Breeding & Dogs Global
Dog Breed Populations
Dogs Global Database
Non participating breeds
Why Dogs Global?
Frequently Asked Questions
Breeding & Dogs Global
Dogs Global is designed to facilitate healthy breeding of dog breeds. To distinguish between what animals to use, we use the traffic-light colours to guide breeders in their selection of either dogs or bitches. Green are the preferred animals to be used in breeding. Yellow is the second best option. Orange are animals that should be used as a ‘last resort’. Red are animals that have not only high Mean Kinship values, but are also already used in breeding a lot. Note that colours meant to guide breeders to animals that have most to offer for the diversity of the breed. There are more factors at play, and each breeder will also have their individual preferences. For example: siblings often share their mean kinship value. We however do not encourage the use of a brother and a sister though they might both be present on the green list, for example.
You can never guarantee that a dog will be healthy for his entire life. Even with the best measure even genetic disease might occur. At Dogs Global we strive to keep a breed healthy genetically. Many breeds suffer from a relative high incidence of breed specific illnesses. Dogs Global is designed to avoid this from happening by keeping the diversity in the breed as high as possible. All measures taken by Dogs Global have this mission in mind. In the near future we will also implement the registration of diseases to be targeting health of the participating breeds in the near future as well.
Some dogs are too old to breed. For many dogs we don’t know if they are dead or alive and if alive if they are still fertile. Therefore we more or less ‘estimate’ which animals belong to the current population. From those animals we calculate the mean kinship. The animals that show up grey while others show in colour, are most likely animals that are not fertile anymore, due to their age. However, it might be that we excluded an animal that actually still IS alive and fertile. If you have a high interest in this animal, please contact the Breed Admin about this animal, to see if it can be included in the next analysis.
Animals on the red list have already a high mean kinship, will therefore not gain the population in diversity, but moreover are also used at least once. However, we do not pretend to know all factors involved. We are at least sure that from a genetic point of view this animal will not help to keep the diversity of the breed. Especially for males, we therefore advise to look further, preferably in the green list of course. For bitches you might want to make an exception, because till know a breeder could simply not know the value of their dog from a genetic diversity point of view. Also here, at least try to combine a bitch that is ‘on the red list’ with a dog that is green itself.
Within a breed plan you are able to make test litters. The combination will provide the Mean Kinship for the fictive animals that would be born out of this combination. This list to which this animal belongs, it entirely determined by the combination of the parents. The animals of the current population however are listed not only by Mean Kinship, but also by their contribution towards the current population, in other words, whether they have offspring or not. Hence, it happens that some some animals show up in the orange list or even the red list, while their siblings are found in the yellow list.
Ideally you would not find any ancestor twice in your dogs pedigree. Till now, it is common however to find the same ancestors more than once or even twice. Within Dogs Global we make those repetitive ancestors stand out by the use of colours. These colours are randomly chosen and are not the same colours as we use for the ‘Mean Kinship’ lists. Within a breed plan, it is possible to select a higher number of generations per pedigree. The more generations you chose, the more repetitive ancestors are likely to show and the more colours will be randomly chosen.
Dog Breed Populations
At the moment almost nothing is done to actually maintain or increase the genetic diversity within dog breeds. The most important reason is: you cannot detect which dogs contribute more to the genetic diversity of the breed as a whole. This is what Mean Kinship can brings to the table: it identifies individuals that will help in maintaining genetic diversity. Without Mean Kinship, this would not be possible. To keep a population diverse you need to analyse the entire population; you cannot just test two dogs and expect to know what impact they will have on the population as a whole.
Just avoiding inbreeding is not only insufficient, it does not help diversity at all! It is counter intuitive but just avoiding mating between close relatives has no impact WHAT SO EVER on inbreeding on the long term. The reason is that inbreeding is a genetic phenomenon that is not inheritable. Progeny of inbred parents can be completely non-inbred if the parents are not related. To avoid loss of genetic diversity within the whole population, one must avoid relatedness, or in other words avoid the breed to become one (large) family. This requires knowledge of the relatedness much deeper than single pedigree documents can provide. To get this deep knowledge of the breed, all pedigrees must be combined in a database. This question deserves a longer answer; in fact it deserves a course of its own. If you are not satisfied with this answer, why not organize one of our courses or workshops to explain this issue? Many breeders started to realise the relative importance of avoidance of inbreeding after one of our lectures.
The main reason is that the dogs have become too genetically similar (related) to each other. The reason for that is that they have a lot of ancestors in common. They are all family. That is caused by the strong selection in the past; in each generation, a few animals contributed a lot to the next generation. And if we don’t change our breeding selection methods, this will keeps on happening. Since every animal carries a few genetic diseases (yes, ourselves included), it is unavoidable that when a few animals dominate the gene-pool, their diseases will also spread. The nasty part is: when these diseases become more common, they will also surface! More and more often carriers will be bred and result in two the same recessive faulty alleles in the progeny. The whole answer is a little bit more complicated than this short answer, but this is a major part of the reason why breeds become ill.
Mean Kinship is a value per animal that indicates the relatedness or kinship of this animal towards the entire current population of the breed. A low Mean Kinship value means that the animal is (relatively) unrelated and is therefore genetically important. Mean Kinship as a tool is developed and used within the zoo community to preserve the diversity of endangered species. For many reasons, Mean Kinship is even more suitable for dog breeds. Note that Mean Kinship targets the diversity and therefore the health for the ENTIRE breed, and not a specific litter per sé.
Diversity starts with the founders of the breed. Those animals have unique genetic properties. When all founder-genes are kept in the population, the diversity will keep on being available. Therefore, the founders of a breed are very important to identify. But also: what is still left genetically of those original founders. Dogs Global can calculate this from complete datasets, containing all current dogs alive and all their ancestors up to these founders.
Dogs Global Database
If you want to start a database for your breed, you have to realise this is difficult to achieve on your own. It is important that the breed club of the home country participate. Read more via this link: Click Here.
Though we might welcome assistance by people acquainted with the breed, we perform the final check on the data added to the database. This includes the quality of the pedigree data. Although it is more difficult to get the pedigree correct in the deeper (older) parts of the pedigree, we have developed methods of dealing with this problem to ensure the best possible relationships given the data (see this thesis). We have developed a whole range of (automated) checks to maximise the integrity of the entered information. A database compiled with these error-checking methods is well-suited to o find indications on how to preserve your breed.
Dogs Global has the ultimate responsibility for the quality of data. However, it would be impossible for us to specialise on all breeds. To give each breed the attention it requires, we work together with Breed Admins. This might be a breed club, a group of breeders of even a devoted individual, with whom we feel we can work in the same way as we do: putting the breed and it’s health first. Data-files will always be added by Dogs Global itself, since we check on numerous potential problems and automate additional information like (for example) country of birth and country of standing.
Dogs Global includes all dogs that belong to the participating breed. Those are in most cases dogs having a pedigree from FCI, AKC or the Kennel Club or other kennel clubs that are internationally recognized. At times we also add dogs with a different background. For the Canadian Inuit Dog for example, there are still animals being used by the Inuit which are perfect examples of the breed in both characteristics as well as in ancestry which will also be included in the database. Also for other breeds, it might be that a significant part does not have a pedigree, but could be important for the health for the breed in total. Some breeds are not yet recognized by any major kennel club. In those case we might consider to add these dogs into the database as well.
Breed Admins can give the attention each breed requires. Dogs Global facilitates and checks all actions of the Breed Administrators. The Breed Admin is the first point of contact concerning participating breeds. They will check and verify photo’s and they will attempt to receive new data on dogs of all countries. Updates and analysis are not the responsibility of Breed Admins but are carried out by Dogs Global.
Just before or just after the lecture you will receive an invoice including an IBAN and the costs for this particular lecture. The price depends on what we agreed on, but an indication is found here at the end of this page.
If you want to discuss all possibilities, use the contact form to get in touch with us. Then we can discuss your specific wishes or what Pieter could tell about your breed during the lecture. Mention you are interested in a lecture and which what topics you are interested in. We will get back at you.
Our main lecture starts with a explanation of most basic principles of genetic. Next everything that follows including Mean Kinship and Inbreeding is connected to this basic knowledge. Loss of diversity is the most pressing problem.. Diversity can be expressed in different measures. We explain each measure and how breeds lost so much diversity. After the break we will show what can be done to turn the tide and which action breeders can take leads to results.
Non participating breeds
You can always start with a select group of people or breed clubs that are not the breed club of the home country. Although preferred, it is not absolutely necessary for the every single breed club to join. It is essential to have a complete pedigree of the dogs untill the current population, but it might be possible to obtain this data in other ways. Dogs Global is not in service of breed clubs, but is in service of the breed.
To make the Mean Kinship and population analysis reliable it is of utmost importance that we have the entire population in our database. For two of the 10 breeds we analysed, an important part of the diversity of the breed is found in another country than the country of origin (the Icelandic Sheepdog and the Leonberger). Furthermore it is important to have connections between countries. Mean Kinship calculated from incomplete data can even harmful when applied as a breeding technique. Dogs Global ensures that the calculates are done correctly, based on extensive experience on conservation genetics as well as the dog world.
A database-dump, excel-sheet or csv-file or similar… containing at least: (1) Registration-number (2) Name of the dog (3) Registration-number Father (or unique ID) (4) Registration-number Mother (or unique ID) (5) Date of Birth (or year of birth) for most of the dogs, but at least the dogs of the last 15 years. Optional: (6) Gender (7) country of birth (8) country of standing (9) colour (10) Any other interesting data connected to the dog.. (for example microchip number, titles, HD.. second registration-number)
Starting with your breed in Dogs Global depends on one major factor: a complete dataset of all dogs that are living now and all ancestors of this current population that have lived since the foundation of the breeds till now. A second very important factor is the presence of (a group of) people or breed club that is willing to act as Breed Admin.
Almost always this information is known somewhere. For the Dutch breeds we have made copies of the studbook available at the Raad van Beheer (the Dutch Kennel Club) and entered all dogs manually. Best practices is then, to start with the oldest dogs and work up till the time digital data is available. This way, each time a litter is added, the parents of this litter is already present in the database.
Why Dogs Global?
The science is clear, the gene pool of almost every dog breed is draining fast. This is because standard inbreeding avoidance does nothing to stem genetic loss (see FAQ Dog Breed Populations). Moreover, often only the a few generations of the pedigree are considered. Managing a breed with such low diversity and high inbreeding requires a next-level population genetic management expertise that only a few scientists have. This knowledge should be applied to dog breeds to provide true solutions for the continuous loss of diversity. The Dogs Global algorithm takes all generations into account, even back to the founders of the breed, and gives you clear breeding options. You can now get a handle on the genetic health of your dog breed.
If this is not obvious to you, just maybe you should not be here.
The problem dogs face cannot be solved by a ‘quick fix’, like finding the right DNA marker or just taking more care of inbreeding. Furthermore, most dog breeds are distributed over different countries. Often those populations are seen as separate, but they are not! This reasoning is dangerous for the health of the population, if put into action; like importing ‘new’ dogs without knowing their true relationship towards the dogs already present in the country.