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Pedigree Dogs Exposed, from the BBC


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There is a BBC program that has been posted to YouTube in six parts, all focusing on the internal rot going on in pedigreed dogs via genetic disease, etc. REALLY fascinating, and heartbreaking at the same time. Personally, I'm thrilled that someone's exposing the dirty side of conformation breeding/showing, and I also heard that the BBC is considering no longer broadcasting Crufts!!

 

Here's Part 1:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1LyjlX4Mp8

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I watched this too and found it incredible and a look into the minds of people that are truly far removed from the land and reality.

 

But it creates a question.

 

Do we have enough genetic deversity in Border collies as working dogs? If not what would we outcross to?

 

My livelihood would be truly impossible without working dogs.

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I watch it on youtube and WOW!

 

Thought it was interesting:

All border collie can trance their lines back to two notable studs:

Old Hemp, Wiston Cap

 

Scary to think of all the inbreeding!

 

SSC

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I watch it on youtube and WOW!

 

Thought it was interesting:

All border collie can trance their lines back to two notable studs:

Old Hemp, Wiston Cap

 

Scary to think of all the inbreeding!

 

SSC

[/quote

 

That is more likely line breeding, not inbreeding,in most cases. I did not watch/read the KC spot so I will only have to assume when you mention Old Hemp and Wiston cap you are refering to working border collies. Old Hemp and Wiston Cap would be refered to as foundation dogs. As far back as they would now be in a working border collie's pedigree that would not be inbreeding.

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I watch it on youtube and WOW!

 

Thought it was interesting:

All border collie can trance their lines back to two notable studs:

Old Hemp, Wiston Cap

 

Scary to think of all the inbreeding!

 

SSC

 

I just watched it and didn't see any mention of this in the series. These two dogs were separated quite a bit in time so I was wondering where you found this information?

 

As for the inbreeding, as a breed, border collies have the lowest coefficient of inbreeding of any purebred breed studied, at around 7.5% for the entire breed since the beginning. This is probably why they are generally healthy (as a breed) compared to other purebred dogs where inbreeding is more common.

 

I would encourage anyone thinking about breeding to take the time to view this series. One of the people involved was on the canine genetics list for years gathering information as one of many sources used to make this program. I can testify as to the quality of the work that went into the making of it, and the efforts made for it to be as fair and balanced as possible. I briefly went over to the CANGEN list to check the reaction and as expected the show breeders are none too happy.

 

Some of the breeds mentioned are basically in a position gene pool-wise so as to have no chance to recover even moderate genetic health.

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Hello everyone,

 

I wholeheartedly commend everyone involved in the production of this show for exposing the fallacies of breeding for the show ring. I was appalled by the horrendous rear limb exaggeration in the German Shepherd Dogs and the comments by the breeder/judge justifying it. Also, I found the comments by the veterinarian regarding syringomyelia in Cavaliers (the abnormality that causes them immense pain) to be incredibly distressing, because of their truthfulness. She stated (I'm paraphrasing here) that if someone were to beat a dog to create the same degree of pain, they would be prosecuted for animal cruelty. However, there is no penalty for breeders who intentionally produce pups that will suffer the same fate. What a shame.

 

Regards to all,

nancy

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And from a country that prohibits the cropping of ears and docking of tails because its creul. Hmmmm.

Thanks Denise for posting that. Dial up takes to long to load the vids.

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I just finished the first section of the video. If you haven't started watching this, please do so. It is quite eye opening. My mouth dropped open when I saw what the Dachshund used to look like! I had no idea. I've always seen them with itty bitty legs. And the GSDs ... it makes my stomach turn. Listening to the judge say that the GSD today is the "correct" one made me want to punch him. "The Breed Standard" ... UGH!

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Thank you Denise for sharing that series- it was eye opening (I hope!).

 

Two things that really struck me..

 

The beautiful picture of the earlier Basset Hound, with strong legs and an athletic body and the modern day basset breeder who swore that he would NEVER breed a dog that looked like that, instead prefering the "extra skin" furnishings, low body carriage, ears to the ground show basset hound.

 

Then the GSDs, the vet pointing out that they didn't even have full control of their hind limbs and a GSD breeder stating, quite seriously, that those dogs were better suited for function than both the earlier GSD and the modern day dog from working lines. The dogs that actually DO the job that they were intended for were considered poorly built by a breeder of dogs who could barely handle trotting around a show ring. The head in the sand mentality from almost all the breeders shown was staggering.

 

I liked how they mentioned that the earlier breeds were successful because they were bred for function, not fancy and hope that this program has long reaching effects to salvage those breeds that are still viable.

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Nicely done video. We can only hope it will have some impact,

 

A

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Like you guys, I think the topic needs to be brought to light.

 

What bothers me is that inbreeding gets most of the blame. Inbreeding is just a tool - to be used for good or bad. Any groups of dogs that have become a "breed" (for whatever reason under whatever control - nature or human) is inbred. The same with livestock breeds...heck even humans. "Breeds" occur usually insolated areas - what Scottish Shepherd was going to travel 2 days to breed his sheepdog? He doesn't have the time or the money for that. A terrierman in South Wales might "outcross" to the neighbor, but the neighbor likely got his dogs from the same place 2 generations back. Then those pups go back to the other neighbor, who lost the papers but has a "grand dog" - which is probably a littermate to the grandsire...etc.

 

Wolves inbreed, dingos inbreed, wild dogs inbreed...when it goes wrong and the form starts to drift from the best nature culls them. That's another problem. When people breed these dogs they don't want to cull. And no, that does not have to mean euthansia. We can apply humanity to this - good breeders have options to use. (and obviously, those breeding for painful defects have long past left humanity behind)

 

Where things go so hideously wrong is when the humans in charge look at form only. All of those breeds were created through inbreeding for function and did just fine until that function part stopped.

 

And then we threw in the Victorian idea that to outcross for function is "dirty" and purity is about staying in the immediate genepool. I guess they wanted the dogs to be just like their Kings.

 

So what are we doing to prevent this in Border Collies? Do the ROM programs (ISDA and ABCA) allow for any high standard working sheep/stock dog to ROM as a Border Collie? Do we still allow Beardies? Beardie Crosses? Dogs of any another breed that exhibit charactericis of a good working Border Collie and potential to contribute to this breed? If Joe Public Farmer shows up with a Pit Bull showing good eye and power, and winning Opens - would we take it in? Is it *really* ability first...or ability with proper papers?

 

It appears to be restricted at this point to pretty much known Border Collies with no papers. Correct or not? I've reread the ROM policies a hundred times and I can't decide.

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Like you guys, I think the topic needs to be brought to light.

 

What bothers me is that inbreeding gets most of the blame.

 

I'm sorry, Wendy, but inbreeding deserves most of the blame. This is not just my opinion but one backed by a significant amount of scientific evidence.

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According to my cattle breeder friend who's into this stuff in 20 generations of any species, over a million ancesters must occur for total non-inbreeding (and don't go with "linebreeding" -thats just the pc term for inbreeding that worked).

 

Now I haven't sat down and added, but it appears he is pretty close to correct.

 

No breed of dogs or livestock started with that many ancestors. Most of them were small isolated pools of genetics that were bred and interbred. Outcrosses occured here and there - but shear lack of funds and tranport limited a lot of it.

 

My horse breeder friend bred sheepdogs before that and showed me that in 20 generations, BC's are far more related than any of us want to admit.

 

Most pedigrees carry Wiston Cap at least 5-6 times for example. I can't remember if its 13 Wilson's Caps or 18 behind him, but just saying 13....that's 65 Wilson's Cap appearences in the pedgree Now I know there are pedigrees with less Cap, but their are equally inbred dogs to him who were also heavily used. Never mind adding in the littermates and closer relatives to the older Cap that were used and not considered related because of no paper lineage.

 

Most humans marry their 4th cousin. I find that one quite interesting and somewhat unbelievable- but my genealogy oriented friends have yet to disprove it.

 

Agree or disagree with all that.... what is the ABCA and ISDS doing to provide viable outcrosses to the current genetics registered?

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Just a note - not all Border Collies trace their pedigrees back to Wiston Cap. I owned an excellent dog who had no Cap in his lines at all. It's getting harder but not impossible to find such dogs, AND, the fact that such dogs existed then, means there are many low percentage Cap dogs now.

 

There's a great historical difference between "Old Hemp" and "Wiston Cap" - Old Hemp lived at the turn of the century when the breed was being developed. No one consciously founded a breed on him. People liked the way he worked, noticed that he consistently produced pups who worked like him from a wide variety of bitches (that's important), and so he was a very copious producer.

 

In following generations there were a lot of dogs bred who were related to him, but from vastly different maternal lines. That's where we get the health of the breed. We continue to do the same thing - the Quest for the Holy Grail is for a stud that will produce consistent workers off a wide variety of bitches.

 

Along comes Wiston Cap (and many studs, less famous, before him). Things had gotten a little watered down and inconsistent in his time (late sixties) - economics and the wars made travel, trialing, and publicity uneven. Cap produced puppies who worked "out of the box" - so important for farmers who were struggling, or people from overseas who wanted practically a guarantee that the pups or dogs they imported would work without huge investments in training.

 

Again however, although many dogs trace their lines back to him, the tendency was to breed bitches to him that were very unlike him. A popular and very effective cross was a set of female full sisters who included a line that didn't even go back to Old Hemp! Because the goal was always focused on working characteristics, that require "balancing" not "setting" - breeding of Border Collies means constantly bringing in "outcrosses" - dogs unlike your own line - lest your line fall to extremes and become useless.

 

Soundness is preserved when each generation is trained to as high a level as possible. This is the piece that conformation breeders miss out on, of course - they claim to be preserving useful characteristics but they refuse to evaluate those claims in real life functional training.

 

I'm amazed at how the show breeders I know are in total denial over this. They cry "foul!" and say it's all BBC sensationalism. Yes, and so was the series of exposes' in the early eighties, about the gas tanks blowing up in Pinto cars. I'm as annoyed by gratuitous sensationalism as the next person (maybe more so, having been briefly involved in the industry) - but that doesn't mean every story is a cry of "Wolf."

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Wendy,

 

No need to believe me. Join the CANGEN list :

 

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Canine-Genetics

 

There are always ongoing threads addressing these issues with facts backed up by credible sources. There are many educated people on that list, including population geneticists, and it is quite technical. One current thread is "Why nature dislikes inbreeding."

 

The reality is, wolves, wild dogs, etc., do not inbreed unless they have no other choice to reproduce, such as if their territory is decreased to where they cannot roam far enough outside their pack to find an outcross. There are natural mechanisms for avoidance of inbreeding in wild populations.

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The problem I think with some of this is that when it "drops off the paper" (for even the most dedicated, that usually means about 8 generations at max) people forget about it.

 

My breeder friend laid out a pedigree the other day that if you put out 8 generation it was outcross, but with 12, you found that *every* single line went back to either one specific female* or her full brother.

 

To him that dog is still inbred - and that should be strongly considered when breeding from her. Finding a true outcross was actually quite difficult, because that female* produced a number of popular breeding dogs in her later years as well.

 

Denise do you really think its just the inbreeding generically and not the choices of what to inbreed on? Would it have mattered in the end if the brachyeocephalic dogs were resulted from 10 generations of "outcrosses"?

 

To me its what they bred for - the infantalism, the extremes....that's bad. Inbreeding just got them to their goal faster. It was the *goal* that was wrong - that use of a dog as living "art" for human fascination and "pleasure".

 

Thinking on sheep...I used a good ram that I used for 8 generations - keeping all his daughter/gd/ggd/gggd etc that I liked to breed back to him. I actually didn't see any problems until some smaller sheep at the very tightest cross. At that point I was able to get what I felt was a good ram that was an outcross and swtiched. It was like starting over. I wish I could get another ram of that quality and prepotency again - oh well. I have a more "genetically variable" flock now, and those inbred ewes far out performed most of them.

 

On the other hand, I only kept daughters of that ram because he and he sons were the meanest St Croix's ever born :rolleyes: That's the nice thing about sheep. Even the genetic culls are relatively tasty.

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Well, a proximal cause is certainly inbreeding, but even earlier in the pipeline you have the fact that the founders of some of these breeds carried some real doozies terms of deleterious alleles, which is what I think Wendy is getting at. Theoretically, inbreeding does no harm if the gene pool in question is mostly clean of deleterious recessives to start with. However, this is obviously not the case in purebred dog breeds.

 

If one were to embark on the monumental task of cleaning said gene pools, there would be no way to do it except through intensive inbreeding and ruthless culling. It seems as though some purebred dog breeders are willing to do the former but not the latter -- either that, or as in the case of the Rhodesian Ridgebacks, they actually select for the less viable phenotypes.

 

At this point I have looked at hundreds of Border Collie pedigrees. Some of the analyses for the project I am part of require the identification of unrelated dogs (others require related dogs), which for the purpose of human genetic studies is defined as individuals who do not share grandparents, and we are following this model. I can tell you that among the dogs we have collected, it is difficult to find dogs who do not share grandparents, and that the number of truly "unrelated" dogs by this measure is maybe 25% of the sample we have collected so far. Now, we all know that just because dogs don't share grandparents, it doesn't mean they aren't related, so I can see what Wendy is getting at by saying that if you are breeding certain kinds of Border Collies, and traveling in certain circles, it may be difficult to find a dog who is a true outcross that you like and would want to breed to. I don't have anything like a random survey of total Border Collie diversity, but I think it is safe to say we have a pretty good sample of the population that most of us are concerned with, which is elite working dogs.

 

All that said, the other breeds we have looked at are WAY more inbred than Border Collies.

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I'm sorry, Wendy, but inbreeding deserves most of the blame. This is not just my opinion but one backed by a significant amount of scientific evidence.

The point being made is that it isn't so much that inbreeding that's causing the damage - the inbreeding is the tool being used to cause the damage.* What's really doing the harm is the insistance on creating conformation disasters like the hock-walking horrors the show GSDs have become**. The breeders could still do the same damage if they weren't inbreeding - it'd just take them longer to wreak their harm. What inbreeding does is to allow the rapid concetration of genetic traits, both good and bad.

 

If inbreeding were banned tomorrow, the breeders could still wreck their dogs, it'd just take longer. What's really needed is a change of attitude. To start, no dog should pass for champion unless if can demonstrate *real* ability to do the job for which it was bred, and no dog with any genetic or functional anomaly should be allowed to pass for champion, either. Breeding purely for conformation is a trap, and whether the breeders fall into it fast, or slow, fall they have.

 

 

 

*Like the old comment about guns and shootings - the guns don't shoot people - People shoot people. Inbreeding doesn't create dogs that can't breed or whelp - people did that.

 

 

**Yet another reason I'm a fan of the ISSR Shiloh - Bad conformation; roach-backs, excessive angulation, hock walking, more than minor displasia... all those, and more == no breeding.

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If inbreeding were banned tomorrow, the breeders could still wreck their dogs, it'd just take longer

 

Maybe, but the difference is that if they weren't inbreeding, they'd have some way to fix the dogs that they have. By inbreeding so intensely, they've quickly painted themselves into a corner that they can't get out of. The ultimate outcome of this kind of breeding is that there will no longer be any variation in the population to select from. I would not be surprised if in some of these breeds you could do skin grafts between "unrelated" individuals and have them take without any anti-rejection drugs of any kind.

 

Now the only way out for some of these breeds is outcrossing to another breed that does not share the genetic health problems they have -- and that would require a major paradigm change that is not likely to happen.

 

The Border Collie is not immune to the problems associated with inbreeding, by the way. If a studbook is closed, then each generation will become more and more inbred. Ours aren't closed, but they are mostly closed. How many new dogs are brought in each year? Not very many. This is one of the reasons why the AKC studbook is staying open -- they had too few dogs (although they had more than a lot of AKC breeds started with) to maintain a viable population over time.

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