Selective Breeding & The Resulting Health Problems – Part 3

Gemma | September 25th, 2008
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Most new puppy owners are under the assumption that just because their new companion is registered with the American Kennel Club, it is guaranteed to be a healthy purebred.

Nothing Could Be Further From The Truth!

Registration by the AKC means nothing more than that the dog is a purebred, with its ancestry traceable several generations. The slip given with a puppy at sale testifies to nothing more than that both parents were registered. It makes no guarantee about quality, health, or freedom from disease.

It is, in fact, completely possible that both parents were rather poor specimens of their breed, even though it is a purebred and registered as such. Many dogs affected by congenital conditions are not only eligible, but are in fact registered and could be used for breeding by unknowledgable owners.

Such breedings, done without study, are another thing at the root of this problem. Too many owners mate their purebred dog with the neighbor’s purebred dog, register the litter and sell the puppies as AKC registered which in fact they are.

Such backyard breeders contribute to the problems of many breeds simply by their ignorance of the science of dog breeding and, often, their lack of real knowledge about their own breed.

Pay More Money With A Professional & Enjoy A Healthy Pet

Professional dog raisers consider breeding a science and carefully study the lineage of both the male and female before a mating. The aim, of course, of each planned breeding is to produce the ideal dog, but knowledgeable breeders are aware that the same laws of heredity apply to faults as well as desirable characteristics.

The backyard breeding, on the other hand, is planned with only registration in mind and generally overlooks faults in the parent dogs.

Further, many AKC registered pets may have some minor congenital problem which does not matter as long as they are household pets. However, when such a dog is allowed to mate and produce a registerable litter, it passes on the hereditary problem.

For example, many collies carry the genes for collie eye and are themselves affected to some degree, but their eye problem many not be as extensive as others, and they may have functional vision. Such dogs make perfectly satisfactory pets but, if allowed to mate, they will pass on the collie eye genes to their offspring and may conceivably produce a blind dog.

Other problems such as minimal hip dysplasia or undescended testicles are similarly of importance primarily to a breeder but need not disqualify a dog from the pet category.

Remember that if a reputable breeder sells a dog as a pet, he has, for some reason, eliminated that animal from his breeding program, and it might be well to ask why and inquire whether or not he would recommend breeding the dog.

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