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Main > The importance of genetic diversity (70 replies)

by MVF on 17 August 2012 - 16:08

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No one should consider breeding any breed of dog without giving serious consideration to these issues. 

http://www.sleddog-diversity-project.com/

by beetree on 17 August 2012 - 18:08

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We shall not succeed unless we first reorder our priorities -- the idols of breed purity and extreme breed type must be dethroned.


 

What does everyone think that means?  

by Sunsilver on 17 August 2012 - 19:08

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I believe it means 1) not being afraid to outcross to another related breed or to a non-registered 'landrace' dog if the gene pool needs refreshing, and 2) do not breed for extreme breed type, as this almost always weakens working ability.

This type of outcross has been done to save some breeds such as the basenji and the husky.

by beetree on 17 August 2012 - 19:08

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Hmmmm, I thought I saw a show about basenjis, and they actually traveled to the source of the breed for the genetic infusion.

by MVF on 17 August 2012 - 20:08

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What I find especially compelling is that (in)breeding for show type and (in)breeding for performance are merely two sides of the same coin.  In huskies, breeding for sled dog speed (race performance) did the breed no more good than breeding for fluffy coats.  The analogy to the gsd are those working lines folks who feel that any narrowing for working ability is a good thing, unlike the superficial inbreeding for show type, which most reasonably intelligent people readily acknowledge to be a problem.

One needs a much broader vision, a patience to temporarily lose track of traits you like and want to preserve, and a willingness to defy the breed organization if they are rewarding genetic disease through diminished genetic diversity.  Fortunately, the gsd gene pool is wider than many breed gene pools, but this does not mean this is not a problem for us.

by MVF on 17 August 2012 - 20:08

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In the American gsd show ring, extreme breed type is palpably obvious.    The simple fact that show ring gsd's and working gsd's in every country are seemingly drawn from different color gene pools is also an alarming observation, suggesting that something is wrong.

by m_zaki40 on 17 August 2012 - 21:08

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by Sunsilver on 17 August 2012 - 22:08

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Yes, that's right, beetree, but I believe the dogs used had no pedigrees. Same with the dogs used to increase diversity in the Chinook sled dog. The dogs were ancestral to the registered Chinooks.

I was surprised to find there were problems with diversity in the racing sled dogs. For 2 years, I lived a short distance from a very large sled dog kennel. The owner of the kennel used a very wide diversity of breeds to cross with huskies to get dogs suitable for both racing and touring.

by Gustav on 17 August 2012 - 22:08

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Hmmmmmmm!

by wanderer on 18 August 2012 - 00:08

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My opinion is clear on the thread about breeding father to daughter (is it a good thing?) and the genetic problems that will surface.  I'm not going to say it again about having the head up the butt...

by Gustav on 18 August 2012 - 02:08

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I have preached the evils of lack of genetic diversity in show and sport lines for years. I acknowledge that skilled breeders can use various in/line breeding to set type but they invariably then go back to diversifying the genetics to keep from bottle necking. But overall, back massing is the most detrimental breeding practice in past 40 years for this breed. JMO

by Sunsilver on 18 August 2012 - 02:08

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AMEN, Gustav! My showline bitch has certain dogs (Palme, Canto, etc.) as many as 12 times in the 6th and 7th generation of her pedigree.

Anyone who thinks this is a good idea is sadly mistaken.

Fortunately, she herself is a complete outcross (American showlines x German)

by duke1965 on 18 August 2012 - 05:08

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sunsilver, I have to disagree, I said it before and will say it again, genetic diversity is needit in a breed , not in the individual animal , most of mother earths animals are around for millions of years and they have far less genetic diversity in the individual animals, prblems there are thatdue to human interfearance their ability to wander of and make an outcross every so many generations is very much limited, so again there the problem is caused by humans

by Gustav on 18 August 2012 - 13:08

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But Duke, you have to deal with humans in breeding dogs within society. So if humans continue to breed in such manners as to produce bottlenecks and backmassing , then the problem is lack of genetic diversity even though it's created by humans.

by duke1965 on 18 August 2012 - 14:08

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bottlenecks are not created by line/inbreeding, they are created by everybody running to the same stud, to keep genetic diversity in a breed you need to keep unrelated lines available and the only way to keep unrelated lines available, you have to line/in breed

by Jim Engel on 18 August 2012 - 14:08

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by Sunsilver on 18 August 2012 - 15:08

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Thank you, Jim! That's a fantastic article, which sums things up very well. 

Individual breeders can do as the article suggests (drawing the line at outcrossing to other breeds, of course, which would get them into BIG trouble) but until we get change at the top, I don't see a lot changing. As you said:

Needless to say, the rank and file GSD show breeders managed to remove Dr. Riser from his office and rejoin the pack of lemmings headed for the cliff, but their greed, power, arrogance and stupidity does not make them right.  

 

I recently came across an old book of photos of different dog breeds. It was published around 1915. Two thngs hit home: one, the way many of the breeds have changed in appearance, becoming more exaggerated over the years, and two, many of the breeds pictured in the book are now extinct.

Lemmings? Cliff?  I think Jim pegged it.


http://www.archive.org/stream/dogsofallnations00masorich#page/n5/mode/2up 

by desert dog on 18 August 2012 - 16:08

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I would say genetic diversity is more prevailant now than ever before. Because of technology in communication. 40 years ago you only heard about dogs in magazines or word of mouth outside your own community. The price and availability of european dogs being imported to this country were only done by people with the money to research and purchase dogs. Information was limited and usually if someone you knew didn't have something you wanted and could see them work,you didn't get them. There was a family of GSD in the San Juaquin valley that a rancher imported, and for many years every time you saw a GSD it would be obvious where they came from. 100 miles was a long trip to buy a dog in those days. And there are still some of those same dogs around today
Hank

by Jim Engel on 18 August 2012 - 16:08

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Actually, this is not necessarily "BIG trouble" as it is perfectly legal in Belgium for instance.
You can take a dog in the conformation ring and get an evaluation as "good" and be issued
provisional papers, which convert to full papers in a couple of registrations.

The KNPV people don't care, and falisification of registrations has not been that uncomon,
although is becoming more difficult with genetic tests.  Whether this is good or bad is open
to question.

Actually the concept of the formal "breed" is relatively recent:

http://www.angelplace.net/Book/Ch13.pdf

by ziegenfarm on 18 August 2012 - 18:08

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personally, i would like to see "approved studs"  in the same way that you see "approved stallions" for the warmblood registries.  something similar could be done for the dams.  stallions can be approved for different breeds and offer genetic diversity, yet at the same time retain breed characteristics.  the german shepherd originated from a mish mash of herding dogs in europe.  i see nothing wrong with going back to the roots every now and then, but only for the purpose of breed betterment. (belgian sheepdogs, malinois, dutch shepherds & the like)
pjp

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