A Double Edged Sword

Breed clubs are the stewards of a breed. They establish standards, set guidelines and ideologies for breeders. Their influence can be seen in the appearance, temperament and health of the breed.

In view of my last blog entry about the animal rights movement, I think it is reasonable to wonder… how much influence A.R. advocates might have on our breed. We already know they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Dr. Carmen Battagilia suggests in his article, A Gathering Storm, breeder’s tools, such as mandatory DNA tests and genetic screening are like a double edged sword. The device that enables breeders to identify and weed out detrimental genes (for the betterment of the breed) may also be the machine that contributes to a breed’s destruction.





More food for thought….articles of interest from the National Animal Interest Alliance:



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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dear Jeanne Joy:

    Your articles are not only a source of great, relevant information, but also one of great pride. Having known you since 1986, I am forever impressed by the extent of your research and your ability to keep a pulse on the heartbeat of this great breed. Please keep up the great work…the breed needs you!

  2. I am honored. Thank you.


  3. I have one question, I have done all my breeding stock thus far & have only MDR1 for Ivermection sensitivity, but I have heard from other breeders here in Australia, that their opinion is ‘they are only going to breed with ALL clear dogs’ but to me this way of thinking could reduce the gene pool dramatically??
    My way of thinking is with cataracts, yes I may not breed with a carrier, but with CEA at least with a carrier, you would then breed to something that was clear, then test the puppies to see who was a carrier & who tested clear??
    What are your thoughts on this & yes I worry too that oneday this will be used against us as dog breeders.

  4. Andrea,

    You have to weigh all the factors involved.
    The best advice I can give is what Dr. George A. Padgett DVM gave. Develop a hierarchy of disagreeability for the various genetic disorders/diseases that occur in the breed as a whole and for those that occur in your kennel. Evaluate the severity of various problems and their impact on the dog itself and the people that purchase it. The hierarchy lets you decide what to work on, what to prevent and try to eliminate and what to put aside and not worry about, at least for the moment.

    Severe traits would be 1. Painful disorders, 2. Disorders that disfigure, maim or otherwise render an animal nonfunctional, 3. Lethal disorders, 4. Disorders requiring treatment for the life of the animal. 5. Disorders requiring surgical correction for the animal to survive or live relatively painlessly, 6. Disorders that are difficult to control.

    Mild traits would be 7. Disorders that are readily treatable and respond dwell to therapy 8. Disorders requiring one-time surgery that is highly successful and principally cosmetic. 9. Disorders that prevent an animal’s use for the purpose for which is was bred.

    Dr. Padgett’s book, Control of Canine Genetic Diseases may be helpful to you. He also wrote a chapter on genetic diseases for Aussies in The Total Australian Shepherd.

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