The Canine Diversity Project is an attempt to acquaint breeders of domesticated Canidae (dogs) with the dangers of inbreeding and the overuse of popular sires. Both lead to the indiscriminate loss of genetic diversity and increase the frequency of genetic problems in the population. These abuses have not been restricted to dogs, but have also occurred in horses, cattle and many other domestic animals, largely as a consequence of outdated beliefs dating back to the early days of genetics. Even their wild cousins have been the unfortunate victims of genetic malpractice by zoos. Fortunately, zoo biologists have recognized the dangers to these and many other species, and Species Survival Plans have been developed for many.
Though, as a species, Canis familiaris is not endangered, a number of breeds are in as much danger of extinction as some of their wild cousins. If different varieties of wolves are worthy of preservation, are not the different breeds of domestic dogs equally worthy?
Starting with wolves, and perhaps other related canids, man shaped the dog to his own ends. For several thousand years they have been our companions, helpers and guardians. A dog, treated with a little kindness, will be your friend for life. How do we reward them? By condemning many to a life of pain or an early death due to various inherited diseases. Do we not owe them more than this?
Why do we need genetic diversity in a population?
The Poodle and the Chocolate Cake
How You Can Help
- Become informed
- on basic genetic principles and good breeding practice
- on the major genetic diseases in your breed
- on the attitude of your Breed Club or Association
- Support genetic research
- Spread the word about this site
- Ask the Question - Do you need a "Breed Survival Plan"?
Index of articles and links
Genetics and Diversity
Genetics for Breeders (Dr. John Armstrong)Basic Conceptsby Dr. Leos Kral
Population Genetics and Breeding
The Nature of Genetic Disease
Eliminating Mutation: the impossible dream
Diversity and the Purebred Dog
Inbreeding and Diversity
Diversity in Poodles
Glossary of Genetic Terms
Importance of Complete Pedigrees
Penetrance and Expressivity
Phenotypic vs Genotypic Heterogeneity
Multiple Gene Traits
by Dr. Bruce M Cattanach
The Price of Popularity: Popular sires and population genetics.by Dr. Catherine Marley
The Downside of Inbreeding: It's Time For a New Approach.
by Dr. Jerold Bell
Closed registries and loss of diversity
by J. Jeffrey Bragg
by Dr. John Armstrong
- Purebred Dog Breeds into the Twenty-First Century
- The Genetic Tide: Will it leave us high and dry?
- The Genetic Tide Continues to Swell
Expanding the gene pool
Dealing with Genetic Disease Pedigree Analysis
- Genetic Research Strategies: The Example of Canine Epilepsy
- Pedigree Analysis: Bloat in the Standard Poodle
Other Health Issues
About this Site
All articles on this site written by Dr. Armstrong may be reproduced freely as long as they are not altered and proper credit is given as to the source. Most other authors of papers on this site are also willing to let their material be used, but it is best to ask. If in doubt, e-mail the owner.
DOGenes Inc. has volunteered to host and maintain this site with the permission of the Armstrong family.
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Last updated Oct. 14, 2013