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Dog Breeding: The Theory & the Practice - Frank Jackson - Google книги

Issue Section:. One was the late Dr John Armstrong, a Poodle lover who began writing about dog genetics after he retired in the s from his university faculty position in genetics. He founded the original Canine Genetic Diversity group that has continued to discuss topics of interest long after his death. The other was Jeffrey Bragg , who is not a professional scientist but whose grasp of the finer points of genetics as relating to dog breeding is exceptional.

Bragg has devoted himself for a half century to the preservation of the Seppala sleddog, a line of outstanding working dogs descended from the famous dogs bred by Leonhard Seppala in the early s. But there is also a collection of articles by Bragg that should be required reading for anybody who aspires to produce dogs that are beautiful, functional, and sound in mind and body for generation after generation.

That Bragg has preserved the legacy of these dogs and successfully implemented sound breeding practices is evidenced by the dogs he produces, which are working sled dogs that routinely live well into their mid-teens. I think so highly of the knowledge he has to offer that I have compiled his collected articles into a single document, which you can download from the ICB website under "Resources: Essential Reading" or more conveniently from here.

I have copied for you below what I think is the most valuable of his essays, because it is simple and to the point. If you grew up learning how to write with Strunk and White's Elements of Style under your arm, you will appreciate how a few pithy statements can have a far greater impact than pages of prose "Omit needless words! Bragg provides the details here, but he encapsulates the essence of his points very simply:.

Maintain balance of sires and dams Eschew incestuous matings Understand and monitor coefficient of inbreeding Pay attention to the trend in COI Calculate number of unique ancestors Know the genetic load but don't obsess about it Use pedigree analysis Conserve sire and dam-line diversity Practise assortative mating Maintain high generation time Avoid repeat breedings Ensure sibling contribution Monitor fitness indicators Attempt founder balancing Consider outcross matings Monitor population growth Seek balanced traits Avoid unfit breeding stock Avoid reproductive technology Restrict artificial selection.

How different is this list from the one you got from your mentors? This is the syllabus for a graduate degree in dog breeding. Most of what I have said in my dozens of blog posts is communicated here in a document you can read from end to end in ten minutes. Read it, then read it again. Absorb the lessons. Jeffrey Bragg copyright Often I have heard dog breeders wish for an understandable guide to practical dog breeding, drawn from the principles of population genetics -- a set of guidelines for dog breeders that would show the way to a healthier way of breeding than the harmful methods of inbreeding and selection now practised by the vast majority.

As things stand with traditional dog breeding, the competitive struggle for individual excellence has harmful consequences for breed populations. What is needed is for breeders to think in population terms, to look at each breed genetically as a population and each breeder involved with that particular population as a conservator of that breed in partnership with others. At the present time, after twelve or fifteen years of existence of the canine diversity movement, most available discussions of dog breeding as a discipline still recommend linebreeding a euphemism for inbreeding , breeding only "the best to the best," together with stringent artificial selection and multiple screening for genetic diseases.

That is still the old way. Those are the methods that brought genetic crisis to the world of purebred dogs in the first instance. In the end I drew up my own provisional list of principles for 21st- century dog breeding, which I never published as I never was able to put it into a final form that I thought adequate. The release of the sensationalistic one-hour video entitled "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" commissioned for the B. Nevertheless the futile wrangling between advocates of inbreeding and diversity advocates still continues unabated on the email lists.

One cannot help feeling that, although a certain level of awareness may have been raised, perhaps we have not yet really gone anywhere since the mids when Dr. John Armstrong made his pioneering efforts to raise questions of canine population genetics on the Internet. Lacking time to make extensive research of other rare or developing breeds, I worked mostly from my own knowledge of population genetics, within the parameters of our evolving SSSD breed, with relatively little light shed on our problems by the practices of other breeders in similar situations.

With the strong caution, then, that not every single measure here recommended may be possible or appropriate for all other breeds, for every situation, or for any given breed other than the Seppala Siberian Sleddog, I offer for consideration the following guidelines drawn from my own limited knowledge and experience. Please realise I do not say that you as an individual dog breeder must necessarily do any or all of the things discussed in the following paragraphs.

Still less would I wish to see any such guidelines imposed by government as laws or regulations upon the dog breeding community; I do not feel that breeders can be coerced to breed healthier dogs. I do suggest that if you are concerned about inbreeding, inherited illnesses, and lack of genetic diversity, you might wish to consider implementing some of the following principles whose observance we have found useful in the Seppala Siberian Sleddog Project.

The so-called "popular sires" syndrome, in which a small number of elite show or trial winners sire grossly disproportionate numbers of progeny in a breed population, has received much discussion and attention. What may not be so well realised is that this selfsame syndrome is repeated in miniature in most kennels, where one or two of the "best" males cover all the bitches, sire all the litters.

How often has one heard it put forth, and not only by novices, that "the best males should sire all the litters! In order to avoid such needless reduction, just as many individual males as bitches should contribute to the population; this holds true whether we speak of the breed population as a whole, or of the population within a single kennel. Eschew Incestuous Matings As controversial as this advice may still be, I nevertheless advise the breeder to do no incest breeding whatsoever even if you would rather call it "linebreeding" or inbreeding.

Just about all purebred dog breeds demonstrate serious and sustained inbreeding when the full known pedigrees are considered. There is little excuse for inbreeding to be continued in the first four generations of pedigree if it can possibly be avoided. Matings of related individuals closer than cousins ought never to be contemplated unless that should become absolutely necessary to prevent loss of a rare bloodline.

Why should a practice universally decried with respect to our own species be so common in dog breeding?


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The principles of genetics are the same no matter whether humans, dogs, or other species are considered. If the available pedigree diversity within your own breed allows you to draw the line further out, so much the better. Inbreeding cannot be practised with impunity, without consequences. Inbreeding depression may not be dramatically visible to most breeders, but that is only because it is subtle, incremental and widespread.

It is a proven fact that longevity, reproductive success, and the immune system are all negatively affected by even "moderate" degrees of inbreeding. Survival fitness has already been compromised in many breeds. For breeders blindly to continue down the path to destruction whilst telling themselves that they are merely "fixing type and exposing undesirable recessives" is inexcusable.

Understand and Monitor Coefficient of Inbreeding To avoid frankly incestuous matings within the first three generations of pedigree is not sufficient in and of itself. The Coefficient Of Inbreeding COI must also be monitored, preferably over ten generations of the known pedigree, with a view to keeping it as low as possible.

It cannot be done easily or accurately without computer assistance; fortunately a good number of applications are available that meet the purpose. These days every breeder should understand clearly what Coefficient of Inbreeding is and just what it tells us. Unfortunately that is still far from the case. Wright's Coefficient of Inbreeding the only scientifically acceptable version, though there is at least one specious version in popular use represents the statistical probability that the alleles contributed by sire and dam at any given gene locus will be identical by descent.

It may also be regarded as the percentage of multi-allele genes that are likely to be homozygous by descent for a particular mating. Therefore COI is the principle measure of the degree of inbreeding and its effects on the genome. Many popular writers, of whom Dr.

Malcolm Willis is probably the best known, speak as apologists for inbreeding at one moment, at the next moment attempting to assure us that the average COI in most breeds is quite low. That is simply not the case. In the first place, a true average COI for an entire breed is not easy to determine. People assume that such things are known, but they are not, because the requisite research simply has not been performed. But the assertion that the COI in an "average pedigree" is something on the order of four to six percent is ludicrous, something that can be disproven readily by anyone with a breed database and one of the above mentioned pedigree software applications.

The four to six percent contention, when examined, will usually be found to be supported by pedigrees of four or five generations only. Such calculations fail to take into account the background inbreeding inherent in the breeding history of every dog breed; ten generations is the generally accepted standard for comparison. In some breeds even ten generations may not tell the complete story and whole-pedigree COI will need to be examined before breeders can truly know where they stand.

Another specious argument often voiced is that "inbreeding should be defined as any mating in which the COI is higher than the overall average for the breed. It is ridiculous on the face of it, as COI is not a static measurement but a dynamic one, a new story each time a new sire is mated to a new dam. As mentioned, the average for most breeds is not known. Moreover, distinctly different "average" levels may obtain in different sectors of some breeds as, for example, show dogs, working dogs, and pet stock.

In any case, inbreeding is never defined by reference to a population; it is always a function of the relationship between the sire and the dam of a litter or an individual. Inbreeding exists when genes held by both the sire and the dam of a litter are identical by descent. It is certainly a truism that all present-day dog breeds are "inbred," or, more accurately, that inbreeding has occurred consistently throughout their history. That is why we have acute problems with genetic diseases in our dogs. For that very reason, one of our major objectives ought to be to lower the average COI of every breed by reversing the inherent bias of our present system towards inbred matings.

But to speak of an "inbred population" is at best shorthand. Inbreeding has meaning only with reference to a specific mating. It results in an increase in homozygosity and a corresponding decrease in diversity which is the permanent effect of the inbreeding. In a purebred dog breed COI can hardly be too low; almost always it is far too high! It is safe to say that most breeders are totally unaware of their own dogs' Coefficients of Inbreeding.

Ignorance is no excuse. COI is the best tool the breeder has to assist in the conservation of genetic diversity. Without it he stumbles in the dark down the slippery slope to canine genetic depletion. Pay Attention to the Trend in COI It is impossible to recommend an arbitrary figure for maximum allowable percentage COI, as the situation of each breed is likely to be different. Breeders should at least endeavour to grasp what the average generation COI level probably is for their breed, at any rate in bloodlines with which they are familiar, and to seek to keep their own breeding well below that level!

Natural Mating Mating can be done naturally or by artificial insemination with fresh or frozen and thawed semen. Artificial Insemination AI can be helpful when males cannot be moved easily within or between facilities, when breeding females with weak or selective estrus behavior, when using males that cannot provide natural service, and for preserving valuable animal models. Pregnancy and Parturition Pregnancy can be determined at 25 days after ovulation by ultrasonography, at 20—35 days after ovulation with palpation, and at 45 days after ovulation with radiography Johnson, ; Yeager and Concannon, Neonatal Care Newborn pups, like all neonatal mammals, have poorly developed temperature-control mechanisms; therefore, it is necessary to keep the temperature in the whelping box higher than room temperature.

Reproductive Problems False Estrus and Anestrus Recurrent frequent false estrus estrus without ovulation has been reported Shille et al. Delayed Parturition Whelping should not be considered overdue until 67 days after the last mating or possibly 70 or more days after the first of several matings. Pseudopregnancy Bitches that are not bred or that are bred but fail to become pregnant frequently exhibit pseudopregnancy because of the progesterone secretion that always follows ovulation.

Special Nutritional Requirements Bitches During pregnancy and lactation, bitches should be fed a diet approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials for all life stages or a diet specially formulated for gestation and lactation see ''Selecting Optimal Rations" in Chapter 3. Pups Pups should be maintained exclusively on their dams' milk until they are 3 weeks old.

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Vaccination and Deworming Annual vaccinations and deworming of brood bitches should be scheduled for anestrus or weaning periods, not when bitches are in proestrus or are pregnant. Socialization of Pups There is ample evidence of the importance of adequate socialization for the normal behavioral development of dogs Clarke et al. Sensitive Period for Socialization There is a sensitive period for socialization during which attachments form most readily and rapidly Scott and Fuller, Consequences of Inadequate Socialization Pups that are inadequately socialized during the sensitive period exhibit abnormal behaviors, called kennel-dog or isolation syndromes, that are characterized by one or more of the following behaviors: generalized fearfulness, fear-motivated aggression, timidity, immobility, or hyperactivity Scott et al.

Socialization Programs Providing contact and handling only during routine husbandry procedures might not be sufficient to produce behaviorally normal, cooperative research animals Vanderlip et al. Record Keeping Records on colony reproduction are essential. Individual records should contain the following minimal information on each bitch: start date of each proestrus;.

AAFCO nutrient profiles for dog foods. Available from Charles P. Amann, R. Reproductive physiology and endocrinology of the dog. Morrow, editor. Philadelphia: W. Andersen, A. Ames: Iowa State University Press. Los Altos, Calif. Bouchard, G. Solorzano, P. Concannon, R. Youngquist, and C. Determination of ovulation time in bitches based on teasing, vaginal cytology, and ELISA for progesterone. Theriogenology — Youngquist, B. Clark, P. Concannon, and W. Estrus induction in the bitch using a combination diethylstilbestrol and FSH-P. Plata-Madrid, R. Youngquist, G.

Buening, V. Ganjam, G. Krause, G. Allen, and A. Absorption of an alternate source of immunoglobulin in pups. Breazile, J. Neurologic and behavioral development in the puppy. North Am. Burke, T. Small Animal Reproduction and Infertility. Cairns, R. Attachment behavior in mammals. Carmichael, L. Immunization strategies in puppies—Why failures? Christiansen, I. Reproduction in the Dog and Cat. London: Balliere Tindall.

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    The Purebred Crisis: How dogs are being deformed in the name of fashion

    London: Methuen. Nutrition as it relates to skeletal diseases. Howell, editor. Vernon, Calif. Available from Kal Kan Foods, Inc. Wu, L. Krook, H. Schryver, A. Delahunta, J. Whalen, F. Kallfelz, E. Numez, H. Hintz, B. Sheffy, and G. Overnutrition and skeletal disease. An experimental study in growing Great Dane dogs. Cornell Vet. Hegstad, R. Holme, D. Practical use of prepared foods for dogs and cats.

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