Responsibility of Breeders in the Ethical Breeding of Dogs- NEED HELP FOR RESEARCH PR - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Question Responsibility of Breeders in the Ethical Breeding of Dogs- NEED HELP FOR RESEARCH PR

I am doing a project for uni on the responsibly of breeders in the ethical breeding of dogs. Looking at dobermanns specifically as I love the breed.

Wanting to find more info/research/stats on breeders putting aesthetics (conformation) over health/genetic vigour. Like maybe breeding from a dog/bitch who is affected/carrier of a disease but does well in the show ring.

Also looking at the quality of life/poor welfare of dogs with inherited disorders due to poor breeding matches i.e. breeding known affected or carrier dogs.

The difficulty of testing for genetic disorders (i.e. some tests you must wait till they age...) may play a role in the health/welfare of the breeding as well.

May like to compare genetic vigour and health of European dobermans vs. American type. Is there a difference in the health/quality of life for the animal, or no?

Can anyone point me in the right direction as to where I may find some research or stats for my project?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 09:21 AM
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There is soooo much nope, nope, nope, nope, NOPE here IMO.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 09:38 AM
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Howdy! I've listed a few sites that might get you started. I can't vouch for them but they may answer some of your questions or lead to more questions!


Genetic Diversity in Doberman Pinschers
www.vetmed.ufl.edu/2018/11/26/14541/
http://www.purinaproclub.com/breed-u...rman/fall-2018
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1790348/
http://www.veterinarypracticenews.co...man-pinschers/
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 10:04 AM
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Just some friendly advice- narrow the scope of your project and don't draw any conclusions before actually gathering your information (I'm referring to the third sentence of your post- about conformation taking precedence over health). The network of breeders breeding purpose bred dobermans in the US is so small that any statistics you find may not be conclusive of anything. Since many of these people are so invested in the breed, getting objective answers about your question on intent prior to breeding may be very difficult.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenkouki View Post
Just some friendly advice- narrow the scope of your project and don't draw any conclusions before actually gathering your information (I'm referring to the third sentence of your post- about conformation taking precedence over health). The network of breeders breeding purpose bred dobermans in the US is so small that any statistics you find may not be conclusive of anything. Since many of these people are so invested in the breed, getting objective answers about your question on intent prior to breeding may be very difficult.
^^^^This!!! Responsible breeders make up less than 10% of a breeds population. They give up so much and dedicates decades if not life times for this breed. There's no way to tell the OP from Adam and they could easily be a PETA looney tune trying to coerce innocent people into throwing breeders under the bus. That's far too much nope for me. Do I agree with all breedings? no, but I'd be damned if I would throw those people to wolves.


To the OP do you think the gene pool should be limited by NOT breeding a carrier of a disease? Do you know how genetics works? Do you know how limited the gene pool is in a breed like Dobermans? I've personally seen many AFFECTED vWD dogs live into the teens. Do you think they should have never happened?


I personally think you can write and read all of the papers and studies you want but until you're knee deep in it you'll never truly understand.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 10:54 AM
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In the spirit of maybe being helpful, I would look at https://www.ofa.org/diseases/breed-statistics
particularly the buttons on Hip dysplasia trends and Elbow dysplasia trends.

You can usually see the trend of statistics improving as more and more dogs are rated for dysplasia. It's really what the Doberman Longevity Program was based on, seeing that when provided with tool to measure something, breeders can work to improve it. Hip and elbow ratings improved as breeders started testing and breeding for good hips and elbows. Vic Monteleon (the brain behind the Longevity Program) thought the same should be true for longevity.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryAndDobes View Post
In the spirit of maybe being helpful, I would look at https://www.ofa.org/diseases/breed-statistics
particularly the buttons on Hip dysplasia trends and Elbow dysplasia trends.

You can usually see the trend of statistics improving as more and more dogs are rated for dysplasia. It's really what the Doberman Longevity Program was based on, seeing that when provided with tool to measure something, breeders can work to improve it. Hip and elbow ratings improved as breeders started testing and breeding for good hips and elbows. Vic Monteleon (the brain behind the Longevity Program) thought the same should be true for longevity.
I agree that your field is so big that it's hard to believe that you are going to be able to get the kind of statistics that actually establish an answer.

Using Mary's example of dysplasia--I was showing Dobermans when the OFA came into existence. German Shepherd Dogs were the first to start doing regular hip exams because the breed had so many displasitic dog. And I remember when Doberman breeders started recommending that breeding dogs be tested. And I remember very well when a dog who was a sire that was widely used was withdrawn from stud with a public (in the breed magazines) explanations of why he was withdrawn and what exactly was wrong with his hips.

For the record--Dobes have had pretty good hips and the conformation dogs (because they are the ones who usually get tested and NOT used if their are problems) have actually improved over the years--and you can thank the conformation breeders for that.

Good luck in your project but as I'm sure you are already away--a lot of it is going to depend on information which is only going to be opinion and highly colored by personal opinion and not by proven fact.

dobebug
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 12:30 PM
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One thing you could do to gather objective data would be to just take your statistics from top 10 dobermans going back 10 years to the year 2009. Most of these dogs will be dead (although I can think of one who is not). You can easily find health testing info and causes of death (and ages) on these dogs and their ancestors through the DPCA, dobequest, the OFA, Penhip etc. Then do the same for a particular country in Europe (Like the UK) and do your comparison that way. While it's still a pretty limited picture it would be an interesting project for you.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenkouki View Post
One thing you could do to gather objective data would be to just take your statistics from top 10 dobermans going back 10 years to the year 2009. Most of these dogs will be dead (although I can think of one who is not). You can easily find health testing info and causes of death (and ages) on these dogs and their ancestors through the DPCA, dobequest, the OFA, Penhip etc. Then do the same for a particular country in Europe (Like the UK) and do your comparison that way. While it's still a pretty limited picture it would be an interesting project for you.
The only issue I see here is finding age and cause of death - the vast majority of owner/breeders do NOT update Dobequest with this information, and only people close to them know the information.... which may slowly get around.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 02:16 PM
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True! It could take a little extra digging.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 02:54 PM
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The thing is there are few fully organized data statistics. There other thing is that not all people breeding who are showing conformation are created equal. Some people will test their breeding dogs for 10 different things, and some will test their dogs for hips and call it a day. (And then again those same people who in the database only have a dog tested for hips, might at home have results for a vWD swab but the information isn't up in public. Or they know the dog can only be clear by parentage... but this is something that is 'invisible' by simply looking at databases) I wouldn't consider the latter ones ethical or responsible, but that doesn't stop their dogs from being in the show ring. Then there is the matter that not every dog produced by an ethical breeder being shown, is going to be owned and shown by that same breeder. Unless the dog is on a co-own, once that dog is sold, it's sold, the new owner makes the decisions. The new owner may or may not test the dog, regardless of intent of breeding.

One big problem I see as well with your project is that in order to find statistics or collect data you will be operating off assumptions, that simply cannot be drawn from statistics. You are going off the presumption that if a carrier animal is being bred to an affected animal, it is because conformation is being placed above health. But Dobermans have a lot of health issues, and from the people I've spoken to that are looking at health statistics rolling in from projects like the Doberman Diversity Project, and the VGL project, as well as pedigree research etc. the is an interesting trend - the dogs dying from DCM for example are often not dogs with an affected vWD genetic status (and furthermore just to confuse you, did you know that a genetically affected individual doesn't always translate to a clinically affected individual? And now there are reports that dogs who are genetically carrier, can be clinically affected also). So perhaps this affected animal bred to a carrier animal is paired together not for conformation reasons first and foremost, but rather because maybe they have unique longevity in their respective pedigrees. Maybe they are paired together because the pedigree would be the same or similar nick as a dog they produced in the past that lived to 13 years old, and happened to be a GCH, with excellent breed temperament. Unless you speak to every individual breeder, or create a survey for breeders to fill out explaining their reasoning for a particular mating, you may not get accurate statistics on that front.

Another example to look at - popular sire syndrome, this is a real phenomenon, but how do you tell which breeders went to that popular sire because he is known and produces winners, vs which breeders went to that popular sire because he is actually an excellent match for their bitch?

You are also neglecting ethical/reputable working line breeders. I have heard at least one say that while health is important to them, working ability is the most important consideration when matchmaking and producing dogs in their eyes. Is that not similar to someone who would prioritize conformation over health?

This is not to discourage you but rather illustrate some of the issues with your approach and the premise for your research project. It might be easier with some European countries where the breed club keeps health records and demand hard copies of the evidence rather than just relies on user-updates into a database, but then good luck getting the truth from some of the more tight-lipped protectionists, if you even manage to get in touch with someone from the breed club. The DPCA has refused to release studbook information in the past (though this was less about health research and more pedigree research of historical dogs). The DV is a nightmare to even get in touch with and if you do, good luck getting anything from them - as this is the same crew who declared after a 3 year study that DCM was not a problem in this breed. DobeQuest, as Mary Jo mentioned is not always reliable because it is often not up to date. My bitch's litter wasn't even added until this past December after a kind member here on DT added them to my request, and that did not include all the current titling and health info I have for her as well as one of her littermates even though they turned 4 in Feb. (The owner of the littermate and I agreed we'd just submit everything later in the year because we expect more results and additional titles by the end of Summer).

The other thing is, because several of the diseases in Dobermans haven't been narrowed down genetically, we do not know with certainty which nick might produce what. Someone could be making a nick based on pedigree research that they think is safe, or will hopefully increase longevity, but then when the pups hit the ground they grow into 10 different issues they'd never seen before. Biologists agree genetic diversity is important, and there seems to be correspondence between lower COI and longevity... but there isn't even one test out there that fully evaluates all aspect of genetic diversity. It depends whether you believe more in a system based on hetero/homozygousity (such as Embark) or rare/common alleles (VGL/BetterBred). We know the breed's average longevity is decreasing, but is it really because breeders are choosing conformation over health? Or is it because previous breeders painted us into a corner we didn't see coming and now we are suffering the consequences in spite of our best attempts to fix it? We can debate this until the cows come home, but my point is that you cannot draw conclusion about a breeder's intent and a breeder's reasoning. Which makes the basis of your project (putting aesthetics over health) difficult to prove. Furthermore I'd argue that there is a difference between aesthetics and structure, and both elements contribute to a dog's conformation. You can have a dog that is beautifully structured, well-balanced and harmonious looking - this is structure, this is in terms of the dog's biomechanics and functionality, according to breed standard and would contribute to soundness (health). But then, that same dog might not be super typey even if they objectively fit the standard and have decent/correct type, they might be a more moderate sort, this is more aesthetic.

Do some breeders breed to win? Sure. Do some breeders make breeding decisions based on aesthetics over structure? Probably. Do some breeders put those things above health? I don't doubt it. Are there breeders that produce dogs with the fashions and trends of the day, and what is currently winning even if it might technically be incorrect or not called for by the standard (if not opposite)? Yes. But there are also breeders who breed dogs with their ideal in mind according to their interpretation of the standard, and their priorities towards health. There are breeders who focus on structure in the long run and tweak aesthetics as they go, regardless of whether they are producing top 20 dogs or not. You have breeders producing top 20 dogs almost as an aside of what their main goals are in their program, I'm sure you could draw a Wien diagram even of dogs produced with top 20 as a goal, dogs making it into the top 20 vs dogs not produced with top 20 as a goal but who ended up there for xyz reason. My question is how do you distinguish all these categories from one another? (And in Europe you can substitute top 20 for world champs, specialty champs etc.)

I think as others have suggested you are best first narrowing your scope. Decide what you want to focus on. Pick one thing then from that one thing you'll be able to find the right resources to help you. And consider that you will probably have to survey rather than just gathering statistics based on data such as OFA health tests. But I'd be careful in the way that you survey, because the show and work Doberman community is very small in North America. A little bigger in Europe but then depending on where in Europe you are looking at, you also have to factor in socio-economical contexts. The accessibility to a holter monitor device is not going to be the same in Albania as it is in Massachusetts, both financially and just in terms of locating a device, and I do not think it would be fair to automatically dismiss breeders from poorer countries as being somehow less responsible if they are trying to make thoughtful breeding decisions.

I can think of one breeder in a Balkan country who once lost a dog due to incompetence from veterinary professionals (at multiple levels) so he went and got his own veterinary license to try and better care for his dogs, but that doesn't mean he has access to all the equipment and devices that he would in the West.

So there are a lot of factors you will need to filter in order to gather data as objectively as possible.

In addition to the links provided above, I would recommend finding the Doberman Diversity Project on facebook to see if you can access more information and data, I would also recommend checking out http://dobermanngenealogy.dk/
You will need to write to the admin to be able to sign up, it might be easier joining her on Facebook. Someone tried to sabotage this database but it is possibly the largest in the world (we are talking 400 000+ dogs, including dogs tracing back to Mr Dobermann's dogs) the owner keeps death and health statistics as objective and truthful as possible, she will not write 'suspected cardio' or 'cardio' if it is not confirmed.

Good luck.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 12:12 AM
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Just as a note, I'm a DPCA member, and I'm available to update (or create) dobequest profiles for personally owned dogs. Just shoot me a private message.... I've done this for several people.
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Mary Jo Ansel
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AKC GRCH/UKC CH Fitzmar's Command A Minute CGC "Harvard"
Fitzmar's Victory Hop Devil RN CGC "Jezebel"
Jalyn One Moment Please "Mabel"
RIP CH. Cha-Rish A Moment Like This RN WAC CGC "Louise" 2/22/2005 - 4/1/2016
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