|Barked: Tue Sep 11, '12 4:34pm PST |
|Missy, I think you're probably right. For many breeders in the US, genetic diversity is not very important at all and in many breeds it's 'fashionable' to breed closely or breed 'popularly' - I mean not simply for backyard breeders but established, long-term breeders. I really think this type of mentality often leads to unseen consequences like short life spans and weakened immune systems, ones that can't be measured by health testing.
Since we becoming more involved in purebred dogs, I'm personally greatly disturbed by the totally casual way many established breeders are breeding animals which common sense tells you not to - like breeding bitches who have had previous malformed litters, aborted litters, stud dogs who have no idea what they're doing/lacking libido, indiscriminate use of AI, breeding half sister to brother, etc. From my point of view these things just slowly and surely erode the health of dogs & breeds over generations. Technology does not trump nature, or whatever there is left of nature in the domesticated dog. Setting 'type' quickly using close linebreeding while destroying what's left of a closed stud book is not in the best interest for the futurity of a breed.
Being heavily involved in international clubs, it appears at least in some breeds and KCs (and evident by the UK KC's effort to introduce a 3-gen COI calculator) these things are making headway and many more breeders elsewhere attempt to understand true, total health and what really makes healthy breeding. Some KCs exclude or limit the types of linebreedings that can be registered. Some KCs require breedings to be OK'd by the breed club under some scheme. The breeding of purebred dogs needs to be taken with the understanding of not only producing dogs who are function-fit, but also with genetic preservation in mind - something like breeding rare animals with a limited population. And at least the clubs in the US are just not properly equipped to monitor the breedings in order to preserve the genetic material.. pretty much every breeder for themselves is the impression I get.
That being said, recently at some venues we had the good fortune of meeting a lady with Great Danes - ones bred with genetic diversity as a key consideration - not only over the perfunctory 3 generations but over 6 generations and more..and seeing her dogs, some of which were 11 years old still spry, gives me some glimmer of hope that there are actually still some people left who truly understand biology & genetics, who are working with dogs. After all, we simply trust the complicated matter of procreation & natural selection in the natural world, to basically lay people who find it a hobby, in dogs.......
/steps of soap box..