Sine Qua Non Dog Disorders

A sample of dog breeds with sine-qua-non disorders.

A sine qua non disorder is one that is both universal and definitional within a breed.  To remove the genes that cause the trait, disorder, dysfunction, or disease would fundamentally alter the essence of the breed.

Any rational and humane breeder would want to remove disease from their breed if given the chance.  No Border Collie is benefited by epilepsy or collie eye anomaly, and if we could wave a wand and rid them from the breed, it wouldn’t take much thought to do so.

Alas, there are dog breeds where dysfunction and disease are part of the breed standard or inextricably linked with traits that are required in the dogs.  No matter how many DNA tests become available, such diseases will not be removed from the breed because the breeders want them there, require them there, and even cull puppies that are unaffected!

Such disorders are sine qua non to the identity of the breed.  If they didn’t exist, the breed would not exist, certainly not as we know them.  Unlike CEA or HD or epilepsy, removing a sine qua non disease requires breed standards to be rewritten, not genetic tests.  The major obstacle is not genetic, it’s political.

A sample of such diseases and the breeds they are inextricably linked to:

Abnormal cartilage growth causing short legs:
Basset Hound, Beagle, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshund, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Scottish Terrier

Dermoid Sinus
A neural tube defect inextricable from the “ridge:”
Rhodesian Ridgeback, Thai Ridgeback

Micromelic Achondroplasia
Abnormal cartilage growth causing short legs and trunk:
Bulldog, Corgi, some Jack Russell Terriers, Pekingese, miniature Poodle, Shar Pei, Shih Tzu, Skye Terrier, Swedish Vallhund

Extra digits on the foot:
Beauceron, Briard, Great Pyrenees,  Norwegian Lundehund

Pituitary (Ateliotic) Dwarfism
Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, Miniature Dachshund, Italian Greyhound, Maltese, Minature Pinscher, Minature Spaniel, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Pug, Shih Tzu, Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier

Congenital Alopecia
Inherited baldness:
American Hairless Terrier,  Chinese Crested Dog, Inca Orchid Hairless Dog, Mexican Hairless Dog, Peruvian Inca Orchid

Color Mutant Alopecia
Hair loss and breakage seen in “Blue” and “Fawn” coat colored dogs: 
Blue Lacys

Brachycephalic Achondroplasia
Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffon, Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Japanese Chin, Pekingese, Pug, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier

Periodic Fever Syndrome
Fever, swelling, and Amyloidosis inextricable from the skin folds:
Shar Pei

Congenital Anurousity
Lacking a tail; associated defects of the spine and anus.
(Non-C189G mutation) Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Miniature Schnauzer;

(C189G mutation) Australian Shepherd, Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, Braque du Bourbonnais, Brittany Spaniel, Croatian Sheepdog, Mudi, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Pyrenean Shepherd, Braque Francais, Schipperke, Spanish Water Dog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Obviously the severity of these disorders ranges from very minor and unlikely to cause inconvenience in the case of a Beauceron’s extra dewclaws to chronic and potentially lethal conditions like Shar Pei Fever.

Such conditions provoke Qualzucht considerations as there’s precious little other than aesthetic fads to weigh against the potential suffering of the animal.  You’ll notice that many of the disorders here mirror those that are enumerated in Qualzucht laws.

For individual analysis of some of these conditions, refer to the “sine qua non disease” category under “health and genetics.”

Beyond the physical, we might also include inbred mental disorders that are definitional of breeds.  Ojeriza in the Fila Brasiliero maps to the human mental disorder Xenophobia.  Border Collie eye would be considered an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder if a human displayed the same traits.

If you can think of another disorder that is quintessential to a breed’s definition that I have neglected to include, please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to update the list.


* * *
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.