Stud Dog Fads Erode Breed Health Perhaps the time has come for breeders and puppy purchasers to consider the health of the overall gene pool when making breeding and buying decisions. Overuse of a limited number of individual male dogs, regardless of their unquestionable contribution of desirable characteristics, eliminates the distribution of genetic combination from other individuals and will narrow the genetic diversity of any breed. Do you want to see your breed suffer the fate of an overall decrease in health and longevity that is the inevitable result of a genetic bottleneck? While addressing the emergence of specific diseases with testing and genetic registries is one tool to utilize, it overlooks the underlying problem caused by the lack of genetic diversity.

Dependence on testing and registries may sidestep the larger issue of limiting the overuse of stud dogs. This, in the long haul, can doom a breed to suffering an ever increasing number of genetic problems. As the gene pool narrows each additional disease will become that much more difficult to "breed away from" until, because a completely clean unrelated bloodline will no longer exist, choices will be limited to the lesser of numerous evils. It is no surprise that recent years have seen an explosion of concern regarding genetic diseases in almost every breed. While the particular disease, or multiple diseases, may vary from breed to breed, the trend is the same.

Breeding for Genetic Health by Carole Adley is only one of many articles addressing this topic. Read it carefully and consider the implications of your choices for the health of your breed before you settle on a popular stud dog for your bitch or purchase a puppy out of that dog. As long as money or prestige is being placed on the appearance of a particular dog in the pedigree, that dog will continue to be used to the exclusion of other worthy individuals. Remember: In a free market economy an effective economic boycott makes a powerful statement. From atop the Soapbox, by Ellen Raper.

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