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So my husband was talking to my father in law today about another ranchers female who is an excellent cowdog and how if Nitro turns out to be an excellent worker as well we might breed him. Now I don't know much about breeding and all as I am just learning everything and really don't have any plans on breeding at the moment, but we were informed that this other rancher wants to cross his female with her father... :unsure: He wants to keep the good working line going... :unsure: Now like I said I dont know much but Im sure crossing a father daughter might not be the best of options... Anyone have any comments on this?

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I'm not sure I'd call this a "ranch mentality" but rather one rancher's mentality - which might be a common one or not.

 

And I'll let someone else who's knowledgeable about line-breeding, in-breeding, and other breeding strategies to give some good feedback.

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Line breeding/inbreeding does have its place with respect to fixing certain traits in a line. I know a few breeders of working border collies who use line breeding (and one for sure I would get dogs from). The key, of course, is to not be kennel blind, to outcross to maintain some genetic diversity, and to be willing to cull heavily as needed, because when you linebreed/inbreed you're concentrating the bad genes as well as the good ones, and some combinations are going to be just plain awful and need to be removed from the breeding gene pool.

 

One advantage to linebreeding that was given to me is that you are more likely to get consistent results in your offspring. That is, what sort of working dog you get will be more predictable than when you create pups through an outcross.

 

But linebreeding/inbreeding is best practiced by knowledgeable, experienced dog people, and not by everyone, IMO.

 

I have a dog that is the result of an uncle/niece breeding and he certainly has issues, though how much I can attribute to his genetics and how much must be attributed to his raising can't be determined. Anyway, like I said, I think it *can* be a valuable breeding practice, when done judiciously by people who know what they're doing and know their lines well enough to be able to predict the outcomes of such crosses. The rest of us should stick to outcrosses, for the most part.

 

(Sort of OT, but one place where such breeding decisions are made all the time is with rare/endangered breeds. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, for one, has published a breeding strategy for conserving rare breeds, where close breeding is likely the only choice you have if you want to save a particular species/breed, but even then the strategy is to increase diversity as much as you can, given the limited genetic material you're starting with. <--This is just to point out that there are certainly valid reasons for inbreeding and line breeding, that is, it's not *inherently bad,* though the average dog breeder wouldn't necessarily have these reasons. And people should remember that the presence of certain diseases/conditions in purebred dogs are often a direct result of inbreeding/linebreeding; for example, CL in border collies and the mdr1-1delta mutation in Lassie collies.)

 

J.

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Ooohhh! There can be many points of view here. It is also such a complex topic that, for brevity, I will only hit some major points here.

 

Think of inbreeding, linebreeding and outcrossing as points along a line. Inbreeding on one end, outcrossing on the other, and linebreeding somewhere in the middle. There is no precise definition of any of these terms - one person's definition of linebreeding is another's definition of inbreeding. There are methods - coefficient of inbreeding (COI or CI) - that quantify the probability that two alleles are identical by descent. If you are interested, Google 'coefficient of inbreeding'.

 

As Julie points out, inbreeding/linebreeding is one of the best ways to increase consistency of the offspring. It is also one of the fastest methods to 'fix' traits within a breed. IMHO, to inbreed/linebreed properly, one has to do drastic culling - something that is hard to do when dealing with limited numbers of offspring - as would be produced by an occasional breeder. In/Linebreeding can be a valuable tool when dealing with very large #s -- i.e. 1000s of sheep or goats, etc. when combined with a high degree of culling.

 

The disadvantages of In/Linbreeding to the individual is an increased PROBABILITY of: (note I said increased probability, not a definite outcome)

-reduced litter size

-smaller individuals (increased rate of dwarfism)

-reduced milk production

-lack of mothering instinct

-later sexual maturity

-lower sperm counts

-increased infertility

-compromised immune system leading to increased allergies, rates of infection, etc

-failure to thrive

-some other problems I am forgetting

-and a whole host of genetic abnormalities and diseases that are caused by the presence of two copies of the same allele

 

The PROBABILITY of these deleterious outcomes increases 1) the closer the breeding (father/daughter or sister/brother matings) and 2) the more generations produced by close breeding practices.

 

IMHO, the advantages of close breeding do not outweigh the potential negative effects since a healthy animal is a high priority for me.

 

OK, ready for those lashes with a wet noodle.

Jovi

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I'm not sure I'd call this a "ranch mentality" but rather one rancher's mentality - which might be a common one or not.

 

 

Well said Sue! The topic suggests another negative on ranchers...looks like line breeding would be a better fit.

 

Lana Rowley

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Thanks, Sue and Lana. You beat me to it. ;)

 

As someone who has a passing familiarity with ranchers and ranching, I'd say unless this guy is educated in genetics and honestly understands dog breeding, he's talking through his hat. It's not a rancher mentality, it's some guy who happens to be a rancher, who has some muddy idea about line-breeding. I doubt he'd leave a bull on its own heifer calves or a stud horse with its own fillies.

 

But, if he's an educated fella who honestly knows what he's doing, more power to him. I'm wary of breeding that close, though.

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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Maybe I should have clarified when I stated ranch mentality... (my in laws and I just finished a heated conversation about the cons of in breeding and I suppose I was frustrated at the time.) :) what I meant was that the old way of ranch thinking about being ok with in breeding and not even considering the possible outcomes both good and bad... Most people were I'm from have related dogs anyways... No one gets their dogs fixed... They assume the dog will not be as good if its nads are gone... Dogs are constantly running around the valley creating babies. So who's to say that the father isn't already an inbred dog. (he's a locally bred dog so it is a really good possibility that is true.) Wouldn't that create more of a possibility for something to go wrong with this breeding? It just worries me that the person thinking of doing this is doing it to get pups and not really looking into what could be the outcome...

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Bullet,

It sounds like you're unlikely to change their minds anyway, so probably you're just raising your own blood pressure for no good reason.

 

Gloria's comment about cattle and horses is interesting, because often shepherds will breed a ram back to his daughters, but of course the offspring are generally market lambs (i.e., the buck stops here when it comes to genetics) and not kept as breeding stock (but then again, if you're fixing traits in show stock, you might well participate in inbreeding and linebreeding).

 

But as I mentioned before, and Gloria reiterated, folks doing linebreeding and the like should be knowledgeable about what they're doing (the one breeder who comes to mind for me can tell you detailed information about the dogs in his lines back to kingdom come and can accurately predict the working characteristics of the dogs he breeds, and he does regularly outcross as well). For the rest of us, it's taking a huge genetic risk and betting on results that are anything but a sure thing. In other words, while this sort of breeding practice has its place, it should be left to the experts.

 

Jovi,

I am a proponent of outcrossing, but I have to say that the one litter I bred--as an outcross and against the advice of someone I respect, who told me to breed back into the line--I got pups with genetic problems. So, as always, there are no health guarantees, even with outcrosses. I'm not saying everyone should be linebreeding and the like--my one crazy dog is a result of a very close breeding, and I don't have any doubt that it's part of the reason he is the way he is, but there are vaid reasons for doing line breedings, and you can still keep a healthy population if you are willing to cull and to pay close attention to what you're producing. The problem lies in the fact that most people don't have the knowledge or skills to do such breedings properly.

 

J.

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Jovi,

I am a proponent of outcrossing, but I have to say that the one litter I bred--as an outcross and against the advice of someone I respect, who told me to breed back into the line--I got pups with genetic problems. So, as always, there are no health guarantees, even with outcrosses. I'm not saying everyone should be linebreeding and the like--my one crazy dog is a result of a very close breeding, and I don't have any doubt that it's part of the reason he is the way he is, but there are vaid reasons for doing line breedings, and you can still keep a healthy population if you are willing to cull and to pay close attention to what you're producing. The problem lies in the fact that most people don't have the knowledge or skills to do such breedings properly.

 

J.

Yep, I agree. You and I are on the same page. The more I study and learn about and actually experience the results of breeding different crosses - is that there are NO guarantees. No one can control the re-assortment of the chromosomes. In an intellectual sense, I have little issue with in- or linebreeding when combined with SIGNIFICANT culling. Almost never happens in the real world. We, as humans, and I include myself, rationalize too well. It comes down to a question of trade-offs. Since there is no perfect dog, cat, goat, sheep (you get the idea), what are we willing to put up with to get the other attributes we want. I could list example after example of in- & linebreeding problems, but here is one: I know of someone who has a fiber herd in which he wins multiple ribbons and awards and sells animals for higher than an average price. He has obviously done a great job producing excellent fiber, but it turns out that he (actually his workers) have to bottle feed ~ 75-80% of the newborns because the mothers don't have milk or do not have enough -- one of the results of breeding too close. He is willing to live with that to get the fiber he wants. On the other side of the coin, I also know of many examples of outcrossing two wonderful animals where the offspring are nowhere near the quality of the parents. Mother Nature usually has the final word!!

 

Jovi

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