"Well, I think that's part
of the problem. Everyone has always handled everything privately, and the
rest of us go blindly along, breeding as if everything is a-ok, and voila,
here comes health problems that could have been avoided."
"Not only is the above the
case, but there are VERY FEW breeders who have more than a generation or two
of their own dogs to judge by. Frequently, if these problems are genetic,
they will not show up for a number of generations or until you happen to hit
the wrong combination and reinforce an otherwise unseen tendency.
New breeders have very little
to go by. There are all sorts of rumors about this line or that kennel,
but the fact remains that our gene pool is SO SMALL, there is no kennel that
is safe. While a kennel may go many generations without seeing a problem,
it does not mean that the genetic predisposition does not simply lie dormant
during this time. Combine that with the increasing use of imports -
about which bloodlines little or nothing is known - and we will be seeing
more and more problems crop up.
When an individual decides
to become a breeder, they (hopefully) have done their research and purchased
a breeding quality dog(s) from an established kennel... and thoroughly
researched their bloodlines and those of the prospective mate, for genetic
tendencies/problems before doing the breeding. Even with all of this, it's
a roll of the dice.
Sometimes breeding within
a known bloodline or to a bloodline where the cross has worked before, can
increase the probability of success - but it may also reinforce an otherwise
unseen problem. Even with all of the best intent and research possible, the
breeder is taking a risk with every breeding.
When a buyer chooses a breeder
they are also taking a risk. There have been litters from the best of breeders
which just didn't reach their potential, or had genetic problems that no one
had foreseen. The ONLY guarantee a buyer has is to select a breeder they
can trust... and that's a very difficult proposition for anyone just starting
in a breed. No matter how good your research, no matter how good the breeder's
intent, sometimes it just doesn't work. A puppy turns out to have
kidney, heart, eye, immune etc... problems. A dog turns out to be dysplastic.
It is heartbreaking (and I've been there), but it is important to note that
at some point the breeder's responsibility ends and the buyer's responsibility
Personally, I do not buy a
dog without a significant number of guarantees-genetic health and hips at
minimum - BUT, if I purchase a dog I recognize the risks involved and accept
that I am going to be solely responsible (financially and emotionally) for
the future life of this precious animal. It is, after all, a living, breathing,
being - and in nature things frequently do not work out as we had planned.
Yeah, when the dog is sick
and the vet bills are rising, I am just as tempted to look for someone to
blame - for someone to share in the responsibility - for someone to "fix"
it, as anyone else... From experience I have learned that this is a
part of dog ownership - and it is not a problem inherent to this breed alone.
When I buy a dog I fervently
hope and pray that I have chosen the right breeder - that this breeder
has thoroughly researched their bloodlines and made the right choices
- that the owners and breeders behind their dogs have been open and honest
about the health of these dogs and those they have produced - that the breeder
I choose will be open and honest with me - that they will stand behind their
guarantees - and that we all get a bit of luck and that mother nature helps."
"The open health registry
should help solve this problem, if the breeders buy into it. This forum is
helping a lot too."
"An open health registry will,
EVENTUALLY, help enormously to address these problems. The reason I say "eventually"
is that it will take time to develop breeder participation and collect enough
data to make a significant difference. If we use the example of Berner-Garde
(Bernese Mtn Dogs) it has taken 10 years to make this a helpful and viable
resource for breeders.
Initially, they went through
enormous changes and their breed got a very bad reputation - simply because
they started being honest and open about the fact that their breed had problems
at all! Now, 10 years later, they have an enormous resource for breeders to
make educated choices to help eliminate or mitigate identified problems. It's
a phenomenal resource... but it did not happen easily, and it did not happen
over night. It opens an enormous area of potential misuse or abuse by those
irresponsible individuals who may and probably will use negative information
against others... but, in the end, "the truth will set us free".
It took 10 years for Berner-Garde
to become an accepted and respected organization in their breed - and to put
it bluntly, most Berner owners/breeders are far more polite than those
of us with Kuvasz!
Bobbie Kelley and I refer
to the proposed registry as "Pandora"... we will truly be opening pandora's
box. We will not, I am sure, initially like what we will find. From my
work with the SilvanHold private database, I can assure you - "you ain't seen
"Here's two cases of kidney
disease, and I had never heard of it before in our breed."
"We have about 4 cases of
kidney failure in young Kuvasz on file at this time. There does seem to be
some correlation to certain bloodlines - but 4 is NOT enough to really come
to any conclusions. There are also a number of dogs who died at around 5-7
of kidney failure as well. No specific correlation to bloodlines there yet.
A while ago I did a statistical
study on about 10 years of the published death and reason information on German
dogs. Interestingly, some dogs died of kidney failure at around 5-7, others
died of heart failure around 7-9, others seemed to have other problems. The
most interesting thing was when I ran the pedigrees on those dogs - there
was a statistical correlation between age/reason for death and different
bloodlines! The strangest correlation was those who died "accidentally" at
around 1-2 years... and seemed to come from the same lines also!
For those two (and possibly
others) individuals that posted regarding kidney problems, I would be particularly
interested in getting more information for the SilvanHold database - but in
order for it to be of help I would need to know pedigree information on the
individual dogs. I understand that, at present, neither individual wanted
to divulge the identity of the breeders involved - but if, in future you could
share this information (never to be passed on in anything other than statistical
form) please e-mail me privately."