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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to dogs, but have also occurred in horses, cattle and many other domestic animals, largely as a consequence of outdated beliefs dating back to the early days of genetics.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
The Canidae   Link to the Canidae

Selected Breeds of Canis familiaris

Other Canids

Endangered species
Reintroduction projects
Additional information on endangered species
Genetics and Diversity   Link to genetics page

Genetics for Breeders (Dr. John Armstrong)

Basic Concepts
Breeding Schemes
Significant Relationships
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

by Dr. Leos Kral
Importance of Complete Pedigrees
Penetrance and Expressivity
Phenotypic vs Genotypic Heterogeneity
Multiple Gene Traits

by Dr. Bruce M Cattanach
Genetics Can Be Fun (7 parts)
The Dalmatian Dilemma
by C.A. Sharp

by Dr. Catherine Marley

Other links

Closed registries and loss of diversity   Link to diversity issues

by J. Jeffrey Bragg
Purebred Dog Breeds into the Twenty-First Century
The Genetic Tide: Will it leave us high and dry?
The Genetic Tide Continues to Swell
by Dr. John Armstrong
The Influence of Wycliffe on the Black Standard Poodle
by Dr. Hellmuth Wachtel
Breeding Dogs for the Next Millennium

Expanding the gene pool

The Backcross Project
The Basenji African Stock Project

Other reading

The Mixed Breed Dog
Inbreeding, Linebreeding and Crossbreeding in Dogs
Genetics and The Border Collie
Inbreeding and Linebreeding
Dealing with Genetic Disease   Genetic analysis/testing
Pedigree Analysis
Genetic Research Strategies: The Example of Canine Epilepsy
Pedigree Analysis: Bloat in the Standard Poodle
Test mating
Day Blindness in Alaskan Malamutes
The Bourns Test Litters for Dayblindness in Malamutes

DNA tests
Genetic Testing: A Guide for Breeders
DNA Studies in Doberman von Willebrand's Disease
Other Health Issues   Immunity, fertility and longevity


The Immune System and Disease Resistance


Endocrine Disruptors
Hormone Disruptors
Stress, Infertility and Herpes Infection


Doberman Pinscher Club Longevity Program
The Diversity Project's Longevity Study
Mixed breed survey


About this Site

All articles on this site written by Dr. Armstrong can only be reproduced with permission from DOGenes and the Armstrong family.

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