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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Pedigree Dogs Exposed

On a tip-off from Dave, I just finished watching a UK documentary on Youtube (there are 6 parts, it's called "Pedigree Dogs Exposed") about the in-the-toilet genetic health condition of some breeds. I had already known that breeds such as the CKC spaniel, EBD and PUG had inherited genetic health problems but I hadn't realized how badly the big show people turn a blind eye to it just for the sake of profit. Horrible! It's just heartbreaking to see these dogs suffer so much all for the sake of supposed beauty and greed. It's also shocking to see the older versions of breeds and then today after breeders have interpreted the "breed standard" to their liking, like the daschund (I always wondered how they could possibly hunt badgers with such stubby legs), bassett hound, pug and English Bull Terrier. It's again that "popular sire" syndrome that wreaks havoc on future puppies and familes, and it's almost like a runaway train, what a shame.

Recently I spoke with a breeder that used to breed Australian Shepherds. Anywho, she realized the breed had virtually become inbred from a certain line after she had a couple of champion-sired pups snap at people at 4 months of age from the same breeder.

I was reminded of that this past week because a co-worker of mine bred his champion-sired English Bull Dog to a top-producing sire. Well, one of the puppies was returned to him for being too aggressive, and while over at a friend's house, the 8 month old attacked the daughter who was running on a treadmill. The teenager couldn't get the dog off of her and they had to hit him on the head, the result the girl had laserations to her heal and damaged achilles, needs many stitches.

It's just a reminder to me that breeders have a responsibility to be ethical and informed with breeding and breed for health as their top priority. They need to do the right thing. Could it be that some temperment problems found in the Havanese could be the result of such inbreeding?

I am so glad that this breed does have recommeded genetic health tests, and it seems many breeders do the testing and forunately at the moment the Havanese seems to be relatively healthy genetics wise. I am concerned for the future of the breed, and I really feel for the other breeds that are in trouble, especially the Cavalier as it really is the sweetest, most docile dog. We need to support breeders that make difficult decisions and are really doing their best for the health of these wonderful little dogs.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:17 PM
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What temperament problems are Havanese known for? Or is it that these can show up in badly bred Havanese? From what I learned when doing research, no well-bred dog (which should include breeding for temperament) should have serious behavior issues. I'm curious about this issue, because I decided this time around to pay the money to get a pup from a reputable breeder. I talked with four or five breeders and personally visited two. Both of the ones I visited had great dogs, including the parents of the pups. They practice in-line breeding (I think it is called), but not inbreeding. So I'm wondering what exactly inbreeding is, as it seems in-line breeding is standard in most pedigree dogs.

My lab is from a backyard breeder, who was a friend of mine. We have had absolutely no behavior problems from him. But I think little dogs are different, and perhaps more prone to behavior problems because people don't take them as seriously in a small dog? Last night I took Jasmine to a play date, and there were a couple Yorkie-Chi mixes who were absolutely shaking with anxiety the whole time. Astounding. They looked miserable, and yet this kind of thing was obviously considered normal and perhaps even desirable by the owners.

I guess my question is, is it possible for a well-bred dog to have behavior problems? And by well-bred, I mean bred for health and temperament, not just champion lines. It could be I have a different definition of "well-bred" than those just concerned with champion lines.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:28 PM
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It's pretty clear, when you see the Pekinese that won this year's West Minster "Best in Show" there's a lot of truth in that. The thing looked like a beatle. Had to be carried around the ring for its victory round.

But just as scary as the show dogs with all the incest in their pedigree, are the breeders that "specialize" is 19 different breeds of dog, including Coton detulear, which resembles the Havanese so closely, I can't help but wonder how these breeders keep it all straight and wonder if they're passing off "hybrid mutts" as registerable purebred dogs.

It just all goes back to knowing your breeder.




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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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I wouldn't say the Havanese has a problem with temperament, but I would say that by the time a breed or certain line is labled as having a temperament problem, it is too late. After all, as in all pure-bred dogs, but especially in the Havanese given its history, there are only a handful of dogs that all Havanese trace back to, there are no true outcrosses because all are related. Fortunately for all Havanese and owners, the foundation stock seems to have been relatively healthy. The basenji, for example, was founded similary with only a handful of dogs. Unfortunately some of the founders passed on their unhealthy traits, and the basenji was facing genetic death if not for importing some from native Africa. We are lucky in the Havanese in that it's relatively healthier than most, but at the same time it is also at risk of becomming unhealthy of breeders aren't honest, buyers aren't informed, and judges reward championships to dogs that might not necessarily deserve it.

http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com...nnel-club.html
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Another article...this one is more credible than the other one, written by a Phd.

http://www.ashgi.org/articles/breedi..._gene_pool.htm

Goes to show that some dogs have obvious health problems - short nosed dogs have trouble breathing, GSD can barely walk, etc but other dogs can seem perfectly healthy on the outside, even winning ribbons, but is a total mess on the inside, and breeding to produce more unhealthy dogs. That is what I'm most concerned about for any breed.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Kalico View Post
What temperament problems are Havanese known for? Or is it that these can show up in badly bred Havanese? From what I learned when doing research, no well-bred dog (which should include breeding for temperament) should have serious behavior issues.
Well, behavior issues is very different from inherited temperament issues. Any dog, if it is not trained properly (and that STARTS with the breeder, but is MOSTLY the responsibility of the new owner) can develop behavior issues.

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My lab is from a backyard breeder, who was a friend of mine. We have had absolutely no behavior problems from him. But I think little dogs are different, and perhaps more prone to behavior problems because people don't take them as seriously in a small dog?
Not sure about that... I've known plenty of big dogs with behavior issues too. Certainly in the "reactive dog" classes at our training center, most of the dogs are mid-sized or larger. I guess a really nasty little dog is less likely to be euthanized because it can do less damage than its larger cousin. The interesting thing, too, about that reactive dog class is that MOST of the dogs are mixed breeds, where in-breeding certainly isn't the problem. But I bet MOST of those dogs come from shelters, and probably didn't have the best start in life. (which goes more to nurture than nature)

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Last night I took Jasmine to a play date, and there were a couple Yorkie-Chi mixes who were absolutely shaking with anxiety the whole time. Astounding. They looked miserable, and yet this kind of thing was obviously considered normal and perhaps even desirable by the owners.
There again, Yorkie-Chis are mutts, so you wouldn't think in-breeding would cause the problem. With the REALLY small dogs, what I've seen at our training center is that people shelter them too much and don't socialize them, because they are afraid they will get hurt. The result is that they never learn proper social skills, and they don't learn to relax.

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I guess my question is, is it possible for a well-bred dog to have behavior problems? And by well-bred, I mean bred for health and temperament, not just champion lines. It could be I have a different definition of "well-bred" than those just concerned with champion lines.
Again, even the best breeder in the world can't guard against the life experiences a puppy has when they leave the breeder, so, yes, it is possible for a really well bred dog (in your terms, not just "show dog" terms) to develop behavior problems. But I think if you purchase your puppy from a breeder who takes the job of producing well-balanced healthy companions seriously, you should not have to worry about an inherently bad temperament. The best way to guard against this is to VISIT the breeder and MEET their breeding stock, especially the parents of the puppy you are considering. Sweet, friendly, well balanced parents, in general produce (and raise) sweet friendly puppies.

The good thing is that in this breed, anyway, the GOOD breeders realize that EVERY ONE of the puppies they produce, whether it is destined for the show ring or not, needs to be, first and foremost, a family pet.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2012, 06:03 PM
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Alot of bad behavior results from no intervention from the owner. If you watch Westminster dog show on tv (every year the 2nd week in Feb.) the announcer always comments there are no bad dogs. just bad owners. A bunch of truth in that, but there are occasionally a bad dog here and there.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 09:18 AM
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Karen, that's good information, thanks. When I was looking for a second dog, I visited numerous rescue centers and up until the day the breeder told me I could have Jasmine, was calling about various dogs I'd found on their websites. I really wanted to rescue, but as you point out, the early socialization period is so important and even if you get a younger dog you don't know what they've been exposed to before they came to the shelter. Because I already have a dog and cat, and expected to travel internationally with this new dog, I just couldn't take the risk of getting a dog that might develop behavior issues. I'm okay with training, but not good enough to deal with a problem dog.

I still have regrets that I didn't do a rescue. But all the dogs I called about (I was looking exclusively at small dogs, which may have been the problem) either were excessively timid, selectively aggressive, breeds I was not particularly interested in (dachshund, chi) or would not have done well traveling to a hot, beachy place (pug, etc.).

You seem to be suggesting (if I have interpreted correctly) that behavior problems are nearly all from nurture rather than nature. The original post seemed to suggest, however, that some bad behavior stems from inbred temperament problems (a 4 mos old puppy snapping, for example). What do you think?
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