Inbred Mistakes IV

And now for the final fact-check of Carol Gravestock’s often shoddy rationalization of inbreeding at Absolut Bullmarket French Bulldogs:

We might also say that a breeder utilizing this method [line breeding] has let previous generations take the risks associated with tight line or inbreeding, and is using the results to create their own line breeding. One can choose the best, healthiest results of in bred or line bred dogs available and use them, without chancing the risks associated with doing such breedings one’s self.

Here we have the worst sort of rationalization after the fact, the kind of self soothing one does when you regret your past or your ancestry.  Grandpa the fascist was just taking orders, my parents’ cult was a positive learning experience, that abusive relationship was actually good training for my marriage.  The essence of her argument here is that past inbreeding is ok since the risks are magically quelled if someone else did the dirty work.

This is not how inbreeding works.  Inbreeding concentrates genes and selection removes them.  Continued line-breeding does not magically unpair the homozygous genes, it pairs up more of them.  Further inbreeding does not add information, it removes it.  Every generation the level of homozygosity increases, the chance of doubling up on another recessive disease increases, the immune system weakens, fertility and health plummet as inbreeding depression increases.

You are saved from past inbreeding only as much as you have outcrossed since.

You don’t inbreed for health, so why would you select the healthy puppies? None of the puppies are healthier than the parents, none are healthier than if you outcrossed, so why are we to expect that we even have the ability to select an inbred puppy that has all the “illusive, perfect rear angulation” you inbred for and which is also free from deleterious recessives?

If you inbred for a perfect ass, you’re going to select for a perfect ass.  You don’t inbreed for health, ever, so the idea that you can select for health is absurd.  This is as inane as giving people cancer to make them healthier, it is not done, it does not work.

Nowhere in dogs do we find paragons of inbred health.  If inbreeding created health we would expect to see as many amazing specimens of vitality as we do look alike hair models with perfect asses.  Scientists don’t study the dog genome because it’s healthier than humans, they study it because breeds are significantly more diseased.

According to geneticists, Line-breeding can be carried on for many generations without deleterious effects on the line or breed as long as the individuals involved have few hidden genetic disorders. Testing of both parents, and of as many previous generations as possible, is key to ensuring a line bred litter has the maximum chances of being free of inherited diseases.

I’d love to read the reports of these unnamed and uncited “geneticists” so their academic credentials can be stripped and they can get jobs more befitting their station: i.e. picking up dog shit instead of spewing it.  Fortunately, it’s improbable such “geneticists” ever existed.  I suspect that neither Carol Gravestock nor the website she stole that paragraph from have ever met a geneticist–let alone a consensus of them–which would say something so asinine.

The most glaring error is “as long as the individuals involved have few hidden genetic disorders.”  There’s not a single dog on the planet, including the boxer who had her entire genome sequenced, that we can verify as having “few hidden genetic disorders.”  We can’t even identify what the vast majority of genes do, let alone tell if they are potential deleterious alleles.  Despite the great advancements we have made we are in a state of ignorance and we must be humble about that, not arrogant.

Few diseases even have names, even fewer have diagnostic tests, and only a pathetically small few have a DNA test that can identify clear, carrier, or affected status.

If Carol Gravestock would agree to never inbreed until she can prove that her stock has no genetic disorders, that’s a deal we should hold her to.  She and her line of dogs will be long extinct before the day comes when anyone–including a billion dollar genome sequencing project, let alone a hobby breeder on a budget–can prove that their stock would suffer no harm from inbreeding.  I suspect that day will never come.  Science hasn’t yet settled how many planets we have in our solar system, let alone identified every possible disease in the human or dog genome!

The entire notion that testing will save us, or at least allow breeders to inbreed with impunity, is a farce. There are only a  small handful of tests and the rate at which science gives us new ones is staggeringly slow.  If the book of dog disease is the size of a dictionary, our current understanding is a few pages and our ability to test is but a few scattered letters and a bit of punctuation  on some random page.

Spreading such lies intentionally is unethical and an evil act.  It is evil because it will undoubtedly lead to the needless pain and suffering of animals and their loving owners and the only possible benefit is to satisfy the ego of a narcissist breeder.  How is this different than the most extreme evils that Eugenics has wrought on our world in the last century?

Shame on you, Carol, and anyone who reprints such callous misinformation.

Inbred Mistakes Series: (1) * (2) * (3) * (4) * (5)

* * *
Comments and disagreements are welcome, but be sure to read the Comment Policy. If this post made you think and you'd like to read more like it, consider a donation to my 4 Border Collies' Treat and Toy Fund. They'll be glad you did. You can subscribe to the feed or enter your e-mail in the field on the left to receive notice of new content. You can also like BorderWars on Facebook for more frequent musings and curiosities.
* * *

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.