Saturday, 8 March 2014

Border-line incest


Over on the Border Wars blog, Christopher Landauer has highlighted the extent of inbreeding in the Border Collies at Crufts.

It turns out that this year's winner is the equivalent to a grandfather/grand-daugher mating and the Reserve Dog is the equivalent of a father/daughter mating.

As Landauer points out, it's totally unnecessary. There is quite a lot of extant genetic diversity in Border Collies. The problem is that it is split into factions of type or geography, isolating sections of the breed in increasingly compromised gene pools.

Check out the rest of Landauer's blog here:

68 comments:

  1. I would liken it to cloning, purely and simply repeating the same matings to enable them to continue winning. Dangerous and deplorable and it highlights the breeders total disregard for the well being of the dogs they see before them, not the future well being of those dogs into the future. I thought BCs had high incidence of epilepsy? If that is so their breeding programmes are catastrophic.

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  2. It's a problem inherent in way we develop breeds for the show scene. Diversity is perceived as the enemy, perhaps the ultimate enemy.
    Breeders seek to develop a signature look that they hope will be accepted as the "true" breed type. If that look gets show ring success the other breeders try to copy it. The easiest way to copy is use the successful kennel's dogs in their breeding programme.
    Within a few generations just a handful of closely related families, human and canine "families", dominate the breed. A few generations more and in all too many cases every show dog in a breed can trace its antecedence back through one narrow line.
    Nothing will change until the show world starts to view diversity of form as a strength and not a weakness
    Kevin Colwill

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    1. And to change the culture, you have to change the rules and constitution that binds them.

      The K.Cs ruling that no member breed a dog inelligible for registration ensures that diversity and the un- recorded will be viewed by the K.C population as antagonistic to that population.

      It realy is that simple.

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  3. What do you think is an acceptable COI? Are these COI's particularly high compared to other Crufts BOB winners, or compared to the BC COI?
    As with HD/ED the advice at the moment is to aim for below average for the breed and in some breeds it may take some time to reduce the COI (or they may have to consider outcrossing).
    I wouldn't be happy with anything over 10 myself, and I also health test to avoid the known genetic diseases. All my dogs have a mix of show and working blood, but the working side is very guilty of 'popular sire syndrome' so most matings of working ESS come in around 10%. A 1 in 10 risk of inheriting an unknown recessive bad gene from both sides. Is that good enough? Do we know that 5% or 1% would give us healthier dogs? (Genuine question, not a jibe at all). Is a fully health tested, field tested 10% COI mating better than an un-health tested, un-field tested 2% one?
    For me as a vet and occasional breeder COI is just part of the toolkit of things to use when breeding healthy dogs; sound temperaments, good working ability, sound conformation, looking like the breed and favourable health test results are all important too.
    VP

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    1. 'looking like the breed'. Why oh why is that even an issue? It's not is it? Looks are not important at all. Unless they are causing physical discomfort. They are ony important for humans. Function is the breed standard. Health is the most important issue.

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    2. "The least inbred group survive, on average, 14 years -- approximately 4 years longer than the most highly inbred."

      https://www.dogenes.com/poodle/lifespan.html

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    3. The 1 in 10 odds is per gene, not per dog. Of course it's of any genes matching up, not necessarily harmful ones.

      "Is a fully health tested, field tested 10% COI mating better than an un-health tested, un-field tested 2% one?"
      .
      This is a false dilemma. There is no reason why you can't test the two dogs involved in the 2% COI mating.

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    4. Hi VP,
      I really get what you're saying about popular sire syndrome and think it's a big deal in working breeds. When I was looking for a working cocker I was astounded at the COIs of some dogs. To take your own breed as an example, as you know lots of people are climbing over each other to put their bitches to Hollydrive Kurt and he has sired a huge number of pups already. When I gently murmured on gundogtrainingforum that this might not be a good thing (having a small handful of sires with hundreds of offspring and not using other decent dogs at all thus losing that little bit of gene pool), I got shot down in flames.
      Changes I would like to see are:
      - number of registered litters per sire limited
      - not registering pups from a sire used at <2yo (gives it more of a chance to show any genetic disease it's carrying including atopy etc)
      - raising the hip and elbow scoring minimum age to 18mo or 2yo for all - especially elbows since even a grade 1 has osteophytes....how incongruent must elbows be to be showing visible signs of arthritis on radiographs at 1yo??
      - my pipe dream is a database where people can enter their dog's name and KC number and relevant health information - for example if my cocker's humeral condyles fall apart at 4yo, or she develops dry eye at 6yo, I could record that and anyone browsing through the information thinking about buying a pup from one of her littermates, say, could see it. I don't suppose it will ever come to pass, as most people wouldn't bother to report though

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    5. I spoke to one of the AHT's geneticists at last year's Crufts. He told me the KC were considering putting something on Mate Select so breeders could see how many litters this dog had already sired. No mention of limiting the number - just making it opitonal for breeders.

      This was a year ago now. I can't see anything about this on Mate Select.

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    6. Fran, the data is available if you sign up (it's free) for MyKC.

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    7. " Why not test the 2% mating?" Great idea but currently in working ESS our choice of sires is severely limited as it's like pulling teeth trying to get people to test. Finding a 2% COI mating using dogs which have been proven in the field (through WCG on game or field trials) would be a challenge, before you added in wanting health tests. And yes, i want a springer which looks like a springer! (Not necessarily one which meets and arbitrary breed standard but before the show ring got them spaniels were developed in a certain shape because that shape fitted them for a spaniels job.)
      VP

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    8. VP

      Ears that get matted and get infected; tails that get docked due to getting caught when working.....hardly built for function is it? I'm sure that the droppy ear may offer some protection, but not at the expense of the grooming and risk of infections? It's temperament and the predatory motor pattern sequences that are more important to select for IMO. See working BCs...who cares whether their ears droop or not?!

      Has the show ESS dramatically devolved from the working lines? There are quite obvious aesthetic differences between the two, most notably the ridiculousness of the ear length in show dogs. Field Spaniels are also starting to look pretty 'inbred' - ectropian, droopy, saggy, muzzles.....

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    9. VP, if you look at John Armstrong's work on Standard Poodles you will find COI above 6% at 10 generations leads to marked reduction in longevity.

      In general, subpopulations in breeds (whether they be working or not) would have higher COI simply due to reduction in founders.

      The higher the COI the greater the risk for recessive disease expression and the greater the need for more and more genetic testing.


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    10. The ESS average is currently 9%.....the ESS average longevity is 14. Maybe that's a blip, or maybe higher COI is less important in a breed where the majority of registrations are working not show dogs, selected for working ability (and sadly often with scant regard to COI or health testing? I'm all for genetic diversity, and I am worried about popular sire effect in gundogs but people shouldn't forget a high COI also increases the chance of getting positive traits come out which is why inbreeding was the cornerstone of breed development and why so many people continue to inbreed today. The lowest COI matings could produce dogs which lacked inherited working ability (lets forget appearance for now). Balance in all things I think!
      Now as for ESS conformation; yes the ears are protective, the working ESS has long but managable ears, his show cousin does not. We dock tails as to start breeding for a naturally short tail now would engender more problems than it solved. It could be done by introducing the bob gene from corgis or brittanies but personally I think docking is less detrimental than introducing a genetic spinal mutation! I want a springer which looks like a springer (which incidentally I don't think some of the show strains do!) because that gives me a good idea that it will work like a springer. Predatory motor pattern alterations come along with certain conformations; see bayalevs foxes; tameness came with pied coats and drop ears. Man didn't set out to produce a spaniel in appearance but by selecting for a style of working he got one. I have no doubt a medium sized prick eared collie shaped dog could be trained for gundog work....but it wouldn't naturally work like a spaniel any more than a spaniel type could naturally work sheep....though he could be trained to go through the motions. Anyhow, all very interesting but very off topic! I'm still battling people who think 25% plus is a fine COI for a dog.
      VP

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  4. It seems to me that the only way round this problem is for the percentage inbreeding to be part of the breed standard (as a maximum). Even better, why not write breed standards with scoring points - eyes, ears, coat, length of muzzle etc. with points out of ten awarded for each area. Then take points off for inbreeding. Overall impression points would allow the judge to demonstrate their personal preference. Some areas would be the same across all breeds, others would be breed-specific. They could leave the final classes as they are now - but the scores from the early rounds would be published so everyone could see exactly why a particular dog won.

    Chris.

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    1. Yes, yes! Simple and brilliant. Make this part of the breed standard and hand out points, ribbons and kudos for it. That's speaks the language of show breeders and rewards good behaviour with what they value most. That's the way forward.

      Soon they'll be bragging to each other about how low their COIs are, and looking down their noses at higher COI breeders. Plus it gives them additional satisfying but harmless ammunition against mixed breeders who don't even *measure* COI [gasp!]...(because they don't need to, but shhh...let them have their gripe ;)).

      Someone in a position to do so, please drive this simple and potent change through.

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  5. Whippets (to 10 generations):

    Dog CC and BOB Shalfleet Simply a Lord - 15.36% 2013 top UK Whippet. Last year's BOB and Hound Group 2, this year's Hound Group 4.
    http://thewhippetarchives.net/coi/coi.php?id=121547&gens=10

    Bitch CC Crème Anglaise's Hello Look At Me - 16.63% http://thewhippetarchives.net/coi/coi.php?id=139428&gens=10

    Dog RCC Palmik LIve to Tell - 14.12%
    http://thewhippetarchives.net/coi/coi.php?id=178667&gens=10

    Bitch RCC Supeta's Bootilicious Babe - 21.51%
    http://thewhippetarchives.net/coi/coi.php?id=24726&gens=10

    Whippets have an effective population size of just 43. The average COI is 10% (an increase from the previous year), and is only this low due to the 'evil' pet breeders (and a few reputable show breeders).

    The breed is prone to auto-immune diseases - found in virutally all lines - which all but a few, responsible breeders, are in denial about.

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  6. The question I suppose is when was the MateSelect program (check potential COI for prospective pairings) available? If breeders are taking advantage of that, in future, breeders will have no excuse and we should see UK dogs with lower COI. At 6 years of age, the changes implemented (nothing to do with PDE of course ;) ) aren't representative of the latest generations being bred.

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  7. Christopher's blog is excellent. The fact that some breeders are in denial about autoimmune disease is extremely distressing, I worked with a pretty naive woman wo bred her English springer because she thought is best she have a litter or 'health' reasons. The dog ended up dieing of Lupus aged 5. Utterly clueless about autoimmune disease being associated with inbreeding or purebred dogs.

    It's well known that we choose mates based on pheromones and scent based on MHC compatibility for immune function, we sniff out healthy mates!
    Dogs are denied this. We have pushed the envelope way too far.

    The pedigree dog world is appalling. When I watch Crufts it feels utterly demoralising. Watching Liza Tarbuck made me want to poke my eyes out with forks. I thought Clare Balding was intelligent too, yet she seems to continue her association with Cruftslike a badge of honour.

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  8. www.scienificamerican.com/article/although-purebred-dogs-can-be-best-in-show-are they-worse-in-health

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  9. Considering the huge amount of genetic diversity in the Border Collie, why is this inbreeding so apparent? Do Border Collie people refuse to use dogs outside the "show scene" so to speak? Are working dogs not used? Also, not sure how old the winning dog is in question, but didn't the KC ban such close mating's?

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  10. By all means, work on reducing COIs - in itself a good thing. But I confess I see it as more smoke and mirrors. Reducing COI makes breeders feel they are doing something positive and responsible but does not address the real problem caused by the practices they engage in if they breed within a closed registry.

    Understand that reducing COI in a closed registry will not increase diversity. It will only slow down the loss of diversity because there are no new genes to bring in. If the population as a whole is is not yet suffering from inbreeding depression, you are simply delaying its onset. If the population is already suffering from inbreeding depression, you are simply dragging out the agony.

    There is only one way to increase diversity: bring in new genetic material. In terms of 'purebred' dogs, this means going outside the closed registry. Coincidentally, this will have the effect of reducing COI in a way that really means something.

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    1. I agree.
      I don't believe we can see any lasting change to attitudes within the K.Cs until the ruling that disallows members to breed a dog ineligible for registration are revoked.

      Its this ruling that has corrupted the ideal away from 'better dogs' to mean only 'Predictable" dogs. Better dogs using only whats already there.
      An Oxymoron.

      The goal cannot be 'Better Dogs". Purity and concentration of lines can be the only out come.

      Viewed from the perspective of biological law, you have a population that has deemed whats outside to be an antagonist to be kept out.
      The K.C population will be driven to define themselves against whats outside.The definition can only continue to narrow. The only thing that defines a pedigree dog indisputably from whats outside the K.Cs is the pedigree.
      Thats no longer enough because the addition of the rule against cross breeding makes the environment, and the very foundations of pedigree dogs, an antagonist.

      How can you claim to breed "better Dogs" when you deny any comparison? When dogs are compared only to their generational peers?

      Sorry, but I don't believe there is any hope of turning things around until that ruling is revoked . If it were revoked, I believe it would cause a huge shift in perceptions both inside and out side of the K.Cs to bring better out comes all 'round to give back a future for Dogs in our communities.

      Aussie

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  11. Not sure why Jemima picked out Border Collies as an example of high COIs in the show dogs at Crufts. As Cruft winners go, the COIs of the Border Collies are not nearly as bad as some other breeds.
    In my breed , Irish Red and White Setters, the average COI of the BOBs at Crufts over the last 15 years is around 18%, and the highest was a staggering 34.5%. The average COI for the breed is currently 14.5% , so the top show winners are more inbred than the breed as a whole. The estimated population size is 28. But the breed club doesn't think this is a problem!

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    1. It's not that the COIs are high compared to some other breeds, it's that the UK breed average for COI(6) isn't even 2% and yet some of these show dogs are reaching 25%!

      I wrote the article, and I cover Border Collies as my breed first and foremost. So to me, I see the same sort of behavior that is old hat in other breeds that have been in the high inbreeding culture longer, happening more often now in Border Collies.

      If you read the first link in my article, you'll see that much of the Border Collie diversity has been lost in the mostly closed registry and our effective founder genome stat is down to 8!

      So while we're a large, diverse, and popular breed compared to many, we certainly are genetically depleted like most breeds as well.

      And new blood coming in has made little effect. So despite what you'll hear from BC apologists, we're not special flowers. We could use wise genetic management just like all other breeds.

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  12. High COIs exist in many breeds: Another example: SH CH Magregor Schokolade Bitch CC and BOB winner today at Crufts in German Shorthaired Pointers - 16.0% inbreeding coefficient. Dog CC Winner, Sh Ch Barleyarch Alvar, COI 18.1%. COIs like these are not at all unusual in British GSPs. Some recent litters have had COIs as high as 30%, The out-of-date UK Kennel Club breed standard has to be a factor in these high COIs, as, apart from The American Kennel Club standard (which does allow 1" oversize before penalising in the show ring), virtually the rest of the world uses the FCI standard which is for a taller GSP. So progeny by imported dogs often get slammed for "being too big" and are (a) neutered and (b) rarely shown, unless they correspond to the UK breed standard height.

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  13. I have to say Dalriach that the people involved with Setters per se are pretty blinded by their own arrogance. In two of the four litters I bred, hip dysplasia and entroprian were prevalent. My bloodline was of the moment and when I talked about it there was utter silence. There is no way those people hadn't produced puppies afflicted with the above, they just sold on, or operated and bred on. The health of the breed has greatly diminished in line with genetic diversity, yet they breed on, proudly extolling the virtues of their bloodlines and hell mend anyone who suggests otherwise. Denial is wicked when dealing with the health and well being of another living species and in this case the species is their "beloved" dog yet they roll the dice and hope that the next litter will maybe not be so sick or afflicted. I resigned from the breed club after 40 years continuous membership because I was sickened by the disrespect for the breed. It saddens and sickens me with what is happening in pedigree dogs today, all driven by arrogance and money.

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    1. This situation is mirrored by many breed clubs... sadly

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  14. Am watching the gundogs. Think that fat lab and the Clumber would collapse if they had to do a day's work and all the spaniels would be tangled in the first bramble patch they went into.

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  15. Feeling grumpy. Please, everyone, when you give a COI, make sure it's a COI(N). and N, the number of generations followed, is specified. Discussion of COI's without the (N) is meaningless!!!!

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    1. I agree 100% Jennifer. And I've written about why this very issue is important in a post called COI How many generations are enough?.

      The reason I didn't initially include a generation number on this post was because I was waiting to hear back from the database owner who published the numbers on how many generations exactly. Thus the ~10 generations I listed, as that's what my own calculation turned up with rounding making it a bit uncertain.

      Since I was comparing it against the average COI full pedigree, and because there is no way for COI to go down with more data, the ~10 generations is still good enough to say that these dogs are way over breed average with 13% and 25% COIs. They can only be higher than that with more information, more generations considered.

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    2. Jennifer, the COIs I quoted for my breed are taken from the KC's online data base. The problem is that the KC don't use a standard number of generations in computing the COI, for each dog they simply use whatever number of generations they have available for that pedigree - could be as few as 3 for imported dogs, or up to 17 for dogs whose records have been with the KC since they to keep records on a computerised system. In my breed few of the dogs have even ten complete generations on records, and some have as little as three. So the averages are like comparing apples and pears, and overall the averages are underestimates . . Unless the KC has complete records on all dogs,going back at least ten generations, including imported and outcrossed dogs the figures are not reliable.

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  16. Poor Pedigree breeders. While I can't defend whats happening, I know there are many trying their best to save their breeds. Its a Flawed system, but not the only one.
    'Else we wouldn't see so many dogs in shelters, or puppy farms thriving.

    We need to reach a consensus. How do we best incorporate dogs into our future communities and give that enduring value?

    Discussion and consensus is impossible while the oldest and most influential entity for supply can't recognize its foundations or its environment.

    If theres any purpose in keeping a place for dogs in our communities, Those communities must be driving its direction. Other wise, they have no place.

    Without consensus, all we can do is attack the foundations.

    Aussie

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  17. Aussie, not sure what you are saying but assume you feel that we are "bashing pedigree dog breeders" unfairly. I and I guess others know that there are good, responsible, kind dog loving breeders out there. They dedicate their time and their money for the benefit of dogs, thankfully. But they have a low profile, they don't shout and brag about their success they most certainly would not take an over exaggerated sick dog into a public forum and expect to be applauded and rewarded for such action. The exaggerations we see in all breeds, are owned, handled by people who want to win, they are competitive and blinded by what they see. As long as they win, job done. Dogs, in whatever form or jacket, will always be amongst us thankfully but a lot of the breeds/types we see today may not be included because they became extinct. The thought of dogs disappearing from our lives is too dreadful a thought.

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    1. Not , I'm saying how disheartening for those many genuine breeders.

      The K.Cs have promoted a monopoly on "ethical" breeding practices,so that people wanting to breed, and do it "Right" are pressured to do it under the K.Cs umbrella. There is the concentration of expertise a novice needs to proceed in a chosen breed and with a stated goal of 'Betterment" it can sound so right.

      Once in, whats seen becomes natural.But the dogs can only ever be compared and judged to others in the same bubble.

      Because a pedigree breeder can't breed a dog unable to be registered, they have never been made to consider or recognise any benefits such a dog may have over whats in front of them. Its impossible to pierce their bubble unless the cause is removed.
      Those who try to work out side the K.C norm will always be a minority under attack from within because the rules are designed to support only those who work as they always have.

      I do see whats happening to pedigree dogs to be only half of the problem. Expertise is concentrated under the K.Cs umbrella.
      Breeders who can't accept the K.Cs constitution, and the broader community, are left with NO direction or mentoring.

      The K.Cs could have a brighter future if breeders weren't divided over pedigree Vs Non-pedigree. If there were open discussion on what ARE good breeding practices in various situations.

      We need consensus to move forward and thats impossible as things stand.

      Dogs disapearing from our lives IS a dreadful thought, but thats all I can see happening while people focus on whats wrong and not on why its happening. All we end up with are more laws and rules that remove dogs further from a public domaine.

      Where is cultural influence coming from that leads us where we are headed?

      Aussie

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    2. Got it, your post was a little ambiguous and it is really good that we are on the same page. Sadly what I think will happen regarding the dogs that are bred to extreme is that nature will overcome it and they will fade away and the sad thing is, is that unnecessarily those dogs will have had a miserable existence during their lives. But their breeders and owners are oblivious, just provided their walls are adorned with cards they are satisfied. Re the KCs (internationally) they most definitely have a responsibility towards dogs but the only card they are interested in is the one that pays the biggest return. KCs are commercial enterprises, this only something that I have recently realised. Their interest is money and if cross breeds give the best return then they will acknowledge the "wisdom" and back it, opening registers, blah blah the virtues etc. They will push it forward but if there is sufficient power and influence and a possible loss of income extreme because they backed this acceptance then they will back pedal like mad. The UK KC seems to be dedicated to Crufts, the supposed kudos from it and what they gain during that week of the year they use to carry them forward. On the TV coverage Caroline Kisko was extolling the virtues of the Assured Breeders Scheme despite the fact that she knows that large numbers of members have never been checked or inspected. It's a nonsense yet she is happy to publicly persuade people to only buy from KC ABs. I and many others would think that that was dishonest. There has been a lot of publicity, she is involved in the scheme, she absolutely cannot claim ignorance of the outcome of the study. Also last year a couple who kept their dogs in filthy, shameful, distressing conditions were KCABs - who had never, ever been inspected. The KCs have the greatest position to be able to help and honestly drive forward the betterment of dogs mainly for them, the dogs, but also the innocent people who buy a KC registered pedigree dog in the belief that it will be the healthiest, safest addition for their family. So, the good breeders are quietly beavering away, their stock is good and they will benefit dogs into the future - hurrah, hurrah. It's just a pity that the KC don't give them due respect and somehow reward them instead of allowing distorted dogs to be shown in a public forum where the public see and believe is the sort of shape the breed they want should look like (not)!!!
      Thanks for your response.

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    3. Good post Aussie.

      In Whippets, the KC registered dog Sooty Sam has sired approximately 150 offspring. Most of the working lines, and some of the show lines, have SS in their pedigrees. Yet his offspring are allegedly not purebred. Litters of 9 puppies are unusual in Whippets, but SS has sired several such litters. The rumour is that his owner used him on purebred Whippets, and registered 9 puppies where there were only 5, leaving him with 4 available pedigrees. When he mated SS to his lurchers, this gave him exra pedigrees to be able to officially register such offspring, even though they were technically mongrels. He then subsequently bred back to Whippets until the dogs were indistinguishable from purebred dogs.

      Unfortunately, any benefit from the outcross has been lost, because SS has saturated the gene pool.

      There are photos of some funny looking dogs on the Whippet Archives, so my guess is that it's still going on. If this is taking place in Whippets, I wouldn't be surprised if it's happening in other breeds. Perhaps a few breeders are surreptitiously outcrossing. Although it's a shame they have to go about it in a cloak and daggers fashion, especially as a knowledge of pedigrees can help breeders to avoid problem lines.

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    4. Interesting anon 14:33. There was a rumour years ago that the Americans used Afghan Hounds to produce the extreme coat length in Irish Setters. I don't know if it is true but there was a lot of speculation at the time, DNA was not available for proving fact or fiction. The reason it arose was because the American Irish are houndy, very straight shoulders, over angulated back legs, high tail carriage, excessive coat, snipey head and highish ear placement. Also the way the Irish are handled by their handlers aka holding the tail high (as is done in the UK with Affies). Their general deportment was one of a hound and in some photographs of modern Irish I can still see that it could have been a possibility and I can't now remember what the final conclusion was, maybe someone else would be able to enlighten us all, it would be interesting. So your thoughts are probably not far from the truth and we all wait to see what the future brings.

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  18. Hilary Jones Plas, Major Border Collies10 March 2014 12:36

    I have bred Border Collies for over 40 years, real BCs that is, the ones bred to do the job of work that the breed was developed to do.
    It saddens me to see the short legged over coated parodies of the breed that the "show" world is promoting.
    Many years ago I was connected with the Southern Border Collie Club and the proposed breed standard was under discussion. A well known breeder stated that pricked ears should not be allowed as "the tipped over ear acted like a little umbrella " ( Oh how twee ! ) I replied that I was astonished that the Germans being such an efficient race had not realized this problem when breeding the GSD. She just looked puzzled as though she could not see the connection.
    Why I wonder do the KC not give a new name to the "show" B C. Perhaps the Beswick Collie would fit as the dog more resembles the china dogs produced by the Beswick factory that are in fact their Rough Collie model just painted black and white.

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    1. Tippy-over ears. Little umbrellas. I shall cherish that anecdote forever.

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  19. Have you seen the COI of the BIS winner? Product of a half brother sister mating ( in a breed with several inherited immune system illnesses) but even closer. Check out his pedigree on the Poodle Health registry. COI is several times the breed average.

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    1. On the case... post to come shortly.

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    2. And here I was thinking the KC had started taking this kind of stuff seriously. Why are they still promoting and accepting of dogs with such high inbreeding?

      Another question, was the high profile breed checks in place this year still?

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    3. "Another question, was the high profile breed checks in place this year still?"

      Yes. All the dogs passed.

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    4. The breed checks are rubbish! Because the dogs passed some 'health' checks on the day does not mean that the breeds do not continue to have welfare problems related to inbreeding and exageration. The vet checks have been discussed on here many some and they are not rigorous. Nonsense!

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  20. I can't understand what the problem is with these high COIs. If BCs are anything like Whippets, then genetic diseases caused by inbreeding do not apply to them... it must be true, because that's what the Whippet breeders* keep trotting out...

    *Bar a handful, who actually give a damn about the health of the dogs they breed, but get shouted down when they try and educate others.

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  21. Anyone who breeds dogs today should read this extremely well written article by J. Jeffery Bragg about inbreeding. Written in 1996 "Purebred Dog Breeds into the Twenty-First Century" appeared in the publication "Dogs in Canada" and won a dog writers award. It is copyright free and Mr. Bragg encourages it's redistribution. This is probably the original source of a lot of the written material you see on dog blogs today.

    http://www.seppalakennels.com/articles/purebred-dog-breeds-21st-century1.htm


    ... and a list of his other articles on the problems associated with population genetics:

    http://www.seppalakennels.com/jeffreys-articles.htm

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  22. Last year's BIS winner at Crufts had a COI of 19.9% when the breed average for Petit Basset Griffon Vendenns is 10%

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    1. Last years toy group winner was 24.3 COI . Actually lower than many of his kennel mates........

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  23. It might be effective to compile a list of all winners and their COI(N)'s.

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  24. Any volunteers? Essentially a matter of cross-referencing between http://crufts.fossedata.co.uk (which lists all the Crufts winners in every breed by year) with the KC's Mate Select.

    Although Mate Select not perfect, it would show us the trend in the past 5-10 years.

    We could split the task by group?

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    1. I'll do all the sighthounds. Am I posting on here, or emailing you?

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    2. Thanks Fran... email please. I have the Afghans and Whippets - thank you!

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    3. I'll do Utility if you like.

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    4. Still need help on any group? Let me know!

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    5. Did a test run and find the BOB Labrador has a COI(MS) of 4.4% and best puppy has 0.2%, and the challenge bitch has 10.9 (breed average given at 6.6%). BOB and best puppy are both imports . .. only the challenge bitch is UK bred. I suspect these figures say more about the status of records than the amount of inbreeding. How well does Mate Select do with records from Italy and Poland?

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    6. Mate Select is inaccurate for any dog from abroad - it just assumes the COI is zero.

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    7. Jemima, could you please confirm whether you want me to continue working on the utility group? I'm doing all BOB/CC/RCC/BP winners' COI as (sometimes inaccurately) reported on Mate Select, for the last 5 years of Crufts. This is obviously a lot of work so I don't want to be doubling up on anyone else's efforts.

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    8. Yes please...! Just need the BOB winners really though - for the last 10 years if poss.

      J

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    9. Ok then, that will be a lot quicker!

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    10. Could I suggest omission of foreign dogs whose pedigrees include imports, especially recent imports . . . you don't want artificially low scores to dominate the results.

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    11. Regarding COI's and imports, the COI's will not always be 0 if there is repetition in the generations on record.

      In any record of COI on mate select at the side it will tell you on how many generations the calculation is based and of those how many generations are complete.

      I am in a numerically small breed, that is apopular huntign breed in it's native countries, has been in UK since 1870.s but never in huge numbers, and has currently less than 100 puppies registered a year, so importing has become ever more necesary, almost every other generation, (at great expense, as they are not a commercial breed) as we in the breed actively work to try and keep our gene pool healthy and viable.

      For example a dog I imported in partnership into Quarantine with friends before the Pet Passport started has a COI of 0, notes say: About this calculation: The pedigree data used to calculate this result extended back as far as 6 generations with the first 3 generations being fully complete.

      His daughter that I bred has with a COI of 0, the explanatory note says: The pedigree data used to calculate this result extended back as far as 15 generations with the first 4 generations being fully complete.

      Her mother now a healthy 14 1/2 year old has a COI of 6.9% based on 14 generations with 5 fully complete.

      I took the 0% daughter abroad to Finland for a litter, (the oepn database you can see the COI for any number ofl generations you like, but for the first five his was Inbreeding 0,78%, and the resulting offspring have a COI of 0.2% based on 4 full generations out of 16.

      One of these was mated to an imported dog of a 0 COI (based on 3 complete generations of 6 on record) and their offspring have a COI of 0.4% based on 4 complete generations of 17 on record.

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  25. Sso lets give some balance, why not ask your average person what their beloved Labradoodle COI is and not just a 1st generation cross but a 2nd or 3rd generation, indeed what is the COI of the black dogs you import from Eire? Whats the answer Harrison ? ...................Nope no idea ...........no I didn't think you would

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    1. COIs are impossible to calculate on a random bred dog, since we don't know the parents. For your first point, I've been reading this blog a long time and I haven't seen a single person say that labradoodles are the solution to any problem.

      Line breeding concentrates genes, and a cross between two breeds will diversify the genes in the puppies. Generally that means the puppies will be healthier, but of course other factors are at play, and if the two breeds share bad genes, the puppies may not be as healthy as you want.

      Most people on this blog aren't anti-breed, in fact many of them want to maintain recognizable breeds, so I don't see why you took the tone you did. Every person here wants happy, healthy dogs, and if that means breeding for moderate but recognizable confirmation, and decreasing inbreeding, I would think you could respect that even if you don't agree.

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  26. My family are long time farmers, so there were always collies around. The breed standard involved 'can the dog do the job? Is it fit, sane, friendly, focused?'
    I lost my own beloved BC cross last year at over 17. She was never sick a day, never had any temperament issues, could go all day, was a pleasure to be around, loved kids, was a first class house dog who would have given her life for her family. What was she crossed with? The refuge centre hazarded GS or Dobe. Did it matter to her or us? No.
    Would I get a purebred BC with what I know about COI? Not in a million years. Would I have another crossbreed BC from healthy parents? In a heartbeat.
    Until breeders start to take the issue of inbreeding seriously, I will vote with my wallet and refuse to support breeding programmes which are positively Pharoanic and which degrade a wonderful breed.

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  27. Imo , lowering COI(N) may be for sure an adequate tool to increase health . But to ‘push it forward’ as thé only beatifical tool may testify wearing winkers . It’s not only simplistic but even dangerously counter productive if NOT combined with sound breeding practices . One indeed can have parentage presenting a low COI(N) but showing up identical faults , p ex unsound hip scores , and notwithstanding the low COI(N) , it ends up with offspring which may lack healthy hip conditions , that by doubling up a definite fault .

    I agree here , healthy dogs can be obtained by striving after MODERATION , that without losing the ‘recognizability’ of the respective breeds . In this train of thought , it might be worthful to mention type-to-type breeding embedded in proportionately low COI(N) scores annex the principle of corrective complementarity , ie a specific major fault(s) in one parent countered by the other parent having a correct version of that specific point(s) .

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  28. I think even with breeds that have a strong working component, as long as there is an appearance requirement that is independent of that, you will get problems. Breeds look like they do historically because form followed function, and to a certain extent because of the limits of movement people had, so populations had a limited sort of isolation as well as interconnectedness with other forms over geographic areas. There is a difference between a breeder trying to satisfy the demands of work as well as a separate breed standard, and one who has a sense of an aesthetic form being related to particular working traits.

    So I find myself wondering if having proscribed forms is a good thing at all? The argument against getting rid of them would be the form might drift, but that seems to happen even with a very strict form unrelated to work - maybe it even happens more.

    I have two other thoughts - one is that modern abilities with regard to transport and AI may be a problem - they over-ride some of the natural geographic factors that meant that one dog could not dominate too strongly - it is easy for people to drive or fly to get puppies from "the best" dogs. or on the other hand for people to import purebreds which then become genetically isolated in their region.

    And there has also I think been something of a degradation in what it means to have a "working" dog. My husband keeps a gun dog, and it is not as easy as one might think to get a really good one. The field trial dogs are just as bad as show dogs in their own way - unsuitable for really working.

    And even the people breeding real working dogs seem more interested in dogs that respond like a machine rather than as a working partner. His best dog was in fact not purebred but a lab/husky cross - and while she was not always conventional in her behavior (why chase the rabbit around when you could cut him off?), she very adaptable and successful at almost any task she was set to.

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  29. I feel the problems behind the inbreeding need deeper corrections than COI.

    Basically it is this: for a breed to maintain its current population numbers, each female, on average, needs to produce 2 breedable puppies, one to replace herself, and one to replace the sire.

    Therefor, if you have a breed that generally has 8 puppies in a litter, each female can not have even one litter without the population rising, or some of the puppies never being bred.

    If, instead of the average ideal, of each female having only one litter, and only two puppies in that litter, your breed has 8 puppies per litter, then, to keep the population numbers even, some of the puppies never get to have puppies of their own, when grown, only one male and one female of that litter can mature to have a litter, the other 6 remain unbred their whole lives.

    So the end result would be 75% (6 total/ average 3 male & 3 female) of dogs remain virgins their whole lives, while 25% (2 total/ average 1 male, 1 female) have one litter. Not one litter per year - one litter per lifetime.

    For each dog who has 10 litters, 9 other dogs that would have been picked for breeding are NEVER going to have any puppies. Their genes drop out of the gene pool, flow down the drain, are gone forever.

    As decades roll by with more and more popular sirs (and dams), more and more diversity is lost, until eventually the breed is very inbred.

    This is slightly different with breeds who have smaller litters. In a breed that averages 4 puppies per litter, one male puppy and one female puppy are needed to replace their parents, and the other two puppies can't be bred without taking the breeding rights away from some other dog's litter.

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