Why do we do genetic testing on our breeding stock??
For me it is just one of the tools I use, to quote a friend, “in a full toolbox” to determine how and who I am going to breed my bitch to. I do not use the results to eliminate dogs but to make better breeding decisions to help reduce the risk of producing dogs that will have certain diseases or afflictions.
The information in my tool box enables me to choose a stud dog that will compliment her not only genetically but physically as well. Bringing things to the breeding I am looking to improve upon while also trying to minimize the bad genes coming through.
In my “full toolbox” I have the information from her pedigree, my breed standard, status of hips, elbows, Eye Certification, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC), Ectodermal Dysplasia (ED/SFS), and a Brucellosis test which will be done right before breeding. I also have the knowledge and wisdom of some long time breeders/mentors, some not so long time breeders and all the research and educational classes I have done on my own. I have a list of potential stud dogs that I have compiled, this list is a living document as it changes all the time depending of the bitch and how the male will compliment her.
Now how am I going to use this information? For example, Maia is a DM carrier but clear on PRA, EIC, and ED/SFS, so I would lean towards a clear male for DM and I have wiggle room on the other tests because with her being clear even if I used a carrier male I would not be producing pups that were at risk of getting the disease. Why you ask would I do that and not breed to a male that is all clear?? Well if it is the right male that might just be what I do however, in my breed if you only focus on the all clears then you will be limiting the gene pool greatly. I guess you could say “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. If we continually dismissed dogs that were not clear on every single trait we soon would be left with very limited breeding stock and could also cause great harm to the breed as a whole. Not to mention missing out on some pretty great dogs!
For me it is looking at the strengths and weaknesses of my breeding stock and then finding a suitable mate that will build on the strengths and hopefully correct the weaknesses.
Let’s face it, there are no perfect dogs out there. They are living breathing beings and as such we can only do the best we can when it comes to breeding. That is why I use all the tools at my disposal to make the very best educated decisions I can. The rest is up to nature!