In the last two centuries, since the creation of first kennel clubs, an incredible number of new dog breeds have emerged, thanks to the work of dog lovers. The first companion of man has also been able to provide new services, among others because selection work on behavior allowed some breeds to fulfill specific tasks. Yet, this incredible phenotypic and behavioral diversity generated at the species level did not occur without side effects.
There is an increasing concern about the welfare of dog breeds in relation to their genetics. Today, between 500 and 600 inherited disorders are reported in dog species (Nicholas 2011). The question of banning some breeds particularly prone to health problems appears more and more frequently in the media, and for an increasing number of people, the breeding activity itself is considered as unnatural, unhealthy and immoral.
It appears easy to judge breeding with an anthropomorphic point of view, and people easily forget that without breeding, domestication would probably not have occurred, and the dog would actually not exist. Yet it is not possible to deny anymore the actual damage that breeding has made to dog health. It is high time that the dog community takes action around improvement of dog health.
It is the purpose of DogWellNet, it is the purpose of this blog.
My name is Gregoire Leroy, I am a population geneticist, who has been working for several years on topics related to characterization, conservation and management of domestic breeds, especially with dog species.
In this blog, I will try to provide opinion and information on the existing issues and possibilities to improve dog health, based on existing literature, personal experience or shared data. I also hope to give voice, occasionally, to some experts (searchers, breeders, dog lovers…) in different domains.
I do not intend to give in this blog neither the solution to the current problems that dog breeders experience, as it is probable that no single solution exists, nor to provide the scientific truth to all questions around dog genetics, as there is still a lot to discover and several topics still create debates in the scientific community. I just hope to provide input that may interest and be useful to people interested or working on the improvement of dog welfare.
Credit picture: I. Horvath