How do you save a breed?

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ZaraD
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How do you save a breed?

Post by ZaraD » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:39 am

Ok not sure if I should post this here but it's more from a health point than a breed point.

So after crufts there's something that's been on my mind that iv wanted to ask how do you save a breed?

By this I mean how do you save a breed like the British bulldog or the GSD or even the cavalier from the problems they face. I think for the rest of the post we will focus the awnser on the GSD as it's the easiest to see and talk about.

So for example the GSD has as you all know a sloping back and lots of other issues but even if there were breeders out there that wanted to help improve the breed so they look more like the black and white photos of years ago and had good health and temperament how would that even be achieved? Sent GSD to far gone now to save?

And the British bulldog how can we improve the health, flat face ect..

How can any breeder achieve this when these breeds have been like this for years?

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Nettle
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Re: How do you save a breed?

Post by Nettle » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:23 pm

Judicious outcrossing to a breed that does not a have the fault, breeding back into the gene pool, breeding on from the good ones and ruthlessly refusing to breed from those that are below the ideal. It has been done in the recent past by crossing English Pointer into Dalmations to get rid of an inheritable bladder/kidney stone problem, and before then (and less successfully), crossing Pembroke corgis into Boxers to give a natural bobtail. These outcrossings were given the KC's blessing, and while the first generation could not be shown, subsequent could (I'd have to look up figures, so you might as well if you want them).

It requires a huge commitment and spirit of co-operation between breeders, and many will not.

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Nettle
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Re: How do you save a breed?

Post by Nettle » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:27 pm

Second part (this is because the stupid Board deletes long posts :evil: )

With the GSD, it would be pretty easy as there are several breeds that would fit the bill for improving the back and hindquarters without causing further issues, and then when the result is bred back to others, the essential GSD temperament, or rather the good bits of it, could be retained.

However most of the GSD people refuse to admit there is any problem, so until they do, there is no chance.
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JudyN
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Re: How do you save a breed?

Post by JudyN » Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:37 pm

A related question - hopefully not too off-topic - is whether you should rescue some breeds. In addition to all the existing breeds that were common in the UK, we now have ones rarely seen before which are now growing in popularity, and crosbreeds - some of which do make excellent healthy pets. So, ignoring any changes in total dog ownership, more 'types' means fewer dogs within each breed, which means a smaller gene pool, which isn't good.

Would it be possible to develop a structurally sound dachsund or a deerhound with a reasonable lifespan without changing the breeds so much that they wouldn't 'really' be dachsunds or deerhounds?

Maybe some brave breeders need to go down this line, develop a dachsund/deerhound Mk 2, and then try to get that recognised by the KC as a healthy alternative to the Mk 1s.
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Lotsaquestions
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Re: How do you save a breed?

Post by Lotsaquestions » Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:46 pm

I have to agree with Judy, I don't think some breeds should be 'saved' but instead changed to be healthy versions that may resemble the original in temperament and size, but with alterations in form to make them well. I don't think you could ever make a healthy pug, for example, unless the standard of the breed changed entirely. The piggy tail causes spinal issues, the bulging eyes cause cranial issues, the nose causes breathing issues and the skin folds cause infections. They would all need to go.

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Nettle
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Re: How do you save a breed?

Post by Nettle » Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:35 am

Structurally sound dachshunds already exist - they are called Teckels, and used extensively on the Continent for hunting, and have a solid base of enthusiasts here.

Structurally sound Deerhounds with long lifespans already exist too, and are in their second incarnation. Back in the day, Anastasia Noble obtained KC permission to cross in one greyhound. The result, decried and denied by the Show fraternity, was healthy and long-lived. A. N. was known for being flexible in her breed papers, and although the official line is to say the cross was never bred on from, there are certain lines of Deerhound even now that are finer in build, and healthier. They were smaller, too - females around 26 to 30 inches, and very effective at their real job.

Some people in the working dog world are continuing this with other greyhound outcrosses, and calling the results English Deerhounds. And there is a Deerhound breeder in Canada who, while not outcrossing, keeps to the traditional standards and takes her dogs simulated coursing to improve their fitness.
Last edited by Nettle on Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Nettle
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Re: How do you save a breed?

Post by Nettle » Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:38 am

And for rescuing the pug - I have met a number of pug/terrier crosses that have proper noses and delightful temperaments - albeit feisty, as both pugs and terriers are! The loss of the corkscrew tail is a worthy price to pay, I think.

IMO all the existing breeds could be made healthier while retaining their breed identities, if only the will was there in the breeders.
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JudyN
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Re: How do you save a breed?

Post by JudyN » Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:05 am

That's interesting, Nettle - thanks :D Yes, if only there was the will to develop healthy dogs.
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Erica
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Re: How do you save a breed?

Post by Erica » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:26 pm

Since the corkscrew tail also messes with vertebra, it's a good thing that is easily lost!

Check out the retro mop website -- not an homage to 80's janitors, but a modern breeding project outcrossing pugs to get a healthier dog.
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ZaraD
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Re: How do you save a breed?

Post by ZaraD » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:20 am

Thank you all for your replys , I find it very interesting to learn about this to know there is is hope for GSD and other breeds :D

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