This article contains information from the AKC's Delegate's newsletter, Perspectives along with an article from OFA, How the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) is tackling inherited disorders in the USA: Using hip and elbow dysplasia as examples.
We are delighted to share an article by Dr. Jerold S. Bell, DVM along with a video presentation given on the topic, Maintaining and Improving Breeds.
DWN extends our thanks to Dr. Jerold S. Bell & Edmund Dziuk for sharing with the DWN community!
The impact specific dogs have upon the collective genome of purebred dog breeds rests in human hands.
With the advent of dog exhibitions and the rise of cynology organizations at the turn of the last century we see dog breeder's efforts to select dogs for breeding that best meet criteria outlined in breed standards which describe phenotype and a given breed's purpose.
Populations of the breeds were established by founders - only a handful of dogs established each breed. For more than one hundred years, many breeders involved in dog clubs have selected generations of dogs for breeding based upon results and awards attained at club dog shows, at hunting tests, herding and tracking trials, working trials and by other judgements that define desirable functionalities such as companionship and protection.
It's safe to say awards have played a significant role in shaping the breeds we know today. What are "we" doing?" It's called selective breeding; and we as purebred dog breed proponents are responsible for the outcomes. The importance of the conformation judge's role in awarding 'fashionable' dogs of extreme type that do not conform to breed standards at shows and breeder's choices that default to selecting the 'Dog du Jour' to sire litters contribute to a breed's management - and to health of dogs and breeds.
The purebred dog breeds have evolved; their development tied to Kennel and Breed Club rules and policies pertaining to creation and modification of breed standards, registrations and exhibition eligibility. Non-DNA health evaluations, e.g. hip and elbow screening, and DNA tests and their interpretations, play an increasingly important role in shaping breeder's choices.
Amidst their accomplishments of dog show awards, recognition of their dogs' working abilities, and appreciation of their unique companionship qualities, breeders must also keep in mind the importance of selecting healthy breeding stock as a critical aspect of breed preservation.
For insights into breed management from the breed population, club and individual breeder standpoints see...
Maintaining and Improving Breeds - Jerold S Bell, DVM
Associated articles: Gene Pools: from the AKC Delegate's Newsletter, Perspectives.