carb diet used in humans particularly children with uncontrollable epilepsy. It is a ketogenic diet but much different from those currently pushed for weight loss. I believe John Hopkins has info. There was also a book written on it years ago - my local library had a copy.

Can you post the link to your dogs pedigree?  Marilyn,  also yours? Marilyn on your dog do you know if any of the dog pre 1950 were German bred with a name change when they came to the UK?

Using Ollie's wonderful progeny tree, I was able to track some known epilepsy carriers in Am show lines in each case to a single or more English import from the English fitting lines. Since it is theorized that this is a multifactored disease with a threshold I think it quite likely that the Am lines carried some factors but not enough to meet the threshold and the import brought additional factors. The difficulty is these genes can lurk hidden for generations until the right combo of factors occur. So it can appear not to be genetic put possibly is.

Interestingly while doing this research, it also brought up some smaller kennels who bred what I thought were very nice dogs and I never understood why those lines were never carried on. I now suspect those breeders did run into a problem & ethically decided not to breed on.


by Koots on 22 August 2020 - 16:08

TIG - yes, I'm aware of the dietary thing, thanks, and my dog is on a high-fat, grain-free kibble. He's a Cz-lines dog, so not associated with any of the UK or Am show lines. He is line-bred on a particular Cz dog, not that that is a defining factor. If you want to see his ped, you can find out on my profile with the peds created by me.


by Rik on 22 August 2020 - 19:08

poly genetic issues like this and HD will take some time to sort out. I do think it will happen as science advances.

I am curious as to the last infusion of an English GSD into a winning ASL. maybe I missed something.


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