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  #211  
Old 10-19-2012, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
What is WRONG with wanting JUST a pet???!!! MOST people who own dogs, just own pets.

I sometimes think the more you get involved in dogs, the less you enjoy them as dogs.
I don't believe that to be the case at all. Sure there are some that view dogs as merely a means to compete. maybe some of these people are the ones you see or hear about more than others because they are so driven to compete and subsequently are winning or near the top a lot.

BUT the vast majority of the people i've trained with over the years, some rather successful with national championships and international competitions under their belts, and they all love their dogs because they are dogs. They're out swimming, running, rolling around in the grass, hikes in the woods, vacations, hotels, chilling on the deck with a beer type dog owners. I haven't come across too many people that could possibly love their dogs and enjoy them as much as most of these people do.
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  #212  
Old 10-19-2012, 09:09 AM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
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Originally Posted by sciatrix View Post
As someone with a lot of background in population genetics, I am very much in agreement with Aleron about breeding only the "best of the best" being terrible for the breed as a whole because it can quickly take almost all of the genetic diversity out of the breed. Most breeds currently exist in closed registry systems with no outcrossing permitted, so if that system is to continue in the long term then breeders need to be very careful about maintaining genetic diversity in the breed as a whole, especially in smaller breeds. And that means including as many different dogs in the population as parents as possible and not letting only a few dogs disproportionately sire a vast majority of offspring.

Breeding only the very best to the very best in each generation creates populations that are more and more inbred. Even aside from deleterious alleles of genes that cause diseases--which you are not going to wash out by inbreeding more, because there are too many of them accumulated and lurking in the genetic background--selection, even artificial selection like breeding dogs, works much better in a large gene pool than a small one. In small gene pools (which can be caused by either small numbers of outbred animals or large numbers of inbred ones), genetic drift has a much larger impact on the make-up of the population because chance has a lot more impact on which individuals breed and also which combinations of alleles selection can work on. In large population sizes with a lot of mixing, selection is more powerful than genetic drift because there are more individual combinations of different alleles to choose from and you can more easily select out some of the deleterious traits. Because there are more breeding individuals, chance also has a lot less impact on a large gene pool than a small one--if one individual acquires a deleterious mutation in a large gene pool, that mutation starts out being proportionately rarer in the large population than it would in a much smaller one.
This is a very good point. Oh, and really, look at what happened with the Impressive lines in the horse world. One sire, 2300 direct offspring, and somewhere around 55,000 horses now come from his lines. At some point it was discovered he was carrying the chronic/degenerative genetic disease, HYPP, and it became a huge issue. Of course the dog world is on a smaller scale breed to breed, but this can certainly happen if a breed with a smaller population is being line bred pretty consistently.
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  #213  
Old 10-19-2012, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by crazedACD View Post
This is a very good point. Oh, and really, look at what happened with the Impressive lines in the horse world. One sire, 2300 direct offspring, and somewhere around 55,000 horses now come from his lines. At some point it was discovered he was carrying the chronic/degenerative genetic disease, HYPP, and it became a huge issue. Of course the dog world is on a smaller scale breed to breed, but this can certainly happen if a breed with a smaller population is being line bred pretty consistently.
Yuuup. I actually thought immediately of Impressive as well.

It's not inbreeding a small scale that concerns me. If your lines are inbred but the breed population is diverse, you have room to outcross.

When the whole population of a breed has the genetic diversity of 50 dogs... You're screwed. There's literally nowhere left to turn. When the same dog is in EVERY pedigree... what do you do then? Where do you go?

There are dogs that may not be anything to write home about physically born into litters that have near perfect hips and elbows. Or dogs that are on the lower side of drive but that have really excellent, moderate, sound structure. They are not "the best" but they aren't bad either, and could really get a breed out of a sticky situation. In fact, I'd argue that pet breeders maintaining health tested lines with good temperaments could be the salvation of many breeds, since pet breeders often have a separate and more diverse gene pool that either show or working bred dogs.

Actually, Ted Kerasote, who wrote Merle's Door, talked about this in an interview with Dr. Karen Becker, regarding his latest dog, a Lab named Pukka.

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Ted might tell someone: 'Pukka's got good genes. I spent a lot of time looking for genes like his. He's clear for centronuclear myopathy. He's clear for PRA (a genetic eye disease). He's got good hips and good elbows. It might be nice to pass these genes on.'

The response is almost always 'You want to breed him?' in a tone that says clearly this is not a good thing. There is a small but vocal minority of the dog-owning population in this country that thinks breeding any dog is morally reprehensible.

Ted's response is, 'If you carry that line of thinking to its logical conclusion, there are no more dogs.'

He has to ask, 'Where do we think dogs come from?' Dogs must breed to make more dogs. The question should be, how can we make more dogs that are the healthiest dogs possible?

To alter every dog sounds crazy to Ted. It also takes a lot of genetically healthy dogs out of the population.

Ted feels what spay/neuter has done in the shelter population is what narrowing the funnel of purebred dogs to those with exaggerated anatomical features has done in the purebred population.
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites...in-europe.aspx

It's really inevitable that if we tightly restrict breeding to those dogs that show in conformation or work in a certain sport, we create a genetic bottleneck in that breed. And, what I fear most, is creating a bottleneck in the species as well. If that happens, tbh, we'll be glad there are so many intact stray dogs running around certain areas of the country and the world. lol

I'm not suggesting every pet owner run out and breed their dog (far from it), it's just... food for thought. When you look at the big picture, it's a far more complicated situation than "Breed the best, spay the rest." And the push from AR organizations to make breeding taboo, and to paint "responsible breeding" as this insanely impossible standard with all these ALWAYS and NEVER rules, likely has not helped the population of purebred dogs on a wide scale.
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  #214  
Old 10-19-2012, 09:39 AM
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I do think there are some things one can do to help test "a good pet". Things like C.L.A.S.S., therapy dogs, etc. I do think a breeder should be doing these things at the bare minimum.
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  #215  
Old 10-19-2012, 09:47 AM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
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Originally Posted by Emily View Post
It's really inevitable that if we tightly restrict breeding to those dogs that show in conformation or work in a certain sport, we create a genetic bottleneck in that breed. And, what I fear most, is creating a bottleneck in the species as well. If that happens, tbh, we'll be glad there are so many intact stray dogs running around certain areas of the country and the world. lol
I was just thinking, too..it is, well, kind of difficult to get a dog from a reputable breeder...with intent to breed. Not to mention the financial aspect for 'breeding quality' (double, triple, quadruple the price), breeders often retain co-ownership, have contracts, have to approve the breeding. In some ways, yes, it does curb some of the irresponsible people...but if someone wants to breed, they want to breed. Is this not hurting the dog population? The BYBer is going to go to another BYB to get an intact dog.
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  #216  
Old 10-19-2012, 09:48 AM
sciatrix sciatrix is offline
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Originally Posted by Emily View Post
It's really inevitable that if we tightly restrict breeding to those dogs that show in conformation or work in a certain sport, we create a genetic bottleneck in that breed. And, what I fear most, is creating a bottleneck in the species as well. If that happens, tbh, we'll be glad there are so many intact stray dogs running around certain areas of the country and the world. lol

I'm not suggesting every pet owner run out and breed their dog (far from it), it's just... food for thought. When you look at the big picture, it's a far more complicated situation than "Breed the best, spay the rest." And the push from AR organizations to make breeding taboo, and to paint "responsible breeding" as this insanely impossible standard with all these ALWAYS and NEVER rules, likely has not helped the population of purebred dogs on a wide scale.
I don't think creating a bottleneck in the species is too likely--all you really have to do is allow your purebreds to crossbreed again. Dogs have a ton of genetic diversity on the species level, even if you don't include wolves (which, remember, are the same species as dogs are). The problem is that the way dog breeding culture works doesn't allow most breeders to take advantage of that diversity by doing outcrosses now and again to keep inbreeding issues low. That said, that culture does need to change to make at least some crossbreeding acceptable again if that's going to happen.

Totally agree that the AR breeding taboo push is completely not helping any purebred breed stay genetically afloat, though. Keeping a completely closed studbook is a hard thing to do to a gene pool, and breeding only a few animals in every generation really exacerbates the negatives that come with that/
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  #217  
Old 10-19-2012, 09:50 AM
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Is it okay to breed any breed as a pet or just those who're historically companion dogs?
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  #218  
Old 10-19-2012, 09:53 AM
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We're used that theory, the genetic diversity, in considering breeding Backup actually. He has some amazing traits for the breed, he will not give up, he has more drive and energy than he knows what to do with, but he has a lot of issues as well, he's inconsistent in many ways, he's intolerant of touch and has a low bite threshold in every aspect of life. I guess you really have to trust you breeder and your knowledge of the dogs to weigh the good and the bad. He's not what I consider a well balanced dog but he sure looks amazing when he's working.
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  #219  
Old 10-19-2012, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Emily View Post
When the whole population of a breed has the genetic diversity of 50 dogs... You're screwed. There's literally nowhere left to turn. When the same dog is in EVERY pedigree... what do you do then? Where do you go?
Genetic diversity of 50 dogs would be a vast improvement for some breeds. Tollers, for instance...this from the abstract to the 2010 research paper "Population structure and genetic diversity of worldwide Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and Lancashire Heeler dog populations" by K. Mäki:

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The aim of this study was to research the population structure and genetic diversity of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (NS) and the Lancashire Heeler (LH) dog breeds. Data consisted of nearly all the worldwide registration history for both breeds, including 28,668 NS and 4,782 LH individuals. A reference population, including the females born between 1999 and 2008, was defined for genetic analyses for each breed. Average depth of the pedigrees known for the reference population dogs was 12.9 complete generation equivalents in the NS and 6.0 in the LH. Only a small fraction of the born dogs were used later for breeding. Effective number of founders was 9.8 in the NS and 15.2 in the LH. More than 50% of the genetic diversity in the reference population was explained by two ancestors in the NS and five in the LH. Average inbreeding coefficients in the reference populations were 0.26 in the NS and 0.10 in the LH. Average kinships were 0.26 and 0.08 and realised effective population sizes 18 and 28, respectively. Failure to use available genetic resources for sustainable breeding has resulted in depletion of genetic variation in both breeds. To increase genetic variation, a larger proportion of the dogs should be used in reproduction and the contributions of reproducing animals should be equalized. In the LH, it is necessary to use the unregistered farm dogs in breeding. In the NS, crosses with another breed are needed.
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  #220  
Old 10-19-2012, 10:01 AM
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Don't tell me that, Shai.
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