Monday, April 12, 2021

The Kennel Club Disease Formula

Would you build a house on a rotten wooden foundation?

That’s what the Kennel Clubs do with nearly every breed, starting out with a small pool of closely related dogs (often less than 30).

An example: the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever who manages to hit the trifecta of nonsense histories:
  1. a vague job no longer done;
  2. a named location without any supporting paperwork or much evidence of the dog in use there today, and;
  3. a claimed ancient lineage without any evidence and late Kennel Club registration.
Over at the “Institute of Canine Biology” they summarize the deep inbreeding within the Toller gene pool ( ):


Here is what we will learn from the analysis of the data below:
1) The entire breed descends from about 20 founder dogs
2) The database of the breed contains more than 28,600 dogs (through 2010)
3) There was a surge in popularity beginning in the 1980s
4) Over the course of the breed's history, only a small fraction of the available dogs produced offspring
5) Inbreeding increased rapidly after 1960 and has remained higher than 25%
6) The effective population size of the current population is only 27 dogs
7) The population in 2010 had the genetic diversity of only 2.1 dogs (and it can only go down). On average, the animals in the breed are more closely related than full siblings

All Tollers today can trace their origin to 9 dogs, 6 of which were full siblings. These dogs produced 81 registered offspring, 30 of which were bred. One of the founder dogs produced two puppies that were never bred, so today's breed descends from only 4 original lines.
And what’s the result?

As Embrace Pet Insurance notes:
Pet insurance for Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

No kidding. 

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I think the problem is deeper. Breed standards are a bad idea. Form follows function is fine in theory, but in practice, function is fluid, variable, and subtle. If you hunt, the best confirmation depends on what you hunt. There are no foxes in New Zealand, and rabbits are the main burrowing critter, so why should Kiwis be concerned about whether a JRT or fixie can fit into a fox burrow. Likewise, with Springers, if you're hunting geese you probably want a bigger dog than you want for quail. As for companionship or assistance.. temperament is all important, and using the show ring to judge temperament like trying to judge human intelligence by examination of skull dimensions.