What is required to enroll our breed?

While we guide you through the whole process, we prefer to have a dedicated volunteer or two, people willing to represent the breed. Ideally, breed clubs, health foundations or health chairpersons are part of the effort, but this is not required.  It is, however, good to gauge interest with at least a few dedicated breeders.

The first phase of research requires DNA cheek swab samples from 100 dogs that are not closely related, and are from as many different lines and regions as possible. With the information below, we can then collect samples from dogs that are representative of all the different subsets of each breed.

The important aspects you will need to consider:

  • Breed history: Some breeds have terrific resources for accurate histories. Some breeds have vague or disputed information on their history. Some breed communities have strong feelings about one narrative or another. We prefer to gather as much reliable documentation as we can to help inform the analysis and breed communities know best where that is.
  • Breed splits: Breeders know how breeds are divided. Are dogs in Europe very different from those in North America? Are there working lines that are quite different from show lines? Is the breed made up of lines based on color? We will need to understand the landscape of the breed.
  • Genetic bottlenecks and popular sires: Were there ever times when the breed got so rare, due to war, famine or just lack of popularity that only a few lines remained? Was there any specific sire that was popular the world over, who produced a very large number of offspring for the breed? Was there a specific kennel that was favored because their dogs were especially high quality? Even circumstances like these from 60 or 80 years ago can have a significant effect on the breed today.
  • Health concerns: Whether private or public, all breeds have some concerns. These are sometimes in dispute. We prefer to know about what might be there than not, and we don’t come to conclusions without some documentation, whether through a health database like OFA or published research. But knowing what may be an issue can help us help the breed in the long run, since research is quite possible depending on the concerns.
  • Funding: Each research test costs $50. This can be breeder funded, the goal of a fundraiser, donated by a generous patron, or sponsored in whole or in part by a breed club.  We have seen successful projects with any and all combinations of these.

100 samples may seem like a lot to gather, but in our experience even small breeds quickly accomplish it. It may also seem like very few for breeders of more populous breeds, but to date it’s been proven that 100 dogs from a reasonable first sample collection effort is enough to identify 95% of the existing variation in the breed. Subsequent samples tend merely to refine the picture of that variation – how much of which genetics are more or less common in the breed. However, as scientific studies go, 100 individual samples provides an enormous amount of genetic information.

Once the genetic results are in, the eminent researchers at UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Lab analyze what the data shows. We then know how inbred or outbred the breed as a whole is, and how different various lines are from one another. We also know how much genetic variation remains in the DNA that controls the immune system, which is helpful information.

Having a comprehensive analysis of a breed puts the power of genetic data in the hands of breeders, not just researchers.

Ready to start?

And don’t worry, we will help you with every step along the way.  On the next page, we ask you to tell us about your breed. We will contact you about your next steps shortly thereafter.

Read on….