Recommendation E: Other Strategies to Consider for Breed Diversity
Other points for breeders to consider in the interests of overall breed health are:
To choose breeding stock from lines with maximal healthy longevity.
To avoid repeat matings with the same stud-bitch pair, and to also avoid a mating with one of the siblings of a previously used stud-bitch pair.
To cherish and maintain the properties of the original working dog, including suitable temperament (friendly, obedient, persistent, calm, loyal, responsive to training), suitable size to be fit for function, weather resistant coat, resistant footpads, and lack of skin sensitivities.
To safeguard the generally excellent temperament of the breed by avoiding nervous, timid or aggressive dogs.
To safeguard genetic diversity by ensuring that at least 50% of the breed’s gene pool
remains in breeding use. This means that least two puppies from every litter should be used for breeding. If at all possible an even greater number should be earmarked as available for breeding subject to health, temperament and breed quality considerations.
The desirability of maintaining 50% of the gene pool within the breeding base of the breed is reaffirmed by the JTO, the FKC-GBS and the FCI. The concept of ‘pick of the litter’ is best expanded to include the best two or three ‘picks’ who are at, or above breed average in all desirable breed characteristics. In Australia, selection of the best breeding dogs is hindered by a tendency to encourage early neutering. Many Australian Local Councils have regulations that favour or insist on early neutering. Arguments in favour of early neutering rarely discuss the negative impact of the practice on the genetic diversity of closed-registry breeds. The selection of breeding stock at the young puppy stage before the full adult qualities are evident is undesirable. Where breeders have the option to negotiate a delay in neutering till adult assessment for health and breed quality can occur, this is likely to be of benefit for the whole breed.
(Supported by JTO.)