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David Eikelberg

IPFD Board
  • Posts

  • Joined

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Profile Information

  • Region
    North America
  • Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Country
  • Current Affiliation
    Black Russian Terrier Club of America
  • Position / Title
  • Interests
    Dog Breeding
    Dog Health
  • Academic Credentials
    Masters (e.g. MSC)
  • Expertise/Proficiencies
    Dog Breeding
  • Specific Breed(s) of Interest
    Black Russian Terrier
  • Breed Club Rep; Board Member or Breeding/ Health Committee member
  • Attended an International Dog Health Workshop

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David Eikelberg's Achievements


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  1. Line breeding in our chosen breed, the Black Russian Terrier used to be much more common than it is currently. It was done to set type before anyone really realized the damage done to health, in particular as related to autoimmune diseases and manifestations such as allergies. Fortunately, much education has taken place in our breed that discourages line breeding and things are getting better, but there is still a long way to go in education of both the general public and much of the old guard in our breed, particularly overseas. The awareness of genetic damage done through careless breeding is only a decade or two old at least on our breed. We can only hope that the genetic diversity that remains in our breed is sufficient to carry us into the future. Our breed was founded by the Russian Army and Red Star Kennels from about a dozen different breeds anyway. Perhaps someday we may have to use outcross techniques to restore genetic diversity. If we do, hopefully we will still be able to retain the positive characteristics of this most incredible breed of canine.
  2. In our very small population of the Black Russian Terrier, we have adopted a policy of "working in a positive direction" and trying our very best to educate anyone who will listen, in intelligent genetic sorting for breeding pairs, using the best we have while at teh same time striving for the maximum genetic diversity possible as well a requisite traits and attributes. Where our breeders have gone awry, we attempt to correct the situation through judge's education seminars and articles in our newsletters, as well as just plain talk on social media. Not ideal but it is our hope that the tremendously successful efforts of the Red Star Kennels in Russia, which resulted in this amazing breed, will be preserved for as long as possible. Further, our small numbers mean that we have an opportunity to make course corrections that encompass a large percentage of our breed, long before our population of BRTs becomes unmanageable, as is the case with more popular breeds. What a terrible loss it would be were someone to declare that none of them were fit to breed, and thereby cause their extinction. I would suppose the brachycephalic breed lovers would feel the same. Anyone interested in an intense 5 volume study of the lineage of the BRT and the incredibly science-based and purpose bred breeding strategy utilized by Red Star in Russia can access an incredible depth and breadth of information and definitive action in a series available via Amazon by by my good friend Canadian author, Mr. Donald B. Anderson. And yes, the ever-pragmatic and dogmatic Russians did terminate some breeding lines that were beyond repair. But they did it with a clear punch list of required traits. For example, when they introduced the Ovcharka, the result proved too vicious to control and a portion of that lineage was destroyed in order to work in a better direction. A more humane approach suitable for today's ethics and morals might be to let certain bloodlines simply die out, while the remaining more suitable others are used to work in a positive direction.
  3. I can also attest to the robust nature of the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics lab (VGL) DNA testing program. We have used them extensively in our Black Russian Terrier breeding program as mentioned above. Our DVM just this past weekend suggested that we have our BRT tested by VGL for Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) in an attempt to diagnose the reason(s) for the weakness in his rear. So, as you can see, even DVMs look upon UC Davis as a source of diagnostic information and support, not just hobbyists and breeders. See them at:
  4. Great information that we all need to be reminded about now and again. Article brings people back to "center' in their thinking about breeding programs. I forwarded this on to my Black Russian Terrier Club of America breed club. I hope everyone else also forwards on to as many breed clubs as possible.
  5. Here is the majority of Dr Friedrich's translation: Dear dog friends, Today, from my personal point of view, I would like to say a few words to you about the current situation at the VDH. Logically, the first priority is the health of all people, be they dog owners or not. It is indubitable for each and every one of us to avoid spreading Covid 19 disease (caused by the coronavirus) as far as possible. In many ways, although this often hits us hard, we have to accept cutbacks in terms of social life, work, finance, mobility and leisure activities. Fortunately, we can continue to provide our dogs with adequate care; and as family members and companions, the wagging four-legged friends are of greater importance than ever for most of us. But unfortunately, even when it comes to hobbies with the dog, nothing is what it was. Breeders with covered bitches and already born litters are just as unsettled as those who are thinking about the future of their breeding ambitions. Others find it difficult to do without sports and exhibitions. In many respects there is currently hardly any freedom of choice due to justified government measures. Regardless of the state restrictions, I would like to comment on a few facts. I am particularly concerned with those periods in which legal requirements have been relaxed, but normal conditions are still far from being reached. For this period, the VDH recommends that visits to kennels that are already active are temporarily not carried out. New breeding facilities, where no first kennel inspection has yet been carried out, should not start their breeding activities until an initial breeding facility inspection is more reasonable and feasible. Depending on the possibilities, a type of litter acceptance should take place before the puppy is given, whereby the clubs are given more freedom of choice regarding the design in the current crisis period. Individual clubs are considering planning their litter acceptance in connection with veterinary vaccination for a few months in the future. Further litter inspections that take place before the litter acceptance should be avoided. Shifts in time are also permissible, and a suitable form of implementation must be observed. We expect that no exhibitions, performance tests, meetings etc. can be considered until the end of May because they are prohibited by the responsible authorities or imposed with hardly achievable conditions. More will then be seen. It is particularly painful for many of us that we cannot obtain breeding permits with our animals because the relevant tests have to be postponed. However, breeding may not continue without the correct breeding license of each individual dog; we are therefore required to be patient. Controlled breeding at the VDH is a quality feature that we are all committed to and that must also persist during this time. Relief in breeding approval is possible, clubs that are intended to have exhibition results as a condition for the breeding approval test can be dispensed with if a breeding judge on the breeding approval test in question thoroughly inspects the dog and the club takes a corresponding decision. Breeding approval events for individual dogs are permitted provided that they can be carried out without endangering everyone involved. A review of the behavior in a group of people must be omitted. Associations have the right to submit certificates for seminar visits in connection with activities or offices. I myself expect that a number of activities that are important to us cannot be carried out for a certain period of time. It is particularly disadvantageous that some highly questionable dog breeders outside the VDH are taking advantage of this situation and are increasingly offering puppies. If you should ask yourself now whether it is right in a situation in which many human lives are threatened to carry out planning with regard to dog beings, it should be remembered that we have a great many inquiries about the topics listed. And of course our members have the right to get answers. It is not easy to find the right way and the right measure here. The VDH board and the management endeavor to lead the dog being through the current emergency times without exaggeration, but also without omission. Please allow me one last comment. We are all frustrated right now because our lifestyle is severely impaired and we cannot achieve important goals. Even serious economic hardship threatens not a few members of our clubs and also one or the other club itself. It is all the more important, not inconsiderable.. Also, the reference to the AKC publication on "Placing Puppies in the Age of Covid-19... " article makes some excellent points and most importantly for non-veterinary-schooled canine enthusiasts directs readers to the AKCBreeder Education Courses available through the AKC, which are an excellent source of very basic information on canine health. For the more curious, I have also found that non-DVM-educated individuals can obtain subscriptions to AVMA peer-reviewed publications and research journals through the AVMA website for a minimal subscription fee without paying the full $400 annual membership. Tons of information here in the above article and what with so many people being home, now is a great time for making this study information available to advance IPFD Members' learning. Thank you for posting! Dave
  6. It would be great to get this message out to the media to prevent dog adoption problems when people go back to work. In so doing we could also make the global audience more aware of the great things IPFD is setting out to do.
  7. What Dr. Bonnett says is so true. IPFD is the perfect and obvious organization to orchestrate just such a world-wide collaborative effort. This is such a worthwhile endeavor lacking only major funding to make it happen. We must all work toward finding a way to fund this work within this organization.
  8. I believe has a great system for helping breeders make better decisions regarding breed pairs. However, it seems their services are vastly underutilized. They need more exposure in the media for their capabilities and services to become more widely known.
  9. I love this page! It most importantly captures the heart, as well as the soul of what IPFD "is", and where it is headed in the future. As mentioned in the article at the very end..., "The possibilities are exciting!" I agree!
  10. I am confident that I could be useful as a breed expert for anyone with questions about the Black Russian Terrier (BRT). They are not for the first time dog owner, as is commonly advertised. However, despite the depth and breadth to which this advice is transmitted, there are still people who get BRTs and end up giving them up because they cannot handle them. If my acting as a breed expert for the BRT can help prevent even one BRT from being abused, or from having to be re-homed, I would be happy to provide advice to inquiries on this breed.
  11. Thoughtfully researched and well written. Much appreciated. In the U.S. it seems to me that the best bet, although not a perfect solution, is to consult with the database available at to see if the dame and sire have been health tested and if so to what extent. From there one can have at least an idea of the likelihood of obtaining a healthy puppy from a litter. It is far far better than nothing. While there can be lying by omission, and refusing to post results for certain tests, even that tells somewhat of a tale when evaluating and considering a puppy from a breeder. There is also a "Puppy Selection Tool" available at, which I helped create and which should be widely publicized and used in selecting a puppy regardless of the breed. It simply causes the puppy buyer to ask breeders the right questions. So perhaps it is more useful than most other solutions to simply educate the public about informational resources which are available such as rather than just the issues surrounding poor versus excellent breeding practices. I have noticed that the Irish Wolfhound organization in the UK possesses a program rich in breeding checks and balances. So does the American Leonberger organization. There are others as well but the IPFD seems to be the best clearing house organization for dissemination of such valuable information. Let's get together and promote the IPFD and Ian Seath's tenets for responsible dog breeding and puppy selection.
  12. Hello Aime, Very well said on your above response. In the Black Russian Terrier breed here in the U.S. w have changed people's behaviors to the point of hip and elbow testing being a standard approach and a "given". We are even moving ever closer to the DNA testing becoming the norm as something that owners just do as a matter of course. Temperament testing and skills competition still need more attention as does general canine health and wellness. Our next area of effort will be to encourage BRT owners to submit general data about their BRT breeding, environment, feeding, medical care, etc. to see if any new information can be gleaned from the data that will help improve the lives of BRTs in general. How exciting it would be if this data gathering initiative could be global in nature for BRTs, and perhaps eventually for all breeds. The future is bright if we can get enough organizations and supporters to participate. I think the IPFD is poised to be that globally unifying agent. All the best! Dave
  13. I wonder if there is a possibility for a viable and productive/useful partnership/joint venture between IPFD and BetterBred's "Rebeka" provided us with a valuable breeding simulation based on our pre-existing U.C. Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) information for our Black Russian Terrier (BRT) matched with test results for another female BRT which also had DNA information in the BetterBred database. This sort of genetic/health/breeding "counseling" service is what is needed on a large-scale basis to the general dog breeding industry..., so much so that the marketing and profitability potential would seem nearly limitless. Certainly, most of us know that genetics is complicated and as of yet still a very inexact science. However, as things are right now, without BetterBred and reliable private breeding counseling services, a BRT breeder feels as if they have to first become an amateur geneticist..., keep your fingers crossed that the testing is accurate..., combine that understanding with their knowledge of longevity, phenotype, conformation, movement, hip and elbow x-Rays, thyroid testing, cardiac test, eye test, Hyperuricosuria (HU), juvenile laryngeal paralysis and polyneuropathy (JLPP), coat color, and temperament..., then conduct the breeding and hope for the best without ever having benefit of a canine health provider's aggregate professional input. While this is an enormous step in the right direction from where things used to be in a standard breeding schema, it still lacks the sensibility and scientifically-based judgement necessary to make the best possible decisions. Add the fact that a great many breeders simply do not have the resources, education, or time to dedicate to making breeding decisions using this level of science, and we are very quickly right back to "Well..., they both look pretty good so let's breed them and see what we get." Our dogs deserve the very best we can offer them in living long, happy, healthy lives. Experienced dog owners know that canine health is a "pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later" prospect. One can pay upfront for orchestrating the best possible breeding and hopefully avoid at least some health problems later..., or simply pay thousands of dollars in Veterinarian bills trying to prolong life and keep their precious companion as active, happy, and as comfortable as possible. However, as we all know it often comes down to euthanasia simply due to medical costs. Euthanasia exacts such a huge emotional toll on owners and Veterinarians. Let's do what we can to come out of the dark ages and into the bright light of science.
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