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SCIENCE OR ART? (or maybe both)

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Publicist Angel Neychev   
Sunday, 05 November 2006
(or maybe both)
Breeders to day have a lot of new issues to consider, as science is moving rapidly into the fields of genes and inheritance in dogs as well as in humans.
We are told about mothers to be, who test their unborn babies to find out if they are affected by some illness or genetic shortcoming. We can all understand the heartaches these are facing if they are told that their unborn child is suffering from a weakness of some kind. I  am very happy that these tests were not available when I gave birth to my three children in the late sixties.
I honestly do not know if I would have been able to decide my unborn baby’s future.
Now I have to take a stand regarding my dogs, as they can also be tested for many genetic issues, and I am sure there are more tests to come.
We all have to balance between knowledge and feelings, and this seems to divide breeders into two main cathegories,those who want “nonfault” litters, and those that want to stay true to type and has to accept faults in some litters.. To make all puppies both typy and faultless in their genotype seems to me an impossible task. Especially as science develop more and more possible tests. .
We can all agree that it is difficult to find a good stud for the bitch you want to mate.
She has her shortcomings,and you will always look for a partner that is free from her faults, which may be a wrong tailcarrage an unlevelled back ,too long(short) legs etc.etc After months of research you find a suitable candidate and you start to investigate him further.
Temper is a must, and here you will have to ask his owner in a very subtle way or he will get offended.Believe me, I have  offended some owners in my time, being totally ignorant of the fact.
Then to the health issues.
Hips must be clear. In Norway we have  for the last 25 years only used dogs  in breeding with clear hips, and to day we have the same percentage of hips dyspepsia  as when we started in 1980!
Then  many countries ask for the dogs to have 100% hearing, inspite of knowing nothing about how deafness is inherited, and at present in Norway having only 2% deaf puppies.
We can  now by sending a blood sample find if the dogs are carrying the gene for lemon or other  unaccepted colouring.
We have also got the problems of megaesophagus. I know that dogs who have given this in their litters, in some countries, are excluded from further breeding.
Then we have our specific illness ARDS in dalmatians,here we have now reached more than 10 generation from a known carrier and in spite of this, breeding from theoretical carriers are frown upon  in some countries.
Apart from the above mentioned weaknesses, we have the issue of a complete bite, lovely spotting and good show results.
When I surfed the net some days ago, I found a homepage where the expected litter had apart from the above mentioned requirements, parents free from iris hypoplasia, with normal thyroid functions and with no evidence of allergies or stone forming. The expected puppies were also promised to be intelligent.,so may be the parents had also passed an i.q.test?
I am afraid that the more specific requirements we ask for in our dogs, the fewer will be accepted for breeding and the result is bound to be a breed lacking in type and confirmation, and may even end in such a small gene pool that we will get new problems that up till now is unknown in the dalmatian.
I have the following philosophy .If the dog is of an outstanding type with a nice temper, I will accept certain shortcomings regarding the above issues,. and I hopefuture breeders will not get so preoccupied with test results that they put a breeding ban on all dogs that do not pass all genetic tests with flying colours.

Обновено на ( Friday, 22 December 2006 )


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