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It's all well and good to learn the best way to address inherited health issues when they arise, but how do we prevent them to begin with? For starters, the best breeders learn as much as they can about genetics and inheritance patterns. They also keep careful records relating to inheritable characteristics of all the dogs in their breeding programs, including everything from temperament to health, from conformation to working ability. They ask questions, and they offer information freely to other breeders. Exceptional breeders even have health and temperament information about all the pet puppies that they've placed. With diligence and careful selection, breeders can reduce the numbers of unhealthy dogs.

This section offers a series of articles and other references to help sort out how and why breeders need to think about genetics, and what to do to guard breed health into the future. We hope that these articles will inspire you to seek out more information on the subject. If you find something that you particularly like, please tell us about it!

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Offsite References

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   Collecting and Utilizing Phenotypic Data to Minimize Disease:A Breeder's Practical Guide - Orthopedic Foundation for Animals  [pdf] Adobe File
by Rhonda Hovan
Details the construction and analysis of vertical pedigrees and their role in reducing the incidence of disease when carriers can not be identified, along with the development of desirable traits in your breeding program.
Dog Genome Project {Historical site}
A scientific study of the chromosomes in dogs. Also information about genetic disorders in dogs.
Institute for Genetic Disease Control in Animals (GDC)
A non-profit corporation devoted to improving the health of companion animals. In addition to running Eye and Tumor registries, GDC is now devoted to developing informational material and resources for breeders. GDC releases information in the form of a GDC KinReport™. A KinReport™ on a particular dog links it with all close relatives in the database, providing all the evaluation information for all of those dogs registered in the data base. The KinReport is available through the GDC website.

The Canine Diversity Project
An attempt to acquaint breeders of domesticated Canidae (dogs) with the dangers of inbreeding and the overuse of popular sires. Site includes plenty of informative links and a Canine Genetics Discussion Group.

  The OFA and the Role of Canine Health Databases - Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
by Eddie Dziuk
Explains the breeder's role in ensuring the future genetic health of their chosen breed by supporting and utilizing the various databases available.

Please check our "Links" page for some personal web sites pertaining to this subject, and stories of affected dogs and their owners.