Importance of testing for NCL, ICH, and Hip Dysplasia as baseline in a breeding program

Discussion in 'Health Tests and Genetic Diseases' started by Igor, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Igor

    Igor Administrator Staff Member

    Local Intranet
    Would like to expand a little on our requirements for litter ads for North America - Why NCL, ICH, and Hip Dysplasia (OFA or PennHip) tests are required.

    NCL is a deadly disease. If two asymptomatic carriers are bred, then roughly 1/4 of the litter will be afflicted and can be expected to die between 2-4 years old or so.

    ICH is a terrible skin disease. If two asymptomatic carriers are bred, then roughly 1/4 of the litter will be afflicted. ICH is nearly impossible to manage and usually afflicted pups are put down by breeders.

    Important to note that just because a dog is NCL / ICH clear and has good hip scores, that doesn't automatically make it a great breeding dog.

    These are essentially the only tests we do have for our breed. But the number of genetic problems are obviously in the dozens if not hundreds.

    Same with the other way around - an NCL or ICH carrier by itself is not an issue. Just important to only breed to a clear dog for that genetic disease and test the litter. A great breeding dog could be a genetic carrier for either of these diseases.

    The factors that go into determining the overall quality of the dog go far beyond just ICH / NCL or Hip Dysplasia scores.
    However, a dysplastic dog should be a no-go regardless of any other types of attributes you may like in the candidate.
    Hip dysplasia is incredibly difficult to breed out once you introduce it in your own kennel. It can even skip generations and you will have your work cut out in continuing to eliminate lots of your productions from your breeding pool for generations to come.

    Further, hip scores may not even tell you much about ligament quality. You will notice a pattern of ligament tears being a common theme in certain pedigrees - you'll be hard-pressed to find a singular instance of a dog with torn ligament(s) without having dogs with torn ligament(s) that preceded it.

    History of cancer, weak heart, epilepsy, various eye problems, and overall longevity of dogs from the pedigree should be researched.

    Temperament is a huge issue in this breed. Lots of weak-tempered / cowardly dogs out there - something you won't see in pictures/videos unless you see the dog in person.

    Please keep in mind that ICH / NCL / Hip Dysplasia status is just the bare minimum. We want to work from this baseline in trying to selectively breed the best dogs out there to improve the overall quality of the breed.

    Bottomline - as a breeder, you want to filter out the breeding candidates with some of these tests to an extent - if you have an ICH carrier you want to breed, you need to find an ICH clear mate, as an example. But beyond all of that - the final determination is best done in person. Observe the potential mate - the movement, the temperament, teeth, and everything that you deem important for your own breeding program.

    If you continue to produce dogs over several generations, which will take many years - you will begin to notice how certain traits are passed down and who is and is not a carrier for various problems for which tests do not exist. A lot of it will be trial and error at first.

    Be the hardest critic on yourself - be honest with yourself as a breeder. Do not make excuses for your dogs. Your dog's movement will not become better with age, nor will the temperament. It won't grow in missing teeth at a year old. No dog is perfect.

    Make a plan on what traits you want to strengthen and what traits you want to eliminate. The search for that elusive breeding mate that will provide you that one step forward in certain dimensions without forcing two steps back in another is a long and arduous road.

Share This Page