INBREEDING AND DIVERSITY - PART 3


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In Part 2, we were in the middle of a discussion of inbreeding’s dependence on relationship. You need to read Parts 2 and 3 in close consecutive timing. The following is a continuation of that subject.

Let us say, for the sake of argument, that we are thinking about mating Emma to Y because we are using her in a linebreeding program. The goal of linebreeding, usually connoting a “milder” form of inbreeding, is to maintain a high degree of relationship and similarity to a desirable individual, and is usually carried out by mating that individual recurrently. The pedigree in Figure 5 outlines a possible linebreeding scheme based on the repeated use of Emma as a dam. The paternal side of the pedigree is the same as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 5.  A Linebreeding Scheme based on Emma

Sire: Y


Sire: Bill

Sire: Jack

Sire: Tom

Dam: n.a.

Dam: Lisa

Sire: Tom

Dam: n.a.

Dam: Victoria

Sire: Vincent

Sire: Edmund

Dam: Emma

Dam: Emma

Sire: n.a.

Dam: n.a.

Regarding Z’s dam, Emma: her pedigree is not applicable.

The first thing we do (below) is add a column and a row to the table that we will fill in with coefficients of relationship between Z, the offspring of Emma and Y, and the rest of the dogs in the pedigree. We can also fill in the Z-Z cell because we already know the relationship between Y and Emma is 3/8, giving Z a coefficient of inbreeding of 3/16 (18.75%). The normal procedure is then followed to complete the table that is presented here.

The shaded row and column contain coefficients of relationship between Z and the other dogs in the pedigree. We can clearly see that relationships between these animals are rising quickly because of the ties back to Emma in three out of four generations. Many breed societies have rules that dictate how frequently the same animal may appear in a pedigree, perhaps four times in six generations, and those rules are based on this idea. However, you can now see that the influence of such an individual depends quite a lot on just where in the pedigree the repeat appearances are. A more sensible rule might be that animals with a coefficient of inbreeding beyond a certain threshold will not be issued papers.

 

 

Edm.

 

Emma

 

Tom

Tom
Lisa

Tom
Jack

Ed/Em
Vincent

Jack/Lisa
Bill

Vinc/Em
Victoria

Bill/Vic
Y

Y/Em
Z

Edmund

1

0

0

0

0

½

0

¼

1/8

1/16

Emma

0

1

0

0

0

½

0

¾

3/8

11/16

Tom

0

0

1

½

½

0

½

0

¼

1/8

Lisa

0

0

½

1

¼

0

5/8

0

5/16

5/32

Jack

0

0

½

¼

1

0

5/8

0

5/16

5/32

Vincent

½

½

0

0

0

1

0

¾

3/8

7/16

Bill

0

0

½

5/8

5/8

0

1 + 1/8

0

9/16

9/32

Victoria

¼

¾

0

0

0

¾

0

1 + ¼

5/8

11/16

Y

1/8

3/8

¼

5/16

5/16

3/8

9/16

5/8

1

11/16

Z

1/16

11/16

1/8

5/32

5/32

7/16

9/32

11/16

11/16

1+3/16

A second approach would be to restrict the average relationship to influential members of the breed. For many years I had a close friend who was herd manager for a Jersey (breed) dairy and breeding operation. The American Jersey Cattle Club publishes what they call a coefficient of kinship (K) on their pedigrees. That number represents the average relationship between the pedigreed individual and a set of the most influential sires in the Jersey breed. A disadvantage of this approach, however, is that K cannot be computed using the tabular method or other simple technique, and can vary considerably depending on the definition of the “most influential” group.

Introducing Genetic Variation through Crossbreeding

Breeds small in numbers (such as the Shiloh Shepherd, certainly the Chinook and Klee Kai) are sometimes faced with the need to introduce genetic variation from an outside source to keep their population viable. This is typically done using crosses between the breed’s base (small gene pool) and another breed deemed to be suitable. The decision of what breed to outcross with can be based on anatomical conformation, behavior, or some other characteristic important to the base breed. A concern is often to limit the influence of the new breed to maintain an acceptable level of “purity”, or breed composition. An approach to calculating the outcome of matings between base and outcross animals will be presented and discussed.

Outcrossing may be used to take advantage of a phenomenon erroneously known as “hybrid vigor”, more properly heterosis. The idea is that a cross between two populations that have each become relatively homozygous will produce offspring that are heterozygous at many loci. Research has shown that such crosses are often much heartier, healthier and productive than either of the parental lines. Heterosis is an effect dog breeders have known about and taken advantage of for many years. [Note: technically, a hybrid is a cross between two species, such as horse X jackass, or bison X cattle; crossbred dogs or dog-wolf matings do not produce true hybrids. But we should recognize that the word is used, and consider the context, even though a wolf is just another breed of dog.]

A tabular approach can be used to determine levels of breed composition.  By breed composition, we mean the percentage of base and outcross breeds in the improved population.  For example, if you were to cross populations of German Shepherds and Labradors, the composition of the resulting breed would be 50% GSD and 50% Labrador. Rules for acceptable matings are often based on distance between the outcross and current generation of individuals, and the tabular method to be presented can be used to determine if breed association rules are based on sound genetic ideas or breeder preferences.

We are going to use as the basis for this discussion a question posed to the author regarding breed composition and association rules. The situation is as follows: because of concerns about small population size, a breed association wishes to outcross for a single generation to bring in some new genetic variation. The outcross individuals will be used only for a single generation, and matings between composite (mixed) individuals will only be allowed if they are a certain distance apart in generations from the outcross. The rules as they currently stood stated that: (A): 2, 3 and 4 may only mate with 5 and 6, and  (B): 5 and 6 may only mate with 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. 

Those numbers refer to distance, in generations, from the outcross event. A “1” would be the offspring of the limited-numbers breed and the introduced “outcross” breed. We will use the pedigree in Figure 6 as the basis for our discussion.

Figure 6. Seven Generations From an Outcrossing Event
(Numbers refer to generations from an early outcross “event” — Read the next chart as: “Outcross” bred to the first “Pure” gave us #1; #1 bred to another Pure gave us # 2, etc.)

outcross

1: “Outcross” represents the individual(s) of another breed.
2: “Pure” represents a purebred individual of the limited-numbers breed. Each of the “Pure” dogs above is a different individual.

We are next going to use a table of eight generations (“Outcross” through 7) to show the breed composition of a mating between any two individuals an arbitrary number of generations from the outcross event. Using the rules for computing a table of relationships presented earlier, we end up with the following table:

 

Outcross

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Outcross

1

½

¼

1/8

1/16

1/32

1/64

1/128

1

½

1

½

¼

1/8

1/16

1/32

1/64

2

¼

½

1

½

¼

1/8

1/16

1/32

3

1/8

¼

½

1

½

¼

1/8

1/16

4

1/16

1/8

¼

½

1

½

¼

1/8

5

1/32

1/16

1/8

¼

½

1

½

¼

6

1/64

1/32

1/16

1/8

¼

½

1

½

7

1/128

1/64

1/32

1/16

1/8

¼

½

1

The lower cells can be filled from the upper cells. The entries in this table are relationships between the individuals in the pedigree, as we have seen before.
Our intuition tells us that as time passes, the influence of the outcross upon the breed will diminish, and this is confirmed by the table above. We can construct from that table a second one that contains the breed composition, in terms of outcross percentage, between matings. In this next illustration, the table entries are presented as decimals rather than fractions because it is easier to read off values that way. There is no column or row corresponding to the outcross because only one outcrossing event was permitted in the outlined breeding program. When reading this table it must be noted that these matings are based on the assumption that the outcross event occurs only once in each animal’s pedigree. If there has been inbreeding in the population, the correct table may be computed from the appropriate table of relationships. In the following table, the conjunction of 2 and 3, for example, is the percentage outcross in a mating between a second and a third generation animal: .1875, or 18.75% . The value is computed as:
½ (ROutcross-2 + ROutcross-3), where the RXY are taken from the above table.

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1

.5000

.3750

.3125

.2813

.2656

.2578

.2539

2

.3750

.2500

.1875

.1563

.1406

.1328

.1289

3

.3125

.1875

.1250

.0938

.0781

.0703

.0664

4

.2813

.1563

.0938

.0625

.0469

.0391

.0352

5

.2656

.1406

.0781

.0469

.0313

.0234

.0195

6

.2578

.1328

.0703

.0391

.0234

.0156

.0117

7

.2539

.1289

.0664

.0352

.0195

.0117

.0078

It is up to the individual breed associations to establish standards for breed composition, but we can provide a tool for studying possible rules. The following table is an excerpt from the second table above. The shaded portion of the table represents matings that are not permitted by the proposed breed association rules presented earlier. We are interested in answering the question: “Are these rules based on sound scientific principles?”

 

2

3

4

5

6

7

2

.2500

.1875

.1563

.1406

.1328

.1289

3

.1875

.1250

.0938

.0781

.0703

.0664

4

.1563

.0938

.0625

.0469

.0391

.0352

5

.1406

.0781

.0469

.0313

.0234

.0195

6

.1328

.0703

.0391

.0234

.0156

.0117

7

.1289

.0664

.0352

.0195

.0117

.0078

Our answer is a firm “No.” We can assume that the reasoning behind the mating rules was to limit the influence of the outcross and preserve distinct breed characteristics. One way to do this is to limit the number of times the outcross may appear in an individual’s pedigree. The obvious problem here is that there are permitted matings with levels of outcross composition much higher than some of the forbidden matings. This is quite obvious when considering the 2-5, 2-6, and 2-7 combinations. A more reasonable approach would be to limit the percentage of outcross, and not issue papers if that limit was exceeded. Such a decision might have to wait until there are several matings of each combination to determine if there is a natural threshold between acceptable and unacceptable levels of composition. We would recommend the establishment of an arbitrary criterion at the beginning of an outcross program that would be reevaluated at set points in time. For example, it might be de cided that the outcross percentage should initially be limited to 15% or less. After four generations including the outcross, that level might be changed to 10% or less based on observations of composite individuals.

Outcrossing can be used to great benefit when a population is having a hard time maintaining a healthy breeding population. There are procedures, outlined above, for determining the outcome of specific matings to outcrossed individuals that can be used to establish breed rules for purity. There are no hard and fast rules for what those breed regulations should be. What can be stated strongly is that breeders should not be afraid to use outcrossing as a management tool. A healthy, vigorous dog is much more desirable than a “pure” one.

Putting it all Together

We have discussed some important ideas and introduced some useful tools for the dog breeder in the preceding sections. We will now conclude with a discussion of how to design and manage an effective breeding program. It is not enough to simply mate good animals to one another and hope for the best, especially when such important traits as show-ring success are very strongly influenced by environmental factors.

Bourdon (1997) discusses what he called common sense animal breeding. He emphasizes traits common to effective and successful animal breeders that bear reiteration here. Qualities desirable in a breeder include knowledge of theory and technology, patience and deliberation. The most important tool used by the careful breeder is good information. Finally, a good breeding program is characterized by consistency and simplicity.

Technical knowledge is important for an animal breeder. To be most effective, he must understand not only the methods he uses, but also something of the theory behind them. One does not have to be a mathematician or statistician to effectively breed good dogs, but should have a command of certain fundamental knowledge. The breeder has to understand the idea of Mendelian inheritance, for example, before he can properly understand how methods of computing inbreeding and relationship work. Another important concept to master is that genetic inheritance is a random mechanism that presents both opportunities and limitations. When the knowledge is available, the breeder should be aware of positive and negative genetic correlations among traits under consideration. If height is negatively correlated with litter size, and you are interested in fecundity, you should choose the short dog. Genetic mechanisms will not change for our wishing them to. Familiarity with the current publications and interact ion with other animal breeders is very helpful in acquiring and maintaining technical knowledge.

While patience appears second in the list, it is perhaps the most important characteristic of the successful breeder. Genetic change occurs more slowly than many of us might like, but the trade off is that genetic gains are cumulative. The random nature of gene segregation makes much of inheritance unpredictable, so the wise breeder will play the averages. Adherence to a well-defined breeding program will produce successive generations that are better than their predecessors. Most offspring produced are considered average, but occasionally a truly outstanding individual will be produced. That individual should be patiently sought after, recognized and exploited.
No breeding program can succeed if it does not have clearly considered and realistic goals. The deliberate animal breeder will spend time thinking about his goals, his definition of the ideal animal, and the best way he can obtain animals with desirable characteristics. The temptation to jump on the bandwagon and follow the lead of other breeders should be resisted. A thoughtful manager will always know more about what is best for his program than anyone else.

The importance of good information cannot be stressed enough. Data about his animals is the single most important commodity any animal breeder possesses. Dog breeders do not have access to the kinds of information many livestock breeders do, typically genetic evaluations based on vast amounts of data and complex statistical analyses. Look for the most meaningful available. If pedigrees are the basis for most of your decision-making, do not accept incomplete or suspect pedigrees, and deal with “seedstock” producers (breeders) known to you to be of superior integrity and knowledge.

The nature of the information collected is also of interest. If it is not economically unfeasible, things like litter size, birth and mature weights and body dimensions should be collected, recorded, and contributed to breed databases. It is no disadvantage to breeders to share their hard-won information with others. When good quality data is available to everyone, the whole breed benefits. An example of the importance of collecting and sharing information might involve the discovery that a given line was a carrier for a deleterious recessive. The recognition of the problem would lead to breeders making more informed decisions about matings, particularly matings involving relatives. While the goal of a breeding program is the production of animals as close to ideal as possible, it does not relieve breeders of the responsibility of considering animal welfare.
The quality of information collected is of seminal importance. It really does not matter if there are thousands of records in breed books of they are not accurate records. You cannot make rapid genetic progress without sound information on which to base your breeding decisions. If you are faced with a tradeoff between the quality and the quantity of records you can record, always choose high quality.

The breeding program itself should be simple and consistent. By simplicity we mean that goals are carefully thought out and are reasonable in light of the information available and the genetics of the traits under consideration. Consistency implies that once goals are formulated, breeding strategies that lead to those goals are followed rigorously. That is not to say that there is no room for change in a breeding program; there is simply no room for hasty or ill-considered change. Frequent changes in breeding goals often result in contradictory efforts that lead nowhere fast. Clearly the patient animal breeder is better able to stick to goals once they have been established.

It can be difficult to formulate simple goals. There is often a temptation to try and improve several characteristics at once. Sometimes there will be positive correlations between traits of interest, and progress can be made in more than one area at once. However, you cannot change everything at once. There is a classic rule in animal breeding that states if you select for n traits, progress will only be 1/Ön (one divided by the square root of n) as rapid as if you select for a single trait.  If you select for two traits, you only make 71% as much progress as if you selected for a single trait, and 58% as much progress if you select for 3 traits. The old maxim of “keep it simple” should always be borne in mind.

While there exists no absolute set of rules to guarantee your breeding program is successful, there are general rules to play by. You should always thoroughly understand the goals you are trying to attain. You should understand as much as possible the genetic mechanisms underlying the traits you want to select for. And you should understand that there is, and there will always be, a lot of luck. You cannot change the rules, but you can stack the deck in your favor.

MORE ON INBREEDING

The dog world seems unwilling to learn from science in some respects, and inbreeding-linebreeding is one of those areas. I say “one” because there is no real difference or dividing line between the two terms; linebreeding is simply descriptive of inbreeding on animals a little further back in the pedigree than otherwise. Laboratory rats and mice have been consistently inbred to a great degree in order to be more predictive about the effects of medicines and other things that experimenters are working on. But such scientists keep several different families going at a time, because they know that restricting the gene pool also has adverse effects sooner or later, and when a line starts to die out because of inbred weaknesses, they can cross with another family or more, and start a new line again. In time, inbreeding results in “inbreeding depression”, with such signs as smaller size, less resistance to stress and disease, fewer offspring, and shorter lives. Doesn’t that sound awfully familiar to those of us who’ve been watching the American GSD develop over the past 50 or more years? Except for the smaller size, perhaps, but those wouldn’t reach the mainstream of the market anyway. We dog breeders do not have the ability as individuals or associations to maintain dozens of separate bloodlines as the lab mice breeders do.

The more research into inbreeding and genetic diversity is carried out, the more evidence mounts that artificial selection is deleterious and natural selection results in a much broader diversity and therefore greater health safety level. Even in Germany, where breeders formerly prided themselves on keeping “open” at least important sire lines that went back to dogs not found as often in modern pedigrees, it has become almost impossible to find GSD “show” dogs that are not linebred on Palme WildsteigerLand and the Q-litter Arminius. As a result of moderately strong linebreeding, we find such problems as the immune system deficiencies in Lasso Neuenberg and others’ offspring, nagging high levels of HD in Zamb Wienerau descendants, low percentages of Körklasse-1 (or even Kkl-2 for that matter) in Tacko Wienerau and even Sieger Lasso offspring. These are not prejudicially singled out; they are too representative of many dogs in the same boat. When “everybo dy” breeds to the same small number of dogs or bloodlines, these types of weaknesses are what you’ll get.

The loss of diversity of genes is directly responsible for much of the genetic problems we see in many species of domesticated animals, not only dogs. Some breeds of swine, for example, almost have to be slaughtered by the age of 5-7 months to take advantage of the best ratio of sale price to feed cost, but also to avoid the almost inevitable hip dysplasia in those breeds. Only a few of the better-hip pigs or those on a less accelerated diet are kept long enough to breed from. If the Germans don’t start tightening up on GSD hip and elbow joint quality, and loosening up on the narrow focus of the bloodlines used (working lines are almost as bad in this respect as show lines), they will soon paint themselves into a corner the way the Americans have. Inbreeding depression walks hand-in-hand with loss of heterozygosity and the lower utilitarian beauty of the modern German Shepherd Dog.

The name “Border Collie” in the U.S. and a few other countries, was until recently in the same position the GSD was a hundred years ago, more a description of its occupation than its ancestry. Thanks to the self-serving and wrong-headed approach of the AKC, the Border Collie (like so many other appropriated breeds) has become a “pure breed” with all the dubious rights and appurtenances thereto granted by the AKC, including severe restriction of genetic diversity. This true working breed is beginning to find itself in the same position the Akita has been in for all those years the AKC refused to open the stud book to imports from the country of origin. The American Akita long had a host of health and temperament problems as a result. New “rare” breed clubs have formed in the U.S., partly to satisfy the desire for novelty, partly as a haven for those fleeing the more established breeds after disappointments in genetic health. But that’s jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

The “Shiloh Shepherd”, a new breed (30+ years in the making so far) is basically a GSD family chosen for large size, old-fashioned level-back stance, and allowable profuse long coats. To bring in the desired qualities that the founder couldn’t find enough of in the regular GSD, fanciers reportedly have brought in a couple other breeds in very small quantities. Still, the gene pool is extremely limited, and unless there is use of strict selection techniques for eliminating HD, dentition faults, and a few other problems, the breed will continue to have all the traditional inbred-GSD disorders plus a few more. The white GSD, recognized by some registries as a separate “breed”, the White Shepherd, White Herder, and other names, likewise has a host of structural and other limitations and is at risk of genetic disease taking it over because of its lack of genetic diversity. The Chinook, based on a single big yellow dog of mixed Saint Bernard and other heritage, is being modeled into a more or less consistent Type by the “national” club via the use of “imported” genes from Siberians, Shepherds, and whatever results in the desired body style and personality characteristics. The English Shepherd is being pulled in two directions by those who want to breed for style and to show in conformation, and those who want to leave it as it is (a tremendous variation in appearance from an Australian Shepherd to Border Collie to almost a Leonberger look); the latter stress its farm and pet utility instead of pedigree. Whether “new” or not, breeds on the edges of what some consider “purebred” are faced with the challenge to keep enough diversity to prevent problems from becoming so deeply imbedded in the gene pool that there is almost no correction possible.

Today, almost all black Poodles (and their genetic diseases) are bred on the Wycliffe line. Poodles are numerically among the worst afflicted with epilepsy. Dalmatians have a sack full of genetic disorders, and when the AKC and others proposed a scheme to rid the breed of hereditary deafness by judiciously blending a few Pointers into the breed, then culling to preserve Dal type while eliminating carriers, the Dalmatian club rebelled against logic and voted to stay on the course to self-destruction. Many feel that the Siberian Husky is a genetic mess because of the restriction to breeding only “pure” ancestry; they can’t work as well as sled dogs as can the mixed breeds which constitute the “Alaskan Husky”. Some 80% of Doberman Pinschers are either affected by or carriers of the genes for von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD), which means that those fanciers are in a real bind, as elimination of all those dogs would mean disaster for the breed. Copper toxicosis in the Bedlington; elbow dysplasia in the Rottie; PRA in the Irish Setter and Lab; PFK enzyme deficiency in American Cockers, English Springers, and Basenjis; dwarfism and hemophilias in the German Shepherd Dog, and many other examples of genetic disease are linked to the decrease in outcrossing over time. Germans for the most part still echo the official (but untrue) line that Canto was not a Type-A hemophiliac, and for a long time many of his GSD descendants suffered from that disorder; fortunately it is sex-linked so that only daughters are carriers of the recessive and sons tend to die early, and it has not been seen in recent years to be a major problem.

Whenever possible, outcross! And encourage the national breed club to use genetic diversity in recognizing the value of the dogs and lines. To quote an Internet/e-mail message on the subject, we all should take a closer look at “the dark side of inbreeding — what happens when everyone breeds to Mr. Wonderful, and what to do when everyone discovers they have the same problem.” (Genetic Diversity Project, Dr. Catherine Marley and Dr. John Armstrong). University of California-Berkeley canine genome researcher Jasper Rine sums it up: “There are just crazy levels of inbreeding in many breeds of dogs”.

One common route to inbreeding is the widespread use of a single popular “Grand Victor” or “Sieger” (national top winners), or a handful of top Award-of-Merit/Select animals to the exclusion of other good but less-highly placed competition dogs. While you may be increasing the chances of getting a dog that has some of the same obvious (probably dominant or homozygous) desirable qualities, you are at the same time increasing the concentration of so far hidden recessives, many or most of which are bad for the breed. When most people flock to the leaders for stud service, these bad genes are concentrated as well, and the good genes that an unused dog could have contributed may be lost forever. The undesirable recessives previously hidden in the lines will soon become glaring problems, impossible to ignore and difficult to get rid of.

The subject of inbreeding’s advantages and disadvantages will always be discussed with conviction and fervor, since there are strong arguments on both or all sides. I have had exposure to the practices of dairy cattle production, and have seen there an amazingly high COI. If a cow is a champion milk producer, her eggs are harvested after being fertilized with sperm from a small number of equally selected bulls, and transplanted into other heifers so she becomes “the mother of all cows”, to modify a popular phrase of the Iraq invasion era. Generally, dairy cows of whatever breed are extremely inbred, far more than dog breeders can possibly imagine.

In dogs, besides the rare-breed examples given earlier, allow me to direct your attention to two greatly different philosophies. I have been a dog judge (approved for a few hundred breeds) for many years and many countries, and have discussed breeding practices and theories with innumerable people of a wide range of expertise and backgrounds. In the American Pit Bull Terrier breed, I was an official inspector for the UKC and the NAPBTA, and in reviewing thousands of this breed and hundreds of pedigrees, I saw about the highest amount of inbreeding of any breed. I have also long judged the Jack Russell Terrier and its “first-cousins” (breakaway or splinter clubs use different names for their variety of this British breed). John Cargill, an astute researcher and a member of the JRTCA (“the largest Jack Russell terrier club in the world”, he says), reports that “genetic diversity is mandated. Under JRTCA rules, a dog cannot be registered if it has a Coefficient of Inbreeding of 16% or greater (not a particularly low COI).” In these breeds, I have observed no real difference in genetic deficiencies and general vigor and health. Even the notorious problem of missing teeth in the (very high-population) APBT seems to be as prevalent in “outcrosses” (when you can find such!) as in the most highly inbred specimens. Selection and culling are effective equally, in both breeds with opposite inbreeding philosophies.

Generally, if you are willing to cull (select) strongly at the beginning of a family development, you can be as successful as one GSD line I mentioned, or the typical dairy cattle breed population. The main problem is that most breeders are not that lucky, careful, or willing to select and cull.

Fred Lanting The Total German Shepherd Dog Canine Hip Dysplasia and Other Orthopedic Problems Conflict: Life, Love and War

Fred Lanting Fred Lanting is an internationally respected show judge, approved by many registries as an all-breed judge, has judged numerous countries’ Sieger Shows and Landesgruppen events, and has many years experience as one of only two SV breed judges in the US. He presents seminars and consults worldwide on such topics as Gait-&-Structure, HD and Other Orthopedic Disorders, and The GSD. He conducts annual non-profit sightseeing tours of Europe, centered on the Sieger Show (biggest breed show in the world) and BSP.

All Things Canine  consulting division, Willow Wood Services. Tel.: 256-498-3319  Mr.GSD[at]netscape.com
Also use this address for inquiries regarding judging or lecturing schedule and availability.

Canine Hip Dysplasia and Other Orthopedic Problems
It covers all joints plus many bone disorders and includes genetics, diagnostic methods, treatment options, and the role that environment plays. This highly-acclaimed book is a comprehensive (nearly 600 pages!), amply illustrated, annotated, monumental work that is suitable as a coffee-table book, reference work for breeders and vets, as well as a study adjunct for veterinary students, for the dog trainer and the general dog owner of any breed.

The Total German Shepherd Dog
This is the expanded and enlarged second edition, a “must” for every true GSD lover. It is an excellent alternative to the “genetic history” by Willis, but less technical and therefore suitable for the novice, yet very detailed to be indispensable for the reputable GSD breeder. Chapters include not only such topics as: History and Origins, Modern Bloodlines, The Standard, etc., but also topics of great value to owners of any other breed, such as Anatomy, Nutrition, Health and First Aid, Parasites and Immunity, Basics of Genetics, Reproduction, Whelping, The First Three Weeks, Four to Twelve Weeks, and a Trouble-shooting Guide.

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